Artificial intelligence (AI) is a simulation of human intelligence programmed in computers to mimic human thinking and actions. Whereas, Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is process in which legal firms, publishing or corporate houses hire an onshore or offshore legal firm or a legal service provider company for their in-house legal works which are voluminous, reiterating, taxing and routine.
AI is the new buzzword which is slowly permeating the Indian Legal System. It is expected to have a significant impact by solving the major problem of “access to justice” in the system by mitigating the problem of inability to secure legal representation by vast majority of individuals and businesses. It will reduce costs and time involved in high-volume low-value work resulting in cheaper services.
Traditional law firm model is no longer aligned with customer expectation, hence, demand for law firm services are flat while that of legal services is still increasing. Lately, the legal industry has started to recognize the fact that technology shall be preferred over labour arbitrage. Legal expertise clubbed with process management and technology is essential for effective delivery of legal services. AI will enable firms providing LPO services to make best of everything by incorporating latest technology. It can be used in reviewing and standardizing documents, due diligence, transactional practices, cross-border contract drafting, judgement prediction, risk assessment etc. It will help in improving quality, efficiency, accuracy and cost of work by streamlining its workforce, saving money spent on providing salaries to such workforce and spending it on AI tools. It will save time spent on mundane, routine work so that lawyer’s role is limited to core functions that are beyond the scope of AI.
Legal Professionals believe that AI will replace their jobs resulting in large scale unemployment, however, it will only alter the way services are delivered by them, redefine tasks and functions as well as business models defining them. It is to be noted that it will only compress the case disposition time helping them improve client access and quality of legal solutions provided in optimum time. As rightly said by Michio Kaku, a noted theoretical physicist and futurist,
“The job market of the future will consist of those jobs that robots cannot perform.”Michio Kaku, American theoritical physicist, futurist and popularizer of science.
Despite numerous advantages, AI is uncommon in the Indian Legal Industry as compared to other sectors and countries because it requires a comprehensive legal database which is in the nasent stages in the Indian Judicial Scenario. Another drawback is the integration of continuously developing information and digitalization of infotmation (i.e. feeding them into the system ) which is a time intensive process. Not only this, AI models have also failed to explain the outcomes predicted by it.
Every new technological idea has its pros and cons along with a section of people retaliating its implementation. What needs to be considered is whether a few disadvantages, some of which are difficult but not impossible to overcome in the current Indian Legal System, are sufficient to compromise with the greater benefits that AI has to offer in mitigating the key problem of “access to justice” in the Indian Legal Scenario.