How is A.I Affecting Paralegals?
The use of artificial intelligence (A.I) is one of the most commonly addressed topics when it comes to how technology is affecting our workplace. While A.I has the potential to improve the way we work and take the burden of repetitive tasks out of our daily schedules, there is a worry that use greater use of A.I will lead to job losses.
In this article, we’ll be looking at how A.I is being used in the legal field and how this could impact the role of the paralegal.
Artificial Intelligence Vs Repeat Process Automation
A.I is a topic that can often cause confusion because of the nebulous definition of exactly what A.I means. A traditional definition of A.I is “a system’s ability to correctly interpret external data, to learn from such data, and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.”
For the most part, software defined as A.I that is currently used in businesses across the world doesn’t fit that definition. Instead, it falls under the definition of Repeat Process Automation (RPA) which is software designed to automate basic repetitive tasks.
The use of RPA software can actually be of significant benefit to the role of the paralegal. RPA software cannot work outside the boundaries of its programming and cannot make the leaps of logic and intuition that working legal professionals use every day.
What it can do is take care of basic administrative tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, freeing up paralegals to concentrate on more complex tasks.
The Use of Paralegal Bots
The use of bots to communicate with customers is one area in which A.I could be seen to be replacing the traditional role of the paralegal. However, this doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny.
While it is true that A.I-driven bots have replaced customer service agents in some sectors, the legal sector is one where client-business interactions often require compassion and genuine communication. The information being exchanged is often personal or stressful for the client and that kind of communication does not suit the use of customer-service bots.
Instead, bots can play a role, much like RPA in assisting paralegals and making their jobs easier. Bots can be used to accept, analyze, and file incoming communications from digital sources, most often websites, and sent legitimate ones on to the paralegals and legal assistants for a personal response.
Bots can also be used to overcome language barriers, as modern A.I is able to translate languages in real-time, expanding the number of employees at a legal firm who can respond to communications in different languages.
Overall, rather than A.I representing a threat to paralegals, as it has to roles in other fields, the uniquely personal nature of communications in the legal field means that A.I is in a position to make paralegals more efficient, but not to replace them.
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Lisa Myers, J.D., L.L.M.
Legal Studies Department Director
J.D. L.L.M. Campbell University
B.A. Corllins University