Role of AI expanding in legal field

AI article banner gfxThis article originally appeared in the Journal Record’s Gavel to Gavel column on Feb. 1, 2023.

By Heath W. Garwood

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Heath W. Garwood – click to visit profile.

AI is increasingly being applied to the legal profession in a variety of ways. One of the most common applications is in document review, where AI systems can quickly scan large numbers of documents and identify relevant information, such as legal citations or key terms. This can save lawyers a significant amount of time and allow them to focus on more high-value tasks.

One example of an AI-powered document review system is “eDiscovery” software, which is used to automatically identify and extract relevant information from large numbers of documents. Another example is the “Relativity Trace,” which also is used for eDiscovery and can automatically identify sensitive information such as personal identification numbers, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers.

AI also is being used in the field of legal education, where it can provide students with interactive and personalized learning experiences, helping them to better understand complex legal concepts and improve their legal skills. An example of an AI-powered legal education system is “LexisNexis Interactive,” which uses natural language processing and machine learning to provide students with interactive and personalized learning experiences.

Overall, the application of AI to the legal profession has the potential to greatly improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase access to legal services.

Every word before this paragraph was uniquely generated by an artificial intelligence program called ChatGPT by OpenAI in under a minute using two, user-submitted commands. With no prior instruction, I typed in a prompt for the program “Explain the application of AI to the legal profession.” The program generated a response that took 20 seconds. A second prompt entered “provide specific examples or programs of each application” and the program formulated the words you see above.

This example is far from being the most impressive, or most disruptive, example of what AI has in store for the legal profession. Instead, it provides a mere glimpse into capabilities of this technology. The legal profession does not have a reputation for quickly adopting cutting-edge advancements in technology. Yet the speed at which AI is advancing and being applied to various facets of the legal profession is unavoidable and coming faster than many realize, necessitating the start of a broad discussion on how to practically and ethically respond to these changes.

Heath W. Garwood is a litigation attorney at Phillips Murrah. You can contact Heath at 405.552.2470 and hwgarwood@phillipsmurrah.com.