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Mar 5, 2021

Will AI Replace Lawyers & Other Myths: Legal AI Mythbusters

AI is a hot buzzword right now, but with buzz always comes a whole host of misconceptions about a technology’s capabilities. There’s considerable confusion about what artificial intelligence can do and widespread misinformation about how it works, particularly in the area of managing legal contracts and if AI will replace lawyers.

Onit recently hosted a webinar to debunk these common myths. Nick Whitehouse, General Manager of Onit’s AI Center of Excellence, and Jean Yang, Vice President of Onit’s AI Center of Excellence, dispelled common misconceptions about everything from will AI replace lawyers to who can benefit from AI.

The goal is to help legal professionals decipher marketing-speak to determine what’s genuinely AI and what’s just software.

Here’s an overview of some of the common legal AI myths Nick and Jean debunked.

Myth 1: Will AI replace lawyers? No.

Lawyers being replaced by AI is the classic fear and, fortunately, it’s unfounded. Rather than replacing lawyers, AI will automate certain aspects of lawyers’ jobs, typically the most routine ones. As a result, lawyers will have more time to focus on other tasks and accomplishments. This means that lawyers’ jobs will continue to evolve and change as more AI capabilities are introduced, but those jobs will never be eliminated.

That’s not to say that lawyers should ignore legal AI. Yes, AI won’t replace them. However, lawyers using legal AI will replace those that don’t, thanks to increased productivity and efficiency provided by the transformative technology.

Myth 2: Is AI hard to implement? No.

AI learns, but to accomplish that it needs training. Typically, that is a monumental task that requires large pools of data, time and specialized technical skills.

The industry has matured now. Much of that work is done in advance by the vendor, meaning the technology is largely ready to implement and use right out of the box. For example, this AI for contract review comes loaded with a library of legal knowledge and can be up and running in a matter of days.

Myth 3: AI and machine learning can be used interchangeably. No.

Many people use the terms AI and machine learning interchangeably, but that’s not entirely accurate. AI is a technology that enables computers to learn and mimic human intelligence and it covers a wide range of techniques. Among those techniques are machine learning, natural language processing and more. The terms are used interchangeably, even though that’s incorrect, because machine learning is one of the AI techniques that we encounter most often in our day-to-day lives. Machine learning is integral to AI tools that make automated legal contract review possible.

Myth 4: AI is only for large legal departments. Not True.

While there may have been some barriers to entry in the early days of AI, we’re now at a point where AI solutions can be affordable for everyone – especially if your AI provider offers solutions capable of scaling to meet your needs for the size of your organization. The right AI solution will work just as well for the smallest legal department as it will for the largest global corporation.

Myth 5: AI will require too much training. No, AI will create less work, not more.

Many people worry that implementing AI will create more work for their department because they’ll frequently have to fix the technology or invest too much time learning how to use it.

Thankfully, we haven’t seen those fears play out.

Studies show that, on average, users are 51% more productive when they use AI for contract review. The more experienced they become with AI, the more their productivity improves. Additionally, as AI has become more mainstream, AI solutions require far less training, need far fewer corrections, and are much easier to use without extensive training.

But Wait – There are More Legal AI Myths to Expose

These are just some of the AI misunderstandings we dispel in the webinar. Our panel also talks about crucial issues like data security, retaining control over reviews and negotiations, why pre-built AI solutions are less effective, and why every team can benefit from AI. You can listen to the entire webinar here.

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