By Laura AghwanaTECH Central Nigeria

What then is AI?

AI was coined by John McCarthy in 1956 and it is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans, which performs cognitive functions done by humans; such as problem-solving, research.

It refers to computer software and systems that don’t just do tasks they’ve been programmed for in advance, they actually learn as they go, improving their performance through feedback. Some examples of AI include; LawPavilion, Casetext(CARA), Kira Software, etc

The Role of AI in the Legal Profession

AI through several designed computer software, performs advantageous roles in the legal profession, thereby making Law more efficient and effective. These roles include but not limited to the following:

AI Performs Legal Tasks Faster and Aids Productivity

Legal Practitioners perform multiple legal tasks, including drafting of contracts, court processes, and other documents which would ordinarily take so much working hours. With AI, such monotonous tasks can be performed more quickly, as it helps to extract relevant data, manage documents, and use them to prepare necessary documents in a shorter time. Avaneesh7 stated that Computer systems can analyze more information, more thoroughly than humans can, in a tiny fraction of time. Kira software for instance can automatically review and extract relevant data from legal documents very quickly. LawPavillion as well is very fast at providing relevant cases and principles for legal assignments.

The speed which AI renders will go a long way in promoting more creativity and enhancing productivity in the legal practice in Nigeria, as it will enable legal practitioners to handle so many tasks in little time and also help them focus on other areas where AI may have limited functions.

Also Read: FG Commissions first Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Centre

Relating this to the present covid-19 pandemic that has brought a paradigm shift in the legal profession, where so many lawyers are already scared of carrying out assignments physically because of the fast spread of the virus, AI is the best means to perform legal tasks and still aid faster productivity, considering social distancing.

AI Makes Legal Due Diligence Easier

Legal due diligence is an important function in legal practice. For a lawyer to perform legal due diligence effectively, he would need to diligently pay attention to details and possess the ability to think creatively.9 Hence, in conducting due diligence, a lawyer needs to ensure he obtains relevant details and show competence required to carry out his client’s instructions as required of him by legal ethics.

Rule 14,15 and 16 of the Rules of Professional Conduct,2007 can however be burdensome to conduct due diligence, as it requires a lot of attention to look into every detail, no matter how minute.

Thankfully, AI simplifies tedious tasks associated with legal due diligence and uncovers background information, as well as quickly confirming facts and figures. AI carries out due diligence with ease, especially those data-intensive tasks which would ordinarily stress and bore humans, who are naturally wired to feel the same. A good example of such AI is TIMI, Nigerian’s first AI legal Assistant invented in 2018 which is a chatbot that converses with lawyers and helps to tackle legal tasks. Another is Leverton, A German-based software that helps with due diligence which manages documents and compiles leases in real estate transactions.

Stores More Information in a More Durable Way

The internet and some computer software have been designed in such a way that they can store billions of information without losing them, excerpt such information was deleted from the site it was uploaded. It has been stated that AI has the ability to store years’ worth of legal data. Legalpedia, law pavilion, etc, can keep a record of legal documents for years, which can be referred to by lawyers at any time. This is in contrast with the human memory that has certain limitations to what it can store and remember and may not keep an exact record of information without losing some details with time. AI, therefore, provides the best means of securing legal information.

AI Aids Research and Accessibility of law

Legal research is one very important role that AI plays; it does this through automated searches of a universe of case laws and statutes. A computer search engine can go through over a million pages of legal documents in a split second, finding exact pages, principles, and cases, etc, needed for the preparation and completion of a legal task. Good examples are LawPavillion, legalpedia, and Ross Intelligence.

No doubt, the research abilities of AI save lawyers from the mundane task of reading through a plethora of books in search of a piece of information that might just be hidden within the lines of a paragraph.

Promotes More Accuracy and a Higher Quality Work

Admittedly, AI may be unable to carry out all the human activities which are required of a lawyer; however, in all aspects of a lawyer’s work to which AI has gained access, it does it more accurately than a lawyer. Soojung stated that a computer can fix and analyze documents for errors and fix gaps between information and inconsistent languages.

Also, Andrew Hall noted that AI can often help sort out problems with fewer mistakes that are often overlooked by the human eye. Law Pavilion Prime20 for instance helps to analyze legal documents to verify conflicts in cases and authorities.

Therefore, the ability of AI to rapidly review, correct, and confirm documents, make such document to be more accurate and of a higher quality than what a lawyer would ordinarily have done all by himself.

Aids Legal Prediction and Analysis

AI can sift through legal data to predict to lawyers their chances of winning or losing a case by providing insights from similar cases, which will help to accurately analyze the present case at hand, to best know the right steps to take.

Relatively, a lawyer can easily know to an extent, the line of argument his opponent is likely to take, this is because precedents on legal principles, judgments, and other valuable information are generally stored and made available by AI facilities. All that needs to be done according to Sterling Miller is to compare the facts of your case to other cases already decided in court and other legal data in line with your subject matter, to get a predictor of how your case will fare. Examples of such facilities are Casetext, Loom Analytics which help to predict win/loss rates by finding previous cases, steps taken on them, judgments, and the reasons for such judgments.

Conclusion

With the numerous advantages which AI brings, it is settled that AI creates a sustainable legal practice in Nigeria, especially in this period of covid-19, where AI is needed to triumphantly scale through the test of social distancing and the spread of the virus. Therefore, in addition to the Nigerian AI facilities, foreign facilities like Casetext, Looms, Ross etc, should be engaged and used at their best, to sustain the legal practice in Nigeria. It is also recommended that Nigerian lawyers, who are not well skilled with AI facilities, should acquire the relevant skills required, as it will promote a better legal practice in Nigeria.

Flowing from the above analysis, it can be seen that the highest level of accuracy and efficiency of legal practice in Nigeria will be achieved where lawyers, judges and others in the legal profession, work in tandem with AI.

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