Lawyers at the top of their game are always on the lookout to keep their law firms competitive. Adding new legal AI tech to the mix is one of the best ways to systematize a practice while improving client services.
AI legal tech opens the door to increased productivity and profitability at your firm.
Artificial intelligence lets you automate and improve processes with machine learning. It makes things like legal research and eDiscovery simple, letting you sift through more data than ever before. And unleashing it on your case materials surfaces surprising insights that would take a person hours or days to uncover.
It’s hard to keep up with all the new AI-powered tools for legal professionals, so we put this list together to help you find the right fit. Here are eight of the best AI tools worth checking out.
The Benefits of Legal AI
Lawyers have a reputation for being slow to adapt to technology. But the fast pace of legal work calls for lawyers to look for ways to optimize any way they can.
Artificial intelligence for lawyers offers a huge opportunity to take your firm’s work to the next level.
Every legal AI tool offers one key benefit: making work at your practice faster and easier.
It doesn’t matter if the tool’s job is contract review, analyzing case law, or speeding up the client intake process. The ultimate goal is to take tedious, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks out of your hands and leave you with the work that requires human input.
AI has a massive ability to dig deep into text and data to pull out insights humans might not catch. That equates to huge time savings for you and gives you an edge as you work through each case.
Making things easier is the primary benefit, but there are secondary benefits that come from that.
Your staff and attorneys will be able to get more done by using efficient AI tools. This boost in efficiency leads to greater productivity. And that leads to greater profitability for your firm.
Many lawyers fear that AI will replace them in the coming years. The truth is AI isn't replacing lawyers anytime soon, but it is helping them do their jobs better.
AI isn't just the future. It's the here and now.
Firms that have already embraced AI assistance will outpace the late adopters. There’s a learning curve to using AI, so firms using it right now have an experiential advantage. The sooner you learn to embrace AI, the faster you’ll catch up and outpace others.
Investigating the tools on the list below will help you discover ways to level the playing field with early adopters and transform work at your firm.
Casetext is one of the best legal research tools on the market. And its new AI assistant has the potential to make it even more useful.
Casetext speeds up the research process with its AI assistant called CoCounsel. Casetext and OpenAI built this new assistant on top of GPT-4 with customizations for the legal industry. Casetext claims that CoCounsel can write and comprehend at a postgraduate level.
Casetext also says that CoCounsel goes far beyond legal research.
In addition, the tool can help with:
- Reviewing documents
- Searching databases to discover relevant information
- Preparing for trial
- Summarizing findings
- Laying out the basics for a legal memo
- Verifying contract data and compliance through document analysis
Casetext’s basic plan starts at $110 per month on an annual plan. That gets you access to some AI functionality for legal research. Access to CoCounsel will run you $400 per month, billed annually.
Lex Machina is a legal analytics company owned by LexisNexis.
Their systems use AI technology to review and sort court documents. This lets you discover trends with parties, lawyers, judges, and courts. Data includes things like findings, damages, and case outcomes.
Lex Machina crawls databases like the USPTO, ITC/EDIS, PACER, and state court data every 24 hours.
That means the AI platform has access to the latest data at any given time on millions of cases. It then uses the data to provide you with a huge range of AI-driven insights. A few things that Lex Machina’s data crunching lets you uncover include:
- Understanding case milestones to set budgets and manage client expectations
- Analyzing how specific judges behave in past cases like your current one
- Uncovering the litigation experience of opposing counsel so you can formulate a game plan
Lex Machina does not have a public-facing pricing model, but they do offer demos.
No list of AI tools is complete if it doesn’t mention ChatGPT.
This tool from OpenAI is the most well-known AI chatbot on the market today. ChatGPT is not specific to the legal market. But it has too many general use cases for lawyers to pass it up.
An obvious use case of ChatGPT for lawyers is analyzing documents.
Drop a PDF into ChatGPT, ask a few pointed questions, and the AI responds with an answer. This is great if you want a quick summary of a document or if you want to discover insight you may have missed.
ChatGPT can help with things like:
- Reviewing contracts and case files
- Kickstarting the legal research process
- Drafting responses to emails
- Brainstorming ideas
ChatGPT is also useful for the initial drafts of anything from blog posts to legal documents.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that you will need to double-check the tool’s output. Language models like ChatGPT can find all kinds of legal information, but it takes a true expert to craft the output into real legal advice. Think of it as giving you a headstart on document drafting rather than giving you a finished product.
ChatGPT has two pricing tiers.
The entry-level tier is free and grants you access to the GPT-3.5 model. This is an older version of the AI model. GPT-3.5 is good at generating text but has limited functionality compared to the paid version.
The paid plan only costs $20 per month and grants you access to the GPT-4 model. GPT-4 can read and understand much longer pieces of text. The paid plan also allows you to upload PDFs and images for analysis.
Relativity is an AI tool that focuses on making discovery easier.
This tool handles the discovery end to end by helping you:
- Automate workflows for data collection from a variety of sources
- Manage the document review process and view AI insights from a central dashboard
- Streamline the redaction of sensitive data and privileged information
- Translate documents into your language
An interesting advantage is that the AI learns from all of its users, which helps it get better and faster over time.
198 of the AmLaw 200 use Relativity, but it’s not just for the biggest firms in the country. The company offers tools to help law firms of any size scale with AI.
Relativity offers flexible pricing plans based on the tools you need. Legal teams who want to use this tool need to contact sales for a quote.
Another eDiscovery tool that packs a big punch is Everlaw. It's been around for a while, and their AI assistant sees frequent updates to stay on the cutting edge.
This tool, like most AI platforms, improves as you work with it more often. One of the biggest benefits of training this tool on your data is its ability to categorize eDiscovery PDFs.
Here's some of what it can do:
- Summarize findings and documents
- Add citations for key evidence
- Answer open-ended questions
Everlaw’s AI assistant is in beta right now, but it’s open to new users.
This tool integrates with a lot of other popular tech tools for lawyers, such as Zoom, Outlook, Slack, and Gmail.
The company says they offer transparent pricing, but ironically, you need to set up a sales demo to find out what that is.
Lawgeex is a contract analysis tool with built-in AI functionality.
Lawgeex’s primary customer is in-house legal departments, so lawyers outside of that context should look before they leap. But it may be worth investigating if you do a lot of contract management.
Lawgeex does not publicize its pricing model. You have to contact sales for a demo before getting a quote.
Latch is a generative AI assistant for contract work and due diligence. Negotiations can take a lot of time out of your day, so Latch steps in to help reduce those hours and your effort.
Latch can do things like:
- Simplify language
- Supply source references for requirements met or not met
- Create custom checklists for every contract
- Provide answers to free-form questions you ask about contracts
- Summarize agreements
Latch works inside of Microsoft Word. All you need to do to use it is open the contract document you’re working on and launch the Latch add-in. That makes for a tempting offer for any Microsoft-based law firm that does a lot of contract work.
Pricing is only available after scheduling a demo.
Smith.ai is a virtual receptionist service that uses AI to improve the client intake process.
Attorneys who hire Smith.ai don't work with the AI directly. Instead, Smith uses AI on their side to route and handle calls for your office during and after work hours. This means you capture valuable data from callers so you can act fast.
The company also offers web chat solutions, so you'll never miss outreach from a prospective client.
Virtual receptionists start at 30 calls for $255 per month up to $1000+ for more than 180 calls. Web chat services start at $140 for 20 live chats each month and go to $600 per month for 120 live chats. They also offer an a la carte payment option for web chat.
This tool is currently in a beta version, but there’s a lot of buzz around it.
That’s because HarveyAI received a $5 million investment from OpenAI in 2022. The startup later raised $21 million in Series A funding.
The founders of HarveyAI set out to create a “copilot for lawyers” by training their tool on a backlog of case and legal data. Firms that use it will be able to add their own data to train the AI, too.
The specific features and capabilities of this tool aren’t quite clear yet.
But we do know that the tool uses natural language processing to create and review documents. For example, a lawyer could ask if any clauses in a document violate specific laws and ask HarveyAI to rewrite the clause if so. Or a lawyer could ask it questions about relevant case law or precedents when preparing a motion.
Only a select few law firms have beta access to the tool, but any firm can join the waitlist.
What to Look for in Legal AI Tools
Picking your ideal tools supported by AI isn't as simple as choosing one off the shelf.
Verifying if a tool is the right choice for you comes down to a few key considerations. That includes taking into account:
- Data security
- Whether the tool suits your firm's needs
- Ease of use
- Integrations with the tools you already use
Every tool using AI should offer you some data security protection.
You work with a lot of sensitive data. Any software developer owes it to their users to keep this top of mind with every new version.
There were a few tools that did not make this list because they weren’t clear on their tool’s security considerations. Look for any notes on security on the AI tool’s website to determine whether it’s up to snuff for your firm.
Whether the Tool Fits Your Needs
You need AI tools that accomplish the tasks you want to work on the most.
For example, firms that don't do a lot of contracting work shouldn’t waste time looking into the redlining tools on this list.
Most lawyers benefit from using tools like ChatGPT, even if it’s just for cleaning up email responses. Another area of your business that’s a good place to consider adding AI is in the legal research process.
Ease of Use
Some AI tools have complicated interfaces or a steep learning curve. The last thing you want is to pay for something you're not comfortable using. Steer clear of:
- Tools with bad interfaces
- Tools where reviews mentions bug or frequent crashes
- Tools that take a lot of initial time to train on
The good news on this front is that legal AI companies are lean and hungry startups or have made big investments in their platform. They want to sell you on it. It's why so many offer detailed demos or come with comprehensive onboarding to get lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants up to speed.
Integrations with Existing Tools
It's a huge value add when an AI tool you're thinking about already integrates with things you use. Make a list of the software you use in your legal practice and ask about or research integrations with the AI tools above.
For example, Clio integrates with services like Smith.ai and Casetext. That functionality could be huge if you already use Clio for case management.
Incorporate AI into Your Practice
Integrating AI into your law firm makes it much easier for you to get things done with a high level of accuracy. Efficiency gains from AI translate into more time spent providing legal services to clients. And those gains add up to a boost in profitability.
New applications for law firm AI emerge every day.
Staying on top of these emerging tools and how they can help your firm will keep you on the cutting edge. Not every tool will be right for your firm. But the ones that are a fit will help you stay competitive in a world that’s rapidly adopting artificial intelligence.