73 Percent Of Lawyers Expect To Be Using Generative AI Next Year… But To Do What Exactly?

Robot thinking on white backgroundOnly around 15 percent of lawyers may be using generative AI for work right now, but that’s set to change in a big way. And quickly. This morning, Wolters Kluwer released the 2023 edition of its Future Ready Lawyer Report, and in addition to insights about ESG work and diversity programs, respondents sounded off on artificial intelligence and a whole lot of them see AI entering their workflow soon.

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These are just the folks expecting to be using AI next year. Add in the poor schlubs who will get dragged into AI against their will and it’s likely somewhere north of three-quarters of attorneys will be getting answers from “MachineLearned Hand” by this time next year.

But what exactly will AI do for these attorneys? Probably not explaining international airline law.

According to the report, 77 percent of attorneys “expect it to be in the areas of big data and predictive analytics.” Which is interesting because those are use cases that get a little lost in all the pie-in-the-sky talk about whipping up first drafts of briefs. They’re also not use cases that present much risk. Legal tech has used artificial intelligence to find answers in the data for years. At the risk of oversimplification, generative AI just adds a bit more maturity and polish to the output.

This 77 percent figure is down slightly from 80 percent offering that answer last year, which is probably just noise, but could indicate more attorneys looking outside the comfort zone of crunching big data for ways to use AI.

Regardless of the answers in this survey, this tech is evolving so quickly that it’s doubtful the industry even knows how it’ll be best deployed by next November.

And while most lawyers recognize that GenAI will have an impact on the legal profession, there’s no clear consensus on whether these applications are an opportunity, a threat, or both. Almost half (43%) see it as an opportunity, a quarter as a threat, and 26% as both a threat and opportunity.

Isn’t there a Chinese character for that? Threatotunity?

Homer Simpson references aside, it’s encouraging that so many lawyers see value in advancing technology. That’s certainly not always been the case. The legal community isn’t exactly known for operating on the cutting edge of tech.

But here we are.

Future Ready Lawyer Report: Embracing innovation, adapting to change [Wolters Kluwer]

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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