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### Enhancing Legal AI by Steering Clear of Targeted Band-Aid Solutions

Lawyers’ reluctance to embrace AI, coupled with its ever-evolving and unpredictable nature, can lea…

Some professionals I know have been actively engaging in technical education programs and continuing legal education (CLE) for many years to enhance their understanding of technology-related legal issues. However, the emergence of AI has posed a new challenge for some.

“I’ve always found AI to be highly intricate and data-driven. Everything seems so algorithmic!” shared a prosecutor recently.

Despite the perceived complexity of AI, it is not as daunting as it appears.

“I don’t have the time to delve into AI,” expressed another attorney. “Moreover, the potential societal impacts and inevitable mistakes associated with AI are concerning.”

By embracing AI effectively and implementing appropriate oversight measures, we can mitigate the associated risks.

The hesitance among lawyers to adopt AI, coupled with its ever-evolving and uncertain nature, can lead some to adopt a fear-based, reactionary mindset that is unsustainable in the long run. It is imperative for lawyers to enhance their performance in legal research, contract analysis, case outcome prediction, document drafting, and other areas where AI can significantly enhance accuracy and efficiency for the benefit of both themselves and their clients.

Authenticity of AI: A Dynamic and Evolving Tool

The implications of AI remain uncertain. The legal profession, which values transparency, accountability, consistency, and sound reasoning, finds the black-box nature of AI particularly challenging.

However, a survey conducted by Lucidworks among over 6,000 employees involved in AI technology decision-making revealed that 93% of businesses plan to increase their AI investments in 2024, primarily to improve customer experience, automation, efficiency, and overall business operations.

While the majority of businesses are already leveraging AI, many professionals are still hesitant. Only 15% of the 3,752 surveyed attorneys use AI for legal purposes, as per a statement by LexisNexis. This statistic is more concerning considering that a survey of 165 U.S. in-house legal professionals by ACC and Lowenstein Sandler uncovered that:

  • 64% of internal legal professionals do not utilize AI for legal tasks,
  • 43% lack confidence in their understanding of AI,
  • Only 25% have received AI-related training, and
  • More than half have no plans for such training.

(Emphasis added)

A reactive, narrow-minded approach to AI in the legal field often stems from the reluctance to embrace AI and its evolving nature. Hasty solutions and patchwork fixes for AI tools and challenges are inadequate. Decisions made impulsively frequently overlook the real risks and opportunities presented by AI.

However, there is a better way forward. A proactive, comprehensive approach to AI can yield positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

AI: A Tool for Oversight, Not Fear

Concerns about AI potentially replacing lawyers entirely can contribute to reluctance. In reality, AI has the potential to enhance rather than supplant legal professionals’ skills. Lawyers do not need to become AI experts; instead, they can supervise its use and collaborate with other specialists to:

  • Understand the broader implications and impacts of AI across various applications.
  • Evaluate the influence of AI on society, customer relationships, employee dynamics, and legal operations.
  • Deliberate on the ethical, cultural, and economic consequences of deploying AI systems.
  • Strike a balance between legal compliance and technological advancement.

In essence, the tasks you perform may evolve, but they will remain within your domain of expertise.

Healthy Skepticism as a Strength

A degree of skepticism is beneficial. Prior to implementing AI, a thorough evaluation of its pros and cons through a cautious approach can align AI’s integration with your professional and ethical standards.

  • Anticipate potential legal complexities, risks, and challenges associated with AI implementation.
  • Develop preemptive measures to address these issues and prevent legal complications.
  • Foster a forward-thinking approach within your organization to identify and resolve legal and ethical AI-related issues proactively.

Ready to Explore AI’s Possibilities?

The journey may not be as straightforward as anticipated. Let’s embark on this artificial intelligence exploration together and discover its potential impact on your professional practice!

How do you envision AI enhancing your work? Are you prepared to integrate AI into your law firm or legal department with the necessary strategic and tactical decisions?

Olga MackOlga V. Mack is a Generative AI Editor in the legal field and an Associate at CodeX, The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. MIT. Olga champions legal innovation and is dedicated to shaping the future of the legal industry. She firmly believes that by embracing technology, the legal profession can become even more robust, adaptable, and inclusive. Olga is also a seasoned public advocate, operational expert, business consultant, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. Her authored works include “Getting on Board: Securing Your Seat on a Corporate Board,” “Smart Contract Security Fundamentals,” and “Blockchain Value: Transforming Society, Communities, And Business Models.” Currently, she is working on “The Rise of Product Lawyers: An Analytical Framework to Systematically Advise Your Clients Throughout the Product Lifecycle” (Globe Law and Business 2024) and “Legal Operations in the Age of AI and Data.” Follow Olga on Twitter and LinkedIn @olgavavmack.CRM Banner

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Tags: , , Last modified: March 26, 2024
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