AI Update: Law Firm Experts, Biglaw Balancing Act, NYC Hiring Law

Artificial intelligence making possible new computer technologieClient demands mean more tech recruiting, law firms balance innovation with risk, the legal tech market braces for competition in generative AI, and a New York City law that might determine the future of AI regulation.

  • Client demands for law firms to produce more work with fewer resources have driven increased demand for AI experts among law firms, Bloomberg Law reports. The “unmistakable trend,” as Christina Blacklaws of LawTech UK puts it, has even begun to impact law students’ coursework regarding legal technology.
  • In a new analysis, LegalTech News explores the balancing act law firms must engage in when it comes to AI. Move too slowly, and firms risk being left behind by clients seeking attorneys who are comfortable with cutting-edge legal tech. Move too quickly, and firms put themselves at risk of making a damaging, public mistake in a market built on reputations for reliability.
  • In a recent Q&A, also from LegalTech News, Crowell & Moring’s first “chief innovation and value officer” Alma Asay details the firm’s approach to AI and innovation in legal tech. “The No. 1 most important thing is to have a demonstrable impact,” she says regarding the logic behind implementing new legal tech, adding that “innovation is not being the first to try the shiny new toy.”
  • “Almost every facet of the legal services industry appears ripe for change, thanks to generative AI’s ability to search, synthesise, refashion, and represent information very fast — often within seconds,” the Financial Times reports. The result? Massive demand from law firms and a call to everyone from PwC to LexisNexis and even smaller companies to carve out their portion of the AI-based legal tech market. Still, U.S. courts have yet to clarify in what capacity attorneys will be able to use AI in their workflows.
  • Legal hiring teams and labor law attorneys beware: a somewhat controversial New York City law set to be enforced starting this month could be at the center of a national conversation about how AI is used during the hiring process, the New York Times reports. Business interests have labeled the law impractical, while other critics say the law doesn’t actually address how AI is currently used to determine new hires. “The law’s key measurement is an ‘impact ratio,’ or a calculation of the effect of using the software on a protected group of job candidates,” according to the Times.

Ethan Beberness is a Brooklyn-based writer covering legal tech, small law firms, and in-house counsel for Above the Law. His coverage of legal happenings and the legal services industry has appeared in Law360, Bushwick Daily, and elsewhere.

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