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It's not really news that robots will take over lawyer jobs, but it is about that time.
A year ago, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 23 percent of a lawyer's job could be automated. As it turned out, that future is already here.
Some 1.1 million legal professionals in the United States did not lose their jobs in 2017, but the traditional legal neighborhood has definitely changed since the robots started to move in.
Shaking Up the Profession
MIT Technology Review says that lawyer bots are shaking up the profession.
"If I was the parent of a law student, I would be concerned a bit," said Todd Solomon, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. "There are fewer opportunities for young lawyers to get trained, and that's the case outside of AI already. But if you add AI onto that, there are ways that is advancement, and there are ways it is hurting us as well."
It used to be that discovery was killing lawyers, but now discovery software is killing jobs. JPMorgan, for example, is using a software program called Contract Intelligence that can review documents in seconds that took legal aides 360,000 hours.
And it's not just document review. Programs like CaseIQ can draft, edit and review documents. They can even handle specialties, like RoboReview does for patent applications.
"Not Necessarily the End"
In the McKinsey report, the authors said the evolution of robots in the legal industry "does not necessarily spell the end of the jobs in that line of work."
"On the contrary, their number at times increases in occupations that have been partly automated, because overall demand for their remaining activities has continued to grow," they say.
Of course, that was then and this is now. According to labor statistics, the legal sector recently lost more than 1,000 jobs in one month.