A.I. in Law - February 2024 Update

Posted in Latest News on 27 Feb 2024

Here at Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment, we have been monitoring the use of artificial intelligence in the legal sector for some time now.  

Of course, the use of AI has been both the cause of excitement and concern in law and the wider world generally. Recent surveys by LexisNexus and here at Douglas Scott tell some interesting stories about lawyers' uses and concerns surrounding artificial intelligence, as our understanding of the technology becomes more widespread.  

LexisNexus’ recent research found that just over a quarter of lawyers surveyed (26%) used generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. Even if people weren’t using artificial intelligence in their work, they could see possibilities for its implementation in the legal workplace: 91% thought AI could help assist with drafting, 90% believed it could help with research, and 73% saw the technology as able to make communication more efficient (for example, using AI to run little help pop-ups on websites). 62% of those surveyed said their firms had already made changes in response to AI, with examples of these changes being running specialist training, hiring experts in AI, developing policies for the use and limits of the tech, and providing products for lawyers to use. However, while some have embraced this technology, some are still concerned: 57% were concerned that AI would generate inaccurate results (also called ‘hallucinations’), while 55% cited security risks as a concern. While those surveyed for this report are generally positive about artificial intelligence, there seem to be some significant concerns about the technology’s use.  

Meanwhile, we at Douglas Scott are about to launch our latest salary survey. Covering topics such as wage growth, satisfaction indicators, job sentiment, and more, it is the largest and broadest of its kind in the United Kingdom. Our latest edition covers some topics on artificial intelligence, but the headline figure we found was that a third of legal professionals are concerned AI will put their jobs at risk. 37% of those surveyed were concerned, rising to 47% amongst Gen Z professionals. There was a slight variation in concern between the different groupings of lawyers, with everyone across the board feeling the same concern about whether artificial intelligence could be used to replace them. Even those who didn’t understand artificial intelligence that well or at all (14% of respondents) felt there was significant concern about the technology. 31% of this group still believed their jobs were at risk. From these figures, it’s clear that people have concerns about the technology and aren’t simply rushing to embrace it. There were some notes of optimism, however: 80% believed it is or will be helpful (31% of this group said it was or will be very useful), while 26% of people thought it would or was making them better at their jobs. However, with this group of legal professionals, there still seems to be a lot of hesitancy and even concern around AI’s use in the legal workplace.  

With artificial intelligence constantly evolving and developing, the opinion of those in the legal sector could easily change again. We’ll have to see if more formal regulation around the technology is brought in, either from the government or the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Indeed, the SRA published guidance on using AI last year, so it is an area they are concerned about. We will return to the topic of artificial intelligence later in the year to see whether these concerns have developed or changed. 

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