The AI Lawyer Starts Billing Hours


What it means and why it’s a good thing for the legal community and society.

By Brooks Lindsay

You may have heard recently about the development of the artificial intelligence (AI) lawyer, “ROSS” by the creators of IBM’s Watson. Well, the synthetic lawyer was just hired by law firm Baker & Hostetler. This post attempts to explain what the AI lawyer is, what it can do, how it will change the legal community, and why it’s good for the legal community and society.

ROSS is built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, a supercomputer that recently strutted its stuff by beating Jeopardy phenom Ken Jennings. The AI lawyer is capable of reading and understanding language, generating thoughtful legal analysis, synthesizing thousands of case results into precise answers, postulating legal hypotheses, and providing citations along the way. It can also monitor legal news and notify attorneys when, for example, a favorable ruling is delivered on a relevant case.

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What Can a Foul-Mouthed Twitter Troll and a Board Game Playing Robot Tell Us About Artificial Intelligence’s Ramifications for the Legal System?

AIBy Jeff Bess

Rapid technological development in the digital age has disrupted countless industries and fundamentally reshaped many aspects of modern life. Many of these technologies also present legal challenges; ranging from Constitutional privacy concerns stemming from government surveillance, to ongoing employment law disputes about companies’, like Uber, use of independent contractors. A perhaps even greater disruptor – to both the law and society in general – is found in the emerging field of Artificial Intelligence. There have been numerous scholarly inquiries into theoretical challenges of creating a moral and legal framework to govern Artificial Intelligence technologies, but recent accomplishments in the field can provide clues as to how the direction of the technology will inform necessary legal rules. Continue reading