Editor’s Note: Bradley Anderton is an attorney at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, which has office locations around the Carolinas. He is a former assistant district attorney whose experience in that role was featured in the March 2023 edition of Wired Magazine.


The influence of Artificial Intelligence can already be seen and felt in many industries throughout society, such as engineering and medicine. For example, Amazon Web Services recently launched an AI-driven tool that summarizes doctor visits and manages patient files. AI is also impacting my profession, law – and many attorneys aren’t sure how to feel about it.

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According to an article from the American Bar Association, 89% of lawyers believe AI will have at least “some” impact on the practice of law. And for a large percentage within that percentage, AI is cause for horror and alarm – just as it is in fields from entertainment to teaching. I have heard it from my friends and colleagues, as well.

Some hesitance toward AI is understandable. Most everyone agrees it’s not ready for primetime. By now, you may have heard the story of the New York attorneys who submitted a brief created by ChatGPT referencing six false cases. That is obviously a problem, but errors like these will get fixed with time. However, a lot of the apprehension is rooted in fears that AI will take our jobs and eventually usurp the need for legal professionals altogether.

Headlines like these only fuel the angst:

Those headlines are mostly just clickbait. As an attorney, I’m excited for AI and ready to use it to help more people, more efficiently.

The reality is that AI technology can support many processes in the business and practice of law, but it can’t replace human perception, judgment, experience, empathy, and insight, all of which are crucial to high-quality legal representation. AI, in my opinion, is all about augmenting the practice of law, not replacing it.

Bradley Anderton is a Charlotte-based attorney at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

While AI can process information more efficiently than a person, it takes a human mind to give that information meaning within a human context. For example, AI may be able to generate a contract that checks most boxes of what a contract should look like. But while AI can write a contract, it can’t tell you if it’s a good one or a bad one, and it certainly can’t advise a client effectively.

In my practice, we had a case where we had to track down a key piece of evidence across a very large area. Finally, we found what we were looking for, and it made a big difference in our client’s fight for justice. Better AI tools could have helped us triage our leads to more effectively determine where and what to investigate, but AI can’t do things like follow rumors, pursue leads, and interview witnesses – it takes human insight, persistence, and creativity to make these kinds of things happen.

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Furthermore, in law, as in other professions, clients often need someone to listen to them, support them, and provide guidance through extremely trying times. This is the human element of how we help our clients, and it’s part of the reason why attorneys are also referred to as counselors and advisors.

AI will continue to improve, but we’re a long way from it holding a client’s hand after a tough decision by a judge.

The rise of AI in the legal profession is still in its nascent stages, but soon, in the not-too-distant future, AI will probably become as instrumental to the day-to-day practice of law as the internet.

That’s a good thing.

If AI-driven legal services allow lawyers and other professionals to reduce time spent on tasks such as drafting documents and spend more time and energy pursuing successful outcomes for clients – building rapport, providing personalized advice, finding creative solutions, and just generally advocating, negotiating, and mediating on your behalf – then the AI revolution can’t come fast enough.