Can AI Technology Drastically Lower Attorney Costs?

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Can AI Lower Attorney Costs?

Attorney costs are great… said no one ever. If you are like me and feel like you’re buying a small island every time you see a lawyer’s bill, you’ll want to pay attention when it comes to ai technology, because it has real potential to lower your attorney cost. I mean, it’s common sense right, if attorneys and their teams can do less work, you should see less billable hours on your bill and therefore a smaller bill.  Here, we will give you the inside scoop to make sure  you understand just how much work they are potentially doing compared to a year ago, before the big Ai movement.  Let’s geek out a bit!

The legal world is notorious for its high costs, especially when it comes to the costs of divorce, which is something I know first hand and so do my credit card companies.  Those hourly rates can quickly add up, legitimately I will add, which I also learned first hand after going pro se. The judicial process is agonizing, with a ridiculous amount of repetitive paperwork.

Here’s a question; why don’t the judges have large computer screens in front of them instead of paper files they seem to print out fresh for every hearing, endless discovery, or even worse, lack there-of so you have to chase it, case precedent and rule codes to sift though, to find that teeny weeny ‘red tape’ save for their client?  Being a lawyer probably used to suck, until now. Why? Think of artificial intelligence as robot to take the place of an unpaid intern, but can handle the workload of an infinite number of them, who work an endless number of hours. Plus, they can’t sue you for sexual harassment or a hostile work environment. #BONUS

Now, we aren’t talking about robot lawyers straight out of a sci-fi movie. This is extremely sophisticated technology designed to streamline, essentially automate legal processes, by having every single little detail, understands all of the red tape, statutes, court rulings, precedent, every nuance of the judicial system and gives instant access pinpointing exactly what the attorney needs within seconds or minutes, rather than hours, days, weeks or months.

The flowchart breaks down the various areas where AI plays a role in both the general legal world. We talk specifically about divorce cases later in the article, but first, let’s break down the basics.

Ai's impact on the legal industry

  1. Document Review: Those endless nights of lawyers drowning in paperwork might soon be a distant memory. Thanks to AI tools, the tedious task of document review is becoming more efficient. These advanced tools can quickly analyze and categorize vast amounts of documents, streamlining the review process. The result? Fewer billable hours spent on manual reviews and more downtime for attorneys. But the burning question remains: will this efficiency lead to reduced attorney costs for clients? Only time will tell.
  2. Legal Research:  The iconic image of attorneys buried in piles of law books is fading fast. Enter AI tools like Casetext and ROSS Intelligence, which are ushering in a new era of digital legal research. These cutting-edge tools deliver faster answers than traditional research methods, potentially trimming down the hours on your bill. However, whether these saved hours will lighten your invoice is still up for debate.
  3. Drafting Documents:  The monotonous chore of routine documentation, contract reviews, and drafting is undergoing a transformation, all thanks to AI writing tools. Tasks that previously consumed hours or even days can now be wrapped up in just a few minutes. This newfound efficiency might translate to substantial savings in billable hours. But, will these savings find their way to the client’s wallet? That’s the real conundrum.
  4. E-Discovery:  E-discovery was once akin to searching for that elusive needle in a haystack. However, with the advent of AI, this process has been revamped. AI tools can delve into vast datasets, extracting key information at lightning speed. This accelerates the discovery phase of litigation, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.
  5. Predictive Analytics: Predicting the outcome of a case before it even commences might sound like a plot from a futuristic movie. Yet, with AI’s predictive analytics, this is inching closer to reality. By analyzing heaps of data, AI can provide insights into potential case outcomes. This not only offers a strategic edge but also saves time and resources, paving the way for informed decisions.

Table: AI in the Legal World

AI Application Description Potential Hourly Savings
Document Review Analyzes and classifies documents for relevance. 8 hours
Legal Research Provides fast legal answers using tools like Casetext and ROSS Intelligence. 6 hours
Drafting Documents Automates routine documentation. 4 hours
E-Discovery Finds key information in large datasets. 9 hours
Predictive Analytics Forecasts case results and settlements. 5 hours
Background Research Speeds up client intake and background checks. 3 hours


Divorce Attorney Costs: The Breakdown (Costs, not me this time) 

  1. Asset Identification:
    Divorces are complex, especially when it comes to dividing assets. AI technology steps in to simplify this process. By analyzing financial records, AI can swiftly identify and categorize marital assets. This not only ensures a fair division but also saves attorneys countless hours of manual work, making the process more efficient and less prone to human error.
  2. Document Review:
    Communication is key in any relationship, and during a divorce, past communications can become crucial evidence. From emails to text messages, AI has the capability to sort, analyze, and highlight relevant pieces from years of communication. This makes the processes of asset division and child custody smoother, ensuring that no critical detail is overlooked.
  3. Settlement Analytics:
    Determining a fair settlement can be a daunting task. However, with AI’s advanced analytics, it’s possible to benchmark settlement amounts based on data from past cases. This provides a clearer picture of what’s fair and reasonable, helping both parties reach an agreement faster and with more confidence.
  4. Forms Automation:
    Legal forms are notorious for being tedious and time-consuming. AI comes to the rescue by automating this process. With the power of AI, legal forms related to divorce proceedings can be generated in mere seconds, ensuring accuracy and saving precious hours that would otherwise be spent on manual drafting.
  5. Predictive Analytics:
    The uncertainty of a divorce case outcome can be nerve-wracking. AI’s predictive analytics offers a solution by analyzing vast amounts of data to forecast potential divorce ruling probabilities. This not only provides peace of mind but also allows attorneys to strategize more effectively, saving both time and resources.
  6. Client Screening:
    The initial stages of any legal process are crucial. AI-enhanced chatbots are now equipped to handle initial client interviews. These chatbots can quickly gather necessary background facts, ensuring that attorneys have all the information they need right from the start. This not only speeds up the process but also ensures that first impressions are accurate and informative.

The Bottom Line

Potential savings with AI in divorce cases:

Breakdown of potential savings with ai in divorce cases

The diagram illustrates how the total savings of 120 billable hours is achieved:

  • Asset Identification: 10 hours saved
  • Document Review: 50 hours saved
  • Settlement Analytics: 20 hours saved
  • Forms Automation: 15 hours saved
  • Predictive Analytics: 15 hours saved
  • Client Screening: 10 hours saved

Multiplying the total saved hours (120 hours) by the average hourly rate of $250, we get a potential savings of $30,000.

However, the million-dollar (or perhaps $30,000) question remains: will attorneys pass on these savings to their clients? Only time will tell. For further information on the impact of AI in the legal world, I found a great podcast you should listen to Law NEXT