If you caught my recent interview with Microsoft’s Jason Barnwell on generative AI and the coming impact on how we practice (the back half of the interview includes demos), you’re likely to be a “true believer” in what I am about to write. Some people say there is a lot of hype to generative AI. I say there hasn’t been enough.
Here are five reasons why you should take some time to become familiar with generative AI soon:
- It will have a disproportionate impact on the legal profession – This may come as a surprise to some who expect generative AI to merely make repetitive tasks more simple. I have two responses to that. Yes, generative AI can make repetitive tasks more simple – and guess what, a lot of what you do in your daily practice is repetitive.
But generative AI has the power to be way more impactful than just tackling repetitive tasks. It can have an unbelievable impact on your ability to be creative. Your ability to be organized. Your ability to aggregate information and process it at mind-numbing speed. Studies show that the legal profession will be among the most impacted industries.
- Your peers will pass you by if you don’t embrace it – What if I told you that there was a fairly simple way that you could be 30-50% more productive with your time? You would swallow that pill in a hurry. Generative AI is that pill. If your colleagues are taking advantage of this opportunity – and you’re not – where does that leave you. Behind.
- It can solve the biggest problem in your life; your lack of time – I imagine the #1 problem that any of us have is a lack of time to do all that we want in life. With such a big jump in your productivity will come the opportunity to have time to do other things, most of them probably more beneficial to both your professional and personal life.
- There aren’t many real barriers to entry to learn how to use it – For those of us old enough to remember the advent of the Web, it took some time to grow on many of us. The development of useful browers and search engines took time. The ability to build websites and post content took time.
And many people initially tried to apply their paper-world thinking to the online world and it just wasn’t as useful as it is today. Plus there were real constraints to Internet speed and even access to the Internet. None of those barriers exist for generative AI. Sure, the numerous AI tools out there are still being refined (and I’ll blog soon on what those options currently are today and how they stack up to each other) – but existing AI tools already are quite powerful. The free tools are powerful; the ones that cost money are even more powerful.
There will not be the same sort of gradual rollout that happened in the late 90s and early 00s for the Web. Within 2-3 years, generative AI likely will have fully penetrated our field.
- Your clients are going to expect you to use it – Regardless of which type of lawyer you are – in-house, law firm, regulator – you will be using generative AI as a standard part of your practice soon enough. Right now, clients aren’t demanding it – and some might even not want you to use it – but soon enough it will be expected when the full benefits are realized by all.
And there are ethical obligations to consider when using it, including being competent with how you use it; not placing confidential information into a generative AI tool that doesn’t keep the information confidential (that would be all of the free tools and perhaps even some that are subscription-based) and you can’t pad your hours if you use AI to cut down a task from 5 hours to 45 minutes.
And always remember, you must check the results that generative AI provides – you CANNOT rely on it to be reliable. Think of it as having the brain of a squirrel…
This is the first in a series of blogs about generative AI…