04:17, September 05 349 0

2017-09-05 04:17:38
The 60 second interview: The industrialisation of the legal world is happening now

Berwin Leighton Paisner head of strategic client technology Bruce Braude talks to The Lawyer ahead of this year’s Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero Partners, which focuses on the law firm of 2025.

In some respects, AI is already as commonplace as photocopying. If one considers Siri, Alexa, Google Now, Amazon recommendations, Waze and various other consumer facing applications, most people are already using AI more than photocopiers.

We will increasingly see the application of AI to specific tasks within the workplace and I believe this will be more common than photocopying in this context too by 2025.

A fundamental point is that specific applications of AI will undertake increasing numbers of discrete tasks rather than general purpose ‘robots’ replacing people.

The delivery of legal services is becoming significantly more dependent on the combination of disciplines such as process engineers, data analysts, document automation specialists, software engineers and AI specialists.

Lawyers will need to have a working understanding of these domains to collaborate properly with these other professionals (also commonly known as ‘non-lawyers’) but I don’t believe that lawyers will specifically need to know how to code. I think the future is about combining multiple disciplines in the effective delivery of solutions.

The future of legal service delivery is the disaggregation of legal work between complex work delivered in a more traditional manner and most other work delivered in a far more ‘industrialised’ manner.

Over time more and more complex legal work will be industrialised. The industrialised delivery of legal services incorporates the use of process optimisation, automation, data analytics, integrated platforms and alternative resourcing models.

This approach is already being pursued by some in-house teams, law firms and alternative legal providers and will grow significantly over the coming years. This is being driven by a growing dissatisfaction by GCs of the status quo and their recognition that disciplines that have been applied in their core business can be applied to legal too.

Through the industrialisation of legal service delivery we will also see far greater standardisation and the quantification of legal risk, both in transaction and litigation contexts.

I think this question depends on one’s definition of “private practice”. In 2025, in-house legal functions’ use of traditional law firms will decrease and focus predominantly on high-end complex work, the ever decreasing ‘top of the pyramid’.

As all other legal delivery becomes increasingly ‘industrialised’, I believe in-house functions will partner to far greater degrees with providers of alternative solutions, whether offered by existing law firms or new ABSs.

Whilst increasing amounts of work have shifted in-house over time, the growing complexity of industrialised legal delivery will result in closer partnering between in-house and alternative solution providers.

I think a greater use of data analytics will have the most profound impact on the industry. The full impact may not yet be felt by 2025, but it will be very well underway.

This will have an impact on both the transactional and litigation elements of legal services. Data analysis will increasingly inform standard precedents, negotiation playbooks, legal risk analysis, the pricing of legal risks and the prediction of litigation outcomes. Some firms and organisations are already working on these areas and the impact will be significant.

Overlooking a waterhole in the Kruger National Park.