Extract from Cat Casey’s article “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legal AI”
There is a major lag in adoption of Legal AI in the legal industry today. Some may find it comical to surmise that legal practitioners from lauded rainmakers to first year associates are simply luddites, but that is missing the bigger picture. The reality is that lawyers are not wired, nor taught, to embrace the novel without thorough analysis. Legal professionals are by their nature a skeptical bunch with a tendency for risk aversion and a mind trained to run through all possible worst-case scenario options so they do not make for the most willing group of professionals to adopt tech enabled solutions that are novel or unfamiliar.
With the right guidance and information, even the most unwilling Legal AI user can embrace the new technology to achieve the massive time, cost and accuracy improvements it offers. The first step is to understand why lawyers have been turning their collective noses up at Legal AI and to counter the preconceived negative impressions with proof positive of the error of their assumptions. In my case the journey was not a short one, but the path from wariness to trust started by busting the myths that were holding me back from embracing the superior, tech enabled, future of law.
Less New Kids on the Block, More Rolling Stones
One reason for avoiding legal AI stems from a mistaken assumption that the technology powering it is somehow novel or unproven. This simply is not the case. The underlying concept of the “science and engineering of making intelligent machines” was first discussed over 60 years ago, when John McCarthy had a vision that “every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence” could be replicated by a machine. Quite literally, he saw a future where machines can and will do anything a human can do.
In the half a century since the concept of machines capable of learning first emerged, industries from banking to medicine and even retail have widely adopted a multitude of AI powered applications. And the tech itself has made massive leaps forward, evolving from the concepts of replacing human cognition to one more centered on augmenting or amplifying the humans that use it. By contrast, the legal industry’s application of legal AI is much more modest in scope, and the underlying tech is less cutting edge and more tried and true.
But just because the technology that makes up legal AI is not the newest kid on the block, that does not make it rock any less in terms of accelerating time to insights and supercharging the lawyers and legal practitioners that wield it.