From Bytes to Briefs: The Synergy of AI and Legal Professionals in Communication
In this article, we will dive into the writing and communication aspects of legal work and how AI can assist professionals. Effective communication skills are critical to hone across all disciplines, and legal professions are no exception. If anything, communication is essential to the daily work of legal professionals, whether it be contacting clients, drafting legal documents, or presenting in court.
Generative AI provides outputs based on multiple layers of machine learning training with human-spoken language, serving as a practical communication assistant for legal professionals. We will dive into a demonstration of how one may enhance their communication abilities in a professional legal work setting using Chat GPT.
On a surface level, generative AI can help lawyers or paralegals improve clarity in their written or verbal communication with clients by providing suggestions and edits. One may simply input an email, for instance, to be sent to a client in Chat GPT and ask, “Please provide suggestions on how to enhance the following email’s professionalism: __."
Yet, this is a glimpse of what modern GPT-3 engine-trained AI is capable of. When communicating with their clients, legal professionals may face common inquiries or encounter routine legal matters and procedures. Generative AI can provide responses that reflect general legal knowledge and relevant details to the client’s question. Thus, legal professionals may employ AI-powered chatbots or other virtual assistants to respond to clients on frequently asked legal inquiries requiring basic legal knowledge to answer. Legal practitioners can save mass amounts of time that would otherwise be spent on repetitive questions.
Here is an example greeting a chatbot may ask to open communication with their client:
“Hi, I'm the legal assistant chatbot of XYZ Law Firm. How can I assist you today? Please provide me with your question or concern, and I'll do my best to provide you with the information you need."
Below is an example conversation between a client and an AI-powered chatbot using the following question above:
Client: Hi, I'm having trouble understanding the terms of the contract I received from XYZ Company. Can you help me with that?
Chatbot: Certainly! I'd be happy to assist you. Please provide me with the specific sections or clauses you'd like clarification on, and I'll do my best to explain them to you.
Client: I'm confused about the indemnification clause. What does it mean?
Chatbot: The indemnification clause is a provision that outlines the responsibilities and obligations of the parties involved in the contract in case of any claims, damages, or losses. It typically states that one party agrees to compensate and defend the other party against any legal actions or expenses arising from certain specified events or situations. The exact terms and scope of the indemnification clause can vary, so it's essential to review the specific wording in your contract to understand the parties' rights and obligations in this regard.
Client: Thanks for the explanation. Could you also let me know if there is a termination clause in the contract?
Chatbot: Certainly! The termination clause is a section in the contract that outlines the conditions and procedures under which either party can end the agreement before its natural expiration. It typically covers aspects such as notice periods, grounds for termination, and any associated consequences or obligations upon termination. To provide you with accurate information, could you please let me know the specific contract you're referring to? Is it a client services agreement, employment contract, or something else?
Client: It's an employment contract.
Chatbot: Thank you for clarifying. In an employment contract, the termination clause typically specifies conditions under which the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship. It may cover aspects like notice periods, reasons for termination (such as resignation, termination for cause, or termination without cause), and any severance or post-termination obligations. I recommend reviewing your specific employment contract for detailed information on the termination provisions and consult with an employment law expert if you have any further questions or concerns.
Client: I see. That clears things up. Thank you for your help!
Chatbot: You're welcome! I'm glad I could assist you. If you have any more questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask. I'm here to help you with any other legal matters as well.
Of course, while maintaining high accuracy of responses, generative AI is yet imperfect, thus rendering it impractical to rely exclusively on AI chatbots for answering legal questions. One may provide instructions to the generative AI model to connect clients with legal professionals directly if their answer is deemed limited, inaccurate, or outdated.
Legal professionals may take it further to create a custom generative AI chatbot serving the corporation, firm, or individual’s needs. The process involves various steps, including data collection, data preprocessing, training model selection, validation, and a whole lot more. Creating custom AI chatbots will help tailor the generated responses toward specific client requirements or common inquiries, but that’s for another article.
Proofreading and Editing
Generative AI can assist by proofreading and editing legal documents by identifying grammar or spelling errors and structural inconsistencies while providing detailed suggestions for improving clarity. AI will empower lawyers and paralegals to produce flawless and polished legal documents, helping improve their professionalism in communication.
“I need your assistance in proofreading and editing a legal document. Please review the text below and provide suggestions or corrections to improve its grammar, sentence structure, and overall clarity:
We will be representing you in the matter of your recent case. Our services will include legal research, drafting of necessary documents, court appearances, and communication with all relevant parties. We will also provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case.
Our fees will be calculated based on an hourly rate of $250 per hour for attorneys and $150 per hour for paralegals. We estimate the total hours required for this case to be approximately 60 hours. Based on this estimate, the total cost for our services will be $15,000 for attorneys' fees and $9,000 for paralegals' fees, making a total of $24,000. Please note that this is an estimate and the final cost may vary depending on the complexity and duration of the case. We will keep you informed of any changes to the cost estimate as the case progresses.
TERMS OF PAYMENT
We require an initial retainer of $10,000 to commence work on your case. The remaining balance will be billed on a monthly basis, and payment is due within 15 days of receiving the invoice. We accept payment by check or bank transfer. Should you have any questions or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.”
We will represent you in your recent case, providing legal research, drafting necessary documents, attending court appearances, and communicating with all relevant parties. Additionally, we will regularly update you on the progress of your case.
Our fees will be calculated based on an hourly rate of $250 for attorneys and $150 for paralegals. We estimate that approximately 60 hours will be required for this case. Based on this estimate, the total cost for our services will amount to $15,000 for attorneys' fees and $9,000 for paralegals' fees, making a total of $24,000. Please note that this is an estimate, and the final cost may vary depending on the complexity and duration of the case. We will keep you informed of any changes to the cost estimate as the case progresses.
TERMS OF PAYMENT
To begin work on your case, we require an initial retainer of $10,000. The remaining balance will be billed on a monthly basis, with payment due within 15 days of receiving the invoice. We accept payment by check or bank transfer. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please feel free to contact me directly.”
Language can oftentimes function as a barrier to effective communication. Generative AI can empower lawyers and paralegals by facilitating accurate translation between legal professionals or clients who may speak a different language. AI can translate and summarize legal contracts, court decisions, and documents written in foreign languages. Machine learning models, including transformers, specialize in language translation, and legal professionals can leverage AI-powered language translation models including ChatGPT. This will open up a gateway to further international legal support and interference.
Lawyers and paralegals can utilize generative AI to explore various tools to bolster their interpersonal communication abilities. Many more relevant prompts can be viewed on LowTech AI.
While this article was geared towards the interpersonal communication aspect of generative AI support, future articles will dive more into AI's writing assistance, such as generating initial drafts of legal contracts and agreements.