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2/18/17

Technology: Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers - by Dan Mangan

Technology is often for destroying traditional working-class jobs in sectors like manufacturing and retail.

But blue collar jobs aren't the only ones at risk.

The legal profession — tradition-bound and labor-heavy — is on the cusp of a transformation in which artificial-intelligence platforms dramatically affect how legal work gets done.

Those platforms will mine documents for evidence that will be useful in litigation, to review and create contracts, raise red flags within companies to identify potential fraud and other misconduct or do legal research and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions.

Those are all tasks that — for the moment at least — are largely the responsibility of flesh-and-blood attorneys.

Increasing automation of the legal industry promises to increase efficiency and save clients money, but could also cut jobs in the sector as the technology becomes responsible for tasks currently performed by humans.

Advocates of AI, however, argue there could actually be an increase in the sector's labor force as the technology drives costs down and makes legal services more affordable to greater numbers of people.

"It's like the beginning of the beginning of the beginning," said Noory Bechor, CEO of LawGeex, a leading AI-powered platform for legal contract review.

"Legal, right now, I think is in the place that other industries were 10 and 15 years ago, like travel," he said.

Read more: Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers

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