United States: How Legal Tech Is Developing Lawyers' Intuition

Last Updated: July 25 2019
Article by Vidhya Elango

Lawyers' instincts, combined with careful research, allow them to present clients with a well-reasoned, accurate legal position: exactly what clients pay for. Seasoned lawyers have instinct, and a good lawyer might seem to innately know how a client's case is going to go just based on the facts. This sort of legal intuition is honed over years of experience in practice.

Fresh out of law school, new lawyers embark on a journey of developing their legal intuition by reading, researching, and handling many cases. Over the course of this development, lawyers repeatedly see similar cases and internalize the relevant legal tests, allowing them to quickly judge which facts are applicable and how a case might go if litigated.

Admittedly, it can be some time before this intuition is finely tuned⁠. In the meantime, firms are leaving untapped talent on the table. But legal technology tools leveraging advances in machine learning are a novel way for new lawyers to get a head start on developing the kind of legal intuition that will make them more efficient researchers and, ultimately, better professionals.

Developing Legal Intuition is Time-Consuming

New lawyers, fresh out of school, are still developing their legal intuition. While law school teaches students how to think about the law in a reasoned, objective manner, it doesn't teach the procedural quirks of each area of law, something that's picked up through practice, slogging through cases, and shadowing more experienced lawyers.

Abdi Aidid, Blue J Legal's Director of Legal Research and former New York City litigator, recalls, "As a young lawyer, one of the biggest challenges was being expected to perform like an experienced lawyer right away. I constantly had to familiarize myself with different areas of the law, so most of my day was spent reading cases to figure out the relevant factors. I didn't have a lot of extra time to think creatively about our clients' cases." 

As Abdi tells us, developing legal intuition is long and time-consuming for new recruits. One of the biggest reasons for this difficulty is that it's impossible to get immediate feedback when predicting how courts may rule on future cases. There's no way to test whether your instincts about the outcome of a case are correct, so new lawyers are left trying to pick things up by osmosis.

New lawyers' legal intuition is invaluable for senior lawyers too⁠—the longer it takes a new lawyer to learn about a specific area of law, the longer it takes for them to be fully integrated into the workflow of legal practice, and the more hours spent on training and teaching.

New recruits who hit the ground running with sharpened legal intuition can use their keen legal minds to the fullest and make an impact right away. Firms who leave this talent idle are missing out on valuable insights that could save them time and money.

How AI-Powered Tools are Training the Next Generation of Lawyers

Luckily, new lawyers have an advantage that their predecessors lacked while beginning their careers—access to the growing number of advanced legal technology tools.

Foresight is one such tool in the legal tech landscape that is helping to build legal intuition. Blue J Legal's software allows lawyers to validate their instincts against how hundreds of other judges have ruled on a particular issue. A new lawyer can input the facts of a case and change relevant factors to see what would happen if the facts were different, providing instant clarity. Being able to test a legal hypothesis in real time allows a new lawyer to quickly develop intuition.

For example, when trying to understand whether a client is liable for a trust-fund recovery penalty (IRS § 6672) under US law, a lawyer can use the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty classifier to test how a particular case will go, accessing an accurate prediction that is based on all of the relevant rulings in the area of law.  

A new lawyer can test what would happen if, for example, the company had been having difficulty meeting their financial obligations. Instead of waiting to come across a case where the company had been in financial trouble and reading through the whole thing, the lawyer can quickly review how this factor influences court decisions. They efficiently gain a sense of the relevant factors in the area of law and the influence that each factor exerts on a case's outcomes.

Abdi notes that, "One of the only ways to stand out as a young lawyer is to be an excellent researcher. With a tool like this, I would have been comfortable coming to a partner much later in the research process with more fully formed ideas, providing valuable insights to them far sooner."

Blue J Legal's software will help the next generation of lawyers learn the law more quickly and research more effectively than their predecessors. Their intuition can become useful to a firm far more quickly, freeing up billable hours for senior associates that might have otherwise been spent on teaching and training.

Legal Intuition in the Face of Uncertainty

Even for established tax professionals, such as accountants or tax attorneys, our Tax Foresight product can help provide confidence and rigor when dealing with complex issues on which they might take an uncertain tax position.

Determining the deductibility of trade or business expenses (IRC § 162) is one of the most common uncertain tax positions, according to the IRS. To tackle this uncertainty, a lawyer can use the Deductibility of Trade or Business Expenses classifier and get an accurate prediction based on the unique facts of their case. With the benefit of knowing how a judge would rule if the case were litigated and the ability to test how different scenarios are treated by the courts, the classifier allows professionals to give better advice, or file tax returns more confidently.

The Tax Foresight product targets several of the most common uncertain tax positions, with products like our Transfer Pricing case finder (IRC § 482) and Research Credit (IRC § 41) classifier, allowing tax professionals to understand how courts are most likely to rule in these tricky areas of the law.

We know how important it is to develop legal intuition, especially in new and difficult areas of the law. Both new and seasoned lawyers can benefit from the faster learning that foresight provides, and machine learning legal tech will be a boon to firms seeking to unlock the full potential of their new lawyers.

As the legal tech sector grows and firms increasingly embrace such technologies, using technology like Tax Foresight will become table stakes when delivering high-quality advice to clients and attracting new ones.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Events from this Firm
21 Aug 2019, Webinar, Unknown, United States

Register for this webinar, here.

It is tempting to cite the benefits of being the early bird when it comes to innovation – but some firms fear they may be burned by being too quick to adopt new technology.

 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions