Blockchain, Machine Learning, AI – Oh My! Law Firm Management

Blockchain, Machine Learning, and AI meet Law Firm Management: How to dramatically improve your speed, efficiency, and productivity

If the intersection of law firm management with Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence does not exactly scare you, it may still confuse or overwhelm you. It would be a mistake, however, to shun these recent digital developments.

From the moment your name went up on that shingle, you most likely started comparing yourself to the other shingle down the road – and you should. The good news is that most law firms do not sit on the cutting edge of new technology such as AI. To bolster your competitive edge and remain relevant to your clients (especially the younger ones), it’s important to familiarize yourself with the latest evolutions in the industry.

In the arena of Law Firm Management, marked speed, efficiency, and productivity gains are beginning to separate the technology adopters from the laggers. You may not have realized in law school that you were also signing up to run a business; nevertheless, the time has come for lawyers to think more like legal moguls.

If your gross profits are decreasing and you find that you are unable to accurately measure your resources, it is probably not due to a lack of effort or skill. Instead, you are likely being outpaced simply as a result of today’s speed of business. Your law firm can begin to bridge the gap through technological innovation, including Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.

How do Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Relate to Law Firm Management?

Blockchain

Let’s start with blockchain. At its root, combining blockchain with law firm management is all about security. Blockchain is a system in which records of transactions are maintained across several computers linked in a peer-to-peer network in order to establish immutability, unparalleled security, and transparency.

Thanks to Blockchain, attorneys can now securely record, transact, and authenticate many types of legal matters, including:

  • Intelligent Contracts: a decentralized ledger of documents and agreements with version histories and amendments that cannot be modified or faked.
  • Land Registry: the future of title searches will be more efficient and accurate when public blockchain ledgers replace current databases, allowing everyone instant access to ownership records.
  • Intellectual Property: a similar public blockchain ledger will ultimately be available for patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
  • Notary Services: online notary services are already available and ensure digital fingerprints for signed and notarized documents; this provides another layer of authentication, security, and accessibility.

These examples reflect just a few ways in which blockchain can be incorporated into law firm management. The complete list of functionality is virtually endless. After all, immutability, security, and transparency are the shared foundations of almost every tenet of every legal practice area.

Applying Algorithms: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

As with other enterprises, the field of law firm management is being disrupted by artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers to mechanical simulation of human cognitive functions. Drawing on algorithms (a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations), computers can now interpret data, recognize patterns, and form conclusions at breakneck speed.

Machine Learning is an application of Artificial Intelligence. Its focus is the continued development of computer programs that access data and use it to successfully learn, predict, and improve.

There are many ways in which law firms can incorporate AI for better efficiency and productivity. For example:

  • Speed Reading and Research: Since computers read much faster than humans (i.e. a million pages per second more), AI can conduct rapid searches of vast data sets.
  • Fact-Checking: Rapid research does not have to come with a tradeoff. AI can also confirm facts and safeguard your credibility.
  • Quick Search and Retrieval: AI-enabled machines can find relevant files in mere seconds, no matter how large the cache of documents to sort through.
  • Predictions: Artificial Intelligence can accurately predict legal outcomes by comparing large numbers of similar cases. Relatedly, it can help identify derivative cases within an existing case load (as with GrowPath’s patented Buzzwords™ feature).
  • Lead Scoring: AI can help identify high-value cases and preserve valuable attorney time (as with GrowPath’s proven lead-scoring method).

At the Speed of Software: The Future of Law Firm Management

Whatever your feelings towards blockchain, machine learning, and AI, they are undeniably here to stay. Simply put, attorneys are no longer confined to the office — they run mobile practices and amass data at a staggering rate. From intake and case administration to billing and client communication, contemporary law firm management requires remote access, security, and backup capabilities. These new technologies make it all possible.

The complexities of the legal profession require you to view your firm as the business it is. As business needs change, so must your firm. Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence-based systems will continue to impact efficiency and productivity levels across the legal profession. Developing a basic understanding of these tools and keeping abreast of new solutions and improvements are vital steps in ensuring that your firm thrives. If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy How to Choose the Best Legal Case Management Software.