Building a functional artificial intelligence in the legal domain—one that people want to use—requires a clear understanding of three different categories of intelligence of the lawyer: 1) that of an advocate, 2) that of the lawmaker, and 3) that of the academic.
The advocate works to advance the interests of their client over illuminating certain objective truths, except those specifically required by law. The advocate looks for ambiguity in the law and aims to resolve it in favour of their client. They argue for a certain interpretation of the law, not because they have a commitment to the truest understanding but because the interpretation favours their client.
The lawmaker, whether a judge or a member of the legislator, seeks to uphold the societal norms and morals of the day to the extent permitted by law. The objective truth of what the law is today is less of a concern than what it should be tomorrow. The task of a judge trying to understand a case does not end with a comprehensive understanding of the law. The law needs to be applied to particular facts and with it an injection of morality and ethics.
The academic is principally concerned with determining objective truths in the content of the law: what the law says not what it should say or what they want it to say. That is not to say that an academic doesn’t point out errors in the law and ways in which the written law can be improved—but this is all in pursuit of improving our collective understanding of what the law is or is not, objectively, on a given issue.I should be clear that an actual legal scholar is more than simply an academic in the sense I am using it here. A legal scholar is concerned with more than just the objective truths in regards to the content of the law or of the abstracted legal principles. In fact, these additional activities could probably be characterized as lawmaker activities. After all, many top academics are often cited regularly in caselaw.Clearly, though, the activities of the advocate and the lawmaker are fundamentally human, and will be for the foreseeable future. The activities of the academic, however, are fundamentally programmable, while those of the advocate and the lawmaker are currently not.We at Alexi are building the academic, the source that any legal practitioner can turn to with their objective questions about the abstracted legal principles. We recognize a clear division of labour as between the advocate and the law maker, and Alexi works in support of those fundamentally human tasks.