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Automation Replaces About 23 Percent of Lawyer's Work

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Relax, a robot will not be taking your law job -- yet.

According to researchers -- aided by computers, of course -- only 23 percent of a lawyer's tasks can be automated with current technology. After analyzing 2,000 work activities for 800 occupations, McKinsey Global Institute reported that it will be a decade before artificial intelligence will take over any lawyer jobs.

That's right, C3PO, get away from the lawyer's desk and get back to the translation business.

Impressive, Most Impressive

With law firms already employing smart software and devices, the future is now. But artificial intelligence still can't go to court, except perhaps in a lawyer's briefcase.

"Impressive advances in artificial intelligence technology tailored for legal work have led some lawyers to worry that their profession may be Silicon Valley's next victim," Complex Discovery reported. "But recent research and even the people working on the software meant to automate legal work say the adoption of AI in law firms will be a slow, task-by-task process."

AI is taking over some legal tasks because automation lends itself to repetitive work, like data collecting and processing. If that sounds like a law clerk or an associate's job, think of it more like evolution than revolution.

"Even when machines do take over some human activities in an occupation, this does not necessarily spell the end of the jobs in that line of work," according to the McKinsey study. "On the contrary, their number at times increases in occupations that have been partly automated, because overall demand for their remaining activities has continued to grow."

Who Wants to Do Discovery Anyway?

As long as there are lawyers, documentation will not go away. That's how automation began to take over in the law business. But it actually created more jobs with eFiling, eDiscovery, and more. Now it is about analytics.

"Analytics can help in many areas of a business, not just legal," said lech tech innovator Jay Lieb. "We can guide compliance departments to streamline internal investigations to get to key information within hours."

Like other law tech entrepreneurs, Lieb has helped grow the legal business. They focus on helping lawyers, not replacing them.

"'Gerry Spence once said, 'Telling a story is one of the most persuasive means of communication,'" Lieb said. "Text analytics and machine learning can be incredibly helpful in helping the data tell (the) story."

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