Lawyers Beware: A Robot Will Take Your Job

Well-tuned search engines could save junior legal professionals a lot of time and suffering. But where does human intelligence come in?

Venture-capital firm Invoke Capital just made a multi-million-dollar investment in Luminance, which is developing artificial intelligence to automate the legal drudgery involved in corporate mergers and acquisitions. The robot lawyer is just one of many, including offerings from Ross Intelligence and Kira Systems, aiming to replace the overworked factotums known as associate attorneys. 

According to Bloomberg, Invoke founder Mike Lynch said that Luminance can "read natural language and actually understand it, using it to categorize documents, rather than just searching text to match key words or standard clauses.”

However what he seems to be describing is the exact function of a search engine. Due diligence, the process Luminance is supposed to automate, essentially involves organizing massive piles of legal documents into smaller piles based on their relevance, the specialty domain of search engines. Even the IBM-Watson technology that powers Ross is, for the most part, a search engine.

The fact that their software isn’t quite so unique, though, doesn’t detract from robot lawyers' potential. What really matters for their “intelligence” is the data on which they are trained. Ross focuses the Watson technology, which won "Jeopardy!" in 2011, on court filings instead of the full text of Wikipedia. To prepare for its specialty of contract review, Luminance has studied "thousands of documents and contract clauses.”

Well-tuned search engines could save people a lot of time and suffering. Luminance promises to increase the efficiency of contract review by at least 50 percent. Kira Systems claims a time reduction of as much as 90 percent. If Bayer’s legal team had included robot lawyers, maybe they could have completed due diligence for the Monsanto deal in days.

So will the associate attorney, among the least satisfying jobs in the US, become a thing of the past? Not necessarily. Even though automated-review tools are great for organizing documents into actionable information, intelligent humans are required to step in when the computer encounters ambiguous language or unexpected cases. It’s like how self-driving cars still have human supervisors in the vehicle to deal with rogue squirrels or trolley problems.

That said, the need for humans will diminish. As machines process more data, previously ambiguous information will become recognizable. Consider tax returns. Thanks to the US Internal Revenue Service's automated computer review system, trained on hundreds of millions of returns annually, humans need to show up only in the event of an audit, which happens in less than 1 percent of cases. It’s just a matter of time before Luminance develops similarly powerful pattern recognition.

The main difference between a junior associate and a partner at a major law firmis the sheer quantity of data that the person has seen. A computer can process data much faster, with far more accurate recall ability. Once a robot learns to structure merger agreements and negotiate corporate acquisition deals, human-readable legal documents will be little more than an afterthought.

Eventually, human lawyers will be called in to interpret only the rare ambiguity, likely a human-generated flaw that never would have existed if lawyers had used robots in the first place.

Information-Management
 

« The Dilemma Of Predictive Policing
A New Front In The Business Of Political Espionage »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

KPMG

KPMG

KPMG s a leading provider of professional services including information technology and cyber security consulting.

NRI Secure Technologies

NRI Secure Technologies

NRI SecureTechnologies is a Cybersecurity group company of the Nomura Research Institute (NRI) and a global provider of next-generation Managed Security Services and Security Consulting.

Real Random

Real Random

Real Random is on a mission to enhance existing and new crypto-systems with its revolutionary solution to generating numbers that are Truly Random.

Seculert

Seculert

The Seculert Attack Detection & Analytics Platform combines machine-learning based analytics and threat intelligence to automatically detect cyber attacks inside the network.

RHEA Group

RHEA Group

RHEA Group offers aerospace and security engineering services and solutions, system development, and technologies including cyber security.

Euro-Recycling

Euro-Recycling

Euro-Recycling is a leading UK provider of Secure On-Site Data Media Destruction Services.

QI ANXIN Technology Group

QI ANXIN Technology Group

QI ANXIN specializes in serving the cybersecurity market by offering next generation enterprise-class cybersecurity products and services to government and businesses.

CYRISMA

CYRISMA

CYRISMA is a revolutionary cybersecurity platform that helps organizations manage risk without the usual headaches associated with enterprise cybersecurity tools.

Switchfast Technologies

Switchfast Technologies

Switchfast Technologies is an IT consulting and managed services provider, offering IT support and consulting to Chicagoland small businesses.

Stefanini Group

Stefanini Group

Stefanini is a global IT services company providing a broad range of solutions for digital transformation including automation, cloud, IoT and cybersecurity.