Legal AI Tools: A Guide for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

February 22, 2024

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What are legal AI Tools?

Legal AI tools refer to software that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers and in-house legal teams complete tasks including contract review, legal research, and e-discovery. Legal AI tools are tailored for the legal industry because it uses machine learning to handle specific tasks, understands the nuances of legal language, and is able to interpret legal jargon to extract relevant information from legal documents. The integration of AI and Generative AI within in-house legal software marks a significant evolution that will introduce innovative approaches and capabilities in the way legal teams work. The automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks can ultimately empower lawyers to enhance their decision-making processes, while redirecting their focus toward more complex and strategic legal work. 

How is AI impacting the legal industry?

AI is impacting the legal industry by transforming the way that legal professionals engage in their work. Examples of how AI is influencing the legal profession include:

  • Document Review: Documents such as contracts and agreements can be quickly reviewed and analyzed in large volumes, saving time and resources.
  • Legal Research: Lawyers can use AI tools to quickly conduct legal research by analyzing legal databases, case law, statutes, and regulations. 
  • Contract Analysis and Management: The contract review and management process can be streamlined through legal AI software by extracting information, identifying potential risks, and ensuring compliance with legal standards. 
  • Predictive Analysis: AI enables the use of predictive analytics to assess likely outcomes of legal cases based on historical data. Lawyers can then use this information to make informed decisions and better strategize against legal issues. 
  • Enhanced Due Diligence: Legal AI software can accelerate the due diligence process by quickly analyzing relevant information e.g. mergers, acquisitions or business transactions, to identify potential risks and opportunities. 
  • Automation of Repetitive Tasks: Legal AI tools can automate mundane and repetitive tasks such as data entry or document drafting, which allows legal professionals to spend their time on the more complex aspects of their work. 
  • Cost Reduction: The automation of legal tasks and ability to handle high volumes of data efficiently can allow for cost reductions and allocation of resources for both legal firms and clients. 
  • Improved Client Experience: Tools such as legal AI chatbots and virtual assistants can enhance client interactions by providing quick responses to legal queries, scheduling appointments, and providing general legal information. 

What are the benefits of Legal AI Tools in law firms & legal departments?

Legal AI tools offer a number of benefits to law firms and legal departments that can help improve efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. While traditional technology can assist in executing routine tasks quickly, AI is better suited to handle complex tasks that involve large datasets, can learn and improve its performance over time, and can make recommendations and predictions based on data analysis. The benefits of using legal AI tools are explored below:

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Legal AI tools can automate many of the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that lawyers perform on a daily basis. This allows lawyers and in-house teams to focus on more strategic and value-added work such as providing advice or counseling to clients. 

Improved Accuracy and Quality

Legal AI software can help legal professionals to identify and avoid errors and inconsistencies in their work. An example of this includes legal research tools that can help lawyers find the most relevant and accurate case law and statutes, or contract review tools that can identify potential risks and obligations in a contract. 

Reduced Costs

Many in-house teams are working against a strict allocation of budget. Automating tasks and improving the efficiency of processes through legal AI software can help law firms and legal departments reduce costs in various areas.

Enhanced Competitive Advantage

Legal AI tools can give law firms and departments a competitive advantage by helping them deliver services more quickly in comparison to their competitors. 

Examples of how a law firm or legal department could use AI tools to improve their operations include:

  • A large law firm could use contract review tools to automate the review of thousands of contracts each year, reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks and improving the accuracy of reviews. 
  • A corporate legal department could use legal research tools to find relevant case law and statutes, reducing legal research times.
  • A small law firm could use an e-discovery tool to collect and review electronic data for a client, reducing e-discovery costs and improving the speed of the e-discovery process. 

Types of legal AI Tools

Legal AI Chatbot

A legal AI Chatbot is a legal artificial intelligence software that can assist with legal-related tasks and queries by providing information and support in legal matters. Legal AI chatbots can be integrated into law firm websites, legal department portals, or other communication channels. They are also programmed to understand legal terminology, and can carry out a range of tasks such as: 

  • Answering legal questions.
  • Providing document drafting assistance.
  • Supporting client intakes.
  • Retrieving information to answer FAQs. 

AI Legal Assistant

An AI legal assistant uses AI to help lawyers and legal professionals to complete a variety of tasks such as contract review and document drafting. AI legal assistants can make legal services more efficient and accurate by: 

  • Automating routine tasks.
  • Streamlining processes.
  • Reducing errors and inconsistencies in legal work.
  • Providing lawyers with access to a vast amount of knowledge and expertise.

AI Legal Research 

Traditional legal research usually involves manually searching through legal databases, court opinions, statutes, regulations, and other legal documents to find relevant information for a case or legal matter. AI legal research however, employs legal artificial intelligence to automate many of the tasks involved in legal research such as:

  • Identifying Relevant Sources: AI legal research tools can scan large amounts of legal data to identify sources relevant to legal research questions. 
  • Analyzing and Summarizing Sources: Legal AI tools can analyze legal sources and provide concise information regarding relevant laws and issues. 
  • Identifying Contradicting Sources: AI legal research tools can quickly identify contradictory sources of law, alerting lawyers to identify areas of contention where the law is unclear. 
  • Generating Legal Briefs: Legal briefs can be generated using AI legal research tools by summarizing relevant laws and applying it to the facts of specific cases. 

Legal Document Generation

AI legal document generation involves using AI legal tools to automate the process of creating legal documents. This legal AI software is designed to streamline and expedite the document drafting process by providing the following:

  • Template Creation: Lawyers can create templates for commonly used legal documents such as contracts, agreements and legal letters.
  • Customization: AI legal document generation allows for the customization of documents. This ensures that legal documents are tailored to the needs of specific users. 
  • Compliance Checking: AI legal tools can check documents for compliance with legal regulations, industry standards, and internal policies. This can minimize the risk of errors and ensures that documents adhere to legal requirements. 
  • Version Control: AI tools can assist in the maintaining different versions of legal documents, making it easier for lawyers to track changes and revisions. 

Legal E-discovery

Legal e-discovery refers to the process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing electronically stored information (ESI), in the context of legal proceedings or legal requests. ESI can include a variety of data such as emails, test messages, social media posts, financial records, and business documents. The legal e-discovery process can be complex and time-consuming, and AI-powered e-discovery tools can help automate the identification, collection, processing, and production of ESI.

Legal Analytical AI Tools

Legal analytical AI tools are software applications that use legal AI to help lawyers and other legal professionals analyze legal data and identify trends, patterns, and insights. These tools can be used for a variety of purposes, such as: 

  • Predicting Case Outcomes: Legal analytical AI tools can predict the outcome of cases based on historical data. Lawyers can use this information to develop strategies regarding legal matters. 
  • Identifying Risk Factors: Lawyers can quickly identify risk factors and mitigate risk in order to protect their client. 
  • Generating Reports: Legal analytical AI tools can be used to generate reports that summarize findings that can be shared with clients and other stakeholders. 

Legal AI Front Door

A legal AI front door is a software application that provides a single point of entry for clients and employees to access legal services and resources. This can help law firms and legal departments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their legal intake process. These tools can help to:

  • Identity client needs and highlight relevant legal services.
  • Triage client requests to determine the appropriate next steps.
  • Route client requests to the appropriate legal team or resource. 

What are some ethical & privacy considerations on legal AI Tools?

Ethical and privacy considerations are always a topic of discussion when it comes to the use of AI, especially in the legal sector. Awareness towards these issues are important for lawyers and legal teams to recognise, so that they can utilize legal AI tools effectively and with a considered approach.

Bias and Fairness

Legal AI tools use historical data whic h can potentially reflect existing biases and prejudice. This can result in unfair or biased results and is something that needs to be monitored when lawyers carry out tasks such as legal research.

Privacy

Legal AI tools collect and process large amounts of sensitive personal data. This can raise concerns around privacy and transparency, and processes to adequately protect this data should be implemented.

Regulation

The development of legal AI tools is continuously developing, and still remains largely unregulated. This can raise concerns regarding the potential misuse and harm AI software can cause.

What are some future trends happening in Legal AI

As legal AI continues to develop, there are a number of trends that will likely impact the legal profession. Some examples of future trends include:

  • Increased Automation: Legal AI tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and will be capable of further improving legal automation to complete a wider range of legal tasks.
  • Increased Use of Generative AI: Generative AI tools are being used to generate legal content such as contracts, legal briefs, and court documents. The adoption of legal AI tools will continue to increase as they develop.
  • New Legal AI Applications: Legal AI is being used to develop new applications, such as AI-powered dispute resolution platforms. These applications will have a significant impact on the way that legal services are delivered in the future.

How can the Checkbox legal AI assistant help?

Checkbox's legal AI assistant enhances legal departments and teams by optimizing intake, triage, and response processes. With Checkbox, you can create automatic and conversational request experiences, expedite request resolutions for higher success rates, and attain improved visibility and updates on the status of legal requests.

To learn more about how Checkbox can revolutionize your in-house legal team using legal AI tools, book a call with one of our expert legal software technology consultants.

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