AI + The Lawyer

It’s safe to say that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here. While the stunning technology used to be reserved for Sci-Fi concepts, OpenAI’s Chat GPT, propelled by its biggest investor, Microsoft, is seeking to revolutionize the capabilities of AI, our expectations of it, and its uses. AI is being applied in virtually every industry, so it’s no surprise that the legal industry is learning how to apply it to the practice and business of law. The AI deluge raises an immediate question for lawyers: how is this going to affect my job?

This article explores the nuanced relationship between AI and law firms, examining whether it acts as a disruptive force or a valuable augmentation. We’ll examine how AI is affecting the business of law, how the role of the lawyer will likely evolve, and what skills the lawyer of tomorrow may need.

Keep Calm and Practice On

Before we get started, let’s make one thing clear: lawyers are not going anywhere anytime soon. The same can be said of legal assistants, paralegals, and legal administrators. Thus, law firms are not going anywhere. In fact, both lawyers and legal assistants/paralegals both have healthy job outlooks, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as they’re expected to grow by 10% and 14% from 2021 to 2031, respectively.

AI and the law firm - efficiency AI

While the supercharged efficiency AI creates has the potential to drastically reduce operating costs for law firms, how law firms generate revenue is still relatively the same. That’s because the law firm’s most precious commodity remains unchanged: judgment.

Danielle Benecke, the founder and global head of Baker Mackenzie’s machine learning practice, said on’s podcast, Legal Speak, that the “ultimate driver” in the legal industry is a lawyer’s judgment. Benecke went on to state AI is a “significant advance along this continuum of technology advances that drive and grow our business model.”

Rather than replacing a lawyer’s judgment, Benecke and other lawyers see AI as a tool to “enhance” their judgement. For example, a novel use of AI that is being considered is using AI as a tool to predict legal outcomes, or the likelihood of the success of a case, which allows a lawyer to decide if they want to take a case on contingency or if they should advise their client to settle and more.

Tomorrow’s Lawyer: With Great Technology Comes Great Upskilling Required

AI is already being used to make legal professionals more efficient by automating simple yet time-intensive processes such as discovery, research, and drafting motions. What normally takes hours could be performed in a matter of minutes, which will allow both paralegals and lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks. In essence, AI will enable legal professionals to get more done in significantly less time using fewer resources, thus reducing operational costs.

A spike in efficiency and productivity throughout the industry will also create an even more competitive environment between lawyers. Ben Allgrove, the Chief Innovation Officer at Baker McKenzie, stated in a New York Times article that AI will force everyone, “from paralegals to $1,000-an-hour partners, to move up the skills ladder to stay ahead of the technology.” In layman’s terms, everyone is going to have to step up.

AI and the law firm - technology

Breakthrough technology brings a Darwinian dimension to any business arena it affects: adapt or die. Such is the case with the legal industry. If lawyers are to have a bright future practicing law, it behooves them to understand AI.

If a lawyer is going to be proficient in AI, there are two major skills he/she should learn: prompt engineering and explainable AI (XAI.)

Prompt Engineering

Prompt engineering refers to the practice of fine-tuning and optimizing the inputs or queries given to an AI system to elicit desired outputs or responses. It involves carefully crafting instructions or prompts to guide the behavior of the AI model and achieve specific goals. The focus is on understanding how AI models interpret and respond to different inputs.

A lawyer with a strong grasp of prompt engineering will know what questions to ask a language model and how to word those questions to contextualize their situation. They would be able to ask a language model about a specific client’s needs, their scenario, and legal implications within which they’re working so the model can help them strategize.

For example, if a record label wanted to mint NFTs for a debut album of one of its artists, its in-house attorney would be able to ask a series of questions and provide a list of parameters to an AI model that would, in turn, produce say, a contract that covers royalties, IP law, and copyright law in just a few minutes.

While many in the legaltech space see prompt engineering as the next critical skill in the practice of law, the framework around how AI is regulated and taught still needs to be created. Regulations governing AI and the use of language models in law will develop as the market evolves, which will lay the foundation for legitimate curriculum law schools and colleges. Some universities and third-party services offer certificate programs; however, few accredited universities and law schools offer courses on prompt engineering.

Explainable AI (XAI)

Explainable AI (XAI)

Explainable AI (XAI) is a set of techniques and methods that help us understand how AI systems make decisions. It provides a window into the “mind” of the AI system, allowing us to see the reasons and factors behind its decisions. XAI aims to make AI more transparent and understandable, so we can trust and verify its decisions.

It may be a surprise to many, but AI has biases just like humans, so it’s critical for users to understand the steps and logic AI uses to reach a decision. Lawyers who use AI in the future will need to understand its biases so they can create more accurate work and minimize errors. XAI helps us trust and understand the decisions made by AI systems and the lawyers who will use them.

The buzz around XAI is not as intense as prompt engineering, and one could make a strong argument that XAI is more complicated and technically harder than prompt engineering, however, it is still immensely valuable. Lawyers with a strong grasp of XAI will be able to identify problems in AI’s logic and then solve them. A stout understanding of XAI will even augment a lawyer’s skill to engineer prompts.

AI and the law firm - AI becomes ubiquitous

Of course, once AI becomes ubiquitous, the most successful law firms will be the ones who utilize it in the most creative, practical, and critical manner. AI may be “smart tech”, but it is only as savvy as the practitioner using it, and how they use it to improve business outcomes for their law firm.

Third Party Legal Support Service Providers

Like law firms, third-party service providers will also be seeking to benefit from AI by enjoying increased efficiency, greater output, and greater accuracy. For Rapid Legal portal users, that will mean fewer court rejections, more intuitive commands in the ordering workflow, and a better customer experience. Stay tuned.

Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services.
Rapid Legal is now integrating with law firm systems to help automate legal processes related to litigation support services


There’s a lot about AI and how it will ultimately affect the legal industry that we don’t know today. It’s in its nascent stages. But like the smartphone’s radical effect on modern society, AI will be a game-changer in the legal industry. And despite lawyers being famous for not adopting technology on the cutting edge, the benefits they will enjoy from AI are monumental. Yes, legal professionals will have to level up their skills, but the advantages AI will bring will far surpass any cost or challenge.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about Rapid Legal’s technological innovation and automation initiatives in the law firm, schedule a call or book a demo with a Rapid Legal team member today. Rapid Legal can also help your law firm with all its eFiling, court filing, and process serving needs.