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How AI Can Assist Lawyers with Client Correspondence
The legal industry has now moved past the hype surrounding the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology as we dive into practical explorations of specific use cases for AI within the practice of law.
The LexisNexis International Legal Generative AI Survey — in which LexisNexis queried nearly 8,000 lawyers, law students and consumers across the U.S., U.K., Canada and France about their expectations for generative AI in the legal profession — found that lawyers see the highest potential for generative AI tools to assist them in legal research (65%), while another one of the most anticipated use cases is email writing (35%).
Client correspondence can be one of the most time-consuming tasks that stack up throughout a lawyer’s day. Some clients prefer communication in person or by phone, but most often it requires written correspondence — whether by formal letter or email.
For legal practitioners, this is a matter of importance that goes far beyond routine business principles such as client service and good manners; it is also an ethical requirement. The American Bar Association Rule 1.4 explicitly states that “reasonable communication between the lawyer and the client is necessary for the client to effectively participate in the representation.”
Olga Mack, a vice president at LexisNexis and a thought leader on the digital transformation of law, recently shared some of her insights about how generative AI can help lawyers speak the language of business more fluently.
In a column column published by Above The Law, Mack notes that “tailoring business communications is one of many ways lawyers can use generative AI for more engaging and unambiguous client interactions.” She suggests three ways to tap into generative AI’s power to craft clear, concise communications that avoid misunderstandings:
When lawyers need help finding the right word or the right tone to convey a sense of urgency in client correspondence, generative AI tools can be used to generate a few options that allow lawyers to zero in on the specific words they’re seeking. This can be an excellent way to not only better communicate your messages, but more importantly to do so in a way that clients will follow what you are saying.
A large number of letters or emails that lawyers must write to clients are prompted by the need to summarize lengthy legal documents, often times contracts or regulations that the lawyers have read and analyzed. Generative AI can be used to generate a first draft of these types of correspondence by simply asking the tool to summarize the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to your matter, providing the text in either lay terms or business language, depending on the client.
AI can also help lawyers to more efficiently get through their client correspondence obligations by automating specific tasks such as email writing. For example, AI can actually learn your unique communication style over time and then auto-suggest and auto-generate drafts of your client correspondence when prompted. This assistance helps you save time and can also reduce errors (e.g., typos) that pop up when you are grinding through an especially busy day.
Of course, Mack points out that AI is a helpful aid for client correspondence, but it is not a replacement for human communication skills.
“Generative AI tools should supplement, not substitute, our efforts,” she writes. “Relying solely on generative AI would result in communications that lack your personal understanding of your clients’ needs and preferences. As always, we must balance our technology use with purposeful face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions to build strong personal relationships.”
LexisNexis has been a leader in the development of products that leverage the power of AI to help lawyers practice more efficiently and effectively. With the rollout of Lexis+ AI, we’re now pioneering the use of generative AI for legal research, analysis and the presentation of results, with a focus on how these tools can enable legal professionals to achieve better outcomes. We are integrating our unsurpassed LexisNexis content database into Lexis+ AI to provide more precise parameters around what the AI engine draws upon when providing legal information.
Lexis+ AI features intelligent drafting capabilities to improve lawyer productivity and free up practitioners from routine tasks so they can have more time to focus on legal strategy, counsel and advocacy — the skills they are uniquely qualified to practice.
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