A UK academic and an immigration lawyer have teamed up to create a robot to provide immigration legal advice in a continuation of the move towards machine learning-based law advice.
The project is at the University of Bradford and involves an immigration lawyer Yash Dubal, a director at AY&J, and Dhaval Thakker, associate professor at the faculty of engineering and informatics at the University of Bradford.
As with other machine-learning (read: ‘Robot’) applications it is intended to have effect across the legal sector beyond just immigration law.
Consumer Weekly report that the initiative received a grant from the Innovate UK Knowedge Transfer Partnership with a matched investment from AY&J Solicitors.
It is designed to use complex knowledge graph technology and deep learning algorithms to analyse and learn from case law.
Thakker specialises in something called “explainable AI”, which is programmed to describe its purpose, rationale and decision-making.
“There are a lot of places where AI is already being used in the legal context,” he said. “Most is around contract review and analysis and there are many companies and systems out there that do this, but it is heavily US biased.”
The project aims to create a robot assistant that will be able to do 20-30 per cent of an immigration lawyer’s job.
In the project, users will interface with a conversational agent system called LILA (Legal Immigration Artificial Intelligence Advice), which uses explainable AI so that the decisions it makes are presented in a way that humans can understand.
LILA will be built to both capture and analyse knowledge from solicitors, experts, statutes and case law.
It will constantly monitor decisions made by existing experts and learn from them. It will collect information, ask questions of clients in the form of text or voice and will even be able to prepare a technical legal response.
The growing use of robots and machine learning in the law is something that continues to occupy the minds of lawyers. Big firms and small are increasingly looking at how robots can help in their law practices.
We reported over a year ago about how Clifford Chance had started a robotics training programme using an Australian AI tool, ‘Josef’.
However, their use is also something that requires a clear understanding of what the intention of the AI or ‘robot’ actually is.
The first question lawyers need to ask about such tools – and they are much more than just tools – is what are you seeking to achieve. It may be increased productivity or efficiency or better quality in the work outcomes. It may be a concern to reduce risk or to increase compliance. Or it may be about identifying key trends and insights in the data that is being ‘digested’.
Whatever the way, the robot is coming to the law firm. No question about that.
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