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The legal industry has reached an inflection point with the rise of artificial intelligence. While AI is transforming many sectors, its impact on legal work stands out as especially disruptive. Law firms and corporate legal departments are aggressively adopting AI-powered tools to boost efficiency and lower costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend, forcing firms to digitize operations.
AI is making inroads across the legal field's core activities. Contract review and drafting are being automated to handle high volumes faster and more accurately. Machine learning algorithms can now review business contracts in seconds versus the hours needed manually. Services like LawGeex claim an accuracy rate of 94% in spotting issues in non-disclosure agreements. AI contract tools often integrate directly into Microsoft Word for ease of use.
Legal research is another area seeing automation. Algorithms can rapidly analyze case law and statutes to find the most relevant precedents. Ross Intelligence offers an AI legal researcher that returns a tailored set of citations and key passages to support arguments. It constantly updates its understanding of language and legal concepts. According to CEO Andrew Arruda, this frees lawyers from hours of digging through case law.
AI is even tackling more complex legal writing. Wordsmith and Casetext's Compose use natural language generation to draft legal briefs and memos once facts are input. Lawyers then review and polish the drafts. Products like Briefs Studio take a hybrid approach with a questionnaire that then assembles briefs from prewritten passages. While not a wholesale replacement for human drafting, AI writing tools significantly accelerate the process.
Behind the scenes, AI powers e-discovery platforms that search millions of documents. It also enables "predictive coding" to categorize documents by relevance. This makes document review over 70% more efficient per some estimates. Overall, AI legal tools promise dramatic time and cost savings compared to purely manual approaches.