One of the greatest advantages of Artificial Intelligence, is its versatility. Intelligent tools aren’t just effective for productivity purposes or data management in the digital age. The right AI systems can significantly change the world we live in, by helping us to prevent environmental disasters, or discover potential cures to serious ailments. AI could even improve the way we distribute and maintain justice on a global scale.
Despite one study indicating that 80% of law firms feared AI technology might “permanently replace” human resources in the legal environment, AI is playing an increasingly important role in the sector. Legal services often involve an individual or group of people being able to consume and understand large amounts of data. Professionals need to process information, about previous case studies, the situation in question, and the potential outcomes of a legal process.
As tools capable of managing information at an incredible rate, AI systems represent a powerful partner for legal services teams.

How Could AI Influence Legal Services?

On a macro scale, our legal processes influence everything businesses, people, and communities do on a daily basis. Our understanding of justice and how its preserved on a national and global level is crucial to the running of a safe community.
Legal services can range all the way from social justice organizations fighting for changes in the way we look at things like human decency and human rights, to public defenders designated to protect those rights. Unfortunately, the legal services sector hasn’t always been the quickest to adopt modern concepts like technology and artificial intelligence.
Much of the legal profession is dictated by traditions, case law, and a shared understanding of various important texts. Overcoming a commitment to old-fashioned practices, however, could be the key to making better decisions in the future of law. Here are just some of the ways AI can influence legal services.

  1. Addressing Issues with Legal Bias
Bias in the criminal justice system is a major issue for countries all over the globe. For decades, psychologists and criminal experts have produced studies demonstrating how unconscious and conscious bias can dictate the outcomes of various trials and cases.
Artificial Intelligence has its own issues with bias, often caused by the thoughts and activities of the people who program AI algorithms. Fortunately, it’s easier to recognize and overcome bias in an AI system, because it’s possible to access complete visibility into how and why an AI decision is made. Allowing AI systems to assist with crucial decision-making processes in the legal environment could, at the very least, highlight when bias becomes an issue.
Of course, to truly rely on AI to effectively overcome bias, the legal services industry will need to continue investing in strategies to make intelligent decision making more effective.

  1. Improved Due Diligence
As mentioned above, a significant percentage of the legal processes we engage in today are dictated by hours of research and data collection. Legal services roles often involve the collection and confirmation of various facts and figures. This process is required for specialists to effectively advise clients on their options.
While extensive due diligence is crucial, impacting case outcomes and even influencing shareholder returns in professional environments, it’s also extremely tedious and time-consuming. Comprehensive investigations can take a lot of time, and repetitive actions can sometimes lead to mistakes on the behalf of human workers.
AI solutions capable of performing automated checks of facts and data could speed up the time to resolution in a case, and even pinpoint issues with accuracy before matter goes to court. An improved level of due diligence could even reduce the number of cases that end up with someone being wrongly accused, sentenced, or punished by the legal system.

  1. Legal Analytics
The ability of AI solutions in legal services to manage huge amounts of data also paves the way for better analytics and predictions. For instance, in one study during 2004, a group of professors tested an AI algorithm’s accuracy in forecasting Supreme Court decisions in all the cases argued in one space in 2002. The group compared their findings against a team of expert’s findings, and found the algorithm was the better predictor with 75% accuracy compared to 59% for the human experts.
Obviously, making predictions about the potential outcomes of cases can be a dangerous process from an ethical perspective. However, access to better analytics on a significant scale could represent exciting opportunities in the future of legal services.
Knowing how a court is likely to respond to a specific presentation of a case could help some lawyers to understand how decisions are made for specific situations.

  1. Better criminal evaluations
AI solutions in the legal world could be an exciting concept. The right intelligent systems can sort through proof, data, and information at an incredible pace, potentially improving our ability to dictate who in a case is guilty, and who isn’t. Of course, this concept does come with a few issues surrounding it, including the potential for inaccuracies in data and prediction.
The ethical, moral, and human issues surrounding AI in the legal services and criminal sector will demand a lot of caution from any group exploring the potential of intelligence in this sector. Failure to properly examine all the factors could end up having the opposite of the desired effect, by causing innocent people to be tarred as guilty.
To ensure that we don’t approach a dystopian future, where machines are left to make decisions about right and wrong, it will be crucial for legal services groups to retain the right balance of machine and human input.

The Future of AI in Legal Services

From improving research and data management, to automating repetitive tasks, AI in legal services has the potential to make a huge change to the way we deal with legal issues. First, however, the world needs to come together for a discussion of how ethical guidelines should be set for the years to come.