Technology is becoming more and more advanced by the second. Artificial intelligence is steadily on the rise and causing concern to many aspiring lawyers who fear that training contracts and staff numbers in law firms will decrease as a result. While it is true that technologies are changing the legal profession, in ways which we will explore below, change takes time. Change does not necessarily mean a decline in number of job prospects but would require the development of skills by junior lawyers, which cannot be appropriated by technologies. These skills include excellent advocacy, public speaking and written communication skills; strong data analysis skills, good attention to detail and the ability to adapt to changing scenarios. In many cases, client relationships also require a more emotional involvement and a good understanding of the background and sensitivity of the case. Amazon Alexa Technology today is rapidly changing the legal profession. Amazon Alexa has become a favourite family member. An article from the NY Times explored the way in which Alexa is slowly gaining human qualities. For example, when a child called Alexa ‘stupid’ and immediately worried about whether Alexa’s feelings would be hurt. Or asking Alexa for her opinion when deciding which dress to wear. While this does prove to be an irrational perception of the commercial device, users are certainty developing an emotional attachment to the intelligent, reliable and understanding personal assistant.
Billy Bot We have been particularly intrigued by the chatbot Billy Bot, developed by Online chambers Clerksroom. He works as a 'trainee robot junior clerk' and carries out all the tasks normally carried out by junior clerks, including taking enquiries, processing new cases, conflict checking, booking barristers and mediators, and agreeing fees. He also does some of the extra work that junior clerks in traditional barristers' chamber do, such as organising conference calls, checking free legal resources, including LinkedIn. Billy Bot makes clients feel welcome by making coffee by connecting with a Smarter Coffee Machine. However, I believe that a human host will be much more beneficial to a firm than a robot. This is because of the personalised greeting they can provide. Further, the focus is not entirely based on increasing the firm's profit but also engaging with clients, introducing them to the office by giving them a tour, engaging with them on a personal level and providing an unforgettable service which hopefully will bring them back again.
IBM Watson The current accuracy rate of IBM Watson in spotting melanoma in 3000 images is 95% as opposed to a human doctor, following behind at an accuracy rate of 85%. The possibility of Watson replacing human doctors in certain aspects is becoming more and more real and it is not a far-fetched possibility that soon, people will begin to place greater trust in Watson’s bespoke digital programming than in the limited human ability which is easily capable of human error. Due to IBM Watson's language processing capability, IBM Watson has entered into a partnership agreement with two of Sweden's leading law firms, MAQS and Lindahl recently and a knowledge management consultancy called VQ, to build an AI-driven contract review and advice system, called True Agreement. True Agreement is trained to identify the type of document, locate relevant clauses and provide legal advice in respect of those clauses. Technology really is developing at an unimaginable speed and our imagination cannot even comprehend future developments. However, we can take solace in the fact that robots will not and cannot replace the adaptability and complexity of the human mind. We would love to hear your thoughts on this article. If you would like to leave your feedback, engage in the discussion or tell us something new, please email Silviya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silviya Hristova is a legal intern at Pure Business Law. She is an LLB Law Graduate from SOAS, University of London as of September 2017 and will embark on an LPC/LLM course at BPP University in January 2018. She has always had an interest in law and greatly enjoys being able to put her skills into practice within her internship at Pure Business Law.