Some very smart people have been making the case as of late that every business in the 21st century is a tech business. The idea is that all businesses are now tech businesses organically simply because technology has taken over so much of what we do. If that is true, it is a serious bit of evidence that proves artificial intelligence (AI) has a role in the modern law firm.

The legal industry is historically slow to adopt technology. For reasons that do not matter to this discussion, attorneys and law firms tend to be several years behind their counterparts in most other industries to adopt new technologies that would make what they do more efficient and cost-effective. This includes AI.

Yet companies like ours understand the importance of AI for creating the legal practice management software of the future. Not only does AI have a vital role to play, it could also be the defining factor in what constitutes a successful legal practice a decade from now.

AI and Discovery

To suggest that AI hasn’t had a place in legal software until now would be misleading. That’s not the case. Some exceptionally good legal software developers began using AI a decade ago, even in its infancy, to improve the discovery process. Litigators were given tools that made discovery cheaper and less risky. And as the years have gone by, these tools have been improved.

Unfortunately, AI’s contribution to practicing law has been limited primarily to discovery. That’s changing now. For example, some of the same AI concepts that have made the discovery process better are being applied to other areas of law outside of litigation.

AI is starting to contribute to real estate transactions, corporate transactions, managing wills and estates, and so forth. It even has a role in compiling and analyzing years of data that, until recently, has sat on law firm computers without any real use.

Making Law a Better Business

We are as excited as anyone to see how AI is changing the case management aspects of legal industry software. But we think the real potential of AI in law is improving the business side of things. Simply put, properly applied AI makes law a better business all the way around.

Getting back to that previously mentioned data, attorneys have been storing client data for decades. Most of that data has been gathering digital dust as it sits unused on hard drives and network servers. AI is shaking off the dust and putting the data to work.

Building AI capabilities into legal practice management software unleashes the power of big data to improve business. Years’ worth of data can be analyzed to identify trends, pinpoint past issues, and even predict future growth. Proper analysis and reporting can make attorneys better at what they do – both as practitioners of the law and business owners.

AI Will Never Replace the Attorney

If there is anything holding back the development of AI for legaltech, it is the misplaced concern that computers will eventually replace lawyers. That is not going to happen. No matter how advanced artificial intelligence becomes, it will only be able to do what human programmers tell it to do.

On the other hand AI will make attorneys better at what they do by giving them new tools for discovery, case management, and case acquisition. AI will make their offices more efficient by managing data more effectively.

AI does have a role in the modern law firm. Thanks to legal practice management software like NuLaw, attorneys and law firms are benefiting.