Marian Härtel
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Artificial intelligence and lawyers: a partnership, not a competition

Introduction: The Role of Artificial Intelligence

It’s no secret that I’m a big proponent of Artificial Intelligence and firmly believe it will play a significant role in our future. As someone who works with AI on a daily basis, I see its potential and possibilities. I see how it automates processes, analyzes data and helps me work more efficiently and accurately. But recently, discussions have been piling up about whether AI poses a threat to lawyers and whether it could one day replace us. There are fears that AI could make human intuition and experience, which are so important in legal advice, obsolete. There are also concerns that AI could replace the personal relationship between lawyer and client that is often critical to the success of a case. Despite these concerns, my answer to that is a resounding no. I firmly believe that AI is a tool that supports us, but does not replace us.

The irreplaceability of legal advice

This assessment is not based on the current technical development of AI, but on an understanding of the role and tasks of a lawyer. The legal advice and the drafting of contracts, which are part of my main core, are – at least currently – not replaceable by AI. It is important to understand that the complexities and nuances of law cannot be easily captured in algorithms and databases.

Legal advice is more than just providing information or drafting contracts. It also includes experience, strategy, and human interaction – aspects that an AI cannot provide. An attorney brings his or her personal and professional experience to the consultation, develops strategies based on the client’s specific context, and builds a relationship with the client based on trust and understanding. This relationship allows the lawyer to understand the client’s unique needs and goals and act accordingly. In addition, human interaction in legal consultations allows for a deeper and more comprehensive analysis of legal issues that an AI cannot provide. After all, it is a lawyer’s ability to show empathy and respond to the emotional needs of the client that makes him irreplaceable.

The limits of artificial intelligence

Over the past 20 years, we have seen clients fail to resolve their legal problems on their own, despite the availability of information on the Internet. Nor have lawyers been put out of work by free sample contracts or contract generators. Why? Because solving legal problems and drafting contracts requires more than just access to information or templates. They require a deep understanding of the law, careful analysis of the specific situation, and strategic planning – skills that an AI does not possess.

A client who doesn’t know what the problem is, how to negotiate, talk, or strategize, won’t be able to ask an AI the right questions either. Even if AI is able to generate contracts, without the right guidance and understanding, the right contract will not ultimately emerge. It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without knowing the picture on the box – you have all the pieces, but you don’t know how they fit together.

This reminds me of a joke a colleague made many years ago. He had a poster up in his office that said, “If you Googled before the initial consultation, request the secondary consultation from Bing.” This humorously underscores the fact that mere information gathering, whether by Google, Bing, or an AI, is no substitute for professional legal advice. It is the human ability to interpret information, make connections, and develop strategies that makes the difference.

The strength and weakness of AI

The power of an AI, especially a legal tech model (LLM), lies in its ability to process large amounts of data and recognize patterns. It can analyze information quickly and accurately and draw conclusions from it. It can use complex algorithms to make predictions and detect patterns in data that would be invisible to the human eye. But this very strength is also their weakness.

The contents of an LLM are calculated mathematically. They are not based on experience, are not adapted to a particular situation, and cannot take into account aspects that the person using the AI has not specified or asked for. An AI can only be as good as the data it receives and the instructions it gets. It cannot think outside the box or find creative solutions. It cannot act intuitively or react to unforeseen circumstances. It relies on the data and instructions it receives and cannot go beyond them.

Moreover, AI, no matter how advanced, cannot replace the human component of legal advice. She cannot understand a client’s emotions, show empathy, or build a trusting relationship. It cannot understand the nuances and subtleties of human behavior and communication that are often critical to the success of a case.

The future: A partnership between lawyers and AI

However, that doesn’t mean AI has no place in the legal industry. On the contrary, AI can help us work more efficiently by automating routine tasks and helping us find relevant information faster. But it will not replace us.

In the future, I see a partnership between attorneys and AI, where each brings their strengths to the table. AI will help us do our jobs better, but it will not replace us. Because at the end of the day, it’s the human advice, understanding and experience that makes the difference.

Conclusion: The irreplaceable value of the human factor

The role of a lawyer is not only that of an information broker, but also that of an advisor, strategist and negotiator. We bring our experience, expertise and understanding of our clients’ individual needs to the table. These human qualities cannot be replicated by an AI.

AI can support us in our work, it can help us to be more efficient and precise. But it cannot replace us. Because at the end of the day, it’s the human factor that makes the difference. It is the understanding, experience and empathy that distinguishes us as lawyers and makes us irreplaceable.

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Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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