JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

In this issue of the President's Letter, Fred discusses: AI

The Robots are Coming . . .
Targeting the legal profession, how will this affect you?

Judy Homer
President, JB Homer Associates

Robotics is becoming an enabler to many industries. Originally, we thought robots were to be perceived as automation only in the lower-skilled jobs. Now industries that were always thought of as highly-skilled are also facing this future. That means, Architects, Doctors, Accountants, and "Yes", Attorneys have begun to see the more robots in their workplaces.

With the introduction of e-discovery platforms, robots can review thousands, if not millions, of electronic documents that have relevance to a legal case in the time it takes to blink an eye. Just imagine the cost-savings to clients. In the past, scores of attorneys would take weeks to analyze documents; now artificial intelligence software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In the legal profession where people are on staff for document review, they will no longer be able to be billed out to the client and a certain number will undoubtedly lose their jobs. The positive impact of this is that the cost can be driven down; thus making legal services more affordable to the average person.

Consider what attorneys do on a day-to-day basis such as probabilities in litigation, deciding what is better: settlement or litigation, chances that a judge will dismiss on this issue, how jurors are thinking, etc. Given the proper data, computers could possibly answer these questions faster and maybe more accurately. But, is this a good thing? Is it time to take the human interaction out of the industry? On the other hand, the complexity of the law and the sensitive nature of matters demand humanity in the process. These new forms of automation have renewed the debate over the economic consequences of technological progress.

Despite the concerns by our legal industry, there is certainly a future role for attorneys. The goal for attorneys living in this burgeoning era is to find the "middle ground." The unique values which the attorney brings to the table and the immense cost and efficiency savings for clients combined have created a function for robots in the workplace. These changes are significant and will be magnified in the years to come. The transformation will be remarkable, affecting large and small law firms; but the effect will be felt more heavily on the individual attorney who must be swift in responding to the change.

Yes, the robots are coming; but how will legal professionals deal with these disruptive factors that have proven to be transformational in other industries? Will the dynamics of the profession transform in a way that will create new and different possibilities for individuals affected by these changes?

In this article, we are focusing on the legal profession. How many other professions/industries will be disrupted or transformed by Robots?

We look forward to hearing your opinions:

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