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 Artificial Intellingence

Inspiring women in Law: Miriam Martínez Pérez, AI Expert

"Small and boutique firms will find it harder to incorporate AI"

May 9, 2024

LATIN COUNSEL spoke to lawyer and AI expert Miriam Martínez Pérez about the transformation of artificial intelligence in law firms, the impact of automating tasks and the challenges it poses, including ethical and legal ones.

Miriam directs the Masters in Intellectual Property, Competition and Business Innovation at UNIE University, holds a doctorate in commercial law from the University of Santiago de Compostela, collaborates with its Institute of Industrial Law, and is a pre-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Munich.

LATIN COUNSEL: How has artificial intelligence changed the efficiency of law firms in managing large volumes of legal data and documentation?

Miriam Martínez Pérez: AI has allowed the transformation of the traditional processes of document retrieval and legal analysis of cases in law firms.  This is because AI makes it possible to automate certain repetitive tasks, such as reviewing contracts or classifying documents, searching for case law, etc.

Similarly, AI has the ability to analyse large volumes of data, allowing lawyers to obtain faster and much more accurate information, ranging from obtaining legal precedents to identifying changes in the applicable legislation, allowing them to even predict the court’s decision and thus improve strategic decision-making in the client’s defense.

LC: How does the automation of routine tasks through artificial intelligence affect the productivity of lawyers and the quality of the legal services they provide?

MMP: The automation of tasks in law firms, as in any other business, results in a reduction of the time spent on the above-mentioned tasks, allowing these time resources to be devoted to other types of activities that inevitably require human intervention.

The automation of processes through AI therefore leads to efficiency, cost reduction and promotes competitiveness. In this sense, the use of AI significantly reduces operational costs by streamlining processes and reducing human error. This not only improves the efficiency of legal practice, but also allows for more competitive rates, thereby expanding business opportunities.

LC: What are the ethical and legal challenges associated with the implementation of artificial intelligence systems in law firms, particularly in terms of privacy and confidentiality of client information?

MMP: While AI offers many benefits, it also poses ethical and legal challenges. One of the most prominent risks relates to privacy and transparency in automated decision making.

In particular, in relation to personal data, it should be noted that the use of AI involves the processing of large amounts of information, which may include personal data. It is therefore appropriate to take into account the risks that can be assumed in this regard when using AI, such as: data errors that may lead to discrimination, unauthorised access to data, manipulation of the AI system to alter results, data leakage, lack of legal basis for data processing or lack of transparency at the time of data collection.

It is therefore important to take appropriate security measures to prevent such legal risks in the use of AI systems.

LC: To what extent is artificial intelligence changing the way lawyers conduct legal research, draft legal documents and provide legal advice to their clients, and how are law firms adapting to these changes?

MMP: To the extent that the encounter with AI is inevitable, it has led to a complete change in the way law firms operate.

AI has been incorporated as another tool in the daily practice of law firms, in aspects that are being developed in a much more automated way, as we mentioned earlier: especially in relation to the search for information for the preparatory work of the client’s matter.

The client is often unaware of the use of AI, as the final part or phase of the contact with the client, in which the lawyer explains the procedural strategy to be followed in a given case, is still completely traditional. The client will always need the lawyer to explain what decision will be taken to defend his interests, but this cannot be replaced by AI.

LC: Do clients appreciate and see the use of AI tools by law firms as a positive thing?

MMP: As we have just discussed, clients are often unaware of the use of AI, as it is used more as an internal working tool in law firms, but perhaps they could see it as a positive thing if they were aware that the use of AI serves to provide a much faster and in some cases even more satisfactory response to their matters, to the extent that, as we have discussed, AI can predict court decisions.

LC: Do you think that smaller or boutique firms will find it more difficult to invest in and implement AI tools and training than larger international firms?

MMP: There is no doubt that smaller firms and boutiques will find it more difficult to incorporate AI, mainly due to cost and lack of infrastructure. Incorporating AI into a team also requires further training to enable lawyers to learn how to handle and use AI tools well, and this is much more difficult for small firms than for large firms.


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