How Artificial Intelligence Can Enhance Your Legal Practice

Serving Families Throughout Palm Beach Gardens
The Institute

A personal reflection on my recent lecture at the Orlando conference

I am a divorce lawyer just shy of 30 years of experience in the field. I have always been interested in the intersection of law and technology, and how it can improve the quality and efficiency of legal services. That is why I was honored to be invited to speak at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Florida Chapter, Institute on April 26, 2024. “The Unavoidable Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession” was my presentation.

Artificial intelligence, or A.I., is the ability of machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as reasoning, learning, decision-making, and natural language processing. A.I. is not a new concept, but it has gained a lot of momentum in recent years thanks to advances in computing power, data availability, and algorithmic techniques. A.I. can be applied to various domains and industries, including law.

The term “artificial intelligence” was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy, a computer scientist who organized a conference at Dartmouth College to explore the possibility of creating machines that can simulate human intelligence. Since then, A.I. has gone through several periods of progress and stagnation, depending on the availability of funding, data, and computing resources, as well as the challenges and limitations of different approaches and methods.

One of the major breakthroughs in A.I. was the emergence of large foundational models, which are deep neural networks that can learn from massive amounts of data and perform various natural language tasks, such as text generation, summarization, translation, question answering, and sentiment analysis. These models, such as GPT-3 by OpenAI, can generate coherent and fluent texts based on a given input or prompt, without requiring any specific training or fine-tuning for each task. They are like a Swiss army knife of A.I., as they can accomplish many tasks with one tool. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as the risk of generating inaccurate, biased, or harmful texts, as well as the ethical and legal implications of using them. Therefore, it is important for lawyers to be aware of the potential and the limitations of these models, and to use them with caution and discretion.

A.I. can help lawyers in many ways, such as automating repetitive and tedious tasks, enhancing research and analysis, generating, and reviewing documents, predicting outcomes and risks, and providing insights and recommendations. A.I. can also help lawyers deliver better and faster services to their clients, reduce costs and errors, and increase their competitive edge. However, A.I. also poses some challenges and risks for lawyers, such as ethical, legal, and professional issues, as well as the need to adapt and learn new skills and tools.

I was very pleased with the response and the feedback I received from the audience. They were very engaged and curious about A.I. and its applications for law. They asked me many questions, such as:

  • How can I evaluate the reliability and accuracy of an A.I. output?
  • How can I protect the confidentiality and privacy of my clients and their data when using A.I.?
  • How can I keep up with the latest developments and trends in A.I. and law?
  • How can I learn and master the skills and tools needed to use A.I. effectively and responsibly?

I tried to answer these questions as best as I could, using examples and references from my own experience and research. I also encouraged the audience to explore and experiment with A.I. themselves, using reputable and trustworthy platforms and sources, and to always apply their own judgment and critical thinking.