Yahoo News reports on China experimenting with artificial intelligence in the judicial system. It opens:

Artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts, and verdicts delivered on chat apps — welcome to China’s brave new world of justice spotlighted by authorities this week….

The efforts include a “mobile court” offered on popular social media platform WeChat that has already handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March, according to the Supreme People’s Court.

My Take:

I wouldn’t run out and open an AI litigation practice, but at some point tech is going to disrupt how cases are litigated and decided. There is too much inefficiency in the system for it not to.

Take personal injury litigation, for example. Insurance adjusters toil away trying to resolve cases before litigation. If they can’t, hordes of lawyers are ready to battle it out.

But when it’s over, most cases settle or are tried to verdict within a range that was predictable from the outset. There are cases right now where tens of thousands of dollars are spent working up a case that both side’s lawyers can already tell where it will settle.

Cases going the distance often result from one side or the other overly falling in love with their side’s arguments.

At some point, someone will develop an AI system that takes key metrics from a dispute and spits out a result. Insurance policies and contracts with impose the system pre-dispute, just like they do now with arbitration. It will gut sectors of the legal industry.

I don’t know exactly how or when tech will disrupt the legal industry. I just know it will.

There will still be a need for attorneys just like we still need workers in the railroad industry. But like the railroad industry, the legal industry’s glory days are behind us.