Navigating the Limitations of Legal AI: Where Human Insight Prevails

July 2, 2024

In 2023, the G2 legal team embarked on a journey to rapidly educate ourselves on the latest technologies, regulations, and ongoing lawsuits concerning AI in legal tech.

Moving into 2024, we've integrated into an AI community where like-minded professionals explore the possibilities and limitations of AI. This article delves into what legal AI is good at, where it falls short, and where human oversight remains crucial.

Strengths of AI in legal tech

AI has demonstrated significant capabilities in workflow automation and sequential processing. These strengths are particularly evident in areas such as spot-checking service orders and performing conditional logic operations, where AI can manage tasks efficiently and accurately.

SimplyConvert Platform, for example, automates client intake processes, enhancing lead conversion for law firms. This tool streamlines the client onboarding process, ensuring that potential clients are quickly and effectively processed and directed to the appropriate legal resources.

My Legal Software provides automated legal document generation and management, simplifying routine legal tasks that would otherwise consume significant time and resources. By automating the drafting and management of legal documents, MyLegal allows legal professionals to focus on more complex and high-value tasks, enhancing overall productivity.

Apperio streamlines the contract review process by automatically highlighting key clauses and suggesting edits based on predefined criteria. This tool can rapidly scan vast amounts of contractual data, identifying critical elements and potential issues requiring attention. Such automation is invaluable in managing large volumes of contracts and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.

The capabilities of AI in these areas significantly improve efficiency and reduce the risk of human error. Legal professionals can focus on more strategic and complex issues by automating these routine tasks. 

For instance, AI tools can quickly scan and organize large volumes of documents, extract relevant information, and even flag potential issues, which saves valuable time during the initial stages of case preparation. 

Additionally, AI's ability to continuously learn and adapt means that these tools can improve their accuracy and efficiency over time, providing even greater value to legal teams.

Limitations of AI in legal tech

Despite its strengths, AI still struggles with complex legal writing and strategic contracting. It can understand how to address specific issues but often fails to grasp their broader implications.

Harvey Legal AI Platform, an AI assistant for legal research, provides case summaries and insights but may struggle with deeper legal analysis and strategic implications. While Harvey can be an efficient tool for initial research and basic case summarization, it lacks the depth and context needed for thorough legal analysis. This limitation becomes apparent when dealing with complex legal scenarios that require a nuanced understanding of legal precedents and strategic foresight.

BriefCatch offers real-time feedback on legal writing to improve clarity and precision, yet it might not fully capture the strategic depth required in complex legal documents. While BriefCatch is useful for enhancing the technical quality of legal writing, it cannot replace the strategic insights and contextual understanding experienced legal professionals bring to the table.

Legalese Decoder translates complex legal language into plain English, making legal documents more accessible but potentially oversimplifying nuanced legal concepts. This tool is beneficial for making legal language more understandable for non-lawyers, but it can inadvertently strip away critical nuances essential for accurate legal interpretation.

In multi-party negotiations, the ability to read between the lines, understand subtle cues, and anticipate the other parties' strategies is crucial. AI lacks the emotional intelligence and contextual understanding required to navigate these complexities effectively. 

Moreover, strategic contracting often involves a deep understanding of the business context, long-term implications, and potential legal risks. While AI can assist in identifying standard clauses and compliance issues, it falls short in crafting bespoke agreements that account for unique business needs and strategic objectives.

The market landscape

The legal research market is currently dominated by giants like Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, who have exclusive access to the primary texts and resources that lawyers need. This market dominance makes it difficult for competitors to catch up or buy in, limiting the potential for newer AI tools to make significant inroads.

Trevor, for instance, allows non-technical users to query databases relevant to legal research but lacks the comprehensive datasets held by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

CoCounsel offers a comprehensive legal research platform that leverages AI to enhance search capabilities but still operates under the shadow of larger players with exclusive content access. One significant limitation of CoCounsel is its coverage, as it misses almost all state court decisions and many important lower-level federal court decisions. This gap is critical for companies operating in multiple states, where state-specific legal precedents can be pivotal.

Similarly, responsiv presents a powerful starting point for legal research with its natural language processing capabilities and reference-backed answers. However, it relies heavily on CaseText for its data sources, which means it inherits the same limitations regarding the depth and breadth of available cases.

This reliance underscores the challenges newer platforms face in competing with established players with extensive and exclusive legal databases.

Despite these challenges, newer players are finding innovative ways to carve out niches in the market. By focusing on specific areas of legal research or offering unique features, these companies can provide valuable alternatives to traditional research tools.

For example, some AI tools specialize in analyzing litigation trends, predicting case outcomes, or providing insights into judicial behavior, offering a different angle that can complement traditional legal research methods.

Future outlook and recommendations

AI in legal tech is a growing field with much potential, but it requires careful integration and human oversight. Legal professionals must provide a guiding hand and critically monitor AI outputs to ensure accuracy and relevance. Human strengths such as creativity, continuity of tone, and specificity are crucial in this context.

Pre/Dicta, a litigation management tool, uses AI to predict case outcomes and suggest strategies, but it requires human oversight to interpret and apply these suggestions effectively. While Litigant AI can analyze patterns and historical data to predict potential outcomes, applying these insights in real-world scenarios requires the expertise and judgment of seasoned litigators.

LegalSifter assists in contract negotiation by using AI to review and suggest edits, which is beneficial for routine contracts but requires human expertise for strategic decisions. provides regulatory change management by tracking updates and summarizing them for compliance teams, ensuring they stay informed about relevant legal changes.

These examples show that while AI can handle routine tasks, it still relies heavily on human oversight for more complex and strategic decisions.

Human involvement is particularly critical in areas that require nuanced judgment, ethical considerations, and strategic foresight. For instance, in compliance and ethics programs, the ability to interpret regulatory changes, assess their impact on the organization, and develop appropriate responses is essential. 

AI can provide valuable data and insights, but it cannot replace the strategic thinking and ethical judgment required to navigate complex regulatory environments. By combining the strengths of AI with human expertise, legal teams can create more effective and adaptive compliance programs that leverage the best of both worlds.

Engaging the legal community

Aside from the great work by my legal and technical colleagues, I've been actively engaging with a diverse range of audiences. Through interactions with law students, legal professionals, and industry experts at various conferences and symposia, we've been finding consistent themes across industries. 

AI excels at tasks such as formatting, providing summaries, and following instructions explicitly. However, it lacks the ability to be creative, maintain continuity of tone, and provide specific, context-rich responses. This limitation is particularly crucial in the practice of law, where connecting dots, drawing distinctions, and seeing the bigger picture are essential skills that AI has yet to master.

In my engagements with law students, I have observed a growing interest in how AI can assist in legal education and practice. At conferences and industry events, discussions often revolve around the practical applications of AI and the need for regulatory frameworks that can keep pace with technological advancements.

These interactions reinforce the notion that while AI can significantly enhance legal workflows, it is not yet capable of replacing the critical thinking and strategic insights that human lawyers provide.

Key takeaway

Across specialties, backgrounds, and locations, whether teaching at Loyola University, attending the Northwestern Corporate Counsel Institute in Chicago, participating in the Marketplace Risk Conference in San Francisco, or speaking at the PLI Compliance and Ethics Essentials 2024 and the Corporate Compliance Symposium, I have consistently heard that while AI is transforming the legal landscape, its limitations are equally apparent.


Professionals from various sectors agree that although AI can automate routine tasks and provide valuable insights, intelligent human judgment is still the only effective tool in drawing deep logical connections, interpreting the tact to take in negotiations, or developing strategies that require multiple complex decisions to be made in unison.

Balancing efficiency with expertise

AI tools in legal tech offer significant benefits but come with limitations that require human oversight.

By understanding these strengths and weaknesses, legal professionals can better integrate AI into their workflows, ensuring that it complements rather than replaces human expertise. This balanced approach will help legal teams leverage the best of AI technology while maintaining the strategic depth and critical thinking that only human professionals can provide.

As we continue to explore the potential of AI in legal tech, it is essential to remain vigilant about its limitations and to prioritize the integration of human expertise at critical junctures. By doing so, we can harness the power of AI to improve efficiency and accuracy while preserving the nuanced and strategic capabilities that define the legal profession.

Anxious about introducing AI into your business? Before signing an AI tool agreement, learn about these legal components.

Note: The product opinions in this blog are those of the author, based on his own research using G2 and other sources. They do not reflect G2's report rankings or scoring. 

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Navigating the Limitations of Legal AI: Where Human Insight Prevails Learn about the strengths and limitations of legal AI. G2's legal team explores where AI shines in legal tasks and why human expertise remains vital in 2024.
Andrew Stevens Andrew Stevens is a legal professional with a background in high-stakes courtroom advocacy. As Senior Corporate Counsel at G2, he navigates the complex intersection of 21st-century technology and 20th-century laws. Andrew's journey began as a student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he honed his skills in criminal and civil trial advocacy. He then transitioned to a successful career as a trial and appellate associate at Corboy & Demetrio before joining G2 in 2022. Andrew's dispute resolution skills extend beyond the courtroom, as he and his wife (also a Chicago-based tech industry attorney) absolutely adore being parents to their three young children.