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AI is here to stay

Editorial Obiter

Much has been written about the advent of artificial technology and its impact on the legal profession.

This week, Law Times focuses on a ruling where the use of AI has been explicitly cited.

“$900.00 for legal research is problematic. One assumes that counsel graduated with the basic legal knowledge we all possess. This matter was unlikely his first blush with the world of ‘occupier’s liability,’ and specifically the liability of landlords. . . All in all, whatever this ‘research’ was would be well within the preparation for the motion,” said the ruling by Justice Alan Whittenin Cass v. 1410088 Ontario Inc., 2018 ONSC 6959.

“There was no need for outsider or third party research. If artificial intelligence sources were employed, no doubt counsel’s preparation time would have been significantly reduced.”

The bench — which is often criticized for not adapting to technology soon enough — is clearly sending a message that AI is here to stay when it comes to the efficient practice of law.

Carole Piovesan, a Toronto lawyer, makes an important point.

“What we are seeing from the bench, at least, is that the courts are mindful of the use of this technology and are grappling with what it means for the litigation process,” she says. Piovesan is right. Lawyers who are beginning their careers — or well into them — would do well to ensure they are keeping pace technologically with the market’s developments.

This issue of Law Times looks at resource allocation in different areas, from rulings involving self-represented litigants to the access-to-justice crisis former Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley says exists in Ontario.

“Justice is a right of all Canadians. It is entrusted to the profession to deliver. The system that is being delivered to Canadians is not working in the way it needs to work,” he says.

Those are strong words. Hopefully, technology will help address some of these gaps, not aggravate them.

Law Times Poll

Experts at a recent Legal Marketing Association panel said with clients expecting more price transparency, law firms need to get better at using data. Is your firm currently collecting consistent data from all its members to measure output?