The legal sector is quickly taking to technology and automation through this period of COVID-19, however, despite the shrinkage in its secretarial workforce, artificial intelligence will not be able to replace legal secretaries who practice client-specific human-touch services, however, routine and administrative tasks can largely be fully automated.
One of the areas where automation can play a big role is in the research phase, where lawyers and their administrative support teams can often spend an insurmountable time preparing for a case, with many lawyers working upwards of 60 hours per week going through contracts, bylaws and other legal documents.
Contract analysis and drafting is another area where automation technology could streamline workflows however, law firms may not be willing to invest the time to improve its accuracy to fit their needs, according to consulting and information governance president Daniel Meyers from TransPerfect.
Whilst there is room for these automation software to improve many routine and administrative tasks, getting their intelligence to the relevant level of accuracy and reliability in the various use cases requires a lot of firm time to teach them the relevant logic, and currently in the legal sector advancement in these areas is a slow process.
Despite this, if the legal sector were to embrace automation, the human-touch aspects of certain of their staff including their legal secretaries will not be something that can be replicated by software, no matter how intelligent. Humans come with the “human factor”, and despite these advanced softwares will still be required to input the information into the systems, to contact relevant parties via email and phone, to discuss concerns with clients and other relevant people in the chain. In addition, people also come with years of experience and knowledge that helps them to strategise using the information that the software spits out and at least for now, humans alone are capable of showing the relevant emotion and understanding that certain situations call for.
With all these areas to cover, there currently is not automation software that can do all of this, which is why atleast for now and for the forseeable future, legal secretaries do not need to fear being replaced by machines.