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LegalSeptember 27, 2023

No consensus among lawyers about generative AI being an opportunity or threat

The impact of generative AI (GenAI) on the legal industry is growing, with most lawyers believing it will change how they work. But there’s no clear consensus on whether they see it as an opportunity or threat.

According to Wolters Kluwer’s Future Ready Lawyer survey, lawyers recognize GenAI’s growing importance for their law firms and legal departments. That’s why 73% of lawyers expect to integrate GenAI into their legal work in the next year.

The survey also shows confidence among them in GenAI’s capabilities, with most (68%) feeling prepared for its impact and understanding how it can be applied to their work (73%).

GenAI tools for lawyers

As for where GenAI is expected to make an impact on lawyers’ day-to-day work in the next three years, the survey shows most attorneys (77%) from both law firms and corporate legal departments expect it to be in the areas of big data and predictive analytics.

However, there’s no clear consensus on whether these applications are an opportunity, a threat, or both. Almost half (43%) see it as an opportunity, but 25% see it as a threat, raising questions of authority, accuracy, inconsistency and potential bias. 26% of lawyers treat GenAI as both a threat and opportunity.

Generative AI is still somewhat of a black box, prone to hallucinations and sometimes untrustworthy in its output. But when this technology is deployed responsibly by trusted companies against known sources of data, it can provide enormous value at minimal risk – comments Robert Ambrogi, publisher, LawSites blog/LawNext podcast.

Legal AI solutions handle large volumes of data

For legal professionals, ChatGPT, in particular, is providing an exciting glimpse into what lies ahead in GenAI and how it can offer new possibilities to increase efficiency and gain deeper insights. Attorneys say this technology can help to automate certain routine legal operations like contract drafting and document reviews, as well as helping to complete a large number of tasks in a short time.

Those who are likely to integrate GenAI into their work in the next 12 months (72%) will use it for a wide range of tasks, mostly linked to efficiency and effectiveness. Some lawyers commented that these tools are becoming increasingly significant in their daily work, as legal AI solutions are able to quickly handle large volumes of data and analyze complicated legal issues. They also help to gain deeper critical insights and shape legal arguments.On the flipside, there are limitations such as lack of authority, inconsistency, lack of explainability, and potential bias.

But overall, lawyers are embracing the technology and recognize that generative AI tools deliver various benefits. – No one needs to fear losing their job or be afraid of AI. AI will be challenging only for those who resist change – concludes Valerie Keilhau, Managing Director of the Federal Legal Tech Association Germany.

To read the full legal industry AI report, download the Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer 2023 Survey >>
The Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer: Embracing innovation, adapting to change
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