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Will AI Render Litigators Obsolete? 

Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Law (Part 3)

If clients could know the likely outcome of nearly any dispute within a small statistical range, will they still need litigators? 

For example, let’s imagine a $5 million breach of contract dispute. The parties feed all of the data into IBM’s Watson and receive a printout predicting “There’s an 87% chance that a jury verdict in this case will be $1.5-$1.7 million.” With that data, they’re not going to war over $5 million; they’re arguing over $200,000. That’s a dispute the companies can resolve themselves without needing law firms to go to full-on combat for them.  Here’s a link to an excerpt of my Artificial Intelligence presentation where I discuss some of these issues.

If computers can predict outcomes better, will clients still hire lawyers? 

Why hire a $1,000/hour big-firm expert if a small-town solo practitioner can boast even greater overall expertise when their skills are augmented by readily available technology? 

In a head-to-head competition, AI software battled top lawyers to predict the likely outcome of 800 decided cases, and the technology beat the lawyers handily, 87% to 62%.  (See “Artificial Intelligence Beats Big Law Partners in Legal Matchup”).  Wow.  That’s big.

That just might be the legal profession’s “Jeopardy” moment. 

Click below to watch the 5-minute excerpt:

What’s the future of the legal profession as it starts to integrate IBM’s Watson, ROSS Intelligence, and other artificial intelligence, big-data, and machine learning technology? The future is uncertain. What seems obvious is that things are likely to be very different, very soon. Young lawyers will be practicing very differently in 20 years.  Many firms will struggle to remain relevant and others simply won’t make it. 

There will be winners and losers.

The question you should be asking yourself is — if your firm isn’t aggressively seeking to adapt, which group are you likely to be in?


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