Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is continuously being utilised in companies to address ways in which companies can alleviate the laborious tasks in the myriad industries for better speeds and increased accuracy.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that AI has become somewhat of a buzzword, slowly permeating the legal industry. Despite some thinking that AI will slowly start closing in on the work of legal researchers and litigators, lawyers appear to be embracing the change, regardless of their traditional resistance to technology. AI is beginning to transform the legal profession in many ways, but in most cases it augments what humans do and frees them up to take on higher-level tasks such as advising clients, negotiating deals and appearing in court.

The adoption of AI in the South African legal space has been promising. Some law firms have posited that apart from AI likely to be used in areas such as legal research and analysis, the bulk of the work generated by AI will be focusing on document automation.

By using AI transactional legal documents, court papers and even legal precedents can be generated by a user simply completing a questionnaire. The outcome of the user completing the questionnaire is a first draft of the relevant documents which the lawyers will pour over and consider whether any amendments thereon may be necessary. Cutting out the time-consuming aspect of lawyers having to spend time in the preparation of the legal documents benefits both lawyers and clients alike: the lawyers will save time and therefore have the capacity to address more matters concurrently; and by lawyers spending less time on any single matter, the client’s fees will be reduced significantly.

Luminance, the leading AI platform for the legal profession was awarded the prestigious prize for ‘Best AI Start-Up’. Luminance, developed by a group of Cambridge University PhDs, automatically reads, compares and analyses the contents of a large data room, giving lawyers an instant view of the size and complexity of the transaction.

Luminance is but one of the many AI platforms being used in the legal industry and as lawyers come to start trusting AI software, they can hand over the tedious aspects of legal transactions and instead start focusing on more pertinent aspects of their practice.

02 July 2018