The article below was written by Julita Gajewska, winner of the Legal Article Writing Competition, run in conjunction with The University of Westminster Corporate Law Society.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a catalyst for transformative change across industries, with the legal sector undergoing its own revolutionary transformation. The integration of AI into legal practices is reshaping the legal landscape, introducing a myriad of opportunities, challenges, and potential benefits in the sector. In this article, the narrative focuses on the implications of AI in the legal system, unravelling the current state of AI implementation and uncovering its potential for transformation.
The term ‘AI’ was coined by John McCarthy, although there is no universally accepted definition, as highlighted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The report ‘a pro-innovation approach to AI regulation’ has divided the term into two key characteristics: adaptivity and autonomy.
The integration of AI in the legal system provides numerous advantages that enhance efficiency, access to justice, and the general practice of law. By leveraging AI-powered tools, time-consuming processes can be streamlined, allowing legal professionals to work more efficiently and focus on more complex strategic matters. The positive impact of these technological developments is highlighted in ‘AI-assisted lawtech: its impact on law firms’, which showcases a model that promotes workplace efficiency and collaboration. Eurojust and eu-Lisa also reported similar benefits of AI, emphasising its ability to improve effectiveness and reduce costs, ultimately leading to increased access to justice. Particularly, administrative tasks, such as document review or due diligence, which currently consume a significant amount of energy for legal professionals, can be greatly aided by AI. Lawtech estimates that this boost in productivity could be worth up to $2.1 billion.
Conversely, there are potential challenges that occur with this technological transformation. In particular, there is a limited understanding of current AI methods, particularly in the legal sector. A recent case involving Steven Schwartz highlights the current lack of accuracy, as citing non-existent cases in court demonstrates the potential defects of AI. Nonetheless, PwC suggests that AI has the potential to improve accuracy by up to 80% in the near future.
The integration of AI in the legal system is poised to revolutionise the future of legal practice and redefine the delivery of legal services. While it is acknowledged in ‘AI-assisted lawtech: its impact on law firms’ that the traditional model may not change immediately, it is notable that an increasing number of companies are launching products to assist the legal profession and driving remarkable technological developments in the field. The investment in Lawtech is projected to reach $2.7 billion by 2026, highlighting the growing momentum and enthusiasm surrounding the integration of AI in the legal sector.
The integration of AI into the legal system represents a transformative shift in the practice of law. As AI technologies continue to advance, they offer numerous opportunities to enhance efficiency and improve access to justice. By acknowledging and addressing its potential challenges, the integration of AI in the legal system can be guided by a responsible and balanced approach.