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The chat bots are coming, and they’re a talkative bunch

Jack Shepherd

Artificial intelligence is making tremendous strides, though is it ready to take on more legal work? Jack Shepherd looks into the symbiotic relationship between tech and legal services.

There’s no doubt that the uncannily human-sounding AI chatbot ChatGPT is impressive. It spits out incredibly accurate answers in a slightly unnerving conversational tone. But is this a mere party trick, or should lawyers be afraid?

Having posed some questions on specialist subjects (including law) and shared the output with a few experts, each one of them revealed to me that the response is impressive if negligent but for the caveats at the end.

Will ChatGPT make lawyers obsolete, poses Reuters? For now, it’s unlikely. Executives at Google (who it’s suggested could have released a similarly accomplished model if they so wanted) say the technology is still too immature for them to release a working model. There are issues with bias, toxicity, and a propensity for simply making information up. Maybe AI could replace a lawyer, but it would do a really terrible job.

So, what are the top use cases for Chat GPT for legal right now? First drafts of letters and short contracts perhaps. Ghostwriting articles for LPM? Indeed, there’s a risk here of looking for problems through the lens of a particular solution. This is always dangerous.

One size does not fit all

Modernisation isn’t always about implementing new technology. Adoption of tech is often touted as more of a priority than standardising processes but really, improving use of technology is based on standardising processes.

Looking to external industries for inspiration, the legal sector is finally catching-on to the benefits of project management. I still hear a lot of reference to ‘legal project management’ – personally, I’d prefer to lose the “legal” prefix and actually accept that the stuff lawyers do isn’t too fundamentally different from other professions.

The uptake of project management in law is a fairly new trend, but used effectively can allow legal professionals to achieve huge efficiencies. That’s not to say that law firms should be tempted to bring in a project management consultant, reports the Law Gazette in a recent article.

Have you tried being more digital?

Being ‘more digital’ is now a minimum requirement for law firms, the FT suggests in a recent law firm index for North America. Whereas advances in cloud data strategy may have been lauded as innovation prior to covid, relentless progress towards a digital-first approach is now the expected.

With transition to a truly digital-first law firm comes even bigger challenges such as security. A modern security culture isn’t just about having an IT team with their finger on the pulse and the occasional training session. Employees must embrace the ways that company data is accessed, used, stored, and shared.

Above all, security measures cannot hinder users. Seamless access with the maximum degree of data protection achieves the desired balance between accessibility and security.

Download the latest iManage security eBook to learn why a moderns security culture matters.

This blog first appeared on LPM Magazine

About the author

Jack Shepherd

Legal Practice Lead at iManage