I very much enjoy Sci-Fi movies about artificial intelligence, but I am not particularly keen on being replaced by a machine that can spew out better legal arguments in a milli-second based on an algorithm. The majority of our class discussions have focused primarily on technological innovations in the legal field. Artificial intellegence has been hailed as the future of law. It’s all very exciting, until the foreboding feeling sets in and you’re reminded that not only do you have to compete with 4.0 Bobby for a job, but with a machine as well. According to Michael Cross in his article, Role of Artificial Intelligence in Law, “ a computer is as fresh and alert at 2 am as it was at nine o’ clock the previous morning.” Yeah, well, no arguments there. Computers will always be faster, more efficient and accurate at any given time of the day.

The abstracts from the 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Law sum up the relationship between law and artificial intelligence eloquently. Both fields are involved in the process of creation. AI systems are built, experiments are designed and paradigms are replaced. In law, legislation is drafted, precedents are set and beliefs are balanced. Both fields struggle with the complexity of modeling human behaviour. AI aims to recreate human behaviour, while the law intends to drive human behaviour. The meeting of law with AI was inevitable. But where does that leave the plethora of graduating law students and lawyers?

Throughout this class, we have all been reminded of the concept of the “legal sherpa” and helping the ordinary lay person navigate the convoluted path of the law. A more refined role for AI in law is to provide strategic legal guidance. Programs such as ROSS a digital legal expert, built on IBM Watson helps attorneys with their legal research based on plain word searches. This serves as a valuable tool to help guide lawyers in their everyday research. In the end this will make legal profesisonals more effective because they will be able to complete their tasks more efficiently therefore charging the client less for services.

London firm Hodge Jones & Allen has pioneered a predictive model of personal injury case outcomes to assess the predictability of their current caseload. The program will assist the firm in determining which cases have a greater chance of success, therefore allowing the firm to direct their client towards either settling or proceeding with a claim. This is an example of a legal technological advancement in action and in the future personal injury firms and perhaps others as well, may greatly benefit from using such programs.

This new technology will not hinder or replace legal professionals at all. In fact, I see it helping to make the jobs of lawyers easier and more enjoyable. It will also help them bring a wider array of services to their clients in a quicker and more streamlined manner. These advancements will thrust lawyers into more advocacy-based roles because those types of positions cannot be fulfilled by AI, at least not for now. In conclusion, I do not believe that lawyers will ever fully be replaced by AI but it can serve as a useful tool that can better the practice of law.


F. Tim Knight, “International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Law” (4 May 2015), online: Slaw < http://www.slaw.ca/2015/05/04/international-conference-on-artificial-intelligence-law/>. Micheal Cross, “Role of Artificial Intelligence in Law” (19 February 2015), online: Raconteur < http://raconteur.net/business/time-for-technology-to-take-over>.