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This article was updated on May 16, 2023.
In 2019, the ABA Legal Technology Survey reported that only 8% of respondents were using resources with artificial intelligence (AI). In a few short years, however, AI has become a focal point in conversation within the legal industry and beyond. With the rise of new generative AI-powered technologies like ChatGPT, awareness and usage of AI is increasing as well. As a result, legal professionals are asking questions like:
Chances are, you're already using AI in some areas of your legal practice — whether that be for case search, client management, document preparation, or some combination of these. For example, in 2020, LexisNexis® released Lexis+®, an AI-backed legal research solution, and users began discovering how AI can help locate relevant information faster and more cost-effectively. Now, generative AI – the type of AI that powers tools like ChatGPT — is on the verge of changing the way you research again.
More than ever, the questions posed above are critical, and we're here to help you find answers. This article details how AI can be used in the legal industry, offering examples, resources, and tips.
But first — what exactly is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to learn, problem-solve, make decisions, and understand language — all tasks typically performed by (you guessed it) humans. In contrast to pre-programmed machines, AI utilizes techniques such as machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision to process and analyze vast amounts of data, meaning these machines can learn and adapt on their own, without human intervention.
While this may sound unnerving, AI ultimately serves as a tool to aid you in working more efficiently. AI won't replace attorneys, but it can help legal professionals achieve new heights in their careers. The key question, of course, is how?
Simply stated, AI-powered legal research platforms can help you do billable work faster, allowing you to spend more time putting that research to good use by counseling clients, negotiating with opposing counsel, or performing other higher-level work. This is particularly important for attorneys who provide their services on a flat-fee or contingency-fee basis, where more time spent on legal research could lead to lower profit margins.
AI in the legal technology industry has historically been more "extractive," meaning it’s been generally used to crawl and pull information from a large database; however, with major recent developments in “generative” AI, legal technology is beginning to not only pull information but also create new, original content. This means you'll see AI's capabilities employed in a variety of angles including:
Also see AI Terms for Legal Professionals: Understanding What Powers Legal Tech.
Currently, there are several legal tech solutions that utilize extractive AI, and generative AI capabilities are expected to become increasingly available this year. We discuss a few of these tools in detail below.
Lexis+ was launched in 2020 as an AI-powered, beginning-to-end legal research solution. Featuring natural language search, integrated data visualizations, and the industry’s leading citator, Shepard’s Citation Service, Lexis+ is designed to help you work efficiently with the largest collection of primary law available.*
In addition to natural language search, the platform also boasts several AI-backed features that assist attorneys in a specific aspect of a workflow, such as:
Type a question in the Lexis+ search bar and get an accurate, succinct answer to your question at the top of your search results, instead of digging through documents manually.
Lexis Answers Training On the Go
Brief Analysis mines archives of legal precedents to find supporting documentation that bolsters your legal argument. The more it’s used, the more it automatically “learns” and gets smarter, which makes it faster and easier to find and digest relevant documents.
Read more about Brief Analysis:
Take a Free Guided Tour of Brief Analysis
Context is an AI-backed judicial analytics tool (sold separately from Lexis+) that analyzes a judge’s past decisions, enabling lawyers to pinpoint the types of arguments a certain judge typically finds most persuasive. With access to not only ruling history, but also the specific type of language a judge uses in court, you can garner insights that make or break a case.
Take a Free Guided Tour of Context
Lexis+ AI is the next evolution of AI-powered research technology from LexisNexis and will be officially available later this summer (2023). Boasting conversational search, advanced summarizing capabilities, and rapid document drafting, Lexis+ AI is designed to help you dramatically improve the speed, quality, and effectiveness of your practice. Watch the video below to learn more and join the Insider program to stay on top of updates and gain access to sneak previews.
According to the American Bar Association, over half of lawyers who responded to its 2022 Legal Technology Survey are increasing their technology budgets. What's more, 65.9% of respondents claimed receiving training or education about emerging technologies like AI is either "somewhat important" or "very important." This indicates that staying competitive in the legal industry will require attorneys to become well-acquainted with artificial intelligence, ultimately learning how to make the most of this new ally in research.
To learn more about AI in the legal tech world, check out these articles:
Or click below to access the industry's first report on generative AI in law:
Get the Generative AI Report
It is undeniable that AI data-driven research tools hold the massive potential to help lawyers become better legal practitioners. While many are amazed by what AI can already do, all indications are that the technologies behind it will continue to get better and better — and LexisNexis is here to support you as technology continues to develop. Contact us to learn more about how you can incorporate AI into your research today or explore Lexis+ by clicking below.
Become a Lexis+ AI Insider Buy Lexis+ Now
*Based on data available as of November 2022