AI’s Future of Legal Productivity and Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of It

Don't be afraid of AI

Using AI strategically at your law firm can be a time, error, and resource saver. AI is an effective way to save non-billable hours and help legal professionals do their jobs better. And it can’t replace you: AI lacks the human elements of great attorneys, such as empathy, an ethical code, and an understanding of the human experience. Using AI tools for lawyers is essential to get ahead. Embrace what AI can (and can’t do) for your legal team.

5 Things Artificial Intelligence CAN Do for Legal Pros

  • Simplify Contract Creation

Nearly 10% of an average litigator’s day is spent reformatting documents. One of the best and most widespread use cases for AI in legal is contract creation. Now with an AI prompt, you can create a contract or other legal document with your parameters included, formatted how you’d like.

  • Keeps Client Informed

Client communication is tied to client satisfaction, so small changes to how you share information with your clients make a positive impact. AI can’t help you build interpersonal skills, but it can help you send updates to clients. 

Prompt an AI tool to search your documents and create a case or complaint summary and send it to clients. Certain platforms offer AI generation as part of a larger workflow to send automated emails and reminders to clients. Happy clients mean more repeat business and good referrals for your firm.

In the April 27, 2023 episode of Legal Toolkit, “The Perfect Intake Form,” Jared Correia’s guest Patrick Carver talks about what firms often do with client’s intake data, dump it into a spreadsheet. This would be a great time to have AI scanning datasets like that for where leads came from and what clients and potential clients are asking for, and then turn it into improved collections:

Legal Toolkit

The Perfect Intake Form; Turning Data Collection on Leads into Profits; and “What Would Georgia Man Do?”

  • Draft Motions and Briefs

A study by Bloomberg Law found that 84% of litigators rank drafting motions and briefs as their most time-consuming task. With an AI document generator tool, you can enter a prompt with your specific requirements and let artificial intelligence create a usable motion or brief that you can then edit and use.

Because most motions follow a similar format, you can create a reusable template, instead of starting from scratch with each new case.

  • Cut Down on Discovery Time

Sifting through discovery is a big undertaking, with most cases taking at least several months to complete. The need to respond quickly to discovery requests promptly adds even more pressure.

Set an AI prompt to extract the exact info you need: define your prompt, run some tests, scan your documents, and then ask it to summarize the information it just searched.

Litigation Radio’s Aug 15, 2023 episode discusses how litigation firms are already using AI and the prompt nuances for stronger e-discovery:

Litigation Radio

AI, The Law, And Your Firm: What You Need To Know Today

  • Keep Up Effortlessly

Nobody could keep up with all of the tech out there on their own, but AI can be helpful. Use Chat GPT to search the internet to compile a list of best practices that are easily digestible.

5 Things AI CAN’T Do

While AI can help make your job easier, it can not replace the need for a human touch in the legal sector. But it can give you time to focus on more subjective activities and those that demand your refined training.  

  • Make Arguments to a Jury

Building a compelling argument, addressing objections, and persuading that jury takes experience, nuance, and experience that AI can’t deliver. How you carry yourself in court and appeal to the jury’s emotions is something only a human can do.

  • Weigh The Softer Factors of a Strategy Decision

AI can analyze data sets, find differences, and locate specific pieces of information to support you in a case. However, AI can’t know the subjective factors of how a witness presents, the order of questions, or how those elements fit together in the jury’s mind. 

  • Prompt Itself to Create Contracts

That contract won’t write itself. AI can’t know what structure will keep clients and their contracting partners out of court. It takes more than just pushing a button to get a usable document. While AI can automatically pull some data or create some documents from templates, humans tell AI what to write. Your experience and knowledge of contracting pitfalls define AI prompts that form the contract. On the July 27, 2023 episode of The Digital Edge, their guest Ben Schorr from Microsoft said their AI tool “is intended to help people get more done. It’s there to work alongside you not instead of you.”

The Digital Edge

Microsoft’s Copilot: New AI Tools for Microsoft 365!

  • Provide Compassionate Counsel

Feeling valued, respected, and understood is key for your clients. Helping them feel confident in their case comes from your knowledge and track record and concern for them is something they can’t get from AI alone. 

  • Be Perfect Every Time

While AI is a great tool that provides a lot of accuracy and can vastly reduce errors, it still requires review to ensure the generated information is accurate and valid, even though most work generated by AI is high quality and virtually error-free in most cases.

Best Practices for Using AI as a Litigator

Knowing where to start and what to look for in a legal AI document generation tool can be confusing. Here is a short list of best practices to help you get the most from AI.

  • Become an Early Adopter

AI uses machine learning to create better, more tailored responses over time and the more time you spend using it, the smarter it becomes with its responses. So do you. The longer you use AI, you get better and faster at building robust prompts. You get ahead of your competition and become more savvy with the software to help your AI generator tool work better for you.

  • Find the Right Tool

Keep security in mind. Rather than using ChatGPT in its publically-available form, find a tool with guardrails in place for document security. Some tools share information. Look for tools made for litigators that keep data within your instance. 

Look for tools that already integrate with your CRM. With integrations with your practice management tools, you can use client data you already have to create contracts, invoices, requests, letters, filings, etc. Save yourself and your clients from searching out information they’ve already given you. Jared Correia talks about that exact advantage in his August 3, 2023 episode of Legal Toolkit:

Legal Toolkit

Software Integrations; Emil Ali talks IP Ethics; and “A Day at the Movies”

Find an AI document generator with workflows and eSignatures to save time on legal contract automation. Use AI to create a document from scratch, add in eSignatures for your clients to sign the document, and set up this process as a workflow that automatically sends notifications and reminders when it is time to review or sign. 

Choosing a tool with both workflows and CRM integrations, you can export completed documents to your CRM once the workflow is complete. 

  • Prompt Your AI Properly

Learning how to prompt your AI tool the right way is essential. Use full sentences and descriptive words, active verbs, and text that clearly describes what you form you want the result to be. 

Ask specific, open-ended questions. Avoid prompting the AI with yes-no questions. You need details. Provide context about why you’re looking and the target audience to get more relevant responses.

Many AI tools work on a thread system; you ask it questions as part of a larger conversation and your AI will build on that. Try to work in the same thread and give feedback on the responses. The AI won’t take it as criticism! Giving it feedback teaches your AI how to respond and provide more relevant information.

Bonus: as Jared Correia pointed out in the May 25, 2023 episode of Legal Toolkit, AI tells terrible jokes. Spin ahead to the Rump Roast at 28:00 where he reads the response from ChatGPT, leaving the listener to guess what prompt what went in to get that response.

Legal Toolkit

AI Tells Lame Jokes; The Fastcase/vLex Merger; and “ChatGPT Jeopardy!”

Use AI to Your Advantage

AI is not replacing real humans anytime soon, especially in legal. But it’s a great starting point for your documents. AI can give your team a competitive edge, help you save on non-billable hours, and even improve your client relationships. For easy, secure, legal document generation and workflows, try OnTask’s new AI document generator.

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As President OnTask & Accusoft's joint division, Steve draws upon more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry to coordinate engineering, sales, marketing, and customer success teams to establish OnTask in the B2B end-user market. Under his direction, OnTask has become the driving force behind Accusoft’s SaaS business, which leverages the company’s long-standing patented document and imaging technology in new and exciting ways. Steve saw firsthand how replacing the “red folder” used in Accusoft’s sales process with OnTask’s automated workflows and contracts improved efficiency and productivity throughout the company. In his spare time, Steve coaches youth basketball for his two sons and enjoys saltwater fishing.