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Document review takes up a massive amount of time for attorneys during the discovery process. Hours upon hours are spent pouring over boxes of files, reading and analyzing every page to determine relevance to the case at hand. It's a tedious and mind-numbing task, but absolutely necessary to avoid missing key evidence or lines of argument.
With AI document review tools, software can take over much of this grunt work, freeing up lawyers to focus on higher-level tasks. These tools use natural language processing to read and understand texts, then identify relevant documents using algorithms trained on legal data. For example, systems like eBrevia and LawGeex can automatically flag contracts with relevant terms or pull out evidence that supports claims and defenses.
AI is especially adept at first-pass document review, also called bulk coding. This initial sorting of relevance vs non-relevance categorizes each document so attorneys know which are worth a closer read. AI review platforms can buzz through massive datasets, up to hundreds of thousands of documents, and provide accuracy rates over 90%. This allows humans to only review the subset of relevant items.
Law firms report huge time savings from incorporating AI document review into their workflows. Fox Rothschild accelerated review time by over 50% using LawGeex. Vincent Cordo of Kobre & Kim noted a junior lawyer took 4 hours to review 30 documents, while their AI tool took 26 seconds for the same set. The algorithm miss rate was only 7% vs. a human miss rate of 22%.
Lighthouse eDiscovery President Bill Speros estimated a 50-70% reduction in attorney time spent on review when using AI tools. This frees up resources for more productive analysis instead of mind-numbing doc review. As Speros put it, "The machine handles the 9-5 part of the project and the humans handle the more nuanced analysis."
Legal research is a cornerstone of effective legal advocacy, but trawling through case law and statutes is tedious work. AI tools are stepping in to automate elements of the research process, freeing up attorneys" time for higher-value tasks.
Powerful algorithms can analyze millions of legal documents in seconds, identifying the most relevant cases based on the facts and legal issues involved. For example, Casetext"s CARA tool leverages AI to find applicable precedents and key passages from caselaw. ROSS Intelligence builds off IBM"s Watson technology to offer an AI legal researcher that responds to natural language queries.
These systems provide immense time savings compared to manual legal research. A study by LawGeex found that ROSS could find relevant case law in 26 seconds, compared to an average of over 30 minutes for human lawyers. The algorithm identified appropriate precedents much faster than attorneys using traditional legal databases like Westlaw or LexisNexis.
In addition to speed, AI legal researchers help overcome common pitfalls in human research. Unlike humans, algorithms are free of confirmation bias and consistently consider facts objectively. This prevents tunnel vision that misses important cases. AI tools also provide analytics on the results like how higher courts have treated precedents. This additional context would require significant extra legwork for human researchers.
By automating rote elements of research, AI systems let attorneys focus their skills and training on higher-level analysis and strategy. As McDermott Will & Emery partner Jerry Nowotarski notes, "The idea here is that technology will do the grunt work and it will surface the materials that need attention, so that the lawyers can review and apply their judgment."
Of course, AI cannot fully replace human legal research and judgment. But incorporating AI tools into the process provides immense efficiency gains. Forward-thinking firms are already embracing legal AI researchers as a key part of their competitive advantage. As one Kingsley Napley associate put it, "I think AI will become an invaluable tool in a lawyer's toolkit in the same way as the internet or email."
Legal transcription can be a major bottleneck, with attorneys forced to spend precious hours listening to recordings of depositions, hearings, and client meetings to capture the relevant details. But AI-powered speech recognition is streamlining this process, automatically converting audio to text for review.
For many firms, integrating automated transcription has led to significant time savings. Latham & Watkins rolled out speech recognition tools in 2020. Partners report the software slashes transcription time by two-thirds or more. What used to be a multi-day process now takes hours, freeing teams to shift focus faster.
According to litigator Andrew Clubok of Latham & Watkins, "The transcript is the coin of the realm in litigation. This allows you to get the transcript faster, review it faster, and basically litigate faster."
At international firm Eversheds Sutherland, automated transcription reduced turnaround times 5x. Deposition transcripts that took 3 days manually now take just hours. Litigation partner Mark Beardsworth estimates a 30% productivity boost from the technology.
AI-powered voice recognition delivers gains across the litigation workflow. Automated speech-to-text converts courtroom arguments and arbitration proceedings rapidly. Virtual depos let remote participants join via videoconference while software captures dialogue. Some tools even integrate with e-discovery platforms, populating case documents directly from audio.
Transcription automation also enables new flexibility in attorney work habits. Lawyers can dictate memos from home or on the road, without worrying about typing or notation. Voice commands make it easy to highlight action items or redact confidential info.
Drafting legal documents like contracts, briefs, and memos is a core function for attorneys, but also an extremely time-consuming one. Today's AI writing tools allow lawyers to generate quality first drafts with just a few clicks, eliminating hours spent on initial research and composition.
Powerful natural language algorithms can ingest key case details and research materials, then output well-structured, evidence-backed drafts in minutes. For example, legal tech startup LegalSifter produced a complete first draft legal memo in just 20 seconds during a 2018 demonstration. Having an AI write the initial version provides a strong starting point for attorneys to then refine and finalize.
Toronto-based firm McCarthy Tetrault uses AI from Blue J Legal to accelerate drafting routine legal opinions and early case documents. Their lawyers provide key facts and arguments, and the software produces drafts citing relevant statutes and precedents. Partner Dave Leonard estimates a 50-60% time savings from this AI-assisted drafting.
At multinational firm Eversheds Sutherland, attorneys use Kira Systems to quickly generate first drafts of non-disclosure agreements. Instead of junior associates spending hours pulling info from various systems, Kira"s AI reviews details and clauses then writes a complete agreement. Partners still review the draft, but save significant time on initial creation.
Many major firms now use tools like LawGeex, LegalSifter, and CaseSmart to speed up early drafting. CaseSmart Head of Growth Michael Mills reported that leading New York firm Paul, Weiss generated AI contract drafts at an incredible rate of one per minute during trial tests.
AI drafting algorithms continue to improve by learning from each document they produce. Over time, success rates and speed increase. Early adopters say the technology has been transformative. Latham & Watkins partner Andrew Clubok raved, "This is a game-changer. It cuts draft creation time by more than half."
The rapid adoption of AI tools by major law firms signals that the future of legal technology is already here. While some may view AI as a far-off sci-fi concept, innovative firms are integrating algorithms into their workflows today " and reaping major rewards.
Latham & Watkins stands at the forefront of leveraging legal AI. The firm recently rolled out a slew of AI-powered solutions including automated document review, voice-to-text transcription, and contract drafting. These tools analyze documents, convert speech to text, and write drafts at a fraction of the time required by humans. Partners report 50-70% time savings across key workflow areas.
Andrew Clubok, Latham & Watkins litigation head, described legal AI as a complete game-changer: "This allows you to get the transcript faster, review it faster, and basically litigate faster." The firm"s early adoption of next-gen technology provides a competitive edge and enables attorneys to focus on high-value legal analysis.
At multinational firm Eversheds Sutherland, partners apply AI tools to accelerate drafting routine agreements and memos. Kira Systems ingests case details and outputs completed first drafts of NDAs in seconds. Automated transcription through collaboration with Veritone slashes deposition turnaround times up to 500%. Adopting legal AI has led to documented productivity gains.
Forward-thinking solos are also embracing AI"s potential. Joshua Browder created the DoNotPay legal chatbot that has helped users overturn over $4 million in parking tickets. Browder included the technology in his solo consumer rights practice, enabling low-cost legal help at scale. Other solos use document automation platforms like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer to quickly generate customized contracts and case filings.
Criminal justice organizations utilize AI applications to automate aspects of legal aid. Philadelphia-based nonprofit Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity partnered with Bryter to build an automated expungement tool. The software simplifies the petition process, allowing paralegals and clients to file accurate petitions in minutes rather than hours.
Major industry investments also signal legal AI"s inevitable expansion. Thomson Reuters acquired legal tech AI leader ContractExpress, while LexisNexis purchased LegalVIEW, a legal data analysis platform. Legal AI startup Hyperion Gray raised $4.5 million in seed funding to meet law firm demand. Venture capital continues pouring into promising legal AI startups.