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EY head of law for UK&I Philip Goodstone talks to The Lawyer about the biggest AI myths in the legal sector and the gap between client expectations and what AI can actually deliver, ahead of his panel session at this year’s In-house Counsel as Business Partner in association with EY.
What are the biggest myths associated with AI in the legal industry?
One of the biggest myths is that AI is the panacea that will itself revolutionise the legal profession. Sure – AI can help and streamline tasks, but AI is just one of a number of technology tools available to improve the experience of clients and likewise the career of young lawyers in particular. Ultimately we all need to focus on delivering greater value to clients and technology, including AI, will help with this.
Will AI actually lead to certain jobs being lost (as it’s been speculated for a few years now), and if so what type of roles are at risk in your opinion?
What AI will lead to, more than anything, is lawyers focusing on and doing different things, meaning their experience and learning journey will change. Likewise it will enable us to innovate with our clients and find new ways to solve problems and add value.
Will there be less jobs? Probably not. As we work our way through the fourth industrial revolution, technology is increasingly making the world a more complex place, and law and regulation is struggling to keep pace with these changes. To stay ahead, lawyers need to upskill, learn different skills and focus on new areas. Ultimately this rapid pace of change, brought about by technology, will lead to new career paths, career challenges and the development of new services for clients.
Are the benefits of AI truly being maximised at the moment?
Definitely not. At the moment, AI is being utilised predominantly to carry out basic tasks that took humans much longer. But there is huge scope for AI to add greater value to the profession, such as to aid the analysis and understanding of risk. Ultimately we will use it to provide data to support the experience we bring.
How wide is the gap between client expectations of AI and what it can presently deliver?
Fairly wide. AI is one tool in the lawyers’ toolbox that when used appropriately will add value, but not every time. The key is to understand the business problem that the client is looking to solve, as opposed to focusing on selling tools and technology. Having a clear understanding of the business problem, timetable and budget enables us to consider the best solution to recommend. In some circumstances AI will be an ideal tool, but in others completely inappropriate – it’s our role as advisers to utilise the best tools at our disposal that will lead to the optimum outcome for clients.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
My mum – and it would have to be a long dinner as she has not been around for some time…..
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