MITRE study suggests firms can “robotize” use of legal brief citations




Earlier this week, we were reporting on a company offering new cloud services for collaboration in legal offices.


Technology showcased today by Elizabeth Tippett and Charlotte Alexander at The Daily Beast goes a step further (or several steps further) and claims to automate a lot of the heavy lifting that attorneys do in creating legal documents.


Citing a project by MITRE, a nonprofit, Tippett and Alexander write about the challenge of using brief citations to support an attorney’s case.


Machine learning, Tippett and Alexander said, has a challenge figuring out where brief citations are.


So MITRE pioneers created a graph analysis with a visual network of legal citations


They found the AI was able to use these to generate results that make a lot of human legal work obsolete.


In fact, what they found was that getting the resources from PACER or a database was often the bottleneck. With that taken care of, the technology was able to generate results that would help buttress a given case position.


All of this paves the way for significant changes in how the legal world functions. Will lawyers be as obsolete as truck drivers or cashiers?

“On a practical level, lawyers should be aware that software powered by AI already carries out legal tasks,” writes Lauri Donahue, a co-founder of the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. “Within a few years, AI will be taking over (or at least affecting) a significant amount of work now done by lawyers. Thirty-nine percent of in-house counsel expect that AI will be commonplace in legal work within ten years. On a more philosophical level, lawyers should understand that the “decisions” made by AI-powered software will raise significant legal questions, including those of tort liability and of criminal guilt.”

The above example is just one illustration of how knowledge work is now being automated. As Donahue points out in her article, physical work has often been transformed by technology. Legal work, and different kinds of work that are in some ways like it, may be next. From an investment standpoint, keep track of cutting-edge advances through single-equity plays or ETFs like the Ark Invest suite of innovation funds. You may just have your finger on the pulse of the future of work.