Legal 'e-Discovery' Software Replaces Lawyers

Lawyers now use 'e-discovery' legal software to uncover documents that are relevant to a lawsuit. This artificial intelligence program can analyze millions of documents for a fraction of the cost of flesh-and-blood lawyers and paralegals.

(Rapid Response Methodology from Blackstone Discovery)

Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

“From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. “People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”

Science fiction fans have been prepared for this idea for decades. In his 1990 novel Earth, David Brin writes about a lawyer program.

Greg Bear provides an amusing take on this idea with a "virtual counsel" named Max Detention from his recent novel Quantico:

The virtual counsel appeared to be about forty-five years old and prosperous. His eyes had a discerning expression and he exuded reassurance and confidence. "My provisional client is facing charges relating to an assault on two FBI agents..."

Via NYTimes.

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