In a recent study analyzing accuracy in reviewing provisions of five NDAs, an artificial intelligence program achieved 94% accuracy versus 85% average accuracy for a group of 20 experienced lawyers. The most accurate lawyer equaled the accuracy of the AI program, but the least accurate lawyer clocked in at only 74% accuracy, an alarming statistic for an “expert.” Further, it took an average time of 92 minutes for each lawyer to review all five agreements, while it took a total time of 26 seconds (not a typo) for the AI program to review them all.

Using IBM Watson analytics, Ross Intelligence’s legal research program can read 40 million documents in 15 seconds. Users ask spoken questions and Ross reads through “the entire body of law” and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation.

Voltaire software introduced in 2015 helps lawyers pick the “right” jurors. Also powered by IBM Watson, Voltaire searches through billions of data points, including public records and social media posts, to pull up within minutes all kinds of information on prospective jurors and then uses deep psycho-linguistic and behavioral analysis to discover their biases and views and to deliver real-time predictions on how they might vote. Think the science behind the fictional “Bull” television show. Since its debut, Voltaire has provided information to attorneys in over 100 trials.

There’s also the “robot lawyer” app that can process thousands of parking tickets and the “judge” avatar that can predict with 85% accuracy the outcome of trials, both of which we’ve reported on before. 

Do these kind of developments have anything to do with continuing reports of the loss of jobs in the legal sector–already down 1,000 just in the first quarter of 2018–and the shrinking of firms country-wide?

This steady erosion of not only human legal jobs but also human superiority in legal expertise will within only a matter of years, not even decades, change entirely what clients are looking for in their lawyers. Technological know-how and management skills, yes, but more importantly, the deep human relationship skills that high emotional intelligence provides.