Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:21 am

Although I'm working as a software engineer right now, my true interests lie in artificial intelligence (I wrote two theses as an undergraduate, each under the supervision of a linguistics prof and a computer science prof). I can see that it's only a matter of time that natural language processing/information retrieval completely engulfs the discovery phases of litigation, since computers are already better at doc review than humans.

Is there any other avenue of the practice of law that will be taken over by artificial intelligence? What factors do you think would make it difficult for computers to complete transactional work? If someone needs me to explain briefly how natural language processing works, I wouldn't mind doing so.

To those providing thoughtful responses: Lemme offer a preemptive apology for writing a post that would attract a bunch of trolls.

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4850
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby Borhas » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:11 am

discovery is probably a lot more than doc review... but I can see how A"I" could eventually largely supplant organic intelligence doc review... but there's also so much more documentation thanks to word processing/email etc, that I have to wonder if e-reviewing merely reduces the amount reviewed by organic intelligence to the amounts that were required before word processing/email etc... I think there's also something to the idea that in really big cases, e-review might be crucial, but that the Bigness of the case may warrant complementary review by organic intelligence.

Not sure about transactional work in particular... though I'm also not really sure what the difference between transactional law and any other sort of law would be.

Black-Blue
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:46 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby Black-Blue » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:25 am

Filling out your tax form is another area that has been taken over by computers, but in a different way (since it's mainly utilizing the ease of presenting information on Turbotax, etc. rather than any AI).

Doc review can be assisted by AI, but this has been well established in many areas. For example, Google is essentially a algorthmic doc reviewer that reads information and returns information based on your input.

If anything, the introduction of AI into law will be slow and significantly lag behind AI in other fields.

ViIIager
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:09 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby ViIIager » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:00 am

[against using automated agents to pull data]
Question #1: Would the defendant (or plaintiff, for that matter) be willing to let your code onto their network?
Answer from any reasonably intelligent IT and law department: no way in hell.

[against using automated software for doc review]
Question #2 from Anybody's Law Firm: Would you like to reduce your billable hours?
Answer from Anybody's: No thank you.

Question #3 to CommonSlobberingCluelessAboutITclient: Do you want a computer reviewing the documents that may have a critical impact on your life's earnings/freedom?
Answer from SlobberingIMlovingClient: That doesn't sound like a good deal.


Looking at incentives, firms won't want to reduce billable hours; looking at the IT side, it'll be at least 30 years before automated document reviews are viable--and it won't keep up with evolving methods of communication. Further, since you probably know how to code, I bet you can come up with ways of either a) hiding data or b) screwing with the doc reviewer software.

All that said, I do want to see folks like you push the bounds and develop innovative methods of resolving soul-draining activities like discovery.

User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:14 am

Thanks a lot for giving thoughtful responses.

When it comes to the computerization of legal work, I'm assuming that much of the innovation would occur outside of biglaw. As above poster mentions, I don't think there's any incentive for biglaw attorneys to end up lossing billable hours. But there is an incentive to the general public to reduce legal fees.

I think the most important thing here is not to underestimate the powers of AI.

I'm working, so my posting'll have to stop here. I'll be back later:D


User avatar
Kohinoor
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:37 am

SOCRATiC wrote:Computers are already better at doc review than humans.
Many of your threads spring from flights of fancy.

TLS007
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 4:48 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby TLS007 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:08 am

I do not know much about this area personally, but one of our professors does or has done research in this area. He has a joint appointment with the school of law and the computer science/intelligent systems programs.

--LinkRemoved--

You may want to take a look at his publications to see if there are other legal areas where artificial intelligence might play a role.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:34 am

[deleted]

User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:41 am

Emma. wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/science/05legal.html


Yeah... I read that article the other day while I was thinking about the issue that this post is intended to address. I find that the replacement of lawyers through software has potential to create a lot of value for the American people. For instance, if a solo practitioner, who charges $200 an hour to the average Joe, ends up using software that could curtail the amount of time he spends on researching a case, then it's definitely worth it to the software that can make that happen.

A lot of transactional work seems to be very routine and reptitive. I'm hoping that software that can replicate previous transactional work will be developed in the near future - through a kind of Natural Language Generation software that knows how to replace certain variables and what not. Think about the value that would create for clients;

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:18 am

What do you mean by "transactional work"? Contracts? Real estate closings?

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby deadpoetnsp » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:39 am

SOCRATiC wrote:Is there any other avenue of the practice of law that will be taken over by artificial intelligence? What factors do you think would make it difficult for computers to complete transactional work? If someone needs me to explain briefly how natural language processing works, I wouldn't mind doing so.


I've worked in IP for a couple of years. I also have a deep interest in 'soft' AI (ANNs, GAs, simulated annealing, etc). I would love to have useful AI assisting lawyers, but realistically, I don't think AI will be ready for at least the next 5 years, except maybe for extremely linear transactional work.

Whether using supervised or unsupervised learning, or autoassociation or heteroassociation or clustering, or feedforward or recurrent AIs, natural language parsing is not yet mature enough for law. Law and legal matters depend to a great extent on understanding the nuances of legal language, and until natural language processing can cope with legal English, AIs will not be very useful. Secondly, such parsing is just the first step.

What we really need are steps like the following:
[NLP for interpreting directions/input/commands] -----> [Distill input to an an unambiguous 'problem'] --------> [Examine candidate solution space and generate possible solutions] -----> [Choose the optimal solution] -----> [Examine consequences of applying chosen solution] ------> [Implement solution]

At the moment, AIs face problems at every step. For instance, if you compare the results for a patent search using a structured search compared to an NLP-search, you will realize that NLP-based searches are almost useless.

But I do think that the field of AI has a strong potential to assist in legal work.

gabbagabba
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:32 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby gabbagabba » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:53 pm

Black-Blue wrote:Filling out your tax form is another area that has been taken over by computers, but in a different way (since it's mainly utilizing the ease of presenting information on Turbotax, etc. rather than any AI).


Turbotax only works if you're an unemployed grad or current student. If you're drawing a paycheck and making investments like stocks, a house, etc, a human accountant is the better way to go

User avatar
Julio_El_Chavo
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:20 pm

soon we will all have robot slaves to do everything for us. i don't see how this could be a bad thing

User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:34 pm

gabbagabba wrote:
Black-Blue wrote:Filling out your tax form is another area that has been taken over by computers, but in a different way (since it's mainly utilizing the ease of presenting information on Turbotax, etc. rather than any AI).


Turbotax only works if you're an unemployed grad or current student. If you're drawing a paycheck and making investments like stocks, a house, etc, a human accountant is the better way to go


With increases in standardization, I think it's possible to have computers to take care of these types of tax issues.

User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:32 pm

deadpoetnsp wrote:
SOCRATiC wrote:Is there any other avenue of the practice of law that will be taken over by artificial intelligence? What factors do you think would make it difficult for computers to complete transactional work? If someone needs me to explain briefly how natural language processing works, I wouldn't mind doing so.


I've worked in IP for a couple of years. I also have a deep interest in 'soft' AI (ANNs, GAs, simulated annealing, etc). I would love to have useful AI assisting lawyers, but realistically, I don't think AI will be ready for at least the next 5 years, except maybe for extremely linear transactional work.

Whether using supervised or unsupervised learning, or autoassociation or heteroassociation or clustering, or feedforward or recurrent AIs, natural language parsing is not yet mature enough for law. Law and legal matters depend to a great extent on understanding the nuances of legal language, and until natural language processing can cope with legal English, AIs will not be very useful. Secondly, such parsing is just the first step.

What we really need are steps like the following:
[NLP for interpreting directions/input/commands] -----> [Distill input to an an unambiguous 'problem'] --------> [Examine candidate solution space and generate possible solutions] -----> [Choose the optimal solution] -----> [Examine consequences of applying chosen solution] ------> [Implement solution]

At the moment, AIs face problems at every step. For instance, if you compare the results for a patent search using a structured search compared to an NLP-search, you will realize that NLP-based searches are almost useless.

But I do think that the field of AI has a strong potential to assist in legal work.


Could you share with us your informed opinion on what aspect of legal work A.I. would be able to assist?

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby deadpoetnsp » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:21 am

SOCRATiC wrote:Could you share with us your informed opinion on what aspect of legal work A.I. would be able to assist?


One area where AI can help is doc review. A lot of doc review is tedious and repetitive, but is sufficiently complex to not lend itself to decision-tree based programming. AIs can assist human reviewers in flagging documents or excerpts that seem to be more relevant. Another area is to suggest clauses for a contract based on a situation that deviates slightly from an "ideal" transaction. So you may have a list of standard clauses and a set of variant clauses. The AI can pass through the variants, and based on the current situation at hand, suggest selected variant clauses that may be appropriate for the situation.

User avatar
Kohinoor
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby Kohinoor » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:18 am

deadpoetnsp wrote:
SOCRATiC wrote:Could you share with us your informed opinion on what aspect of legal work A.I. would be able to assist?


One area where AI can help is doc review. A lot of doc review is tedious and repetitive, but is sufficiently complex to not lend itself to decision-tree based programming. AIs can assist human reviewers in flagging documents or excerpts that seem to be more relevant. Another area is to suggest clauses for a contract based on a situation that deviates slightly from an "ideal" transaction. So you may have a list of standard clauses and a set of variant clauses. The AI can pass through the variants, and based on the current situation at hand, suggest selected variant clauses that may be appropriate for the situation.

Wouldn't the problem there be that, with millions or billions of dollars on the line, we are probably decades if not centuries from relying sufficiently on the results of an AI doc review to not have humans go over their results anyway?

User avatar
SOCRATiC
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby SOCRATiC » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:17 am

Kohinoor wrote:Wouldn't the problem there be that, with millions or billions of dollars on the line, we are probably decades if not centuries from relying sufficiently on the results of an AI doc review to not have humans go over their results anyway?


No. http://ridethelightning.senseient.com/2 ... tware.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/science/05legal.html

That's today's technology. About a decade from now, it'll be even better.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:21 am

Well hopefully I'll be established by the time this hits the legal market. I mean law firms aren't going to jump on a multi-million dollar experimental computer and start using it for anything that substantive anytime soon. I might think more strongly about litigation though.

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby deadpoetnsp » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:39 am

Kohinoor wrote:Wouldn't the problem there be that, with millions or billions of dollars on the line, we are probably decades if not centuries from relying sufficiently on the results of an AI doc review to not have humans go over their results anyway?


I never talked about AI replacing humans - what I am discussed was AIs assisting humans. For instance:
[STEP 1] You go through 50 documents, mark 10 as relevant, and discard 40.
[STEP 2] An AI goes through those discarded 40 documents and alerts you if any of those seem to be relevant.

Keep in mind that in today's world, we only have STEP 1. STEP 2 is an additional step. So using STEP 2 after STEP 1 is in no way relying on AI for doc review, but using AI to help make doc review better. (of course you will have meta-problems like the human knowing that an AI is going to perform STEP 2, and hence being lazier in STEP 1, but those exist whether STEP 2 is performed by another person or an AI). Hope that clarifies.

Another example is spell check and style of writing - spell checkers can catch outright spelling errors and simple grammatical errors. But spell checkers may not catch context-dependent mistakes. For instance, usage that makes complete sense in an M&A contract may make no sense in a divorce contract, but a fatigued attorney may throw in a couple of sentences from one to the other just because s/he had been working on it for an extended period. AIs have the potential to "learn" context and writing style from existing legal documents created by a given law firm and help mark parts that have errors or seem to deviate from the usual writing style or preferred writing style for a law firm.

Disclaimer: all this may not be possible today, but even an iPad would have seemed miraculous in 1980 - "Wow! 1 GIGAbyte of RAM in a half inch thick device????"

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:42 am

deadpoetnsp wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:Wouldn't the problem there be that, with millions or billions of dollars on the line, we are probably decades if not centuries from relying sufficiently on the results of an AI doc review to not have humans go over their results anyway?


I never talked about AI replacing humans - what I am discussed was AIs assisting humans. For instance:
[STEP 1] You go through 50 documents, mark 10 as relevant, and discard 40.
[STEP 2] An AI goes through those discarded 40 documents and alerts you if any of those seem to be relevant.

Keep in mind that in today's world, we only have STEP 1. STEP 2 is an additional step. So using STEP 2 after STEP 1 is in no way relying on AI for doc review, but using AI to help make doc review better. (of course you will have meta-problems like the human knowing that an AI is going to perform STEP 2, and hence being lazier in STEP 1, but those exist whether STEP 2 is performed by another person or an AI). Hope that clarifies.

Another example is spell check and style of writing - spell checkers can catch outright spelling errors and simple grammatical errors. But spell checkers may not catch context-dependent mistakes. For instance, usage that makes complete sense in an M&A contract may make no sense in a divorce contract, but a fatigued attorney may throw in a couple of sentences from one to the other just because s/he had been working on it for an extended period. AIs have the potential to "learn" context and writing style from existing legal documents created by a given law firm and help mark parts that have errors or seem to deviate from the usual writing style or preferred writing style for a law firm.

Disclaimer: all this may not be possible today, but even an iPad would have seemed miraculous in 1980 - "Wow! 1 GIGAbyte of RAM in a half inch thick device????"


Ehhh, I won't be happy until there is at least a moon base if not a full fledged colony.

User avatar
introversional
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:59 am

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby introversional » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:56 am

Isn't the law, legal language, and it's constantly changing/developing interpretation far too nuanced a thing to rely on on AI, even in the limited capacity you're suggesting? (even for doc review - at least beyond keyword/phrase searching, which already exists)

Also, a set of programmed instructions can't be disbared - thus, an attny and firm will still be accountable. Will there be glitches? As a microsoft windows user, I suspect the probability of epic case fail is quite high due to "my fucking AI screwing up doc review again - lol." Can a software understand the sensibilities of a judge, cultural shift, and so on?

Anyways, as fallible as we humans are, I don't think we should outsource justice to a machine. Having said that, I do think there's a provacative idea here, but moreso related to the development of more sophisticated legal phrase/keyword/precedent searching, which probably already exists. (but as a 0L haven't yet played around w/Lexis or Westlaw)

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:06 am

introversional wrote:Isn't the law, legal language, and it's constantly changing/developing interpretation far too nuanced a thing to rely on on AI, even in the limited capacity you're suggesting? (even for doc review - at least beyond keyword/phrase searching, which already exists)

Also, a set of programmed instructions can't be disbared - thus, an attny and firm will still be accountable. Will there be glitches? As a microsoft windows user, I suspect the probability of epic case fail is quite high due to "my fucking AI screwing up doc review again - lol." Can a software understand the sensibilities of a judge, cultural shift, and so on?

Anyways, as fallible as we humans are, I don't think we should outsource justice to a machine. Having said that, I do think there's a provacative idea here, but moreso related to the development of more sophisticated legal phrase/keyword/precedent searching, which probably already exists. (but as a 0L haven't yet played around w/Lexis or Westlaw)

Justice would probably be better served by a machine with algorithms to look at the nuances in cases. It would take arbitrariness out.

User avatar
deadpoetnsp
Posts: 149
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry

Postby deadpoetnsp » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:16 am

introversional wrote:Can a software understand the sensibilities of a judge, cultural shift, and so on?


Yes. Software exists that does this - in our brains. Billions of neurons in our brains are connected to form a massive biological neural network that is highly interconnected. These neurons transmit electrical impulses through the neural network, these result in thoughts and actions and human beings. All our senses are processed by this neural network. I'm not making this up, just read any introduction to neurology or learning or thought/consciousness.

Artificial neural networks are a class of AI inspired by biological neural networks that learn from example, just like us. They can already perform the following tasks with varying degrees of success: recognizing wine aromas/scents and distinguishing wines, recognizing signatures, controlling chemical reactors, guiding flights, to name a few. Just go to google.com/scholar and search for "ANN" to find technical research papers on the topic. And there are many more classes of AI using different approaches such as genetic algorithms. fuzzy logic, ant colony optimization.

Just imagine the potential of combining these techniques with natural language parsing.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.