Nikolas Kairinos: AI and law – the next wave of disruption

Nikolas Kairinos is Founder and CEO of Fountech

While the legal industry might have a reputation for being reluctant to embrace the latest technology, when it comes to AI, the reality is quite different. A recent study of London law firms by CBRE revealed that 48% are already beginning to use AI. However, in my experience as an AI expert, I feel that not nearly enough law firms are effectively adopting AI to leverage its full potential.

The benefits of AI to the modern firm are enormous, as integrating AI allows firms to streamline procedural work and create new, innovative ways of managing their workflow. However, alongside the benefits come a series of unique challenges that industry leaders will need to manage carefully in order to get the best out of AI technology.

What can AI bring to the law?

The first benefit of AI is that it can allow firms to better manage and index their vast digital libraries. Information is a key resource for any firm and AI tools like Ravn allow legal professionals to save thousands of hours of reading and research.

However, AI’s contribution to the legal sector is not limited to automating vast swathes of paralegal work. AI software can revolutionise practice management by automating work allocation and the billing process. It could even be used to draw up complex contracts or conduct due diligence in seconds.

Are there ethical considerations?

As firms increasingly come to rely on AI tools, it’s important that legal professionals take all the necessary steps to ensure their clients’ data is not compromised. Of course, data breaches and leaks are a constant threat in the digital age but these can be avoided by ensuring that staff are well-trained on the latest data security practices.

AI has also attracted scrutiny for producing biased outcomes. In order to mitigate against this possibility, end users have to stay alert to the formation of discriminatory patterns. Ultimately, the technology is still evolving. AI has vast potential to improve organisations in the legal sector but there needs to be proper understanding of AI’s limitations and strengths. It’s important that firms utilise AI in a beneficial but ethical manner and this is where consulting with experts in the field might be useful going forward.  

Leading the legal industry into a bright future

As with all new technologies, the ultimate aim is to ensure that firms offer a better service to their clients. It is important to note that AI is not positioned to outperform the high-end tasks performed by legal professionals, but should rather be seen as a support tool designed to reduce time spent on tedious research or administrative tasks.

However, if AI is to truly realise its potential then industry leaders can’t simply view it in terms of allowing lawyers to do as they always have done but more efficiently. Lawyers have to start thinking more like innovators. After all, AI should be seen as a tool employed to reach a bigger objective – it is for industry insiders to ascertain how to best apply new technologies to their business and industry more generally.

AI is still evolving and it’s important that lawyers play a role alongside developers in shaping the future role of AI within the legal space. However, in order to meaningfully contribute to the lawtech conversation, lawyers first need to familiarise themselves with the different AI toolsets available. To this end, Fountech has created a new legal white paper which explores how firms might integrate AI into their business. Ultimately, with proper understanding of AI’s strengths and limitations, lawyers can begin to make their firms more technology and data driven.

As an innovator in the AI space, I’ve seen how far things have progressed over the last few years and I’m optimistic that the coming decade of disruption will ultimately lead to a better, more accessible legal industry.

Nikolas Kairinos, Founder and CEO, Fountech

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