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The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Legal Research

March 14, 2023
a robot with artificial intelligence sits at a lawyer's desk holding the scales of justice


Back 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 technologies like Chat-GPT,  many attorneys are asking questions like: 

  • How will AI change the tools and resources I currently use?
  • How can I use AI to my advantage? 
  • Should I feel empowered or threatened by AI?

At this point, chances are, you're already using this technology in some areas of your legal research. 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. Still, the questions posed above are valid, 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? 

What 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? 

Artificial Intelligence in Law

Simply stated, AI-powered legal research platforms can help lawyers do more billable work more quickly, allowing them 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 tend to be more "extractive," meaning that they crawl and pull information from a large database, but you'll see AI's capabilities employed in a variety of angles including:

  • Natural language processing (NLP) for legal documents
  • Predictive analytics for case outcomes
  • Legal research search engines
  • Contract analysis and management
  • E-Discovery identification and classification
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Intellectual property process automation and search
  • Litigation analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Sentiment analysis

A few examples of these types of specific legal tech solutions include:

Brief Analysis

AI-based legal research software like Brief Analysis can mine archives of legal precedents to find supporting documentation to bolster a 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.


Context is a judicial analytics tool that can analyze a judge’s past decisions, enabling lawyers to pinpoint the types of arguments a certain judge typically finds most persuasive, how that judge typically rule on certain motions and more. These types of insights can make or break a case.

Take a Free Guided Tour of Context

Lexis Answers®

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.