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Jury Still Out On AI for Justice System

By V. Venesulia Carr What does it mean for the world when artificial intelligence (AI) can pass the bar, perform due diligence, write legal contracts, draft opening arguments, and forecast the outcome of legal cases? That’s just scratching the surface. No industry is untouched by the advent of artificial intelligence, including law and justice. Like other professions, AI is changing the business model for law firms. Everything can be done quicker, faster and with less workforce. Economists projected that 44% of legal work could be automated in the future. Other legal experts state that 80%-90% of work can be automated and delegated to virtual teams in the present day. However, in a profession where the billable hour is common practice, efficiency could stand to be the enemy. It may

By V. Venesulia Carr

What does it mean for the world when artificial intelligence (AI) can pass the bar, perform due diligence, write legal contracts, draft opening arguments, and forecast the outcome of legal cases?

That’s just scratching the surface.

No industry is untouched by the advent of artificial intelligence, including law and justice. Like other professions, AI is changing the business model for law firms. Everything can be done quicker, faster and with less workforce.

Economists projected that 44% of legal work could be automated in the future. Other legal experts state that 80%-90% of work can be automated and delegated to virtual teams in the present day.

However, in a profession where the billable hour is common practice, efficiency could stand to be the enemy. It may now be unacceptable to bill for exorbitant hours of document review.

Savvy clients know that thousands of pages of documents can be reviewed in mere minutes thanks to AI. To charge for more could be considered unethical.

In his 2023 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr. predicted that “judicial work — particularly at the trial level — will be significantly affected by AI.” He gave both caveats and acclaim, adding, “Those changes will involve not only how judges go about doing their job, but also how they understand the role that AI plays in the cases that come before them.”

Ryan Anderson, co-founder and CEO of the legal tech platform Filevine, in his opening remarks at Lex Summit 2023, a legal tech conference, stated, “AI will replace lawyers who fail to adapt with it.”

With such strong sentiments from Chief Justice Roberts, Anderson and others, we’d be remiss not to pay attention.

We see the transformational power of AI on systems and processes in law and justice, but what does it mean for the wider public?

It’s extensively documented that legal services have historically been unattainable for lower-income citizens. Due to AI-powered companies like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, more Americans that might have been unable to afford a lawyer now have access to legal resources and digitized counsel.

With the right prompt, ChatGPT, a platform powered by generative AI, can help draft payment demand letters, wills, contracts, and more. Users can also leverage it to translate legal jargon into layman’s terms and vice versa.

An AI-powered website, DoNotPay.com, assists its users with over 100 types of legal issues. From disputing seatbelt tickets to car lease negotiations, DoNotPay.com leverages AI for the good of the people.

In January 2018, the World Justice Project announced rAInbow as a finalist in the World Justice Challenge. The rAInbow chatbot persona, Bo, is described as friendly and empathetic while providing training and legal resources to victims of domestic violence in South Africa.

With all of these possibilities, there are bound to be pitfalls, and we’ve seen numerous examples of this regarding law and justice.

It’s reported that in June 2023, an attorney filed a legal brief that cited several cases as precedents to support his client’s position. The brief, drafted with the aid of ChatGPT, was discovered to have six cases that were “hallucinations” — a term describing fabrications on the part of AI. As a result, it’s reported that a judge imposed sanctions on the two attorneys and their law firm with fines totaling $5,000.

AI can also forecast litigation outcomes, helping attorneys determine whether cases are worth pursuing. Predictive technologies use AI to analyze previous court judgments and predict likely litigation outcomes based on previous rulings.

But what if AI hallucinates the forecasted outcome and winnable cases are not pursued based on AI recommendations? This is just one of the many ways that AI implementation in law firms can expose them to ethical and legal malpractice risks.

There are also concerns of bias in data sets that artificial intelligence is trained on impacting AI’s information. Additionally, there’s a fear of the legal system’s inundation with trivial AI-generated lawsuits.

There are obvious concerns about displacement of associates, paralegals and case managers. Almost all prep work can be outsourced to AI, leaving paralegals and case managers out of the fold. The need for attorneys could also be vastly reduced or eliminated due to the automation of legal tasks associated with immigration, family estate planning, and filling out legal forms, leaving them only necessary for higher-level work, signing retainers, motions, court appearances and executing depositions.

To quote Ryan Anderson, “AI is not the last thing; it’s just the next thing. …”

The jury is still out regarding what’s beyond it and what it’ll become. However, we know this: AI holds both great possibility and promise.

It can go gloriously right or woefully wrong. Time will be both judge and jury.

V. Venesulia Carr is a former United States Marine, CEO of Vicar Group, LLC and host of “Down to Business with V.,” a television show focused on cyberawareness and cybersafety. She is a speaker, consultant and news commentator providing insight on technology, cybersecurity, fraud mitigation, national security and military affairs.

Original article: Newsmax



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