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  • Writer's pictureAdrien da Cunha Belves

Beyond the Precedent: Generative AI Shapes the Future of Legal Practice

Updated: Mar 4


Table of Contents:


1-Generation of documents and contracts

1.1-The automation of writing

1.2-Essential human supervision

1.3-The explosion of productivity

2-Legal Research and Business Preparation: Optimization through AI Integration and Microsoft Copilot Impact

2.1-Integration of AI tools

2.3-A natural adoption

2.4-Towards a dependency on AI tools

3-Predicting legal outcomes: The future of legal strategy through AI

3.1-Techniques and tools

3.2-Strategic Impact

3.3-Limits and ethical considerations

3.4-The human role

4-Customer support and communication: Personalization and efficiency thanks to AI

4.1-Chatbots and virtual assistants

4.2-Customization of the service

4.3-Client Records Management

4.4-Ethical challenges and considerations

Harmonizing Humanity and Artificial Intelligence in Legal Practice

To go further



Generative AI is revolutionizing legal practice, automating tasks, improving efficiency and allowing lawyers to focus on more strategic aspects of the business.


The legal world, historically governed by tradition and unfailing rigour, is now at a crossroads. Technological advances, including generative artificial intelligence (AI), are beginning to creep into old practices, promising a revolution in the way legal services are offered and executed. The adoption of these technologies also raises a crucial question: will AI tools, such as ChatGPT, replace the traditional work of lawyers, or are there intrinsic limitations to what AI can accomplish in the legal framework?


However, the acceptance of AI in legal practice is often tinged with skepticism. During discussions on the integration of artificial intelligence in their work, my legal clients frequently pointed to a case where the AI failed or made an error of interpretation. These anecdotes are used as evidence of the potential infallibility of the technology, an error that seems to neutralize any argument in favor of its adoption. Yet, these same professionals admit, in a breath, that they have not needed to hire a legal assistant or a collaborator recently, because, ironically, they are turning to AI to manage everyday tasks more and more often. What are the elements of human judgment and professional ethics that remain elusive for AI algorithms?


How can lawyers balance the effectiveness of AI with the imperative to preserve the nuanced art of legal practice, rooted in empathy, complex reasoning, and fair defense? By recognizing and navigating these boundaries, legal professionals can not only strategically integrate AI but also preserve the crucial human essence of the administration of justice.


1. Document and contract generation



Document writing is a significant part of the workload in the legal professions. Traditionally, this involves meticulous attention to detail and working hours on documents such as contracts, non-disclosure agreements, wills, and legal memos. However, with advances in generative artificial intelligence, much of this process can be automated, with considerable potential to improve productivity and efficiency.


1.1 The automation of writing


A study by law firm Baker McKenzie found that using a generative AI tool for contract drafting reduced drafting time by 50%. Tasks such as creating drafts of basic contracts, the modification of standardized clauses, and the compilation of filing files, can be easily automated. This reduces the need for manual input, minimizing human error and speeding up the writing process.


1.2 Essential human supervision


However, it is crucial to recognize that, despite these significant improvements, human supervision and intervention remain essential. AI systems, while effective at generating content based on models and guidelines, lack the nuanced judgment or professional intuition of an experienced lawyer. They are also not infallible and can reproduce errors in the training data. Therefore, while AI can facilitate preparatory work, lawyers must always exercise careful scrutiny, ensuring that the final documents meet legal standards and meet the unique needs of each case.


1.3 The explosion of productivity


Ultimately, automating document generation frees lawyers from repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing them to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of legal practice. This transition not only replaces manual processes, but also revolutionizes the way legal services can be delivered, promising faster, cheaper, and more accessible to clients.


2. Legal Research and Business Readiness: Optimizing with AI Integration and Microsoft Copilot Impact



Legal research is the backbone of any solid argument in a legal case. It requires a thorough and meticulous exploration of precedents, statutes, regulations, and academic publications. Historically, this process was entirely manual, consuming a substantial portion of the time and resources of a law firm. However, the advent of AI has paved the way for profound transformations in this activity.


2.1 Integration of AI tools


The integration of AI tools with internal legal databases is a fundamental step to improve the effectiveness of legal research. A study by LexisNexis found that using a generative AI tool for legal research has improved the accuracy of search results by 25%. Such integration allows rapid processing and analysis of large sets of data, helping lawyers identify relevant information, trends, and legal precedents that influence their case. However, for AI to be truly effective, it must have fluid and structured access to internal databases. This means that firms must invest in digitizing, categorizing, and organizing their legal archives to enable AI to accurately search for and retrieve relevant information.


2.2 A natural adoption


The arrival of advanced solutions such as Legal Pilot or Microsoft Copilot should significantly accelerate the adoption and integration of AI into legal practice. Copilot, with its ability to provide contextual recommendations based on understanding code and data, can accelerate the adoption of AI tools, especially when adapted to the requirements of legal research. It can help automate not only the search for relevant precedents or legislation but also suggest legal formulations or arguments based on analyzed cases.


2.3 Towards a dependency on AI tools


This technology could become an indispensable assistant for lawyers, reducing the time spent on preliminary research and allowing a focus on case strategy and argumentation. It is estimated that the use of technologies like Copilot could reduce the hours spent on legal research by up to 30% or more, depending on the case and the complexity of the matter.


3. Predicting Legal Outcomes: The Future of Legal Strategy through AI



One of the most significant revolutions brought by artificial intelligence in the legal field is the ability to predict the outcomes of trials. This goes beyond the simple automation of tasks and goes to the very heart of legal decision-making. Thanks to data analysis and machine learning, lawyers can now navigate the court system with a premonitory lantern, assessing the chances of success of different types of pleadings even before setting foot in the courtroom.


3.1 Techniques and tools


The prediction of court outcomes is based on analysis of past court decisions, the particular circumstances of each case, and legal trends and models. Using advanced algorithms, AI evaluates this information to estimate the probabilities of success of different legal strategies. Tools like Predictice, or "ROSS" based on AI are used to analyze thousands of cases to generate insights that are not perceptible on a human scale.


3.2 Strategic Impact


The implications for law firms and corporate legal departments are profound. Having an accurate estimate of possible outcomes means lawyers can better advise their clients, select cases with better cost-benefit ratio, and adopt more informed strategies. This can result in more efficient use of resources and increased chances of success. Tools like Case Law Analytics already offer solutions to predict the outcome of legal proceedings.





3.3 Limitations and Ethical Considerations


However, it is crucial to keep in mind that the predictions generated by AI are only probabilities, not certainties. They are as good as the data on which they are based, and atypical cases or changes in case law may not be fully accounted for by algorithmic models. In addition, there are ethical and privacy concerns, including the transparency of algorithms, the prevention of bias, and the protection of sensitive data.


3.4 The human role


Despite the advances of AI, the role of the lawyer remains irreplaceable. Artificial intelligence can provide data and trends, but final interpretation and strategic decisions rely on the lawyer. This requires critical analysis, professional experience, and a deep understanding of the human and moral context of each case, elements that AI cannot yet reproduce.


4. Customer Support and Communication: Personalization and Efficiency with AI



Interaction with clients is at the heart of any legal practice. It is in these exchanges that lawyers establish not only the details of the cases but also their relationship with clients. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in this scenario, the dynamics of these communications are undergoing a significant transformation, offering opportunities for increased efficiency and personalization of customer service.


4.1 Chatbots and virtual assistants


One of the most visible tools of this evolution is the use of chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-powered programs can interact with clients 24/7, answering frequently asked questions, helping to sort out basic legal issues, and collecting detailed case information. These tools reduce the time lawyers spend managing initial inquiries, allowing them to focus on more complex aspects of legal practice.


4.2 Customization of the service


Through machine learning and data analytics, AI systems can also help personalize the interaction with the customer. By analyzing customer data, preferences, history, and even behaviors, AI can provide insights that allow lawyers to more accurately target customer needs and expectations, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.


4.3 Client Records Management


AI facilitates more efficient management of customer files. Through predictive analytics, it can help identify future customer needs, suggest follow-ups, and even prepare summaries and suggestions based on analysis of past interactions. This ensures that each client feels heard and understood, and that nothing is left to chance in the management of their case.


4.4 Ethical challenges and considerations


Despite these benefits, there are significant challenges. Confidentiality of customer data is a major concern, as is the need to maintain genuine human interaction. Firms must ensure that AI systems comply with strict data protection regulations and that customers know when they are interacting with a machine, not a person. In addition, reliance on AI should not erode the trust and empathy relationship that forms the basis of the lawyer-client relationship.


Harmonizing Humanity and Artificial Intelligence in Legal Practice


The gradual integration of artificial intelligence into the legal sector raises a complex mosaic of opportunities, challenges and ethical reflections. Each new application of AI seems to redefine the limits of what is possible, navigating through the often troubled waters of modernizing traditional legal practice.


A legal client once shared an observation that, I believe, captures this inflection point perfectly: "98% of the work done by a lawyer can possibly be automated thanks to AI," he began with a smirk, as if he envisioned a future where courtrooms are populated with robots. But," he continued, his expression hardening, "it’s the remaining 2% that embody the full value of our profession."


These 2% symbolize empathy, judgment, morality and ethics - deeply human qualities that even the most advanced AI cannot fully emulate. It is these aspects of a lawyer’s role that resist automation, that demand a nuanced understanding of human behavior, suffering, and redemption. They require a human hand to navigate the complexities of human relationships, to interpret a sigh or the nuance of a facial expression during a crucial trial, to provide not only legal advice but also comfort and understanding.


Recognizing this, we understand that the future of legal practice is not in man’s opposition to the machine, but in their collaboration. Lawyers, armed with powerful AI-based tools, will be freed from the constraints of routine work and can focus on the 2% - bringing informed judgment and compassion that can only come from years of human experience.


This partnership, if approached with prudence, ethics and a willingness to learn, promises to redefine justice in the 21st century. In this era of transformation, the value lies not in the fear of obsolescence, but in the courageous adoption of a new role: that of a lawyer augmented by AI, deeply human where it matters most.


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