The legal profession isn’t immune to the impact of rampant automation, but one of Australia’s top intellectual property lawyers, Ken Philp, isn’t convinced robots will put lawyers out of business, just yet.
With 35 years in an industry, widely described as resistant to change, Mr Philp has seen the impact of technology starting to ripple across the sector, with artificial intelligence now used to routinely to run complex IP legal cases.
“There’s a lot of pressure in the US to make increased use of artificial intelligence programs to drive down the cost of running a matter,” he said.
“There are AI programs that enable you to feed thousands of documents into a computer database and the litigation program evaluates the data then highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a case and predicts the likely outcome and creates a strategy for lawyers to follow in court.”
Document discovery and analysis is another area where automation is reducing the need for human involvement, according to Mr Philp, who is one of the founding partners of Brisbane law firm Bennett & Philp Lawyers.
“Now there are AI programs to do document analysis in a fraction of the time, replacing the need for humans,” he said.
While the future of law is inextricably tied up with the evolution of AI, Mr Philp is confident that the fundamentals of a human-directed society will be preserved, and with them the ongoing role to protect individuals’ patents and intellectual property rights.
“We will still need IP lawyers,” Mr Philp said.
“It’s impossible to predict where IP is going in the years ahead, but one reality is the wonderful industry of ideas in Australia.
“We have some good ideas created here but we don’t always encourage them here so people sell them overseas,” he said.
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