The sheer volume of information to manage, coupled with increasing pressures to deliver on client demands and compete in today’s legal marketplace, is forcing law firms and corporate legal departments to initiate or expand their investment in newer technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).
Adoption has been methodical, even deliberate, as firms wrestle with questions like: Will AI make my firm more profitable and more competitive? Where is AI having the biggest impact? Can we afford the investment? Can we afford not to invest?
To better understand these challenges and opportunities, the legal staffing and consulting firm Robert Half Legal and Thomson Reuters are presenting a complimentary one-hour webinar, The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Information Management in the Legal Profession at 1 pm EST, November 28. Attendees may be eligible to earn one continuing legal education credit.
The webinar will feature a discussion from panelists Lauren Doucette, practice technology and e-discovery project manager at Sheppard Mullin; James M. Lee, co-founder and CEO of LegalMation; and Samantha Kim, director in consulting solutions at Robert Half Legal. The panel will be moderated by Jamy J. Sullivan, J.D., executive director of Robert Half Legal.
Exponential Growth of the Digital Universe
Sullivan said this webinar was borne out of a growing realization of AI’s transformational impact on business functions across various industries.
You can register for The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Information Management in the Legal Profession webinar here.
“It’s estimated that about 90% of data in the world today was created in just the last two years,” Sullivan said. “Think about that — and then consider that within the next two years we anticipate that volume to accelerate tenfold.” That acceleration will have a massive impact on how that data is managed, how it’s stored, how it’s protected, and how it’s disposed of, she said.
As custodians of vast amounts of their clients’ privileged data, legal organizations recognize that their duty to secure, protect, and defend this data is significant and cannot be overstated, Sullivan explained. “Yet it remains just a small part of AI’s potential impact.”
No Longer Just a “Nice to Have”
Indeed, artificial intelligence has become an essential aspect of law firm practice management, Sullivan said. “It truly has become a necessity — each industry should take a look at how they’re managing data, become aware of it, and start to address it before it gets out of control,” she added.
Corporate legal departments and large law have so far adopted AI technologies to a greater degree than smaller firms, Sullivan said, adding, however, that may be changing. Although smaller law firms were once frustrated by the high cost of integrating AI technologies, they now have taken advantage of the increasing volume and variety of new AI legal platforms in recent years, she explained.
“The price is becoming more affordable, so smaller firms are beginning to make the shift in order to remain competitive.”
As smaller firms consider investing in these new technologies, they are seeking input about how best to handle adoption. “They’re coming to us and asking questions like, ‘What do we need to know about? What do we need to do if and when we take the plunge?’” Sullivan said.
Leveraging AI to Reduce Cost…
Every firm, regardless of industry, should begin the AI integration process with an assessment of existing processes and then expand from there, Sullivan said. The technology audit helps target AI applications across a variety of legal functions to provide more cost-effective service to their clients.
AI’s ability to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks has generated significant cost savings, which have been passed along to clients. What’s more, Sullivan added, many firms are now able to take on more commodity-type work that was once deemed unprofitable. Indeed, firms are activating AI technologies to release their human capital, freeing them to focus on more substantive, more strategic work.
AI’s impact, especially on the most common legal functions, has already been significant, Sullivan said, adding that tasks such as performing automated searches and providing informative reports represent the lower-hanging fruit. A more recent development is leveraging AI to perform contract review, evaluating documents, and quickly identifying risks that could impact clients negatively, she noted.
…And Free Human Capability
“So, think about brain power: AI technologies allow firms to redeploy human intellect on what’s most important to the matter,” Sullivan said. “Working through a new litigation strategy, for example, or reviewing a complex negotiation in an M&A deal. We’re not looking at AI to replace that brain power, but instead to facilitate it and make it even more valuable to the firm and ultimately to clients.”
In fact, with clients demanding greater value, AI technologies help firms streamline repetitive processes and reduce costs and refocus legal talent to ensure they have the right people to staff every project, Sullivan said.
“And that’s what so exciting about the upcoming webinar,” she offered. “We have three exceptional expert panelists who are prepared to share very specific examples, within a wide variety of different legal functions, about how AI is being leveraged, as well as talk about various AI platforms that are being used across those legal functions.”