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HBR Survey: Are Legal Departments Ready for AI?2 min read

The recent HBR Consulting’s Law Department Artificial Intelligence Survey Report, a survey of 35 US corporate law departments, most of which are in the Fortune 500 organizations, highlighted interesting trends in the adoption of AI by corporate counsel.

Only 6% of the respondents stated that the focus on AI is of high priority, while 20% are considering an initiative within the next few years. At the same time, only 6% answered that they already have an AI solution deployed or at a pilot stage.

As regards the potential benefits of AI in daily work, 71% of the respondents expect the advantage of “doing more with less,” 66% highlight the desired improvement of law department’s operations, and 66% foresee enabling self-service by clients.

The utility of AI is seen mostly in contract analysis (40%), eDiscovery (17%), predictive analytics (14%), and knowledge management (11%). 17% of the respondents are unsure about how AI could be utilized in their organization.

The survey demonstrates that although AI in the legal profession is still at an early stage, which is reflected by a small amount of early adopters, the technology has already demonstrated its benefits in specific applications, mostly in contract analysis.

Seeing AI’s utility primarily in document review is not surprising. As we recently discussed in our post AI in the Legal Profession, the majority of legal AI vendors tend to focus on contract processing due to such factors as (i) well-structured legal texts, (ii) the ‘tangible’ nature of contract drafting and analysis providing for more transparency and accountability to the clients, and (iii) faster market adoption due to AI’s ability to streamline the inherently ‘boring’ contract work.

We are looking forward to witnessing how new technological advancements that enable a ‘smarter’ AI, coupled with clear use cases demonstrating the benefits this AI will bring to the end user, will result in more lawyers embracing this technology. As HBR notes, ‘all technology initiatives are 50 percent about the technology and 50 percent about changing employee mindsets.’

Read the full HBR survey here.

Synch, the law firm behind Legal AI Blog, has been one of the first to recognize the potential AI has to impact the legal profession. Having two lawyers-developers within the Digital Services business unit, the firm has been actively working with legal AI providers and developing its own deep learning-powered software for document classification and analysis.

Sergii Shcherbak

Head of Software Development @ Synch

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