AI in Legal: Threat vs. Opportunity
The legal industry has taken a massive leap forward and been pushed two steps back. Data maturity isn’t as proficient as required, and Security has been outed across the industry as inadequate following a challenging 2023 which saw the introduction of several AmLaw CISOs amidst the pressure for refreshed Security programs, and an increase in 2023 data breaches across the industry (over 150% on 2022 breaches).
Attendees discussed this and the importance of Data and Security across Technology, with Conan Hines of Fried Frank referring to a mature data strategy as “essential” and reiterating AI transformation was dependent on the success of such strategies. It was agreed that for firms to generate ROI and create value from these tools, emphasis needs to be on developing strong technology foundations. This is something Allen Darrah of Spencer Fane mentioned was a clear focus for the firm as they look to improve efficiencies without necessarily jumping to quickly to harness Gen AI.
The success of AI is ultimately down to the people that drive transformation and those working to evangelize its potential within the Legal community. With the shift from project to product mindset, having the resource available to support new tools and technology is essential to business success.
Various tools and their use cases were discussed; however, Catherine Monte at Fox Rothschild was supported in her assertion about the difficulties and lack of support from some vendors. It was implied that vendors could do more across system development and customer experience to ensure potential benefit outweighs risk. Perhaps, like Law Firms, Legal Technology vendors still have a way to go in the transformation and improvement of their offering – And this was suggested when vendor evolution was discussed.
Contrarily, it's widely accepted that firms must continue relying on vendors for progress. Finding inhouse talent is difficult, and uncertainty looms in the industry. While most firms are establishing AI committee’s and leadership teams to drive initiatives, they must also remain agile and lean, in order to adapt to the ever-changing environment.
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