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How AI affects the legal sector: threat or opportunity?

By now, no one doubts that artificial intelligence (AI) has been a boom for the world as we know it. Technologies such as AI-driven text and image generation have surprised the world with their multiple applications. The legal sector is not immune to these changes and, after some initial controversy and an unconventional lawyer, the reality is that AI can change the way lawyers work.

After the first few months since this initial explosion, we have already been able to observe the incipient behaviour of professionals in different sectors. Join us in the exciting world of artificial intelligence: let's analyse why it worries millions of professionals and see what its impact will be the workplace in general and the legal sector in particular. Here we go!

What you will find in this article:

  1. AI: changing roles and existing concerns 
  2. The impact of AI and concerns across industries
  3. Four key ways AI is helping the legal sector
  4. 10 tips for lawyers to start experimenting with AI

AI: changing roles and existing concerns 

AI can amaze anyone who tries it. With a little imagination and the right instructions, it can come up with useful content and ideas for both professional and personal use.

But artificial intelligence is a technological advance that has not been without concerns. Many professionals in sectors such as the legal industry wonder whether AI will jeopardise certain professional profiles or even replace their jobs altogether. For weeks now, Silicon Valley and the technology sector have been the focus of public conversation due to controversial layoffs at the world's leading tech companies. However, it should be borne in mind that most of these companies experienced a period of high growth in the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, a trend that has slowed down in recent times, so these layoffs are not directly related to AI.

The impact of AI and concerns across industries

If you are still in doubt about the impact of AI on the world, look at some of the situations that have arisen in recent months. One prominent example is the Hollywood screenwriters' strike, where fears were raised that unregulated AI could replace screenwriters in the creation of unique and original content. While AI has demonstrated the ability to generate text, creativity and human talent remain irreplaceable elements in the entertainment industry.

In the education sector, some teachers have also expressed concern about the increase in cases of plagiarism due to easy access to online information and are already trying to take measures to address this trend. Some argue that aspects such as creativity or originality are challenging to achieve with this type of software and that sharing information and knowledge in the traditional way, by attending classes in person and participating in classroom discussions, can help counteract the negative effects of AI. Advancing the modern does not mean abandoning traditional methods altogether but finding a balance between the two approaches to get the best of both worlds.

AI is not meant to replace professionals, but to be a tool to enhance their work.

It is understandable that there is a certain fear of being replaced by a machine that never tires and is able to create and create endlessly, but it is important to understand that AI is not meant to replace professionals but to be a tool that enhances their work. It is true that some tasks traditionally performed by most professionals, such as proofreading or drafting documents, can be performed more efficiently by AI systems. However, this does not mean that professionals are dispensable. Their experience, intuition and human skills are still essential; AI simply gives them the opportunity to focus on more strategic and value-adding tasks.

Young lawyer assisted by an AI solution. Bigle Legal article on artificial intelligence.

An attractive image, isn't it? Well, you should know that our creative team generated it using an AI solution: a unique image, created in a matter of seconds, something that adds a high added value to the way we have been working so far.

Four key ways AI is helping the legal sector

The fast evolution of technology has opened up endless possibilities for automating tasks and streamlining processes in various industries, and the legal field is no exception. But how does AI affect the legal area? Is it a challenge that threatens some professional profiles or an opportunity to improve and optimise work? Let's find out together!

AI has the potential to transform the way we conduct legal operations, and there are already many uses for the technology. Let's take a look at some of them:

  • Task automation

AI can take that mountain of legal documents, identify important clauses and potential risks, and perform extensive research in legal databases.

  • Draft generation

With its ability to automatically generate basic legal documents, lawyers can save hours and hours.

  • Data and metadata extraction

From contracts to complex legal documents, AI extracts key data and metadata accurately and efficiently.

  • Analysis and reporting

In addition to extracting data, AI can perform sophisticated analysis and generate detailed reports quickly and accurately.

The fact that most companies have jumped on the AI ship makes the development of artificial intelligence functionalities and their application to day-to-day work almost a must. In this sense, the arrival of AI in the legal tech market is great news for lawyers as, to differentiate themselves from the competition, it will require providers to develop technology that brings real value to practitioners. But what is a lawyer who wants to experiment with AI to do?

10 tips for lawyers to start experimenting with AI

  1. Research market tools and collaborate with experts: explore AI vendors and their solutions to find the one that best suits your needs; seek advice and collaborate with specialised professionals.
  2. Set clear objectives: set specific goals for using AI in your work and what results you expect to achieve.
  3. Start with small projects: begin with less complex cases or tasks to familiarise yourself with AI and understand its impact on your daily work.
  4. Ensure security and privacy: Make sure that the AI solutions you use comply with legal data security and privacy requirements.
  5. Test and evaluate: Experiment with different tools and evaluate their effectiveness before implementing them on a large scale.
  6. Get trained and stay up to date: attend courses, seminars and conferences on AI in the legal field to keep abreast of the latest trends and applications.
  7. Encourage internal collaboration: share your experiences and learnings on the use of AI with your colleagues and look for opportunities to collaborate on joint projects.
  8. Analyse the return on investment (ROI): it assesses the economic and operational impact of AI implementation in terms of efficiency, time savings and improved legal outcomes.
  9. Adopt an ethical and responsible approach: consider ethical and legal issues when using AI, including transparency in the use of data and algorithm-based decision-making.
  10. Do not ignore AI: it is a fact that knowing is always better than not knowing. Keeping abreast of technological innovation will always be a plus for any professional.

While AI raises legitimate challenges and concerns, it also offers opportunities to improve and optimise the work of legal professionals. The current trend is that this technology should not be left aside, that it will be important to keep up to date with technological advances and to develop complementary skills to adapt to the new reality. However, AI does not come to replace lawyers, but rather to be a tool that enhances their work and will end up generating new job opportunities.