Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been seen as a threat to lawyers’ jobs, and new technology may pose a significant challenge once again. In the past, AI has taken on the toil of legal work, such as searching, reviewing, and analyzing vast quantities of legal documents. However, the legal profession has grown faster than the general workforce. Despite the many warnings that new chatbot-style software, with its language fluency, could replace legal work, the impact of AI may be more of a steady tide than a tidal wave. Although some jobs will be eliminated, AI promises to make lawyers and paralegals more productive and create new roles. Researchers have found that legal services are the most exposed to AI, with a potential for 44% of legal work to be automated.
While AI can analyze and generate text in an instant, it has some flaws, including a propensity to create fake legal citations. As a result, the impact of new technology is more likely to encourage everyone in the legal profession to move up the skills ladder rather than to replace them. Furthermore, people’s work will become increasingly focused on developing industry expertise, offering strategic guidance, exercising judgment in complex legal matters, and building trusted relationships with clients.
As with previous technologies such as the personal computer and the internet, the legal profession has not been disrupted by AI. Instead, it has forced people to develop new skills and become more efficient. While AI has eliminated jobs, such as in the office and administrative support occupations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for lawyers and paralegals will continue to grow faster than the labor market as a whole.
AI is being tested in the legal profession, and the issues of data protection and client confidentiality are essential. Additionally, the technology’s tendency to create things confidently, even if incorrect, is a concern. Nonetheless, AI will force people to become more innovative and to focus on strategic and complex legal work while leaving repetitive tasks to machines.