Empathy, human connection, and creativity separate lawyers from AI systems, says Tara Vasdani

Vasdani is a panellist at Canadian Lawyer's 2024 Legal Tech Summit

Empathy, human connection, and creativity separate lawyers from AI systems, says Tara Vasdani
Tara Vasdani, Remote Law Canada

Tara Vasdani was recently asked about the tasks young lawyers should familiarize themselves with and those that artificial intelligence will take over in the future. It was a difficult question to answer, she says, because it will depend on where they work and which software their law firm has implemented.

“In general, it is still extremely critical to know how to conduct legal research and how to review cases,” says Vasdani, the principal lawyer and founder of Remote Law Canada. In their execution of potentially automatable tasks, the qualities that will separate lawyers from any sort of AI system are “empathy, human connection, and creativity,” she says.

“So, if you don't build the skills to be a creative, effective, autonomous lawyer, you're really not going to be much different than an AI model.”

Vasdani will appear on a panel at Canadian Lawyer’s 2024 Legal Tech Summit, called “Impact of technology on the legal profession: The role of lawyers and revenue models.” The discussion will cover emerging technological trends and how to prepare for them, how AI will influence the development of young lawyers, how law schools are adapting their curricula to the legal profession’s future, and technology’s impact on payment methods, among other subjects.

While lawyers of the future will need to learn the same skills to become successful, Vasdani says the tools they will have access to will allow them to learn those skills much more quickly.

In a 2023 LexisNexis survey, 53 percent of the Canadian lawyers who responded said they expect their firms to adopt generative AI tools, like Chat GPT. The respondents also noted that legal research, document drafting and analysis, and email writing were the top potential uses for GenAI.

For Vasdani, legal research is the task most significantly automated by AI-augmented tools. She uses tools such as Kira Systems and Alexi, which deliver results on a client issue quickly and produce a memorandum delineating the strengths and risks associated with the legal case.

Though she does not do much corporate work, Vasdani says contract review is another main area for AI automation. Lawyers plug in a contract to the software, and it automatically flags substandard portions. The technology is also particularly productive for case management, keeping documents and deadlines organized from the beginning to the end of a case.

“Are these tasks that Legal Assistants used to do in the past? Absolutely,” says Vasdani. “But now you open up an array of tasks that legal assistants can help with that are probably billable versus tasks that, today, are not billable.”

In litigation, she says AI will save young lawyers from spending their time on pleadings, motion records, and case managing and free them up for in-court experience. Vasdani adds that lawyers of any level of experience will have the bandwidth for a higher caseload because of the time savings.

“Using the software, you are automatically able to bring in more clients and focus much more on the results rather than the processes.”

The primary risk involved in integrating AI in a legal practice is whether the tool will deliver an accurate result, says Vasdani. There have been high-profile incidents of Chat GPT producing hallucinatory caselaw, which lawyers then filed in court. But as the technology continues to iterate and evolve, she says, and more platforms are solely focused on delivering results for lawyers in a specific jurisdiction, the tools will become more effective.

Another risk is cybersecurity. If a lawyer using AI software integrates client data, a security breach will pose a significant risk for the client, the lawyer, and the law firm.

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