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  • Jun 19, 2019
    The way we do business is changing everyday and every minute. Globalization alongside technological advancements is promoting business growth, different economies of sovereign states and the individual purchasing power. A lot of jobs that required manual labour and human expertise are now being automated. While artificial intelligence (AI) has been there for some years in the modern times, Siri remains to be the most popular form of AI known to people. Siri has very conveniently replaced the job of a secretary. Similarly, AI is being used in the medical industry too. However, it has its own downside. Firstly, patients would trust human expertise and experience rather than to be operated by a machine. Secondly, the unemployment rate in many countries is on the rise and AI is only adding to that. However, AI does improve ease of doing business which we will understand in depth at a later stage in the article. As automation and digitalization is the new way of doing business in almost all industries, how would AI impact the legal industry? Can lawyers benefit from AI in litigation? Can litigation that has always required expertise, logic, knowledge and the oratory skills of lawyers and the fine sense of judgement of judges take place by machines? In simple terms, yes and no. Surely there is a lot of work that takes place in preparing for a hearing in court. What litigants do at court, is hardly 5% of their actual work. Most of the work takes place back in the office or chambers. The first task that artificial intelligence can do is due diligence. Just like how there are apps like grammarly that checks for grammatical errors in a write-up, similarly artificial intelligence can be used to review and conduct due diligence for different contracts. Secondly, artificial intelligence can be used to draft contracts. There are a lot of instances where the main content of a contract remains the same and only the date, amount and name of the parties has to be changed. In such cases, artificial intelligence can be very useful tool to save time and effort. AI can also help in case law research. Only by typing the brief facts of case, AI shall be able to find all the relevant case laws that suit the facts of the case, the judgement given and which court gave that judgement. In terms of giving judgements, AI can use past judgements for a given type of case and use it as precedence to give judgement and will also be able to analyse the evidences submitted. This will also aid in reducing the backlog of cases that we have in India. However, since facts of the case are not always similar to other cases and there is a possibility of a wrong judgement given by AI in a rare case which had very unusual circumstances like the Arushi murder case for example, and cannot be compared to other cases where the circumstances and facts were very simple and straightforward. Moreover, as our society is changing, so are the judgements. Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 that discriminated against the LGBTQ community was quashed in a judgement last year. This is leading to developments in law and rights of people which the AI may not be able to catch with full efficiency. Even though AI has its own limitations, it minimizes risks of human error, can be cost-efficient in the long run, increases productivity by reducing time to do a particular tasks and increases efficiency. AI can be used as a wonderful assistant for lawyers to make their jobs easier and improve their efficiency and productivity. AI can hugely contribute and benefit not just courtroom lawyers but also in-house counsels. Indeed, the future is now and the benefits of AI in a legal department are many. AI has arrived in terms of assisting lawyers to do things faster, better, and cheaper. The existing technology may be limited for now, but the possibilities are intriguing and the availability, quality, and price will all soon come together in products that are just too useful for lawyers to resist. 
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