Can AI Help Your Law Firm?

Posted May 10th, 2023 by Urban Legal Recruitment

Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay—and it’s transforming the legal field. 

With the advent of platforms like ChatGPT and Harvey AI, there are a number of tools at a firm’s disposal today. 

This post will dive deep into the ethics and use cases for AI. 

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot. Fuelled by AI technology, the natural language processing tool can hold a conversation with an end user.

Open.AI launched ChatGPT in November 2022. The company released a paid subscription version known as ChatGPT Plus at the beginning of February 2023. 

The program offers a number of applications for lawyers and legal support staff. These include:

  • Conducting very basic research (Always fact-check your work!)
  • Creating email newsletter templates
  • Summarizing meeting or hearing notes

We like to think of ChatGPT as a tool rather than a substitute for traditional tasks. 

What is Harvey AI?

Harvey AI calls itself “unprecedented legal AI.” 

Similar to ChatGPT, Open.AI is behind the tool—only Harvey AI is designed specifically for the legal field.

Using basic data, the program was trained on case law, reference materials, and other legal and legal-adjacent information. Firms that use Harvey AI can train the model on their own products and templates. The process resembles that of onboarding a new team member!

But what, exactly, can Harvey AI do? Created by a former associate lawyer and research scientist in 2022, the platform can be used for:

  • Research
  • Contract analysis
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Due diligence
  • Litigation

Harvey AI can also generate recommendations and predictions based on real data. The goal is for lawyers and legal support staff to work more efficiently. 

While Harvey AI is somewhat limited today, the tool is poised to become a real disruptor in our industry. In February 2023, Allen & Overy—one of the biggest law firms in the world—announced a partnership with Harvey AI. The London-based firm recently disclosed that over 3,500 of their lawyers have tested the solution. David Wakeling, who oversees Allen & Overy’s Markets Innovation Group, stated that the tool has delivered “amazing results.” He shared that Harvey can work in several languages across a range of practice areas.

Ethics of artificial intelligence

Firm leaders and legal department managers should have a clear policy around the use of AI that consider the ethical implications of artificial intelligence.

First, it’s important to make sure your firm only uses secure AI systems that comply with the relevant privacy laws and regulations. Client privilege is a top priority, so sharing sensitive information is never the answer. You and your colleagues will need to underscore the responsible use of AI and vet potential vendors carefully.

Second, you’ll want to keep in mind that AI isn’t a substitute for a real-life lawyer. Harvey AI is only in beta currently and is limited as a tool for legal analysis, and ChatGPT isn’t always factual.

There are potential risks of using AI in the legal field, such as job displacement, algorithmic bias, or lack of accountability. It is important to consider all these factors when drafting your AI policy. 

Leveraging AI can streamline tasks, reduce response times, and provide a higher level of service but it’s critical to keep the above ethical and risk considerations in mind. 

Connect with qualified legal support staff

Is your law firm or legal department hiring legal assistants or paralegals? 

My name is Shona Tischner, and my human resources background at an international law firm has helped me finetune my recruitment skills over three decades. Today, in my role at Urban Legal Recruitment, I connect directors and HR managers with the legal talent they need to excel.

So look no further for access to top-tier legal applicants. I can help hiring managers like you navigate a pool of candidates covering the full range of legal expertise. Please contact me for more information on crafting the perfect job description, or complete our job order submission form with a summary of the position you hope to fill. I look forward to hearing from you!