June 6, 2023

The rise of artificial intelligence could have knock-on effects across the legal industry, depriving law students of entry-level jobs before they even enter the workforce and depriving them of the experience necessary to be good lawyers, according to a lawyer who has been in practice for more than 20 years.

“What worries me is that you’re going to have a whole bunch of people coming out of law school with huge loans, and we already know it’s a crisis, and they’re going to be outsourced by this AI,” Bryan Rotella The attorney and founder of GenCo Legal told Fox News. “I don’t know if anyone warned them.”

As AI is increasingly integrated into industries such as healthcare, financial services and legal, Rotella said the technology could help professionals in a number of ways. In law, it is used to draft and review contracts, scan documents, and conduct legal research, which greatly helps increase productivity, reduce errors, and reduce billable time, saving clients money.

AI could make paralegals obsolete:

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“Over the past 50 or 60 years, many paralegals, not necessarily lawyers, have done really more fundamental things,” Rotella said.

While greater implementation of artificial intelligence for these functions will improve law firm efficiency and reduce costs, Rotella said he worries that shifting to relying on technology for these essential tasks will deprive paralegals and young lawyers of the training they need to gain experience.

“There’s a myth of prepackaged lawyers,” he said. “When people graduate from law school, you know what we’re going to do? If we’re lucky, pass the bar exam, not become a lawyer.”

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Attorney Bryan Rotella said AI was already being used to draft contracts, scan documents and conduct legal research, activities typically performed by paralegals. (Fox News)

“You’d have people come out, pass the bar exam, and find out that law firms hired them for jobs where, really, AI was more qualified than them,” he added. “When will they get the experience they need years to grow in their career?”

By 2022, more than 115,000 students will be enrolled in U.S. law schools, representing approximately one law student for every 10 practicing lawyers in the firm also begin to shrink the workforce Late last year, due to declining demand for legal services, rising costs and a difficult economic environment.

Rotella, who specializes in providing personal advisors to businesses, said that if law firms were less in need of paralegals for their labour-intensive entry-level assignments, it would be difficult for recent graduates to find work, even with a degree. The development, he predicts, could have serious consequences for the number of law school students.

As AI takes over their jobs, students may want to reconsider their decision to go to law school, Rotella said.

As AI takes over their jobs, students may want to reconsider their decision to go to law school, Rotella said. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

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“Maybe that’s a good thing,” he said. “Maybe it’ll adjust to the size of the runaway, a lot of people going to law school, loans they probably wish they didn’t have.”

“Maybe we’ll reconsider who actually wants to be a lawyer as opposed to going to law school just because they want to do something after college,” Rotella added.

To watch the full interview with Rotella, click here.

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