‘Robot lawyers’ still coming, task efficiency should improve

by Doug Chartier

For all the talk attorneys have heard from law firms touting their new artificial intelligence capabilities, the technology hasn’t made much of an impact on the profession yet.

Earlier this month, the American Bar Association released survey results showing that only 10 percent of lawyers used some form of AI in their work in 2018. At larger firms of 500-plus attorneys, which have deeper pockets to invest in technology, about a third of lawyers reported using AI last year. 2018 saw some significant AI buy-in from BigLaw. For example, Reynen Court, a consortium of firms led by Latham & Watkins and including Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, launched last year to create a sort of “app store” where firms can more easily buy and adopt emerging legal technologies, including those that integrate AI. 

While attorneys at large firms were overwhelmingly interested in buying AI tools, more than half of solos and small firms reported having no interest in the technology, according to the ABA survey. 

That gibes with what Rob MacAdam, director of legal solutions for tech company HighQ, has been hearing from many legal customers.

“They don’t want to hear about robot lawyers and AI tools,” said MacAdam, whose London-based company sells a range of digital products and services that cater to the legal profession, including file-sharing and collaboration platforms. MacAdam practiced M&A in the U.K. and serves as a liaison between law firms and his company’s developers.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the February 4, 2019 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.