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Sadly, the droid you are looking for still does not exist. And to make matters worse, the walking talking humanoid robot of your dreams is still prohibitively expensive. But, new software that utilizes AI technology is bringing us closer to the day where a humanoid robot can actually prove helpful to a practicing attorney.
While we may not have a C3PO style robot paralegal yet, the software, at least in patent and bankruptcy law, is getting sophisticated enough to consider making one, or a small army. Fortunately, you don't have to wait for a walking, talking metal box to use the newest practice software, for the most part, any regular old computer should do the trick (so long as it's not actually an old computer).
Finding Your Own Robot Paralegal
As the ABA journal reported last month, TurboPatent Corp has unveiled its newest pieces of software for patent lawyers, RoboReview, SmartShell, and RapidResponse. The three piece software bundle automates some of the work a patent paralegal and legal secretary would perform, including researching similar patent applications and determinations, and even drafting responses to "office actions."
Additionally, IBM's Watson, a supercomputer designed to be a better Jeopardy contest than Ken Jennings, was used to create Ross, a bankruptcy paralegal currently
employed being used by BakerHostetler. This seems to fall in line with the decreasing demand in the legal job market, which curiously seems to correspond to the increases in the technical and professional support services sector.
Relying on Robots
When it comes to relying on the work of robots or automated systems, lawyers should be wary about an AI's work product. For the most part, automation still requires live, human review, but it should still help increase efficiency, thus reducing the need for as much staff or as many staff hours. The research that would take a person over a day to complete can be done in a matter of minutes, and reviewed in a few hours by an actual person.
Though the costs of using the bleeding edge legaltech is still rather high, and likely to costs a few grand a month, real human employees can be just as costly, and are much less impressive to clients.