Being a lawyer isn't perhaps as much fun as it seems in the movies, in reality involving weeks of reading incredibly boring documents. Now a recent court ruling suggests that computers can take over part of their job for them.
A US judge has approved the use of
"predictive coding" software which can sift through millions of
documents and spit out only those the lawyer might need for use in a
Thomas Gricks, the lawyer who was pushing for the use of predictive
coding, wanted to use the software to sift through two million emails
in a case defending aircraft-hangar operator Landow Aviation against
private-jet owners seeking compensation after a roof collapse in
He estimated that the email would take twenty thousand person hours to
sift though, in the process costing two million dollars. Now, the software
will provide just a couple of thousand relevant documents, cutting
the time investment to two weeks, and slashing the cost by 98
In a recent study, pitting lawyers against the
software over the course of 800,000 Enron emails, the software came
out on top. In fact, it even manged to spot relevant details that
the humans didn't.