Abstract colorful shape

Top Four Reasons Lawyers Should Embrace AI

February 21, 2019

A recent report commissioned by professional services firm Ankura revealed that more than one third of the 350 survey respondents* are already using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. What are they doing with it? Making smarter decisions and meeting key business goals.

Clients still expect a human to represent the matter and law firms recognize that lawyers are moving to the trainers of the AI versus just the reviewers of the prioritized documents. But behind the scenes, AI is likely to become vital in a wide variety of legal administrative, discovery, litigation, forensics, and analytical roles. Find out more about AI and its applications in Ankura’s full report ‘Beyond Science Fiction: Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Industry’.


    Respondents’ biggest single reason for adopting AI is to help them to make smarter decisions. Because the quantity and complexity of information that lawyers regularly manage is so detailed any tool that can speed up access to the most relevant information – and thus make more informed
    decisions – is considered invaluable.


    It is possible for AI to undertake vast literature reviews and produce the baseline for complex legal contracts using continuous active learning, algorithms, and robot process automation – meaning that smaller and more skilled legal teams are needed to interpret and refine automated
    outputs. When creating contracts, for example, this means fewer junior staff are required for the actual construction of the contract itself leaving lawyers to focus on value-added legal work.


    Adding AI to repetitious workflow reduces the costs incurred for human capital and provides continuous processing time, reduced errors, margin improvement. As data sources continue to multiply and become more complex, human reviews of documents will only ever become more onerous and resource-heavy. Libby Jackson, partner and global head of practice for Alternative Legal Services and Herbert Smith Freehills, said: “With the increasing volume of data, the distillation exercise that AI helps with will still require human interaction to interpret what comes out. So I still expect to have many, if not all, of the people in my business. They just might be doing different things. Humans can understand what the issues are and how these relate to their client’s legal case. AI is shaping the way we price, the way we manage client relationships, and the way we offer value.”

    On value, according to Stephen Allen, global head of Legal Services Delivery at Hogan Lovells: “if you have fewer than 1,000 documents it may be more cost-effective to use humans.

    “Between 1,000 –1,500 documents, using AI and humans to review works out at roughly the same price. But once you get above 1,500 documents, the cost-saving of using AI can grow to between 40-60%.”


    Within AI, one of the fastest-growing fields is machine learning, which involves computers learning what succeeds without ongoing instruction. Machine learning is being used to enhance due diligence by pulling together documentation and putting content into formats that can be analyzed, improving cybersecurity by more quickly spotting attempted breaches and alerting necessary individuals – and by identifying deviations from normal human behavior when accessing data.

    More than a third of survey respondents are already using AI. This suggests that the technology has entered the mainstream and is achieving important levels of usefulness for many end users. With this elevated level of adoption, the remaining 66% of respondents should consider the benefits of AI tools to remain competitive.