17 May 2019 at 08:06 BST

Knowledge gap in legal ops and lawtech

Fewer than one in four respondents report using machine learning or AI in their legal operations and technology, says a Bloomberg Law report.

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A wide-ranging survey on the state of legal operations and legal technology was released at the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Institute in Las Vegas. The report also stated while over half replied no to the question the remaining quarter responded that they are not sure.

Knowledge gap

The report suggests results may indicate a gap in either knowledge or underuse of the technology. The survey was conducted in April and features responses from nearly 500 practitioners representing a mix of law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. Topics covered include legal process and operations, legal technology adoption, and legal technology spending. “This survey provides a wealth of valuable data regarding attorneys' perspectives on the operational processes and technology that can help make legal departments and law firms more efficient,” says Molly Huie, team lead for data analysis and surveys at Bloomberg Law. The report suggests results may indicate a gap in either knowledge or underuse of the technology. The survey was conducted in April and features responses from nearly 500 practitioners representing a mix of law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. Topics covered include legal process and operations, legal technology adoption, and legal technology spending. “This survey provides a wealth of valuable data regarding attorneys' perspectives on the operational processes and technology that can help make legal departments and law firms more efficient,” says Molly Huie, team lead for data analysis and surveys at Bloomberg Law. Among those using machine learning or AI-enhanced tech inside law firms and law departments, 47 percent said they used such tools for document review, the survey found, and 41 percent used them for e-Discovery, two of the earliest law firm uses of AI-enabled technology. Ms Huie said, “Perhaps at the moment, expectations of legal tech usage are simply higher than actual usage, and as more firms adopt various legal technologies, we’ll see these numbers increase.”

High expectations

Other findings include nearly nine in ten respondents report having a legal operations function, with equity partners at law firms and general counsel at corporate legal offices being the titles most frequently cited as directing that function. The legal operations function often has multiple responsibilities within a department, including records and vendor management, training, and procurement. Expectations are high for using new legal technology, with 87 per cent saying that as clients they expect their outside counsel to use appropriate legal technology to be more efficient. However, fewer than one half agree they are well prepared in general to respond to demands for increasing technology use. An overview of survey findings is available here.

 
   
 
 
 

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