Increasingly, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to reduce the amount of time legal professionals spend on simple, repetitive tasks that prevent them from practicing law or pursuing larger, more profitable clients. Smart business owners realize that strategic investment in their business operations can help them withstand disruption from increased competition. By leveraging AI-enabled technologies, law firms can become more efficient and secure while saving time and money.
Even though AI is commonly thought of as a technology of the future, there are tools currently available to law firms that utilize AI. Here are three that can be deployed immediately to increase productivity and safeguard clients’ information:
Speech recognition software
Legal professionals can spend hundreds of hours each year writing and transcribing notes into documents that are used by their offices or required by regulators. By training AI programs to search for keywords and phrases, speech recognition software can be built to understand exactly how to fill out complicated legal forms. This software could save legal professionals hours every day by converting speech to text–enabling lawyers to fill out paperwork via dictation.
Moreover, instead of delegating paralegals to fill out paperwork or transcribe recorded interviews, law firms can free up more staff to research and pitch new business. Increased production also reduces clerical work and gives law firms more time with clients — potentially leading to better business outcomes.
Document capture and automated workflows
Law firms keep track of large volumes of complicated documents in paper and electronic form. Clerks, paralegals and lawyers spend countless hours sorting and scanning materials to find the information they need. Rather than relying exclusively on manual labor to do this, AI-enabled software can be used to determine what information is important to a given team, and when documents are scanned, automatically route them to the appropriate destination based on parameters such as a client or case number.
By equipping their workforces with document-capture software to automate workflow, law firms enable employees to scan documents and route them to specific colleagues in real time. The efficient sharing and tracking of these documents can create more streamlined internal processes for filing and sharing – decreasing potential headaches and lost time.
Redaction and encryption
Even when printing or sharing documents, legal professionals are expected to guarantee their clients’ information is secure. By leveraging the power of AI, printers and scanners can “search” documents being scanned and printed for sensitive information that clients would not want to be made public or shared with unauthorized parties.
Printers and scanners are able to detect words such as “confidential” or personally identifiable information (PII) including social security numbers. After detection, the devices can encrypt the resulting digital file or redact PII. Clients expect their information will remain protected, and by leveraging AI to redact and encrypt documents, law firms can be assured this basic tenet of client privilege is safeguarded.
Businesses that fail to innovate should not expect to remain leaders in the future, even if their practice may be larger than that of their competitors. By using the power of AI to make their businesses more efficient and secure, law firms are setting themselves up for long-term success by eliminating time-consuming practices that can be left to intelligent software programs. Law firms can then focus on adapting to new challenges. In such a fierce market, the firms that capitalize on the resources available to them will have a competitive edge on rivals.
Mark Geremia is vice president and general manager for Dragon Professional and Consumer and oversees the product and marketing strategy for Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking portfolio, the world’s leading speech recognition and documentation solution for PC and Mac. He has held various leadership roles within the Dragon business over the last decade, and with his team continues to expand Dragon’s reach across enterprise, legal and law enforcement markets, transforming productivity and documentation accuracy for professional individuals and large organizations.