Generative AI, the technology behind the famous ChatGPT, is rapidly advancing, and it is expected to disrupt the legal industry.
With the potential to automate various legal tasks, from contract drafting to legal research, generative AI-powered chatbots could transform the way lawyers work.
While some are skeptical about the impact of AI on the legal profession, others see it as a valuable tool that can streamline processes and increase efficiency.
- Generative AI-powered chatbots can automate various legal tasks, including legal research and document drafting, potentially saving lawyers significant time and effort.
- While some worry that AI will replace human lawyers, others believe that it will simply augment their work and allow them to focus on higher-level tasks.
- AI-powered legal assistants can help increase efficiency in law firms, allowing lawyers to serve more clients and provide better services.
- AI can also help democratize access to legal services by making them more affordable and accessible to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
- However, there are also concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in the legal industry, particularly around issues like bias and privacy.
Large law firms are using a tool made by OpenAI to research and write legal documents. What could go wrong?
David Wakeling, head of London-based law firm Allen & Overy’s markets innovation group, first came across law-focused generative AI tool Harvey in September 2022. He approached OpenAI, the system’s developer, to run a small experiment. A handful of his firm’s lawyers would use the system to answer simple questions about the law, draft documents, and take first passes at messages to clients.
The trial started small, Wakeling says, but soon ballooned. Around 3,500 workers across the company’s 43 offices ended up using the tool, asking it around 40,000 queries in total. The law firm has now entered into a partnership to use the AI tool more widely across the company, though Wakeling declined to say how much the agreement was worth. According to Harvey, one in four at Allen & Overy’s team of lawyers now uses the AI platform every day, with 80 percent using it once a month or more. Other large law firms are starting to adopt the platform too, the company says.
“It’s going to make some real material difference to productivity and efficiency,” he says. Small tasks that would otherwise take valuable minutes out of a lawyer’s day can now be outsourced to AI. “If you aggregate that over the 3,500 lawyers who have got access to it now, that’s a lot,” he says. “Even if it’s not complete disruption, it’s impressive.”