Artificial Intelligence (AI): Are Judges Already Using What You Should Be Using?

Posted on 10-08-2017 by
Tags: Lex Machina , AI , judges , artificial intelligence


Artificial intelligence and legal decisions: How to make breakfast your most difficult decision of the day.


Bacon or sausage?

Blue tie or green?

Get up right away, or hit the snooze button?

Every day, we make a hundred little decisions without thinking twice about it. They’re easy decisions. They don’t take much brain power. Sometimes though, the decisions we make have far-reaching consequences.

Legal decisions are those types of decisions—far-reaching and consequential. They often have enormous, sometimes life-altering, consequences. So if legal decisions can have large-scale consequences, why are they left solely to human minds?

In this day and age, legal decisions are better made when human decision makers turn to artificial-intelligence (AI) tools.

 Deciding How to Approach Your Case? Get Some Advice From AI

Many factors can affect your litigation strategy ... the judge hearing your case, the lawyer for the other side, the court you’re in. This is where AI comes in to play.

When it comes to legal research and analytics, AI applications have made huge advancements. For example, AI tools are available, right now, to help you create a strategy based on prior case results. And natural language processing, paired with AI research aids, can be one of the more powerful tools in a lawyer’s research arsenal.

Judges Are Using AI ... Why Aren’t You?

But AI is more than just a powerful research tool. Currently, AI is assisting some judges in bail hearings. In the courtroom, AI decision making has advantages, both from a time saving standpoint and an ethical one. A computer, if properly programmed, has no bias. It will only look at the evidence when calculating bail or jail time, absent any bias that a human judge might have.

Along with bias, a judge’s physiological needs can also impact courtroom decisions. For example, a hungry judge thinks differently than one who’s had lunch. Likewise, a tired judge thinks differently than one who’s well rested. In contrast, AI can be neither tired nor hungry. Unbound from physiological needs, AI can make justice truly blind.

Finally, a judge, while bound by precedent, is also bound by what he or she knows. No matter how smart a person is, one's knowledge is always limited, which means a judge's knowledge of precedent must also be limited. With its vast databases and ability to quickly and efficiently search those databases, AI tools have access to a more complete picture of precedent. This kind of tool is invaluable in the courtroom because it provides judges with a complete picture of previous rulings.

Keeping Up With the Curve

AI is slowly creeping into the courtroom.

But if you’re a lawyer, it better be rocketing into your office.

Staying up to date with the latest AI tools and technology can have a major impact on your practice. As more legal professionals make use of these advancements, you’ll want to make sure you’re not being left behind.

LexisNexis offers AI tools like Lexis Answers® and Lex Machina to assist in your research and creating your litigation strategies. As the technology continues to advance and grow, AI will become integral to your practice and will enhance the big decisions you make every day. Sure, AI won’t solve breakfast’s bacon vs. sausage dilemma, but it can help you make more informed decisions every day in your law practice. 

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