Robot solicitors? Firm and uni team up to apply artificial intelligence to law

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By Alex Aldridge on

Potential bad news for training contract hunters of the future …


The possibility of robot solicitors has moved a step closer as Liverpool University has teamed up with law firm Riverview in a bid to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to legal tasks.

The joint venture will see how far the AI expertise of Liverpool University’s computer science department can be used in a commercial law firm.

According to Riverview:

“A primary objective of this project is to automate some of the cognitive abilities of knowledge workers to provide organisations with intelligent decision support tools.”

Translation: We’re going to try to get robots to do work currently done by trainees and junior lawyers.

Dr Katie Atkinson, reader in the agent applications, research, and technology group of Liverpool University’s computer science department, said that the tie-up would help her team to “commercialise our research”.

The news follows a recent report by legal consultants Jomati, which predicted that robots and AI will dominate legal practice within 15 years, potentially even causing the “structural collapse” of law firms.

Already some progress has been made in this area, with Hodge Jones & Allen last year working with academics from UCL to create software that assesses the merits of personal injury cases.