Can AI Lawyer Up? 4 Best Practices when using AI for Legal Agreements

Can AI Lawyer Up? 4 Best Practices when using AI for Legal Agreements
Charlotte Bourguignon

Can AI Lawyer Up?  
4 Best Practices when using AI for Legal Agreements 

Written by: Jessica Deneet

We’ve all dreamt about it, right? Clicking a single button and watching our daily work vanish, magically completed. With the growing presence of AI in our everyday lives, this dream might actually become reality for some. However, things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, and these seemingly magical AI tools might come with a few hidden challenges. But as always, the best way to learn is by diving into some real-world examples! 

In this blogpost, let’s discuss how our tech-savvy friend, AI, can offer opportunities when drafting legal agreements, what pitfalls to watch out for and what best practices to keep in mind.  

The Upside: Advantages of AI for legal documents

1. Faster writing process 

With AI, drafting legal documents becomes a breeze. AI-powered tools can generate contracts, agreements, and briefs in a fraction of the time it would take a human, freeing up valuable resources for more strategic tasks. 

Tip: Play around with your AI tool and discover how it works, which options use to get the best possible result. This is particularly true for AI generating content based on a written prompt you provide them with.   

2. Effectiveness of background checks 

AI excels at conducting thorough background checks, scouring vast databases for relevant information and ensuring accuracy and completeness in legal documents. 

 Tip: Remember that not all AI tools are following a continuous learning principle. Therefore, if you want to use this technology for background checks, make sure your tool has access to the right databases, in real time.  

3. Consistency 

AI doesn’t believe in playing favourites with words. It keeps the legal jargon consistent throughout the agreement, making sure the final documents are balanced and homogeneous. 

Tip: A little point of attention here. You need to make sure to use an AI versed in Belgian law, as notions such as “worker”, “employee”, “compensations” and others vary greatly from one legal framework to another.   

4. Quick research, revision, and analysis 

AI algorithms can swiftly analyse legal precedents, statutes, and case law, providing valuable insights and recommendations for document revisions and legal strategy.

5. Lower probability of human error 

Unlike humans, AI is not prone to fatigue or oversight. By automating repetitive tasks and quality control processes, AI reduces the risk of errors in legal documents, ensuring accuracy and compliance.  

The Downside: Risks and Challenges of AI in Legal Document Drafting

1. Cost  

Implementing AI platforms can be costly, particularly for smaller firms or individual users. The initial investment may outweigh the perceived benefits, especially if the user lacks proper training or expertise in using AI effectively.  

Tip: if you decide to use an AI tool, first check if you can subscribe to the services of an already existing tool on the market before developing one especially for your own firm. This may render a less tailor-made experience; however, your use of this tool may not justify such high investment costs! Whatever you decide, just make sure it is GDPR-friendly!  

Tip: if you realise you do need to obtain your own AI, reduce the costs by making sure you are very precisely determining the scope of your project. Does your entire company, accountants included, needs to be able to search for legal case law? Didn’t think so!  

2. Risk of sub-optimal use of the tool 

 Whether it be because you chose an inadequate tool for the task you envisioned (e.g., using ChatGPT to conduct a background search on a candidate) or you are trusting the right tool without fully knowing what you are doing, it might happen that you end up with mediocre documents.  

A tool may look really nice on paper, but in the end, it is the way you will use it that will determine its usefulness!  

3. Possibility of errors  

 While AI boasts impressive accuracy, it is not infallible. Errors may occur due to misinterpretation of data, flawed algorithms, or incomplete training datasets, leading to inaccuracies or inconsistencies in legal documents. 

A striking example is the case of Mata v. Avianca, Inc. docket number 22-CV-1461 in the Southern District of New York, where an attorney used ChatGPT to prepare a case for presentation in court. This incident highlighted the discovery that ChatGPT had generated fictitious cases, sparking apprehensions regarding the potential for AI to furnish erroneous information…even though ChatGPT is supposed to be specifically designed not to generate fictitious data.  

Tip: do not be lazy! If you use AI to conduct research, check it afterwards!  

4. Stolen information  

Storing legal data in AI systems raises issues about data security and privacy. Unauthorised access or breaches in the platform’s security measures could compromise client confidentiality and expose sensitive information to third parties. 

Even more, some AI may feed off the data you input in them and reuse it, directly or indirectly, in future uses of the tools. This means that if you were, for instance, to input some personal data about a client of yours when asking your AI to review the contract the two of you just signed, this personal data would then be shared with the tool and reused in the future. 

5. Potential for lawsuits  

Relying too heavily on AI-generated content without proper verification or validation may expose legal professionals to liability for errors or omissions in legal documents. Inaccurate information or faulty legal advice could result in lawsuits or disciplinary actions against practitioners. 

In addition, a lot of questions remain unanswered regarding some of our favourite AI tools regarding their respect of the GDPR.  

 Tip: no matter how useful your AI tool is, if it is not GDPR friendly, do not use it with personal data.  

6. No room for tailoring   

Anyone with a law degree will tell you that there is so much more going on in a contract than the words written on the paper. Sometimes, it is actually the words you cannot see that are the most relevant, as they mirror the fruit of endless hours of discussions and negotiation. When drafting a contract, you more often than not need to rely on your emotional intelligence to feel the other party’s position, their expectations and dealbreakers.  

 All this “finesse” is lost on AI and you might find it particularly difficult to generate documents that truly suit the situation you are in.  

Tip: to avoid ending up with a generic agreement, make sure to specify as much details as you can in your initial request.  


The Best Practice: Use AI in a intelligent way  

While AI offers undeniable benefits for legal document drafting, it’s crucial to exercise caution and diligence in its use. Here are some best practices to ensure optimal outcomes: 

1. Use approved templates 

Start using AI with approved templates of legal documents to mitigate risks and ensure compliance with legal standards. Templates provide a solid foundation for customisation and reduce the likelihood of errors or oversights. 

If you are developing your own legal AI tool, train it on data your company has personally produced to ensure its quality. 

2. Verify accuracy 

Always verify AI-generated content for accuracy and completeness before finalising legal documents. Human oversight and review are essential to catch any potential errors or inconsistencies that AI may have missed. 

3. Prioritise data security 

Implement robust security measures to safeguard sensitive client information stored in AI systems.   

How can you do that? Encrypt data, draft policies, train your employees, restrict access to authorised users, and regularly update security protocols to mitigate the risk of data breaches or unauthorised access. 

4. Maintain legal competence  

Stay informed about the benefits and risks associated with AI technology in the legal profession. Continuously update your knowledge and skills to comply with ethical obligations and professional standards. 

Final Thoughts: A Question of Balance

By leveraging AI’s capabilities while exercising caution and diligence, legal professionals can streamline their workflow, optimise their efficiency, and deliver high-quality legal services to clients. 

AI in labour agreements – or in any other kind of agreement –  is like having a fancy tool in your toolbox. It’s awesome for speed and consistency, however, it is still just a tool, not the master craftsman. When redacting anything, you should rely on your skills, not on expensive tools.  

So, proceed with caution and a sprinkle of human magic! After all, the best agreements are a perfect blend of technology and good ol’ human touch.