Legal professionals and the real-world impacts of AI

It鈥檚 vital that lawyers consider the real-world impact of AI. That鈥檚 why they should choose systems that offer adequate accountability, effective human insight, and accurate information.

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Lawyers are aware of the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). In a recent 老司机午夜福利 report, Generative AI and the future of the legal profession, 95% of legal professionals said that generative AI would have a notable impact on law. Most lawyers recognised the potentially adverse effects of AI, too, with 90% suggesting they had concerns about negative outcomes.

 That鈥檚 why an understanding of the real-world impact of AI is so important. Lawyers need to use AI systems that are built with carefully curated inputs, prevent incorrect or misleading outputs, map impacts beyond direct users, and depend on adequate human oversight. That level of consideration will ensure both the effective and the ethical use of generative AI.

 In this article, we look at applications of AI across the legal sector, demonstrate the real-world impact of the use of AI, and explore the importance of AI awareness.

 The application of AI in law

 AI provides huge opportunities for application in law. AI boosts productivity by streamlining not one large task, but myriad small ones. Lawyers can use generative AI to produce memos, write briefs, ideate and brainstorm, draft and negotiate contracts, review legal or vendor invoices, perform due diligence for mergers, and so on.

 Lawyers can also utilise AI for legal research. Consider, for example, that lawyers use AI-powered tools to instantly summarise complex information, with the tools presenting information in easily digestible and understandable form. Generative AI legal research tools train students, too, interacting with them, answering queries, and providing information.

 That鈥檚 just the beginning. AI is still at an early stage of development. Consequent iterations will be more powerful. Future applications might lead to the democratisation of legal advice, with increasing access to legal services and justice. Or perhaps they will pave the way for , with a system trained by caselaw and legislation yielding results devoid of prejudice. Applications could also provide real-world simulations for trainee lawyers, allowing them to practice in a realistic courtroom, with many of the pressures that involves.

 Current AI applications are changing the nature of law in ways that we could not have predicted. And future applications of AI will likely do exactly the same.


The real-world impact of AI

 The applications of AI are endless, the benefits are many, the potential huge. But successful application of AI depends on responsible use: considering real-world impacts and mitigating various risks. AI plays an increasing role in legal research, legal decision-making, dispute resolution, and indeed litigation, so it is essential that lawyers practice due diligence.

 Lawyers trade on reputation. Their reputation is upheld by high quality work, insights, and answers, all of which depend on gathering accurate and irrefutable data from trusted sources. It isn鈥檛 just information that matters to lawyers, but the background to that information, assumptions implicit within that information, and the information that has not been included.

 That鈥檚 why transparency is so important for legal professionals. Using can lead to predictable real-world impacts, the sort lawyers often seek to avoid, such as misinformation or introduced bias. Lawyers cannot, for example, use information generated by systems that depend on introduced bias.  Poorly-developed AI systems do just that, as explained by the : 鈥楤ias can creep in at many stages鈥nd the standard practices in computer science aren鈥檛 designed to detect it.鈥

 Kay Firth-Butterfield, head of AI at the , echoes the above sentiment: 鈥楢I tools can give biased and other non-ethical advice and should be used, especially at this early stage, very carefully indeed.鈥 Consider, for example, that the use of has the potential to introduce racial, gender, age, or other bias. The introduction of bias is not only profoundly unethical, not only commercially detrimental, but also illegal.

 Misinformation is another risk. spread misinformation because they have been fed false or out-of-date information, or because they do not have the right information and thus make up information 鈥 . Consider the real-world impact: lawyers use that information in legal disputes. In no uncertain terms, depending on misinformation has the potential to undermine justice and the lawyer鈥檚 reputation.

 AI systems can avoid bias and misinformation with human oversight. Carefully curated content sources allow full transparency over input 鈥 and thus output 鈥 and can eliminate potential problems. Other , such as applying to supervised learning algorithms or natural language processing models, ensure that AI systems provide the correct information.

 The need for awareness in AI

 The showed a high awareness of generative AI. It also showed an awareness of adverse real-world impacts: absent accountability, introduced bias, spread of misinformation. It鈥檚 clear that AI provides substantial benefits, but the key to unlocking such benefits, both in terms of ethical and effective application, stems from using the right AI platforms in the right way, with a constant cognisance of the real-world impacts.

 AI will define the future of the law. It is essential lawyers and law firms keep up. 老司机午夜福利 has launched an AI Insider programme for that reason. This programme offers exclusive access to insightful webinars, expert-produced content, and crucial updates on the upcoming AI products and technologies. The programme helps legal professionals to move from AI theory to application, understand the risks of AI, and ultimately use AI responsibly and effectively.