Recently, Allen & Overy (A&O) introduced an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot named ‘Harvey,’ which was built using GPT technology created by Open AI. The law firm is the first in the Magic Circle to introduce this kind of generative AI for use in active cases.
It has been reported that the AI chatbot will help A&O’s lawyers draft contracts, as well as automate and enhance tasks such as contract analysis, due diligence, and regulatory compliance. In addition, the tool will come up with basic drafts of documents for lawyers to use as a starting point for editing and improvement. Lawyers at the firm will be able to create and access legal information with improved speed and quality.
A&O is confident that the new technology will make its lawyers more efficient. This will allow them to produce higher quality work and allocate more time to high-value parts of their job. The firm’s adoption of this new technology comes from increased pressure on law firms to embrace technology and find efficiencies for their lawyers and clients. This pressure is also being experienced by companies across various industries and sectors, who are exploring the use of AI technology to enable them to deliver work more flexibly.
Importantly, the latest trend of AI systems has awakened concern about its threat to millions of jobs. In response to this concern, A&O has confirmed that Harvey will not replace any of its employees, nor will it reduce billable hours and save money for the firm or clients. David Wakeling, head of the firm’s Markets Innovation group, said that the new AI tool is not ‘a cost-cutting exercise’ but instead is ‘saving time at all levels.’ Moreover, there are concerns over the ethics of using technology in the legal sector, where accuracy is imperative. However, A&O has made it clear that its lawyers will be fact-checking any information generated by Harvey.
Law firms in the UK are already familiar with the use of AI technology. However, it is expected that recent developments with ChatGPT will change the practical use of AI in the legal sector. Despite the many advantages of using AI technology in the legal industry, there are concerns about the dependability and accuracy of AI, and the cost is also a major obstacle.
Overall, the AI trend in the legal sector is undeniable, and I expect its use to grow in the upcoming years.