The Rise of AI in Construction Law and Construction Disputes | Balancing Efficiency and Job Displacement

Posted by Nilam Modhwadia, Graduate Recruitment Consultant on Monday, April 22, 2024

I recently attended a Society of Construction Law event, entitled AI The External Force Changing The Legal Landscape. In the session, the speakers provided an exploratory discussion regarding the growth of AI and how this has already led to changes in the construction law industry, both positively and negatively. The seminar sparked thoughts in the audience questioning whether AI will replace jobs in the construction law industry. This is certainly a creeping fear within several industries, not just construction law. But AI can prove to be beneficial, if used appropriately - but where should we draw the line? How can we use AI to improve our efficiency whilst construction law professionals still add value and human input to retain their jobs?

The Benefits of AI in Construction Law

One of the main benefits of using AI in the Construction industry is enhanced efficiency. For example, in construction law, AI can prove useful by analysing construction contracts to identify key terms. AI can also streamline due diligence by identifying potential legal issues, hence reducing the time and effort required by legal professionals to conduct thorough reviews of agreements. Moreover, legal databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis have introduced AI into their platforms, which allows lawyers to quickly search through vast amounts of legal precedent, statutes, and regulations relevant to construction law. This obviously saves time finding relevant cases, rulings, and legal interpretations more efficiently and is likely to improve the quality of legal analysis.

In construction in general, AI-powered project management solutions help improve resource allocation, timelines, and workflows in the construction industry. AI can assist construction companies to complete projects on schedule and within budget by analysing project data and identifying potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies. This will also lower the likelihood of legal disputes. Although this saves costs for construction companies, what about the legal professionals? Should they fear for their job security?

The Challenges and Concerns of AI

The potential for AI to replace humans in the construction industry is one of the main worries about this new technology. Certain tasks that have historically been handled by humans may become obsolete as automation and robotics become more commonplace. As with all things in the future, it is difficult to predict the extent to which AI will replace construction legal professionals, but I believe we still have a long way to go before AI fully replaces human professionals.

Instead, the AI as we know it in its current form, will act as a useful assistant in contract analysis and evaluation, rather than replace the need of human. The reason why I say AI in its current form, is due to uncertainty and its current lack of infallibility. For example, relevant AI source data online covering construction law may currently be scarce, partial, dispersed, or of variable quality. Because of this, AI-powered conflict resolution systems may find it difficult to learn from inadequate datasets, which could impede their conclusions.

Moreover, the lack of openness in what AI algorithms are being used can make it challenging for everyone involved to comprehend the decision-making process that led to a particular decision/view/outcome/recommendation. At the current time, this surely erodes confidence in AI systems and raises questions about reliability and impartiality. It was also mentioned in the seminar that different variations in the way we ask a particular question to AI can lead to differing outcomes. Again, this flaw can be seen to potentially undermine the validity of using AI and the inconsistency in legal opinions from the same source material could be regarded as unacceptable.

(Human) legal experts therefore continue to be crucial in reaching decisions, particularly in intricate or nuanced circumstances, which is often the case in construction law. Whilst AI can automate certain aspects of dispute resolution processes, heavy human involvement and oversight are still currently necessary to ensure fairness, integrity, and consistence in legal proceedings.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice in England vocalised in The Guardian newspaper  that:

Legal regulators and courts may need to control how lawyers use AI systems such as ChatGPT and there would need to be mechanisms to deal with the use of generative AI in the legal system.

Has the development of AI impacted recruitment within construction law and construction disputes?

As with construction law, AI has led to developments in related areas of construction law recruitment. AI allows recruiters to simplify certain tasks to save time and resources. However, as technology develops around us, ironically, one of the major absences in today's workforce is the deployment of high calibre "human skills." In specialist areas of negotiation, persuasion, and customer service, humans typically have a distinct advantage over AI in that they can, (if the humans are well trained and professional!), provide a superior all round customer experience. Likewise, the recruitment sector is all about building relationships, and we like to think that this is one of the things that Maxim Recruitment does best without the extensive use of AI to date!

When using Maxim, we offer in-depth consultative meetings with our candidates and employers, to ensure we fully understand the complexities of your requirements and how best we can provide a solution that meets your needs. Feel free to reach out to one of our specialist consultants to see how we use our human intelligence (HI!?)

Maxim Recruitment specialises in a number of areas relating to construction law and construction disputes including claims and disputes recruitment.  If you are working in construction law and dispute resolution, we have a variety of quantum, delay and claims roles available, at nearly every level of seniority across the globe! Take a look here: Quantum Delay Claims and Dispute vacancies on the Maxim Recruitment website and we look forward to hearing from you if you would like an experienced human on the case to help!


In summary, for the near future at least, it is fair to say that AI appears to be adopting a ‘copilot’ position to maximise the efficiency of the human specialist and for the human to be retaining responsibility for the quality of the output and the legal, professional and social implications of the generated output.  While we should be aware that our jobs could be at risk in the future, the best way to avoid such a problem is surely to be demonstrably be providing high quality work that is near impossible for an AI machine to replicate?  This conclusion was clearly written by a human!

Nilam Modhwadia
Nilam Modhwadia
Graduate Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment

Nilam is a Graduate Recruitment Consultant based in the Maxim head office in Leicester, Leicestershire. She supports the team with researching, headhunting, shortlisting, and interviewing valuable construction industry candidates, to place them in premium construction jobs with our market-leading UK and international clients.