In a rare bout of good news for law firms, AI and automation has had less of an impact on their practices than is commonly believed, a study by two US professors has found.
Law firms have not yet felt the impact of automation and artificial intelligence, according to a study by two US professors. The research, ‘Can robots be lawyers? Computers, lawyers, and the practice of law’ found that the demand for lawyers’ hours was only decreasing by 2.5 percent per year. US professors Dana Remus of the University of North Carolina law school and Frank S Levy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of urban studies and planning, analyzed lawyers’ working practices and questioned perceived vulnerability to artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technology.
The report revealed that document review, accounting for only four per cent of law firm billing, was the area most impacted by technology. With 40 percent of invoiced hours being accounted for by case administration and management, document drafting, due diligence, legal research, and legal analysis and strategy, there was a moderate impact. Document management, fact investigation, legal writing, advising clients and other communications or interactions, court appearances and preparation, and negotiation, which accounted for 55 percent of invoiced work, saw little impact.
Supply and demand
The study analyzed lawyers’ working practices and questioned perceived vulnerability to artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technology. The professors concluded that supply and demand had more impact on legal work than automation and attributed the slow take-up of technology by law firms as another reason why it has not had a significant impact yet. The bad news for law firms is that this could suddenly change, as corporate counsel mobilize to innovate. Sources: Legal Futures; Legal Technology Insider