In the dynamic landscape of the legal industry, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force. As technology continues to evolve, solicitors in Australia are being inundated with a myriad of AI tools. These tools are designed to make the practice of law more efficient than ever before.
However not all generative AI tools are the same. We explore the core skills AI can provide to support the changing legal landscape.
Why should solicitors use generative AI?
Reuters define generative AI as simply a form of artificial intelligence that ”learns how to take actions from past data (and) creates brand new content – a text, an image, even computer code – based on that training, instead of simply categorising or identifying data like other AI.” The evolution of generative AI has led to sophisticated foundational models, which includes large language models, like GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) which is revolutionising the way legal professionals approach their work.
These models have the capability to understand context, generate text, and perform tasks such as legal research as well as reviewing, drafting, and summarising documents. It is no wonder that law firms are rapidly increasing AI adoption, with a majority of private practice professionals (69%) believing generative AI will increase efficiency and reduce costs.
AI tools to streamline legal workflows
AI is not just a tool; it is a paradigm shift in the way legal professionals will operate. Thomson Reuters’ Chief Product Officer, David Wong stated in a recent webinar entitled, ‘Generative AI: The wait is over’, that “responsibly built AI has the potential to address some of the most significant challenges and alleviate major pain points in business today.”
There is no doubting the benefits of AI tools for solicitors. These range from freeing up time to the automation of mundane tasks. Subsequently, solicitors can focus on the higher-level aspects of their practice. As the legal industry continues to evolve, embracing AI will be imperative to remain competitive and serve clients better.
What can AI help solicitors do?
Here are the core skills that AI can offer to elevate traditional legal work (bearing in mind, there are many more):
- legal research
- reviewing and summarising contracts
- drafting legal correspondence
- searching databases
Imagine reclaiming hours of valuable time without compromising the precision of your legal research. Generative AI for legal research harnesses innovative technologies to sift through vast databases to search statutes, cases, and regulations. This AI skill revolutionises the speed at which legal queries can be resolved, however it is important to note that it’s designed to complement, not replace thorough legal research processes.
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Review and summarise contracts
AI extends beyond conventional contract review, providing an evaluation of policy compliance, whereby solicitors can efficiently assess whether contracts adhere to designated policies, and swiftly identify any clauses that might conflict with established guidelines. Additionally, AI can summarise documents quickly to streamline the contract review process. Extracting essential information at this speed leads to a more efficient and informed decision-making process.
Draft legal correspondence
AI enhances document creation by facilitating the drafting of letters or emails related to legal matters, which not only saves time but ensures consistent and precise communication. Moreover, the technology excels in preparing correspondence by generating a set of questions tailored to the legal context. These features bolster the efficiency of lawyers while providing a foundation for comprehensive and well-prepared communication.
Search vast legal databases
Thomson Reuters CoCounsel Core AI Assistant offers a valuable search functionality that seamlessly navigates vast databases. This feature ensures comprehensive searches across databases to rapidly retrieve relevant information. It is a game-changer for solicitors seeking efficient access to a wealth of legal knowledge, surpassing the limitations of traditional search methods.
Will AI advance or replace solicitors?
Contrary to common misconceptions, AI has not been designed to replace solicitors but rather to complement their skills. As the Thomson Reuters Institute inaugural Future of Professionals report notes, “generative AI will not replace highly trained lawyers…but a lawyer…using generative AI will certainly replace one who isn’t using the technology.”
The promise of AI is to enhance what solicitors do by creating a synergy between human expertise and AI capabilities. In the practice of law, this means streamlining workflows across litigation and transactional processes, which frees up solicitor’s time for more strategic advisory work.
As AI continues to redefine the legal industry in Australia, solicitors are presented with unprecedented opportunities to enhance their practice. Harnessing AI tools empowers solicitors to embrace the future more confidently, therefore selecting the right AI is critical.
Firms are meticulously assessing the AI benefits of accuracy, data privacy and customisability. By integrating AI into existing workflows, solicitors can elevate their efficiency and excellence, and provide clients with unparalleled legal guidance and services.
Thomson Reuters and AI for lawyers
Thomson Reuters have been pioneering AI innovation for Australian lawyers for more than 30 years. At the forefront of their offering is CoCounsel Core, presenting the most skilled AI assistant available for lawyers in the market. CoCounsel Core enables legal professionals to easily access the right skill to address specific challenges, whilst maintaining the history and context of their work.