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Why do General Counsels and Law Firms have a mismatch over the adoption of Generative AI?

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

There is always a marked mismatch between the expectations of the law firms and the in-house counsels when it comes to the adoption of Generative AI. So, in this case, we will be understanding this issue with the help of referring to a research study report by Lexis Nexis.

Details of the report by LexisNexis on the Adoption of Generative AI

Thus, referring to a report by LexisNexis it has been found that Generative AI and the future of the legal profession has found almost three-quarters, which makes about 70% of the in-house counsels expect their law firms use cutting-edge tools and technology which includes Generative AI tools. Though only 55% of the respondents from the law firms or the Bar believe that the clients expect to use such kind of tools. It has also been found that around 49% of the in-house counsel surveys have expected their law firms to use Generative AI in the next 12 months, out of that percentage, about 11% expect the firms to already use this technology. Thus, only 8% were not ready to use AI, in contrast to the 24% of the firms who believed their clients to not have used AI at all.

This report comes amidst of an increased focus on the use of Generative AI in the legal profession following the launch of OpenAI’s Chatbot ChatGPT last year. About 87% of the 1,175 legal professionals from the United Kingdom have been surveyed who were quite aware of the use of Generative AI tools, and nearly about 95% of the members from the group agreed that such tools would impact the pace of legal practice widely. Almost four out of 10 were of the belief that it would cause a significant impact, while about 11% said that it would show a transformation and about 46% thought it of having some impact.

As per the opinion of the Partner of Deloitte’s Legal Transformational team, where she noted that the use of Generative AI can disrupt the entire foundation of the legal market. This can have individual outcomes, as the democratization of legal advice with universal access to justice, market practice will replace the two-party negotiations, in terms of AI-based case resolution and productivity transformation for lawyers. It was also found that only 36% of the respondents used Generative AI in a personal or professional capacity, where the adoption rate was likely to get accelerated in the coming months, with about 39% saying about the currently exploring opportunities, which rose to 64% when the responses were analyzed from large law firms, and 47% while looking at the responses from in-house lawyers. Almost two-thirds of the respondents agree that Generative AI technology will help in increasing the level of efficiency.

Concerns from the end of the law firms

Many working in law firms have expressed their concerns about the risks that come from the use of Artificial Intelligence, where about two-thirds had mixed opinions about the impact of Generative AI on the practice of law. Where they agreed that there will be positive drawbacks. This was seen to be true particularly from the end of the respondents of large law firms, with 76% holding mixed views. Many law firm attorneys also feel positive about the prospect of using Generative Artificial Intelligence and various AI-enabled tools like ChatGPT.

However, a report by the Thomson Reuters Institute released in the month of April indicated that more than 80% of the law firm leaders surveyed that Generative AI can be applied for use in legal tasks, and more than half of the people believed it of being applied within legal work. The overall report showed uncertainty across the board among the law firm respondents, where about 25% were in favour of using AI for legal work. However, referring to the overall report it can be found that there remains an uncertainty among the law firm respondents at large, where some believe that Generative AI should be applied for legal work, whereas some do not believe that Generative AI should not be applied for legal work, and some others believe it for being applied to non-legal work.

The legal viewpoint of addressing this issue

General Counsels are playing a two-tiered role as the companies are continuing to explore looking towards a way to deploy the use of Generative AI in their business to support legal functions. But as a part of the marching order, the general counsels and the Chief Legal Officers are looking out for ways to deploy the technology in terms of their legal processes. Additionally, all legal chiefs are examining the policies and the guardrails that are needed for the use of these tools to eventually get deployed. For the legal department, it can make some sense in terms of the experiment using technology firstly in non-legal functions, like training attorneys on the use of new tools or workflow.

However, on the legal side, it is quite necessary to stick with using trusted and long-validated sources like Westlaw and Legal Nexis, especially for legal writing. As both Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis are developing tools to incorporate new technologies like Lexis+ AI.

Sources Referred-




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