Only 14% of Inhouse Lawyers ‘Never’ Use GenAI – Survey

A survey by Juro of 105 inhouse lawyers around the world has found that only 14.3%, (i.e. 15 of the 105), were ‘never’ using any GenAI tools at all. Last year’s survey saw 45% state they would not be using the technology. The data, albeit from a small sample, indicates a notable movement in use and acceptance.

That said, about 42% said they ‘seldom’ used it, while 19% used it every day, and just under 25% every week. However, given the changes since last year it’s fair to assume that many of the ‘seldom’ group will by 2025 be in the ‘every week’ group. In short, for a technology that was barely known about in 2022 there has been a significant change.

The survey, in partnership with US law firm Wilson Sonsini, then found that when it came to what inhouse lawyers were using the generative AI technology for, ‘drafting contract templates’ was the most popular use case, followed by document summary. Contract review, legal research and proofreading were also noted use cases.

They also found that other emerging use cases where at least some inhouse lawyers were seeing value included:

  • Visualizing data
  • Building legal chatbots
  • Creating learning and training content
  • Authoring legal FAQs
  • Answering repetitive questions
  • Filling in RFPs
  • Writing context-specific communications for the business

In short, it’s a mix of tried and tested use cases, e.g. summary and doc review, with more experimental uses, such as ‘filling in RFPs’ and ‘creating training content’.

It’s worth noting that generally asking an LLM to draft you a contract template from scratch is not a great idea. However, if you have a structured workflow and the right KM assets available so the GenAI can tap bona fide examples that your team already accepts, then it can work well. And this approach also helps with self-serve scenarios. Presumably this is what the Juro survey respondents are referring to.

One often repeated view this site has heard is that ‘inhouse lawyers are worried about using GenAI’. Well, if that’s the case, they aren’t worried enough not to use it.

The data does indeed suggest a mixed message here. For example, the survey sample showed that ‘53% lack confidence in generative AI products’ privacy posture’. Yet, as noted, plenty are using GenAI in some way already.

Perhaps the answer to this conundrum is that most lawyers will be using LLMs via an intermediary legal tech company, e.g. for legal research they may be using one of the legal tech giants’ GenAI offerings, or for doc review they may be picking from a whole range of contract-focused legal tech tools, which includes Juro.

So, while they know from press articles that there may be issues in certain situations, e.g. just using ChatGPT ‘in the wild’, when it comes to their own actual use they clearly don’t feel that worried – as if they did feel that concerned they would not be using it so much.

Commenting on the results, Raj Mahapatra, Senior Counsel at Wilson Sonsini, said: ‘AI tools are fast becoming integral to modern legal practice, enabling lawyers to deliver faster and, hopefully, more accurate results while navigating the complexities of privacy and ethical considerations.’

One last thing that the survey found was that a notable number of inhouse lawyers were working just as hard as they did when they were in a law firm – contrary to how many view the inhouse world.

Over 37% of the sample said they worked the same or more hours inhouse. However, that percentage would be even higher if the ‘never worked in private practice’ was removed from the sample.

Juro also highlighted that burnout among inhouse lawyers is increasingly common and hence the use of GenAI technology to help remove routine tasks was essential to solving this issue.

Overall, a very positive picture of inhouse lawyers making use of this new technology at a very fast adoption rate, given that ChatGPT and the raft of new tools that arrived since then only got going in November 2022. I.e. in just over 18 months, we’ve gone from ‘what is GenAI?’ to ‘look at all the ways I can use it to help remove friction from my work’.

There is much more to come.

Let’s wrap up with a comment from Richard Mabey, CEO of Juro, who said: ‘I can’t think of any technology being so quickly and widely adopted by lawyers as generative AI, and the possibilities are thrilling. The crucial innovators here will be the legal teams finding the right problems to solve, and the right technology vendors thinking innovatively and moving quickly to partner with them.’