The Importance of Accuracy in Legal AI Technology

Mon 13 May 2024

In the ever-evolving legal landscape, the adoption of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology, has become a necessity for law firms seeking to gain and maintain a competitive edge. However, one aspect that may be overlooked when the “hype wave” is in full swing is the critical role of accuracy when it comes to AI solutions for legal work.

In legal practice, the consequences of missing crucial information can be profound. While generative AI is new, exciting, and offers remarkable capabilities, it’s not perfect. The black box approach, where the AI generates answers without transparently revealing the reasoning behind them, isn’t conducive to building trust, and relying solely on an opaque AI can lead to errors and put a law firm's reputation on the line. Therefore, the lawyer in combination with AI is better than the lawyer or AI alone.

One of the biggest challenges with accuracy in generative AI is the possibility of "hallucinations," where the AI confidently provides answers even when it’s incorrect. This can lead to misguided decision-making and potential legal ramifications. For instance, if you ask AI a question and it provides an answer from a 100-page document, it may not cite where in the document it derived its answer. This defeats the purpose of utilizing technology, as legal teams would have to laboriously comb through the document for the source.

So, when building AI solutions, vendors must ensure traceability and have well-defined guardrails to allow for verifiability, avoid hallucinations and ensure accurate outcomes. For law firms, this means knowing what to look for when measuring accuracy and choosing an AI solution.

Measuring accuracy

When measuring accuracy, it's important to use a data set that was not part of the training set used to build the solution. Computers excel at memorizing, underscoring the importance of refraining from testing training data to assess model accuracy.

Another potential pitfall arises from testing on a fixed set of data. While earmarking a portion (e.g., 20%) of the total training data for testing may seem convenient, relying on a small, unchanged test set, heightens the risk of biasing models towards performance on that specific set, potentially distorting the final accuracy assessment.

Furthermore, it's crucial to consider the diversity of training data. Even the most sophisticated accuracy testing methods cannot compensate for training data that inadequately represents reality.

These insights hold particular relevance in scenarios like legal due diligence, where the agreements under review may be ordered, formatted, and worded with a great deal of variation.

Precision and Recall: A Balancing Act

Accuracy in AI can be measured through precision and recall. Precision refers to the ability of an AI tool to provide relevant and accurate results while minimizing false positives. In other words, it measures how well the AI selects the correct information without including irrelevant data. For law firms, precision ensures that the AI-generated responses are reliable and aligned with the specific requirements of the legal tasks, reducing the risk of making incorrect decisions based on misleading information. If precision is too low, it can lead to lawyers wasting significant time sifting through false positives to identify accurate results On the other hand, recall measures the comprehensiveness of an AI system in capturing all relevant information. It ensures that the AI doesn’t miss any essential data and retrieves all relevant pieces of information required for a particular task. Recall is vital for due diligence, contract review, and other tasks where comprehensive information gathering is essential to avoid critical omissions or oversights.

During the development of Kira initially as a machine learning AI contract review and analysis platform, we meticulously examined and annotated an extensive array of agreements so Kira would know what concepts to extract from documents it hadn’t seen before. These agreements span various sectors, including supply, employment, investment management, leasing, franchising, licensing, and more. While a considerable portion adhered to US law, many were governed by different legal jurisdictions. Each contract underwent thorough scrutiny by seasoned legal professionals, some even undergoing multiple reviews.

With this vast repository of annotated contracts at our disposal—more than 1 million, representing over 13 terabytes of training data–-we subjected them to rigorous testing within the system. The outcome? A remarkable recall accuracy exceeding 90%.

High precision means that the AI generates precise and relevant answers, minimizing the need for manual verification. High recall ensures that the AI doesn’t overlook essential information, providing a comprehensive overview of the legal matter at hand. Striking the right balance between precision and recall is essential for law firms to leverage AI effectively, streamlining legal processes, reducing manual labor, and making well-informed decisions in a timely manner—all with the confidence that everything is accurate.

Choosing an Accurate and Reliable AI Tool

Accurate AI solutions not only enhance productivity and efficiency but also enhance the overall quality of legal services, leading to improved client satisfaction and maintaining a competitive edge in the legal industry. When searching for an adequate AI solution, law firms should look for the following features:

  • Puts User Problems First: The effectiveness of AI is tied to the workflows it empowers. AI technology should serve as a solution to the challenges that lawyers grapple with, addressing their specific needs and concerns.
  • Using the Right AI for the Right Purpose: The realm of AI offers various approaches, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Success lies in aligning the appropriate AI approach with the specific task at hand. The decision should not be about haphazardly deploying an LLM for every situation, but rather understanding the context and selecting the right AI technology. A dependable AI-powered product will not leave users to determine its suitability; it will utilize the best AI type(s) suited to its intended use cases, vet responses, and ensure their accuracy.
  • Verifiability: The synergy between human expertise and AI is more powerful together than alone. To harness this potential, AI should serve as a trusted assistant, suggesting insights and allowing lawyers to provide the final say. Verifiability ensures that the legal outcome is rooted in human judgment, while AI contributes valuable suggestions.
  • Focus on Law, Not Tech: The essence of legal AI lies in enhancing the user experience for lawyers. Legal professionals should not be burdened with the intricacies of prompt engineering. Recognizing that accuracy heavily relies on the prompts given, the challenge is to overcome this dependency and make AI more accessible for legal practitioners.
  • Accuracy: While agility is important, quality cannot be compromised. Moving swiftly should not come at the expense of accuracy. Rigorous testing and in-depth analysis of AI are essential to maintain the highest level of accuracy and reliability.

It’s clear that AI offers immense potential to revolutionize the legal industry. However, to harness AI's power effectively, law firms must navigate its pitfalls, including the possibility of hallucinations and false information. Overall, it's not about blindly trusting AI, but rather about empowering human intelligence with AI capabilities. Accuracy, transparency, and the right vendor selection are paramount for AI’s success, enabling firms to leverage AI for increasing efficiency, reducing risks, and sustaining success.

How Kira Can Help

Lawyers at the world's leading firms depend on Kira's powerful AI and collaborative workflows to accurately identify, extract, and summarize clauses and data points to deliver high-quality insights and diligence work products to their clients. With Kira, firms can leverage human-centered AI for unparalleled accuracy and efficiency in reviewing and analyzing contracts and documents.

Ready to learn more? Schedule a demo with one of our experts to see Kira in action.



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