Technology & Innovation

Lex Mundi Technology & Innovation 2023 Summer Newsletter

Read our Technology & Innovation Summer Newsletter for important updates on key initiatives, upcoming events, digital resources and more!

02nd August 2023
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Technology and Innovation
July 2023

  • Generative AI
  • Forward Think Tank - Structure of Firms
  • Cybersecurity Core Standards and Recommended Practices
  • Cybersecurity Flash survey
  • Insights Series - Pricing: Why business intelligence is a premium service
  • Consulting - Give us a call

The Second Legal AI Boom: Generative AI is here

For quite some time, it felt like the early promises made by AI (and the vendors selling solutions powered by AI) would never be fulfilled. The first AI boom in legal back in the mid-2010s, came with a lot of promises of streamlining, expediting, and automating the "low value" work on transactions and litigation matters, but that revolution in expedience never really materialized.

There is no doubt that today, when tackling a large e-discovery exercise a commercial law firm will deploy an effective e-discovery solution, powered by AI, and similarly, on transactional work that same firm would likely deploy an AI-powered clause extraction solution to speed up the due diligence process, and this is due to that first AI boom in law.

However, if you think back to the promises made and the chatter in the industry at the time, we were expecting a true change in how law was going to be practiced. Many wondered too, if AI was an existential threat to lawyers given that the technology would displace a lot of the work lawyers perform on their clients' behalf.

Again, this never happened and it is probably because these tools each, while very helpful, focused on expediting discrete tasks, with none being universally applicable. The chatter around AI eventually died away, with the first round of AI tools being incorporated into the matter workflow... until ChatGPT.

ChatGPT seemingly caught everyone by surprise, with its far-reaching capabilities and accuracy. Users were amazed at the breadth of knowledge this large language model had learned, its accessibility, and its ease of use. Yes, it does hallucinate, and yes, it is reportedly becoming more inaccurate, but the underlying technology is incredibly powerful. This power lies in:

  1. its universal appeal; all professions can see benefits from the technology; and,
  2. the conversational interaction between the user and the tool.

Every legal tech vendor has accordingly added "AI" to their solution at short notice, in a bid to ride the hype of ChatGPT. Soon, we will start to see a version of this specific generative AI in our workplace, through Microsoft Co-Pilot. Our clients are, rightly, asking tricky questions regarding intellectual property and privacy issues, and also, if our firms are going to implement generative AI in practice. Many industry commentators are again asking if this technology poses an existential threat to the profession... it all sounds very similar to the first AI boom, so will this time be different?

YES. I won't attempt to crystal ball gaze on the specifics, but this time will be different. Generative AI's universal applicability means that all facets of a law firm can benefit from the technology, from pitch generation to legal research. Similarly, our clients' capabilities will be enhanced, and this will lead to changes in how we interact with them.

To understand the consequences of this technology, Lex Mundi has put together an AI working group, that explores the possibilities of AI in law and will report to the network from time to time.

We have also put together an AI community for those interested in discussing this technology with peers from around the network, and to which you can sign up here. Finally, I encourage you to read our Lex Mundi Forward reports which delve into the challenges facing commercial firms today, not least of which is emerging technologies: the latest report is below. 

This is an exciting time in the industry and we urge you to explore this new technology, but in a prudent and cautious manner. As ever, we remain on hand to help guide you through the industry chatter around AI, and would welcome any opportunity to do so.

Lex Mundi Forward Think Tank: Structure of Law Firms

We all know that the world of legal services is quickly changing. Pressures from changing client demands, an acute talent market, and the advent of new technologies, mean more than that strategic foresight and proper structural foundations are crucial to a law firm's success.

The Forward Think Tank - consisting of 20 Leaders and Next Gens from 20 firms from around the world - is designed to encourage forward thinking by Lex Mundi member firms. It asks the question: What would a top-tier, independent, business law firm look like if it were to be established today?

This report is the third in our series produced for the benefit of our member firms. We hope that this will spark your firm's thinking and help internal discussions as you look ahead and engage in strategic planning with respect to your firm's structure in the face of these new pressures. It also is designed to facilitate the sharing of experiences and insights from leaders and Next Gens from around the network, on what they are thinking and doing to future-proof the firm. 

We believe in the strength of our analysis but remain aware that our viewpoint is internal, so we have again refused to shy away from external analysis: as part of this report management consultants, legal futurists, and law firm strategists have provided commentary. This report can now be accessed at the link below, and we would greatly appreciate any feedback you might have when you read it, whether by email or a call.

If you would like to register your interest in further updates on Forward please click here, and should you have any queries please contact Andy McDonnell.

Click Here For Structure of the Firm

Updated Core Standards and Recommended Practices Now Available

The Lex Mundi Board of Directors continues to believe that the threat of cyber-attacks on law firms of all sizes is real, increasing in sophistication and constantly mutating, and poses an existential threat to member firms.  It is important that member firms have leadership at the highest level taking a firm-wide, multi-disciplinary approach because it is much more than a “technology” issue.

In January of this year, the Lex Mundi Board of Directors approved an updated Lex Mundi Cybersecurity Core Standards and use their best efforts to implement certain Recommended Practices, as part of an Obligation of Membership. 

Cybersecurity Resources Available to Firms

To help member firms improve their cybersecurity, Lex Mundi continues to make available a set of Cybersecurity Resources:

  • Collaborative Cybersecurity materials developed and shared by member firms (e.g. recommended solutions, best practices, technologies/solutions) available through Lex Mundi’s Knowledge Base. Let us know of any gaps or articles you would like us to post.

  • Cybersecurity Assessment Tool, which leads the user through a set of questions and then generates a downloadable assessment report to create a benchmark against other Lex Mundi Member Firms. All information is anonymous. Stay tuned for more information in the next few weeks.

  • Monthly Cybersecurity and Business Development “open” calls hosted by the Lex Mundi Cybersecurity Working Group to answer your questions and facilitate cross-firm knowledge sharing. Contact Sunaina Arshad to be added to the contact list.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or feedback on the Lex Mundi Cybersecurity Core Standards, the Recommended Practices, or the Cybersecurity Resources, please contact Sunaina Arshad

Legal Insight Series - Pricing: Why Business Intelligence is a Premium Service

The Legal Tech Pricing Insight series is an opportunity to hear about tools and techniques you can use to address pricing challenges aside from technology innovations. You will also get to meet/engage with others from Lex Mundi member firms who are working on this issue.

Our last session was led by Brian Gribben, Chief Marketing Officer at Arendt & Medernach (member firm for Luxembourg) who spoke about the art of data analysis. In particular, Brian explained how Arendt has gained greater insights into driving campaigns, seeking new clients, and managing their key clients by looking at how other sectors approach the use of market data. This wonderful presentation was preceded by a short introduction to AI, provided by Andy McDonnell, Lex Mundi Directory of Tech and Innovation.

View a recording of the session below.

To view our upcoming T&I virtual events: Click Here.

View the Recording

Consulting Calls

You can have a call with the Tech & Innovation team to get help connecting with other firms and to identify resources/deals that are available to make your legal tech decisions and accelerate your innovation.

The Lex Mundi Tech and Innovation team is happy to have an interactive consulting call, where we can:

  • Help you choose a new technology
  • Provide tactics/tools for improving your firm’s innovation efforts;
  • Connect you with other member firms
  • Link you to helpful resources
  • Let you know about deals available to you

Click Here to Schedule a Consulting Call