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Artificial Lawyer reports that more firms are interested in using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) tools than last year. The International Law Technology Association (ILTA) just released its 2019 Technology Survey. (You can also download an executive summary).

Noting “that 17% [of surveyed firms] are relying on an AI/ML tool already or doing a pilot with one, across such a wide and varied range of commercial law firms, from tiny to massive, is very positive”, Artificial Lawyer underscores the significance of these results.

Since “overall the picture is a positive one, of steady adoption and experimentation”, Artificial Lawyer notes that “what seems to be ‘normal’ will keep evolving far faster than we may expect.”

Working in consulting for AmLaw 100 firms in New York in 2008–2009, we were still migrating big firms from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange. We were upgrading firms from Windows/Office 95. We were having a hard time pitching server virtualization to firms when from a cost and resource perspective, it was a no-brainer!

So, I’m not at all surprised that law firms have been slow to adapt this new technology. As Dr. Bonnie G. Buchanan reported in the Alan Turing Institute’s Artificial Intelligence in Finance report, “Algorithmic trading (AT) has become a dominant force in global financial markets. Also called ‘Automated Trading Systems’, AT’s origins date back to the 1970’s.” (see page 15).

Tech firms and financial services firms tend to adopt efficiency-friendly tools more quickly and with greater gusto than traditional law firms. While the ILTA report shows encouraging results, there is still a long way to go for law firms!