Revolutionizing the Legal Landscape: The Potential Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Law


This article is written in conjunction with the IE Law Society.

By Stephanie Villamor

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the burning question in many daily conservations today. AI platforms such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Azure, and many others are on the path to virtually infiltrating a vast array of aspects in modern life. Some common uses of AI today range from filling in homework, posting on social media, completing an array of business tasks to even creating art. The scope of uses of this revolutionizing phenomenon is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years – and the legal field will not be immune to these effects. 

AI is predicted to transform the legal landscape, bringing about significant changes in how laws are created, interpreted, and applied. This article will delve into the multifaceted impact of AI on the law, exploring its legal uses, potential benefits, and ethical considerations. 

First, What Exactly is AI? 

Artificial intelligence is the broad term used to classify software or machines that mimic human intelligence and human cognitive functions such as problem-solving and learning by using predictions and automation. Terms usually used in conjunction with AI are machine learning (ML), which is a subset of AI that can automatically adapt with minimal human interference, and deep learning (DL), which is a subset of machine learning that uses artificial neural networks to mimic the learning process of the human brain by using much more data points than ML. 

Enhancing Legal Efficiency and Case Law Analysis 

As mentioned, one of the most notable impacts of AI lies in its ability to learn with millions of data points to solve simple and more complex tasks. This feature can be used to enhance efficiency in the legal field by automating many mundane and time-consuming tasks, such as document review, contract drafting, and legal research. AI algorithms can sift through vast amounts of legal data, identifying relevant precedents, patterns, and trends. This enables lawyers to quickly and effectively assess the legal landscape, identify potential legal issues, and develop strong legal arguments. 

An example of an AI platform for this specific purpose is Harvey, by OpenAI, which is a large language model (LLM) offered to elite law firms “to tackle the most complex legal challenges across every practice area, jurisdiction and legal system in the world”. In this sense, AI is used to optimize the work of lawyers or legal councils by revolutionising legal research and case law analysis. 

Democratizing Access to Justice 

Today, AI is also democratizing access to justice by making legal services more affordable and accessible. AI-based legal assistants can provide basic legal advice and guidance to individuals who may not have the means to hire an attorney. Another example of legal-use AI is Leah by ContractPodAI which is designed exclusively for legal documents and consultancy cases. These AI-powered online platforms are streamlining legal processes, making it easier for individuals to navigate the complexities of the legal system. 

However, AI is also raising concerns about the potential displacement of lawyers. While AI is unlikely to replace lawyers entirely, it will undoubtedly lead to changes in the legal profession. Just as we have experienced evolutions in humanity, lawyers will also need to adapt their skills and expertise to work alongside AI tools in the near future. 

Ethical Considerations and the Human Element 

As international students, we are taught to view the different perspectives of current topics to be more informed about the impacts of our decisions. This includes reflecting on not just the growth and promises of AI, but also its possible dangers. Specifically, the integration of AI into the legal field raises a host of ethical considerations. 

One major concern is the potential for bias in AI algorithms. AI systems are trained on vast amounts of data, and if data is biased, it can lead to biased outcomes in AI-driven legal decisions. Another issue is the accountability of AI systems in legal settings. When AI makes a mistake or causes harm, who is responsible? For example, what happens if a self-driving car hits a pedestrian? Does legal fault fall to the programmer, the company that developed the AI system, the company that manufactured the car, or the human who used the system? These questions need to be carefully addressed as AI becomes more deeply embedded in the legal process. They will likely require new legislation or groundbreaking case law. 

In conclusion, AI has the potential to revolutionize the legal field, enhancing efficiency, democratizing access to justice, and transforming the role of lawyers. However, as with any new technology, AI’s integration into the legal field must be accompanied by careful consideration of ethical implications and the preservation of human judgment and empathy. By embracing AI responsibly and ethically, we can harness its power to create a more fair, efficient, and accessible legal system for all.

Featured image courtesy of LegalTechTalk

IEU Law Society
IEU Law Society
The IEU Law Society brings the legal world closer to our university's student body.

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