Reputed for being conservative, the lawyer’s work practices are increasingly being disrupted by artificial intelligence and new technologies. And it’s all for the better.
Much more than just an electronic signature on documents, the tasks transformed by artificial intelligence are particularly those related to the electronic search for evidence and automating procedures for filing trademark and patent applications. The same is true for pre-defined contract templates first completed by clients then verified by a lawyer.
Mtre Vincent Bergeron, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and information technologies for the ROBIC law firm in Quebec City, notes that firms do not all take the technological turn at the same pace. But in one way or another, he believes, they will have to adapt to it.
“Within five years, artificial intelligence will create a huge disruption in law firms. At the moment, billing is by the hour, while when using technological tools, all the billing systems will have to be reviewed and assessed as to where the lawyer’s added value is, such as understanding strategic and legal issues,” he explains.
Mtre Bergeron says that his firm is at the forefront of technology. “Since the 1990s, we have been hiring internal programmers who have built our software to automate tasks, such as tracking deadlines, reports and letter templates, reviewed by lawyers before delivery,” says the ROBIC lawyer, who is now scanning almost everything.
ROSS Intelligence, having started its activities in San Francisco in the United States, offers services to law firms. “It’s a powerful search engine that integrates artificial intelligence. For our part, we use KIRA Systems, another artificial intelligence tool that can analyze a large number of contracts, in order to find specific clauses,” he continues.
Law students will obviously be affected by the changes caused by artificial intelligence. To this end, the Université Laval will launch on May 30 a microprogram specializing in information technologies.
“It’s optional at the moment, but I think that courses will gradually include technological changes. Similar programs exist in other universities,” Mtre Bergeron says, who collaborated in developing the microprogram.