Legal technology company Lawhive has introduced an AI paralegal named Lawrence to assist its team of solicitors and legal experts in the UK. To ensure Lawrence’s competence in real legal work, Lawhive tasked the AI with completing and passing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), where it achieved a 74% correct response rate. The typical pass rate is just 55-65%.
Lawhive analysed Lawrence’s performance to identify areas where the AI struggled. Although no clear themes emerged, it was observed that Lawrence faced challenges with questions involving complex chains of logic and broader context. The AI paralegal also encountered difficulties distinguishing between concepts with similarities, such as public nuisance versus private nuisance.
Client interaction experiment
The company also conducted a research experiment comparing Lawrence’s interaction with a client on a will and probate case to that of a human solicitor. While Lawrence efficiently gathered the necessary information, the conversation remained transactional and shorter than the human counterpart’s. The client provided positive feedback for both responses but noted Lawrence’s lack of empathy compared to the human solicitor. Lawrence also failed to inquire about the late relative’s spending habits, missing crucial details regarding financial liabilities.
Flinn Dolman, co-founder and Al expert of Lawhive commented, “We created Lawrence as a resource to support some of our legal experts at Lawhive. It was important to test Lawrence’s legal knowledge, and he managed to pass SQEI, demonstrating his functioning legal knowledge in line with the SRA’s expectations of junior solicitors.”
Lack of empathy
“The real practice of law goes beyond theoretical knowledge, but working closely with clients often in emotionally charged situations,” he adds. “We put Lawrence to the test and whilst his response was satisfactory in terms of exploration of the legal matter – it was no replacement for the empathy shown by one of our human solicitors.”
Looking ahead, Lawhive plans to continuously test Lawrence’s responses and skills in various situations, supporting solicitors with legal tasks. The company aims to closely monitor Lawrence’s progress and gather client feedback on interactions with the AI as it assists with casework.
This development reflects the ongoing exploration of AI in the legal field, highlighting both its potential contributions and current limitations in comparison to human professionals.