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Trends and Impacts of AI in the 2024 Legal Landscape

When it comes to the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, we are witnessing growth that continues in leaps and bounds. Like other sectors, the legal industry is deeply influenced by the advantages and challenges posed by this technology. But what trends can we expect to see in the coming year?

Before we jump in, it’s crucial to recognize that AI is not a monolithic technology. It encompasses a diverse array of technologies and algorithms, each shaped by the specific datasets they are trained on. This diversity means that AI tools can be employed in various ways across different legal tasks. However, leveraging these tools effectively requires careful consideration and a willingness to adapt.

Streamlining with Generative AI

According to Gartner, generative AI “refers to AI techniques that learn a representation of artifacts from data, and use it to generate brand-new, unique artifacts that resemble but don’t repeat the original data.” This technology, while promising, has encountered challenges in legal applications, ranging from accuracy issues to privacy concerns. However, we are now seeing an increase in solutions that are specifically tailored to the legal industry. Consequently, as these tools become more user-friendly, we anticipate that more organizations in the legal sector will adopt generative AI technologies in the coming year.

Increasingly, AI models specifically designed for the legal industry are emerging, having been trained on more relevant datasets and refined by experts in the field. Lawyers can leverage these tools to automate time-consuming tasks, such as drafting memos or preparing deposition briefs. This shift presents a significant opportunity for efficiency, allowing lawyers to focus their mental energy on more critical aspects of their cases. In line with this trend, First Legal is now offering DepoAnalyst™, a tool that uses AI to generate accurate deposition summaries.

Of course, the work completed by these tools cannot be accepted at face value and will require review but a rise in first drafts created by generative AI will mark a shift in how case teams collaborate with these tools while still maintaining an overseer role. Similarly, large language models offer certain advantages to practicing law. In particular, their language proficiency has the potential to significantly reshape traditional legal work, and their intuitive interface makes it easier for even those with little experience to integrate them into their workflows.

Increased Access to Basic Legal Information

We are growing familiar with the available AI tools for specific legal tasks, such as completing certain forms, and we can expect to see more sophisticated analysis of documents becoming increasingly available. This progression may extend AI tools into responsibilities previously only granted for attorneys, and naturally this will bring controversy.

A recent paper from Stanford Law School found that despite the potential and momentum of development in the LegalTech market, there are still challenges impacting how soon these tools will be adopted. Maintaining regulatory compliance remains critical, and there are structural questions such as how use of these tools can be measured in billable hours.

Increased Specialization

Looking ahead, we expect to see more specialized AI tools tailored to specific solutions for the legal industry. Beyond general productivity enhancements, these tools could be designed to handle data related to specific legal specialties, such as immigration law, insurance, or intellectual property.

As we consider the evolving impact AI will have on the legal landscape, it’s important to remember that this technology and the ways we use it will continue to change rapidly. What may seem doubtful today could seem ordinary in a matter of months. At First Legal, we continue to stay ahead of the curve, innovating and aligning our solutions with the needs of our clients. To learn more about our newest developments and innovations, and to participate in our webinars, MCLEs, and trainings, visit our client education page at First Legal Client Education.

If you have questions on any of our services, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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