How Natural Language Processing (NLP) AI is used in law
Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way the legal industry works. While the introduction of AI is new to law, a wide variety of intelligent tools are available to attorneys today. One of the most helpful of these AI applications is natural language processing (NLP).
NLP is a subset of AI that processes natural human language, either text or speech. Well-known examples include Google’s predictive search suggestions, spell checker, and speech recognition. NLP is a promising industry that is expected to be worth $ 27.6 billion by 2026 and has a significant impact on the legal sector.
This is how lawyers use natural language processing today.
Streamlining of legal research
One of the most popular and helpful uses of NLP in law is legal research. Thorough research is essential to any legal process, but also one reason why it takes so long. A personal injury claim can take up to three years to resolve, which can discourage customers.
Natural language processing can help shorten these schedules by streamlining the research process. NLP-powered legal search engines can translate plain language into “legal”, making it easier to search relevant documents and cases. More advanced NLP programs can search for concepts, not just specific keywords, so lawyers can find what they need faster.
NLP programs can analyze a case study or document and suggest other similar cases for attorneys to review. These recommendations can help attorneys understand precedents for a problem more quickly and more thoroughly.
Drafting and analyzing legal documents
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of word choice and syntax in law. Any ambiguity in a contract or other legal document can open it to unintended interpretation. Natural language processing can help lawyers avoid these document drafting mistakes and protect their clients and their reputations.
Some contract review programs can process documents in 20 languages and help lawyers around the world understand or draft contracts. Others can automatically create templates based on a specific law, agreement, or company policy. These technologies save attorneys time and help ensure accurate wording and syntax.
Busy attorneys can miss mistakes or unintentional ambiguities in a document, which can cost them later. Checking everything out with NLP programs can help make sure they find or say anything they need.
Automate routine tasks
Legal work is known to be intense, so any automation can be a significant relief for lawyers. Although NLP is not an automation technology in and of itself, it can enable automation in some areas. The best known example of this application are chatbots.
A 2018 survey found that 59% of legal clients expect lawyers to be available outside of business hours. Chatbots can provide 24-hour support and help these customers get the answers they need without lawyers having to work overtime. The same services could also answer users’ initial questions and help them get to the services they need more quickly.
As mentioned earlier, some NLP-based automation tools can create basic contract versions. Other services can organize and file documents automatically based on the language they contain. Automating these processes saves attorneys time, reduces stress, and helps them serve more clients.
One of the newest, but most promising, NLP uses in law is predictive analysis of case outcomes. Advanced NLP programs can analyze previous case studies to create predictive models for a particular jurisdiction. These algorithms can then predict how a court might decide and help lawyers tailor a more effective argument.
A 2016 study created an NLP model that could predict with 79% accuracy what a court would decide in a given case. With years of additional research and technological advancement, similar services are likely to prove even more accurate today. Using these models to manipulate an attorney’s reasoning could dramatically improve his or her chances of success.
Because these NLP programs are machine learning based, the more lawyers they use, the more helpful they become. The more cases there are to be analyzed, the more accurate these predictive models become.
Natural Language Processing helps both lawyers and clients clients
Legal work is rarely straightforward, which can be frustrating for both lawyers and their clients. AI tools like natural language processing can help streamline and improve legal work and ensure better results for everyone involved.
The legal sector’s reliance on precise language makes it the ideal place to take advantage of NLP. Although this concept is still in its infancy, it already shows enormous potential for lawyers and their clients.