However, the use of artificial intelligence – or AI – is increasingly becoming a day-to-day reality.
Global law firm Addleshaw Goddard has, over the past 18 months, carried out an extensive pilot to bring artificial intelligence into its operations.
The firm, which has recently moved to new offices in Leeds city centre, announced its deployment of Kira Systems’ software, having integrated it into its delivery model to provide legal services more efficiently, quickly and accurately.
The pilot was led by the law firm’s Transaction Services Team (TST) and sees the technology being used to eradicate some of the more laborious work needed to search through often thousands of documents for relevant details.
Work has been carried out for a number of the firm’s clients, with the initial focus being on applying Kira to corporate, banking and real estate transactional work.
Kira is software that identifies, analyses and extracts provisions and other information from contracts and other documents.
Using built-in machine learning models for common transactional needs, and a tool called Kira Quick Study, it enables users to teach Kira how to identify almost any provision from any document.
Mike Potter, partner and head of the TST, told The Yorkshire Post: “There are some really compelling benefits.
“What we have been able to demonstrate is that in certain situations, technology like AI allows us to do things quicker and with greater accuracy.
“As an example, any law firm has to look at a lot of information as part of its due diligence, and may have to extract information from thousands of contracts so we can report back to clients about what we have found.
“Historically, this would have been done by a lot of people who would work to summarise the main provisions.
“What the AI does, is still do the work to extract the provisions, but it avoids the need for so many people to spend as much time going through contracts.”
The practice of deploying AI is becoming more prevalent among legal firms.
Mr Potter said that the introduction of the technology was being as much driven by client needs, as advances in technology.
He added: “Lots of people within the law will tell you that, increasingly, clients are looking for more with less.
“That challenges all firms in terms of how to deliver.
“We have seen a lot of appetite for it among clients. They are seeing the benefits of AI and increasingly asking if they can use it.”
Mr Potter added that the advent of AI was one that he, and most of the legal world, could not have foreseen just a few years ago.
He added: “This is really exciting and brings so many new opportunities. I come from a traditional corporate law background. The pace of change is increasing, all of which is exciting for people like me.”
Kerry Westland, a managing associate in the TST, said: “We chose Kira because of the quality of the information it extracts and the flexibility of the Quick Study facility which enables us to build our own legal expertise into the system.
“We have been able to integrate Kira into our other technology solutions, to enable us to continue to transform the way we deliver services to our clients.”