The evolution of artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology application solutions to education, engineering, finance, natural science, medicine, automotive, defense, agriculture, art, energy automation and mostly Law has created threat and fear that machines will soon take over all the traditional work of human in all the above subject and specifically the phobia that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon replace lawyers is a wrong assumption. Artificial Intelligence will only aid and make lawyers work more efficient.
Artificial Intelligence, according to dictionary Britannica is simply defined as ‘the ability of a digital computer controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings, the term is frequently applied to projects of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes and characteristics of humans, such as ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience’ and in short according to Wikipedia, ‘machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animal’.
The big question is, will Artificial Intelligence replace humans or lawyers in Nigeria or world over? The answer is No. However, Artificial Intelligence is changing quickly the legal industry and practice of law in Nigeria on how lawyers’ practice will operate in the future because employment and application of AI is an indispensable aid in technology which every lawyer in Nigeria cannot ignore to be relevant or to practice law successfully in the future.
In considering the future of legal profession and law practice in Nigeria, any lawyer that fails to embrace change will be left behind and may not be able to compete as a 21st century lawyer.
Law firms in Nigeria are becoming aware every day that Artificial Intelligence is making its mark in many areas of law, case analysis and automated generation of standard contracts and other legal document with help of its tools. Artificial Intelligence is a new innovative area that is developing and gaining footing in Nigeria and is expected to continue to develop fastly. Truly, this will have far reaching effects on legal profession and practice and the management of top and best law firm in Nigeria in the future.
Artificial Intelligence is a new law technology that has enormous potential for lawyers in Nigeria to improve how legal services operates in terms of improving and promoting efficiency of certain types of legal task, risk and most importantly reducing costs for clients.
Law firm and lawyers must participate in this new technology development, and notes that it is a very important technology that they must embrace. A modern law firm must be able to continue to meet the demands for generally accepted legal practice in the world and particularly Nigeria in the future. Embracing the reality of AI early and developing and using its tools will surely be a major competitive advantage in the future.
In a recent US study carried out in 2018, 20 top lawyers in corporate law practice were pitted with an AI error detection test in a hypothetical case of non disclosure agreement which was measure also on accuracy and time. The human lawyers achieved an average accuracy of 85% in an average time of 92minutes. However, in comparison to the AI the success rate was at astonishing 92% with a record-breaking time of just 26 seconds. This is a vivid example of accuracy, speed and efficiency of Artificial Intelligence but this does not imply it will replace human lawyers, but raises question of professional advisors and service providers.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
Modern Law firms offers plethora of services and different subjects like commercial law, banking, corporate, employment, real estate, litigation maritime, foreign investment specifically tailored to specific business sectors.
- Due Diligence and contract review – Artificial Intelligence improves the overall productivity of Law firms, for example in corporate transactions, Associates and attorneys spend hours searching online data rooms, reviewing company documents, contracts and other vital information as part of due diligence, also speed-reading & vetting for errors, issue-spotting based on particular words and phrases in contract agreements clearly shows speed efficiency and mitigation of human error. It can never be tired in review of commercial contracts unlike humans with energy limitation.
- Litigation Analysis- It can greatly help the court and judiciary in areas where advanced or sophisticated Artificial Intelligence could assist attorneys and judges in extrapolating wealth of resources, locating precedents much more quickly and efficiently than human attorneys and what researching may do normally. Online courts are highly recommended for smaller cases to save client cost, time, guarantee efficiency and reduce congestion in court list and cases filed in court in Nigeria.
Today in the world, we have Artificial Intelligence lawyer called ROSS which help lawyers read through thousands of cases and within seconds and shows a list of most relevant laws, it also helps lawyers to analyze legal issues and make connections that ordinarily would be invisible. The said software also writes legal memo like actual humans and regular lawyers.
Interestingly, Intelligent software tools like Ravel law and Lex machine predict the behavioral pattern and attitude and workings of a judge, the usual characteristics and moves of opposing counsel, and the possible results of cases by using large volume of litigation information, court decision, fitting data, and legal processed Artificial Inteligence powered platforms such as Kira Systems also essentially help to analyze documents and uncover trends patterns. A legal analytics on the effectiveness of litigators before particular judges by extracting what it claims to be the biggest litigation data base in the world. Seal software can crawl through a network to discover and then classify, all a company’s existing contracts and KM standards can “identify common causes and issues, agreement structure, standard clause language and clause alternatives” in a set of contracts.
Law Pavilion is a great Nigeria first Artificial intelligence legal assistant designed to assist attorneys and lawyers with legal research, legal opinion, litigation and legal drafting. They also operate Electronic law report In Nigeria.
- Legal Research- one of greatest aspect of Artificial Intelligence technology which has radically changed practice of law & lawyers’ work are areas which involves and encompasses searching of documents or other data bases, legal authorities, judicial precedents, legal expert opinion, comparative laws information and coding of cases, legal issues, learning about new laws, can now be easily accessed by modern lawyers via adopting or use of its tools by the press of the button or finger tips.
The emergence of search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo search, AOL, DuckDuckgo, Yandex, Baidu and so many other search engines now available, which can search and process billions of data and give accurate results on queries is one of the greatest innovations of 21st century. These are all good examples of Artificial Intelligence and can be put to use by lawyers in Nigeria through the legal tools software.
- Higher quality legal work – since Artificial Intelligence has higher capability than humans to study large amount of data, it has a very high and accurate advantage for due diligence, which is before a legal action. It also promotes through developed software applications by creating legal documents and making it available online for attorney use. Note that these are often good for legal work that mainly involves task which can easily be automated. Artificial Intelligence also has tremendous benefits in some situation which can help judicial officers to review cases by researching criminal records of an offender, evaluate the gravity and frequency of offences, and guide in respect of sentencing.
- Saving cost, accuracy and time- Every lawyer must accept the fact that AI will certainly take away some aspect of lawyers work in the future but not replace lawyers totally because Artificial Intelligence cannot eliminate some legal services that involves human interaction, negotiations and trust.
However, it is undisputable that Artificial Intelligence has a greater potential to improve the conditions and methods on how lawyers provide legal services in respect of improving efficiency of some categories of legal task or services and actually guaranteeing certain results and drastically reducing cost for client. Law firms and Attorneys in Nigeria must join and participate in this new practice of law, because it is very important to be up to date in meeting the demands for generally acceptable legal emerging Law practice in future and for upcoming lawyers of tomorrow.
Limitations of Artificial Intelligence
The reasons why Artificial Intelligence cannot replace lawyers and lawyers’ role and complex which most time involves human interaction and lawyer capacity to quickly understand and adjust to sudden and unforeseeably or unexpected changes which Artificial Intelligence may not be able to do by virtue of its designs being a robot.
It is also part of special task of an attorney to explore and find alternatives to litigation and going to court, which may involve employing mediation, negotiation and amicable settlements between the parties which Artificial Intelligence will find hard to do.
Good lawyers in Lagos, Nigeria for example, and Clients requesting best quality work and special legal services which usually involves human intuition, emotion and empathetic intelligence which can only be provided to client by humans, meaning lawyers. In respect of judicial decision, in some situations, it is also very dangerous that judges relying on assistance of Artificial Intelligence in reaching conclusion or judgment founded only on principles on data feeds supplied by Artificial Intelligence operational algorithms may be subjective in some instances and will result to miscarriage of justice.
In a developing country like Nigeria, Artificial Intelligence may not be cost effective due to the size of the legal market, traditional prejudices, public believe and trust in the orthodox legal system and judicial processes. Absence of comprehensive Cyber law in respect of cyber security, cyber crimes, Digital rights laws and update technology laws may be a hindrance to growth of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria.
It is worthy of note that lawyers and attorney must accept and prepare for the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and explore the areas where the technology will greatly improve their services to clients rather than the fear and threat of Artificial Intelligence taking their hitherto protected legal services.
We must accept that nobody can stop the change and its effects and solutions to engineering, education, natural science, medicine, automotive, agriculture, Art, energy, automotive, finance, automation and Law.
The good news is that Artificial Intelligence will surely create new set of jobs like developing and managing new set of legal service opportunities, legal software experts, legal engineers, designing and writing algorithms for Artificial Intelligence, proof reading and reviewing assisted legal work products.
The greatest changes will occur in the areas of lawyers’ regular task of research and data gathering for the purpose of analyzing results, thinking and giving good legal advice to clients. Inspite of the facts above, legal services will always involve human interaction and touch. However, the entire essence of Artificial Intelligence evolution is majorly to help 21st century lawyers in Nigeria by providing best legal services in better, faster and more cost- effective ways for a digital savvy Lawyer.
It is therefore hard to see Artificial Intelligence replacing lawyers; it will only change forever the way they do legal business in the world and particularly in Nigeria.
BAM & GAD Solicitors. A top law firm in Nigeria