Post: Legal Automation – Objection! My Co-Counsel Could Soon be a Robot?

It won’t be sitting behind the plaintiff’s or defendant’s table just yet – but it could be feeding your attorney all the pertinent information needed to make your case. Legal automation — as in actual RPA entering the courtroom is on the horizon.

Robotics Process Automation (RPA) in varying degrees is gaining ground in a professional sector many hadn’t envisioned it revolutionizing; the law office and the courtroom. While this may not be great news for law students as RPA has been tapped to do some low-level tasks, it is making a significant impact on billable hours and making legal services a little more affordable.

“We don’t anticipate artificial intelligence (AI) or RPA taking the place of lawyers entirely,” said Ahmar Abbas, VP of DISYS Global Services and current head of DISYS’ Automation Center of Excellence. “The unpredictability of litigation and the human twists and turns of a case will always require a real, live law expert. But RPA is certainly elevating the quality of legal care.”

Currently, law firms are finding great benefit through the use of bots to cut down research time and in completing & filing simple cases.

It is no secret, legal fees can be crippling in some instances. But most of those billable hours are directly attributed to research. Attorneys wading through thousands of documents to find a few pages relevant to a case causes unwarranted paper cuts, wastes valuable time and increases billable hours. But through RPA, law offices are creating knowledge base bots containing case law, relevant court cases, law journals and state & federal law.

The bot is able to correlate data and produce results based on phrasing, key words and relevant logic in just a few seconds. This system can accommodate constant expansion, due to the continual flow of digital information and increased security. With the use of knowledge bots, conservative estimates indicate research time has been reduced by as much as 2/3rds and that savings is passed onto clients.

“Besides reducing client’s fees and minimizing research hours, the use of research bots produce near-perfect results,” Abbas said. “Humans can overlook relevant information when thumbing through records and journals directly. But RPA searches are concise and thorough.”

While delivering on-point search results, these bots constantly learn. Known as machine learning, the bot absorbs information based on algorithms, pattern recognition and data collection. It then refines information and catalogs it accordingly and serves it up.

“Through machine learning, RPA becomes the curator of a paperless wealth of information, accessed at the touch of a button,” he said. “And it expands with new knowledge collected – seemingly always up to date.”

RPA software can also be deployed in other ways throughout a law firm. Simply stated, it can do any action a human performs on a computer. Also, bots can draw up contracts or take clients through the steps of incorporating a start-up. In short, if a processis rule-based, RPA can handle the task.

Further expanding the role, RPA can place in the legal field, in recent months The Washington Post wrote about a US law firm who ‘hired’ the first artificial intelligence attorney, known as ROSS. Debuting in May, ROSS came online in the firm’s bankruptcy department, fielded by more than 50 specialty attorneys.

The article states ROSS surfaces relevant passages of law and then allows lawyers to interact with it. “Lawyers can either enforce ROSS’s hypothesis or question it,” the article states. ROSS also helps attorneys develop various strategies and predicts possible outcomes – preparing the law professional for dueling scenarios.

“RPA can’t take the place of common sense,” Abbas said. “But it can certainly help legal professionals gain additional insight into case strategy and possible outcomes.”

Further delving into RPA’s impact on the legal system, in 2012 the court authorized the use of predictive coding. Courts throughout the country use algorithms to analyze a small number of variables connected to a defendant’s criminal history (previous offenses, failure to appear in court, violent offenses, etc.) and socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, employment status, drug history, etc.).

These considerations “predict” a defendant’s risk of recidivism or his/her likelihood of missing a court date, if released on bond. These predictive indicators can then be referenced when a judge makes his ruling. Predictive algorithms are currently used in four (4) major areas of the U.S. criminal justice system: pretrial and bail, sentencing, probation and parole, and juvenile justice.

“It is exciting to be a part of the wide-spread impact in which RPA has on the way we do business; however, we must still continue to explore unlikely applications of the technology as it’s extremely likely that the legal profession’s use of RPA will continue to reveal innovative ways to improve how we interact with the law,” Abbas said.

About Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS)
Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS) is a global managed services and staffing firm with 33 offices worldwide specializing in Managed Staffing Services, Agile Services, Application Development Services, Business Intelligence Services, Cloud Enablement Services and Enterprise Resource Planning.

DISYS has created its Automation Center of Excellence (ACE) to enable companies to realize the best value from robotics is achieved when coupled with process re-engineering. ACE is not used only to ‘fix’ broken processes – but to also re-imagine and optimize it.

ACE is part of a growing Process Automation wave where new innovations occur daily, fueling our commitment to ongoing process improvement and constant learning and refining of this cutting-edge technology solution.

Through its implementation, DISYS has helped accelerate the manual RSA token assignment and decommissioning process for a major healthcare provider, automated the movement of data from legacy systems without application programming interfaces (APIs) to PeopleSoft which removed errors and reduced full time employees (FTEs) and developed an automation compliance system for customer accounts for a major banking institution.

DISYS is committed to accelerating productivity within organizations by not only improving practices, but partnering with clients to make sure process improvement is constantly evolving, as technology evolves.