How Generative AI Is Transforming The Legal Profession

David Wakeling, head of the markets innovation group of London-based law firm Allen & Overy, encountered the legal generative AI tool Harvey in September 2022 for the first time.

He tried out OpenAI’s system and ran a small experiment with a few of his firm’s lawyers. The purpose was for the lawyers to use the system for easy legal queries, create standard documents, and generate initial messages to customers.

The experiment with the tool escalated into a large trial involving 3,500 overall workers from the 43 branches of the business. Asking approximately 40,000 queries altogether, it was put to good use during the trial. According to Wakeling, it started small but eventually expanded quite well.

The law firm recently entered into a partnership for increased utilization of AI, declining to disclose the agreement’s cost. Wakeling stated that the partnership would enable wider deployment of the AI tool across their enterprise.

At Allen & Overy, the AI platform is widely utilized; one out of four of their team lawyers utilizes it daily, while the remaining 80 percent use it monthly or more often. Moreover, other gigantic law firms are gradually adapting to this technology.

With ChatGPT driving the charge, AI’s potential to reshape the legal industry is more potent than previously theorized. This current surge of generative AI tools further solidifies this revolutionary concept.

Wakeling says:

“I think it is the beginning of a paradigm shift.”

“I think this technology is very suitable for the legal industry.”

Generate AI is on the rise right now. It can be used for search, has been contested in legal situations regarding copyright, and sparks some concern among educational institutions. This is due to the current cultural and commercial developments surrounding technology.

The legal sector is prime for applying new technology utilizing large datasets to generate appearances that seem natural regarding pictures or text, thanks partly to its heavy reliance on precedents and specifically formatted documents.

A renowned scholar in the field of law, Lilian Edwards is currently a professor at Newcastle University and specializes in innovation as well as society.

Lilian Edwards says:

“Legal applications such as contract, conveyancing, or license generation are actually a relatively safe area in which to employ ChatGPT and its cousins.”

“Automated legal document generation has been a growth area for decades, even in rule-based tech days, because law firms can draw on large amounts of highly standardized templates and precedent banks to scaffold document generation, making the results far more predictable than with most free text outputs.”

Although current generations of generative AI have advanced the field, their tendency to hallucinate has become a concern. This includes confidently producing things that do not exist, thus showing the limits to untrained AI capabilities in some areas.

In the law, success and failure can have serious consequences, so the inability to find relevant information can be costly. That is problematic in search generally, but especially so in the law.

Harvey’s founder and CEO, Gabriel Pereyra, stated that they had integrated multiple AI systems to stop and identify hallucinations.

Gabriel Pereyra says:

“Our systems are finetuned for legal use cases on massive legal datasets which greatly reduces hallucinations compared to existing systems.”

As we have seen, Generative AI is already making significant inroads into the legal profession. With the ability to analyze and interpret vast amounts of data, AI-powered systems are revolutionizing how legal documents are generated and analyzed and how legal advice is provided. While these advancements bring significant benefits, ethical and regulatory considerations must be considered.

One of the main advantages of Generative AI in the legal field is that it can greatly reduce the time and effort required to generate legal documents and contracts. This can help make the legal profession more efficient and cost-effective. Additionally, AI can analyze and interpret large amounts of data, allowing lawyers to provide more accurate and timely legal advice.


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