Generative AI to have transformative impact on the practice of law but firms and in house teams differ on how soon this technology should be used

LexisNexisBy Legal Futures Associate LexisNexis

Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional®, a leading global provider of legal information and analytics, has released a new report entitled “Generative AI and the future of the legal profession”, which highlights a disconnect between in-house counsels’ and law firms’ expectation of generative AI adoption. 49% of in-house counsel expect their law firms to be using generative AI in the next 12 months, and of that percentage 11% expect firms to be already using the technology. Only 8% didn’t want AI used on their work. In contrast, 24% of firms believe their clients would not want them to use AI.

The survey of 1,175 UK legal professionals, conducted in May to June 2023, finds 87% are aware of generative AI tools – and of that group, 95% agree these tools will have an impact on the practice of law (38% said it will have a significant impact,11% said it will be transformative and 46% thought it would have “some impact”). Nearly three-quarters (70%) of in-house counsel agree or strongly agree that law firms should be using cutting-edge technology, including generative AI tools.

While only 36% of respondents have ever used generative AI in a personal or professional capacity, adoption rates are likely to accelerate in the coming months, with 39% saying they are currently exploring opportunities. This rose to 64% when analysing responses from large law firms alone, and to 47% when looking at responses from in-house lawyers.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (65%) agree that generative AI technology will increase their efficiency. When asked how they would like to use generative AI specifically in their work, respondents said researching matters (66%), briefing documents (59%) and document analysis (47%) had the most potential.

However, many in the profession are understandably concerned about the risks that come from the use of AI technology. Two thirds (67%) of survey participants feel mixed about the impact of generative AI on the practice of law, admitting that they can see both the positives and the drawbacks.

“When freely available AI tools don’t have access to the relevant data, they have a tendency to make up the answers, or hallucinate,” says Alison Rees-Blanchard,” head of TMT legal guidance at LexisNexis.

“This means any generated output must be checked thoroughly.  However, a closed data source means that hallucinations will be easier to identify, as verification of the output is made easier.”

LexisNexis recently announced the commercial preview of Lexis+AI. Built and trained on LexisNexis’ enormous repository of accurate and exclusive content, this generative AI platform will transform the future of legal work. It brings powerful conversational search to complex legal research, enhanced summarisation to speed up insight creation and, with generative document drafting, it will guide users through the legal drafting process with citations that link directly to LexisNexis content.


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