In a keynote speech to the global legal profession, English Law Society CEO, Catherine Dixon, has praised the benefits of AI and urged lawyers to embrace the new wave of advanced legal tech.
The comments were part of a speech at the International Bar Association‘s annual gathering in Washington DC this week and are one of the most forthright and supportive statements on legal AI from a representative or regulatory body for lawyers.
Dixon highlighted that the key benefits of AI and new legal tech were that lawyers could become more efficient and that ‘some procedural work … can be commoditised’. She added that AI would help to reduce costs.
‘Technology can play a facilitative role in helping law firms achieve productivity-driven growth by increasing accuracy, saving time and driving efficiencies,’ she said.
In particular she mentioned legal AI companies Kira and the recently launched Luminance. She also noted that e-discovery software was becoming far more advanced through TAR (technology assisted review), which was now of increasing importance to the UK courts following the groundbreaking Pyrrho case that greenlit its use this year. Dixon also kindly mentioned research by Artificial Lawyer into the growing number of law firms publicly recognising their use or piloting of legal AI systems.
Dixon also noted that legal tech companies were ‘one of the biggest new groups of players mixing up the dynamics of the market’.
She added that following on from previous research by the Law Society of England & Wales, the main representative body for solicitors, they had concluded: ‘Solicitors face a future of change. These changes are dynamic and happening at an unprecedented scale and speed. The drivers of change [include]:
- economic change and increasing globalisation
- technological change, including AI
- increased competition
- changes in buyer behaviour
Dixon ended the speech with a quote from the German philosopher Leibniz, that many supporters of legal AI and automation will no doubt strongly agree with: ‘It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculation, which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.’
She concluded with the heartfelt statement that: ‘Now that excellent types of technology, machine learning and AI are available, we should embrace it and build on it to deliver better services.’
Artificial Lawyer is really pleased to see the support for AI from a major legal representative body such as the influential Law Society of England & Wales.
The market has also heard positive words from the American Bar Association over the summer about the need to embrace advanced legal tech to help improve access to justice. Artificial Lawyer would be very interested to hear the views on AI of other Bar organisations and Law Society heads from around the world.