May is generative AI month. I’ve been making my way around Canada and the US chatting about it – it’s been enlightening, inspiring and exciting…
My quick overall impression is we are all still experimenting right now and for that reason, short on use cases but, while people are cautious, they are also mostly positive about the impact of LLMs, GenAI and AI in the legal world.
If AI functionality realises its promise, lots of legaltech will become obsolete. The best advice here is if you are in the market for tech right now, the top of your list should be to ask and receive a definitive answer from your vendor on how that tech is incorporating AI and when.
The flip side of this is that you also need to get educated…now! You need to understand the tools and their capabilities, look for the use cases (in conjunction with the tech you already have), and also be sure to educate your people!
One of the best approaches I’ve seen on education in AI is what Gilbert + Tobin did with their AI Bounty. They gave people guidelines, then encouraged them to think about how AI could be used in their work. Engaging everyone early on helps remove the fear factor, identifies (and likely solves) pain points at the source, and encourages the development of solutions with and by the people who know the problem best.
It follows that every legal business/department needs to have a multidisciplinary committee/team identifying and prioritising where AI will impact the business and working on solutions for it...now!
Legal practices and tech vendors have sought to overcome ChatGPT accuracy issues by creating a private cloud where the firm/legal department’s data (cleaned up information and knowledge) can be uploaded. For legal, this also helps to solve the professional responsibility and ethical issues too. However, these tools need large amounts of data to be trained on and private clouds may or may not be big enough. Some vendors also offer access to their knowledge banks, that internal/external combination may help to overcome this problem and also provide the "best of all worlds" knowledge to draw on.
There is a fundamental change to legal practice afoot! AI and particularly generative AI are at the heart of it. If our work is mostly about identifying, analysing, summarising and interpreting knowledge, then we have to urgently prepare for the fact that AI can now do most of that faster, cheaper and better. According to Goldman Sachs, an estimated 44% of legal jobs will be automated by AI tools. However, if our practice is about applying lived experience, empathy, creativity, collaborative and holistic problem solving, then we’re set for the future. The question is, are you set and, what are you doing about it if you are not set?
And finally, the one big thing for me this week came from Mike Haven, the President of CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium), at the opening plenary session of its Global Institute:
We are living in a world now where huge challenges, disruptions and shifts are the new normal and not blips. This is history in the making. It is impact at scale. We have a responsibility to guide ethical, responsible and reasonable change - we’re standing on the cusp of a new era and legal needs to be an integral part of shaping it.
If you want to be an integral part of it, come and join the now over 500 of us in the Legal Generative AI LinkedIn public, listed group. We’re working on a bunch of stuff, including getting a Global Resource Hub off the ground…we’ve got lots to do, why not do it together?
Have a fantastic week ahead everyone!
Terri Mottershead, Executive Director, CLI