Should AI delete humans out of the legal sphere?

Published on: 16/11/2023

#Data Protection

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been predicted to revolutionise the way we live and work. The legal sector has not been immune to this, with many theorising how it will disrupt established norms.

With the emergence of large language models like ChatGPT, these predictions have moved from theory to reality but there have been issues with the accuracy of the information provided. Already, there are examples of AI drafted work being revealed in Court for quoting non-existent case law to reinforce its assertions.

A recent BBC article highlighted how AI is being used in more responsible ways and how it could positively impact the legal sector. It gave the example of an automated contract negotiation tool installed on two computers that negotiated the terms of an NDA on behalf of each party. The tool removed problematic clauses and replaced them with more equitable versions. After four rounds of negotiation the parties were sent agreed versions of the NDA to review and sign.

This example highlights the potential for AI to streamline routine legal tasks. However, there are consequences to consider when it comes to AI in the legal sphere:

1. Oversight

Those behind the automated negotiation test were at pains to point out that AI should not be relied on to enter into contracts. Whilst it may be useful to negate the need for protracted negotiations, lawyers are still needed to review the contracts and highlight any liabilities  or unusual terms that the AI may have overlooked.

2. Accountability

Law is a specialised and highly regulated profession. This affords clients peace of mind that they will be advised responsibly and with avenues for recourse should they face any issues. It remains to be seen how AI will be integrated into legal regulatory framework, but at present there is little reliable remedy available should the AI produce erroneous work to your detriment.

3. Human touch

Contract negotiation is not just about the intangibles. It also requires that lawyers take time to understand their client’s business, concerns and aspirations and how this feeds into the contracts they enter into. Whilst AI may be able to understand the former, it may prove difficult for it to appreciate the latter.

In conclusion, AI undoubtedly seems destined to reshape the legal landscape. Lawyers may spend less time on routine negotiation and drafting, but focus on providing oversight and ultimate review of documentation before the client signs.

If you any advice in relation to AI in the legal sector, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the data protection team.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.