The latest hotshot lawyer at the law firm BakerHostetler never passed the bar exam or even attended law school. But the firm still trusts their newest hire, ROSS, to help with its bankruptcy practice. That’s because ROSS isn’t a flesh-and-blood lawyer at all—rather, it is the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney.
Futurism reports that ROSS the robot lawyer was built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson and functions like a legal assistant who has memorized nearly every case in legal history. “ROSS is a digital legal expert that helps you power through your legal research,” the website explains. “You ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly. In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case.”
BakerHostetler is the first law firm to sign a license with ROSS, but, according to Futurism, other firms are expected to announce licenses with ROSS soon. ROSS's greatest strength may be its ability to rapidly research cases. The body of legal literature is so vast, researching cases has historically been immensely time consuming. But ROSS has another special talent: Translating complex concepts and convoluted legal language into conversational English.
BakerHostetler CEO Andrew Arruda tells Futurism he has high hopes for ROSS, and is open to hiring even more artificially intelligent lawyers in the future. “At BakerHostetler, we believe that emerging technologies like cognitive computing and other forms of machine learning can help enhance the services we deliver to our clients,” he explained. “We are proud to partner with a true leader in the industry as we continue to develop additional AI legal assistants.”