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MUMBAI
:

The AI prosecutor or defence attorney isn’t on the horizon, but large Indian law firms are moving rapidly to adopt artificial intelligence to carry out a string of ‘simple’ tasks including research, drafting and client presentations, helping them achieve efficiency and leaving the lawyers to focus on litigation.

Those entering the legal profession, however, need not fear for their jobs, law firms insisted, saying that AI technology would take over basic functions only. New joiners and interns at law firms—typically at the forefront of such work as part of their learning curve—would be able to cut down on efforts that include trawling voluminous data to summarize and analyze information.

Law firm Khaitan & Co. has introduced an AI-powered virtual assistant KAI that was developed using ChatGPT. It is customized to Khaitan’s work environment and helps the firm draft emails, summarize documents and prepare client presentations, among others, a move it believes will boost efficiency. The new virtual assistant was developed based on specific use-cases within the firm, with prompts specifically developed for its needs.

“We have created a ChatGPT model, we call it ‘Ask.Kai’ for Khaitan. It works in our environment, inside of our networks, and uses the outside learning, which ChatGPT and models like that provide,” said Rohit Shukla, chief digital officer at Khaitan & Co.

Shukla sees a significant opportunity for Khaitan’s clients to leverage this tech tool, subject to regulatory and compliance requirements. Khaitan has partnered with Microsoft Azure and OpenAI for this initiative. Following the introduction of AI in its work, Shukla said, interns can now spend a significant amount of time learning and advocating on the increasing number of legal matters.

Experts believe law firms are usually receptive to such innovations, viewing new technologies as strategic tools to augment capabilities rather than replace human expertise. Collaborating with AI solution providers is a viable strategy to stay competitive and meet evolving client demands, they said.

“In the realm of legal tech, many prominent law firms are actively exploring and adopting AI-powered solutions to enhance their operational efficiency and client services,” said Komal Gupta, chief innovation officer, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, a Mumbai-based law firm.

According to Gupta, while specific initiatives vary, many firms are investing in AI for contract analysis, due diligence, legal research, drafting and document automation, as they look to streamline workflows and reduce manual tasks. In terms of the impact AI could have on new hires at law firms, Gupta said there is a recognition that AI implementation may reshape job roles, requiring a shift towards more strategic and analytical tasks while reducing the emphasis on routine, administrative work.

“However, we believe that AI can enhance job satisfaction by empowering lawyers with relevant quality tools, allowing them to focus on high-value, intellectually-stimulating work, and that it will lead to a more fulfilling and dynamic legal profession,” Gupta said.

Interestingly, law firms aren’t just passive consumers of technology. Some of them have formed standalone companies to provide tech solutions to clients. Singhania & Co, for instance, last month launched DCSpro, a workflow automation tech company. Late D.C. Singhania, its founder, pioneered innovations in law firms and as a tribute to him, the firm has named the technology startup DCSpro.

This has automated contract execution for the clients of the law firm. To illustrate, the law firm is using DCSpro’s ‘Docuguard’ to manage faculty onboarding for Allen Career Institute. The new software has reduced onboarding time by 80% and made it paperless and more efficient.

“Law firms like us are using AI chatbots, search tools, contract life-cycle management tools etc. to make operations smarter and more efficient by automating repetitive manual work,” said Rohit Jain, partner, Singhania & Co.

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