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Debunking Myths About AI and Job Displacement in Defense Firms

There are a number of myths surrounding AI in the legal field – we’ll do our best to help dispel them here

Published on:
July 2, 2024

Artificial intelligence is not going away. In the legal profession, the sheer volume of data associated with a case is becoming impossible to review by hand. This change in legal attitudes towards artificial intelligence (AI) is underscored by a recent (and highly successful!) conference given by the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), where conference presentations included many technology related topics, including how AI can help innovate law firm workflows and significantly reduce costs. 

However, some legal professionals are still hesitant to get on board. While 64% of legal professionals believe that AI will make their skill sets more valuable, only 3% of them were actually using generative AI in 2023. Why is there such a gap between lawyers interested in AI and lawyers who are actually using the tools? There are a number of myths surrounding AI in the legal field – we’ll do our best to help dispel them here:

MYTH #1: It’s more accurate to process legal documents by hand

Traditional methods for document review have relied on filtering this massive amount of data with Boolean search terms: operators like not, and, and or. For example, a case file might include metadata from emails, images, attachments, and the emails themselves. This makes the total size of the file hundreds, if not thousands, of pages long. 

The legal team would sift through the emails via search terms to pull only what they need. The number of documents to review dropped dramatically after filtering, and law firm associates and administrators prepared them manually for review. 

Without technology to assist in the process, even a relatively small amount of documents could add a time-prohibitive delay: consider cases like the FTC’s complaint against Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. In 2004, the case had produced over 1.2 million pages of documents. The FTC hoped to examine additional evidence, but didn’t have time. The request for an extension was denied, on the grounds that it was both cost and time prohibitive to examine more documents than the ones which had already been received. 

8 years later, a 2012 report from RAND suggests that the average case for an in-house legal team at a firm (for example, an insurance company), captures 48,431,250 pages of data – 40 times as much data as Evanston! The sheer volume of documents firms are seeing is no longer feasible for a human professional to review correctly. To tackle it, legal professionals are looking to technological aid. 

MYTH #2: AI will eliminate legal jobs 

According to Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the legal industry has decided to “wait and see” when it comes to generative AI. Although more than half of respondents think generative AI could be used at work, for a second year in a row they also say it should. A Thomson Reuters survey says legal professionals feel generally positive about AI, but they’re also hesitant to adopt. However, actual use of AI in day to day work has risen from 3% in 2023 to 12% in 2024: a fourfold increase. 

So will AI take over legal work? Unlikely. There’s a cap on how many files a law firm can handle: even a fully staffed file can blow past billable hour budgets or get bottlenecked by constraints on time. When budgets are strained, technology steps in. Non-billable activities like coding documents, summarizing files, or tracking time can be improved by the use of AI – complementing, not replacing, legal jobs.

In fact, using AI can ultimately bring more meaning and enjoyment of the job. Removing repetitive tasks like sifting through paperwork helps professionals get more utility from their time. AI helps, not hurts, the job market for legal professionals and insurance defense firms. 

MYTH #3: “robot lawyers” will replace legal jobs

Legal startup DoNotPay might have tried bringing a robot lawyer to court – but it will be a long time before any fully qualified “robolawyer” will have its day. The company just settled a class action lawsuit over the quality of its product. Complainants pointed to poorly drafted documents as a reason to use a real legal pro – so even if the “robot lawyer” does make it up the steps of the courtroom, today’s evidence suggests it will be for only the most minor legal tasks. 

The Future of AI in Defense Firms

While AI is actively transforming the legal landscape, it is not replacing jobs in defense firms, but rather enhancing the productivity and complementing work for legal professionals alike. By automating routine tasks and swiftly reviewing documents, AI is allowing legal professionals and support staff to focus on strategic and higher-value tasks. The adoption of AI into defense firms is igniting a future where technology and human expertise work hand in hand to deliver better results for clients, ultimately improving outcomes for all.

Kristen Campbell
Content Writer

Kristen is the co-founder and Director of Content at Skeleton Krew, a B2B marketing agency focused on growth in tech, software, and statups. She has written for a wide variety of companies in the fields of healthcare, banking, and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing stories, reading stories, and going on long walks (to think about her stories).

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