LAWYERS AND AI: WHAT YOU GAIN FROM THE HUMAN TOUCH

Using Chat GPT to draft your legal agreement? Great and you know what? We use it too! So you might be asking yourself “do I even need to use a lawyer?”. Well here is your gentle reminder of what you don’t get when you use Chat GPT (other generative AI tools are available!) to draft your agreement:  

  • Human interface! I get this may or may not be everyone’s experience of interacting with lawyers but on balance I would hope that actually interacting with a human being provides for a more reassuring experience? As an added bonus you may even deal with someone who has some emotional intelligence and can react to and thrive off your own emotional investment and enthusiasm in the project.
  • Expertise and experience – with that human being comes at least 4 years of academic study and x years of experience. One of the things people say about generative AI is that is doesn’t understand a word it is saying (again, I guess the same thing could be levelled at lawyers (!)). But generative AI is literally just predicting the next word based on the word just gone (like stepping stones). With a lawyer, that experience and expertise delivers the following:
    • Calling out an identifying key legal issues, potential gaps and pitfallsJurisdictional knowledge – will the wording actually be enforceable under the governing law chosen and in the jurisdiction where it might be litigated?Joining the dots – how does the agreement fit into the organisation’s existing policies on ethics, governance, risk tolerance etcConnected agreements – for example, how does the agreement tie in with ancillary terms and conditions, like data processing agreementsContinuity and consistency through negotiations both for the contract in question as well as across the whole of the client’s contract suite
    • Up-to-date knowledge of “market practices” – for instance, that limitation of liability or exclusion might make sense on its own terms, but is it ever going to be acceptable to the target market client base?
  • Regulated profession – If all the above isn’t enough, by engaging a lawyer you get the comfort of knowing that they are regulated by a professional body which enforces strict ethics and codes of conduct
  • Recourse – Last but by no means least, if the agreement provided by the lawyer is not fit for purpose you are likely to have some recourse, either through a complaint process which might result in a do-over or money back or off the bill. Ultimately you have the right to bring a claim in the courts. Remember, we are all required to have minimum levels of professional indemnity insurance.

I hope this doesn’t come across as complacency or a desperate attempt to justify our existence. I fully agree that the legal profession needs to adapt to this AI revolution as much as any sector (perhaps more than some since we seem to have been relatively unchanged (in so far as business models go) by the various technology revolutions over the years).

99 times out of a hundred using an AI generated document will probably do the job – but the issue is that you won’t really know until it is tested and for that to happen there is most likely been some sort of query or even disagreement between the parties to the agreement.

As is often the case, it boils down to risk profile and attitude to risk – do the cost savings now outweigh the investment in human legal advice? Of course it doesn’t have to be either/or – why not get AI to do the first draft and then get a lawyer to give it the once over.

Love to hear your thoughts on this!

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