Law Firm Employs Robot Lawyers

      February 26, 2018 12:57

      A law firm in Seoul is employing two proto-AI "lawyers" to handle tedious tasks that clog up much of their human colleagues' working day.

      Dr & Aju hope to put the two programs, Law Bo and Urex, into service soon. A staffer said the two robot lawyers have won an international competition on legal information extraction for two years running, beating even the most diligent human competition. The law firm will demonstrate the programs soon to other legal experts here.

      Urex will rack up billable hours by trawling through tens of thousands of statute, older cases and legal precedents and extracting the most relevant to any given case, while Law Bo can provide some initial legal consultation. Legal AI developer Intellicon trained them for five years on what to look for. 

      Kim Hyung-woo at Dr & Aju, said, "Lawyers always worry that they may have missed some vital statute or precedent, and AI attorneys can make up for that."

      Legal tech services are already widely in use overseas. Two years ago, New York-based law firm BakerHostetler deployed an AI called Ross that specializes in bankruptcy proceedings and cut research time at the firm by more than 20 percent. Since then, 10 other law firms have employed Ross.

      At present, legal AIs can only do some background work, so there is no immediate danger that they will replace senior attorneys. They cannot decide on strategy or advise clients. But they can replace or supplement the services of legal clerks, while cutting down on costs for clients by speeding up search times.

      Clerking tasks are usually the domain of junior lawyers, and one said, "It makes me sad to think that I may lose my job to a machine."

      The Supreme Court also plans to develop a robot by 2021 to assist in cases, and the Justice Ministry last year announced it will use a chatbot to assist in legal counseling.

      Major Korean law firms including BKL and Yulchon have deployed computer programs to help draft simple legal documents. 

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