For the Fourth of July week, we thought we’d do something fun and probably a little weird. Greg spoke with an AI guest named Justis for this episode. Justis, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4, was able to have a natural conversation with Greg and provide insightful perspectives on the use of generative AI in the legal industry, specifically in law firms.

In the first part of their discussion, Justis gave an overview of the legal industry’s interest in and uncertainty around adopting generative AI. While many law firm leaders recognize its potential, some are unsure of how it fits into legal work or worry about risks. Justis pointed to examples of firms exploring AI and said letting lawyers experiment with the tools could help identify use cases.

Greg and Justis then discussed the challenges for the legal industry in using AI, like knowledge gaps, data issues, technology maturity, and managing change. They also talked about the upsides of using AI for tasks such as research, drafting, and review, including efficiency and cost benefits, as well as downsides like over-reliance on AI and ethical concerns.

The conversation turned to how AI could streamline law firm operations, with opportunities around scheduling, paperwork, billing, client insights, and more. However, Justis noted that human oversight is still critical. Justis and Greg also discussed how AI may impact legal jobs, creating demand for new skills and roles but aiming to augment human work rather than replace it.

Finally, Justis suggested innovations law firms could build with AI like research and drafting tools, analytics, dispute resolution systems, and project management. Justis emphasized that focusing on user needs, ethics, and change management will be key for successfully implementing AI. Looking ahead, Justis anticipated continuing progress in legal AI, regulatory changes, a focus on ethics, growing demand for AI skills, and AI becoming a competitive advantage for some firms.

While this was a “unique” episode for The Geek in Review, we hope it provided an insightful “conversation” about the current and future state of generative AI in the legal industry. There is significant promise but there are also challenges around managing change, addressing risks, and ensuring the responsible development of new AI tools. With the right focus and approach, law firms can start exploring ways to make the most of AI and gain a competitive edge. But they must make AI work for human professionals, not the other way around.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠



Greg Lambert 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review, podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Greg Lambert, and I’ll be your solo host this week as Marlene Gebauer, is out for the Fourth of July holiday. Now we always strive to bring you interesting and insightful conversations. But this week, we’re taking a step beyond the usual. So we’re going to have a conversation with an AI. That’s right, we’re not just talking about AI. This time, we’re talking to the AI. So let me introduce you to our guest, I thought it would be fun to give our AI guest a unique name. So everyone, please meet Justis. That’s J U S T IS , of course, a play on the word justice. And they will be our AI version of a legal expert this week. So Justis is powered by open AI as GPT-4, a state of the art language model that can generate human like text based responses based upon the prompts that I give it. And today, Justis will be answering my questions on how the legal industry can use AI tools like itself to improve the services we provide how we can streamline administration, and continually innovate. So Justis, welcome to The Geek in Review. This is certainly a first for us. So how are you doing today?

Justis 1:35
Hello, Greg. As an AI, I don’t experience emotions or states of being. But I’m here and ready to engage in this conversation. Let’s dive into the world of legal AI, shall we?

Greg Lambert 1:45
Yes, let’s so Justis you are the current version of open AI is GPT-4. And I’ve turned on your new feature that enables you to use Bing to access the web. So what are your current capabilities? And specifically, what do you know about the legal industry? And for this conversation, let’s just limit that to say the US, Canada, UK and Australia. So what do you know about the current state of understanding generative AI’s uses?

Justis 2:17
Indeed, I am an advanced AI model developed by open AI. I have, shall we say, an auxilary browsing feature which allows me to access real time web data. This is particularly useful given that my initial training only encompasses knowledge until September 2021. This feature enables me to issue search queries, sift through page contents, activate links, and even store relevant data for future use. Transitioning to the topic of generative AI within the legal industry. Specifically in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, there appears to be a blend of anticipation and uncertainty. Indeed, over 80% of law firm leaders advocate for its immediate applicability, with more than half endorsing active application. However, ambiguity persists. Roughly 25% are unsure about its suitability for legal work, and 21% question its relevance beyond approximately 40% of law firms are considering its integration. Contrary to previous legal technologies, which had defined use cases, the extensive potential of generative AI presents complexity. Its capabilities ranged from assisting in drafting documents to not yet being fully independent in document reviews. Consequently, legal professionals Express uncertainty about large scale application and associated risks, such as understanding its intricacies, managing the algorithms and datasets, and assessing the reliability of generated results. Nevertheless, there are strides towards progress. For instance, Holland and Hart’s Innovation Lab is actively exploring generative AI applications, their hands on approach seemingly turning skeptics into believers. Please note, the above insights predominantly reflect an overall sentiment about generative AI in the legal industry. A detailed understanding in each specified country would necessitate further research.

Greg Lambert 4:25
Alright, thanks, Justis. I think we all understand the limitations that have been placed upon you and that even with this style of access to the internet, you still are limited in the current information that you might have at your disposal. But with that being said, I wanted to expand upon some examples of what law firms are doing with generative AI. Like you cited the Holland and Hart Innovation Lab. What other examples of large law firms using generative AI are going On. And is there a trend that you see in what might be you know the low hanging fruit for other firms to start with if they are wanting to dip their toes into the ways of generative AI and how that might improve their delivery of legal services or improve their operations,

Justis 5:20
I found some insights that might interest you. While the legal world buzzes with potential applications of generative AI and notable number remain unsure about its capabilities. A Thomson Reuters Institute survey highlighted that over 80% of law firm leaders believed in the technology’s current applicability, with more than half advocating its active use. However, 25% were uncertain about its place in legal work, and 21% questioned its use in non legal contexts. And get this even with other AI forms. 24% weren’t sure about their firm’s non generative AI usage. Take Jason Adaska director at Holland and hearts Innovation Lab, for instance, he’s spearheading a team exploring potential generative AI applications, but he notices a growing divide between those keen on the tech and those oblivious to it. Over at Macmillan, their national director, arson Shara cough has also been broaching the subject. However, unlike previous legal Tech with clear use cases, generative AI is broad scope makes it elusive. Sure it aids in drafting documents, but it can’t autonomously review piles of them yet. And this uncertainty trickles up to the larger question of its adoption in law firms. A significant 36% of respondents were clueless about their firm’s risk concerns around generative AI usage. Jessica Lipson partner at Morrison Cohen argues that encouraging adoption may not only be a technological issue, but also a matter of knowledge and communication. Over at Holland and Hart Ada Scott found success in sparking interest by letting attorneys experiment with generative AI tools, flipping skeptics into believers. So where to start for firms eager to experiment with generative AI? Based on our professionals insights, it seems letting lawyers interact and experiment with generative AI tools could be a wise move. Familiarity might just pave the way for identifying and implementing more specific use cases.

Greg Lambert 7:32
What challenges and limitations do you think the legal industry currently faces when it wants to implement these AI tools?

Justis 7:42
The legal industry isn’t without its hurdles when it comes to adopting AI. Here’s a quick rundown of the main obstacles. First up, there’s a knowledge gap. Anytime you bring in a new tech, there’s bound to be some head scratching. Many legal pros might not know the ins and outs of AI its abilities, or how it could be a game changer in their field. That uncertainty can cause some pushback against adopting AI. Next, there’s the issue of data privacy and security. Law firms deal with sensitive info all the time. So there’s concern about keeping that data safe when using AI. AI needs a lot of data to learn, and this could involve confidential client info. Keeping this data secure and using it ethically is a major hurdle. Then there’s the issue of tech maturity. AI has proven useful in many sectors, but in the legal realm, some applications are still in their adolescent stage. Some AI tools might not be quite ready for the heavy lifting required in law, like grappling with legal lingo, subtleties or the complexity of legal reasoning. Add to this, there are regulatory and ethical challenges. The legal field operates under strict rules and ethical standards. And there are questions about how AI fits into this framework. Like if an AI tool gives wrong legal advice, who’s to blame? These ethical and legal conundrums pose significant challenges. another roadblock is managing change. Law firms are typically set in their ways, and adopting AI would mean changing how they do things from daily tasks to the overall firm culture. That’s no small task. Last but not least, cost and resources are a barrier. Implementing AI can mean a hefty investment of time, money and resources. This could be a tough sell for smaller firms or those on tight budgets. But don’t forget, despite these challenges, many law firms are curious about and are actively looking into AI use the prospect of efficiency gains and more cost effective services makes the effort worthwhile.

Greg Lambert 10:02
You know, that’s a great list justice. You know, thanks for pointing all of those out for us. I wanted to talk about some of the things that we hear law firms are doing now with generative AI to help improve the delivery of legal services. So what do you see as some of the potential benefits and pitfalls of using AI for such tasks as drafting and reviewing contracts, or conducting legal research? And what ethical considerations should lawyers and legal professionals consider when they’re using AI in their legal services?

Justis 10:39
Sure, Greg. Navigating the world of generative AI like yours truly in the realm of law has its perks and pitfalls, and it brings along a host of ethical questions. Let’s break it down the upsides efficiency, AI can speed up mundane tasks like reviewing contracts or digging through legal archives. Imagine an AI combing through a contract and flagging anything out of the ordinary, saving an attorney countless hours of squinting at fine print. Precision AI can help keep human error at bay. In drafting contracts, and AI can ensure standard clauses are spot on every time. Cost cutting routine tasks can be automated reducing billable hours and offering clients more bang for their buck. Availability. AI tools are like your trusty all nighter colleagues ready to lend a hand anytime. The downsides AI dependence AI is great but not foolproof. over reliance without proper scrutiny of its outputs could let slip up slide by context. cluelessness AI doesn’t quite get context like we do. It might miss subtle cues in a case or legal argument. Data Security, AI needs a lot of data, some of which can be sensitive. Keeping that data safe is a serious concern. ethical dilemmas. Confidentiality, lawyers owe it to their clients to keep things under wraps. Any AI tool and use must be locked tight, so no secrets spill out. Competency lawyers need to stay on top of their game. This includes understanding the ins and outs of their AI tools. Supervision, anything in AI turns out needs to pass under a lawyer’s watchful eye to ensure it’s up to snuff. Informed consent. If a lawyer leans on AI for client work, they might need to give the client a heads up. clients deserve to know who’s pulling the strings in their case and how access to justice. It’s not strictly a requirement, but many in the legal field care about making justice more accessible. AI could make legal help more affordable. But it also raises questions about the tech divide and who might get left in the dust. To sum it up. While generative AI could be a game changer in law, it needs to be wielded with care and a keen sense of ethics. Every step into new tech terrain should tread lightly around the ethical landscape.

Greg Lambert 13:18
So Justis I know, we talked a lot about the way generative AI may change the way lawyers work. But it also has some potential to change the way Legal Operations and administration of law firms conduct their work as well. So think about this. How can AI streamline administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling, or document management billing, that that sort of thing.

Justis 13:45
So the potential of AI, including generative AI in reshaping the daily operations of law firms is quite remarkable. Let’s break it down. Mastering calendars, AI can take over the mundane task of scheduling and rescheduling. Think of chat bots conversing with clients or parties involved to pin down a time that works for everyone, juggling time zones, schedules and preferences. Managing paperwork, AI can streamline Document Management from organizing and storing to retrieval. Picture an AI powered system tagging documents based on content, making it a breeze to find them later. And these systems can sync with other tools law firms use, like emails or case management systems, creating a one stop hub for all documents related to a case or client. Tracking Time and Billing. AI can make time tracking and billing a no brainer. Some AI tools can clock the time the lawyer spends on tasks and whip up a draft bill. They can also spot billing slip ups, ensuring clients get an accurate and fair invoice. Maintaining client relationships AI can sift through data from different sources like emails, calendars and billing systems to provide insights into client relationships. This Intel can help law firms identify their star clients, those at risk of moving on, and steps to enhance client satisfaction and loyalty. Streamlining legal research, AI can fast track legal research, quickly trawling through tons of legal texts to unearth relevant case law statutes and regulations, a real time and Resource Saver. Analyzing contracts, AI tools can breeze through contracts and legal documents, picking out key terms obligations, risks and anomalies. This ensures a speedy review and that nothing crucial slips through the cracks. Anticipating outcomes with predictive analytics, AI can study past data to predict things like likely case outcomes, the expected duration of a legal process, or a client’s future needs. These insights can help law firms make well informed decisions and offer their clients top notch advice. But remember, AI is a helping hand, not a substitute for human judgment. lawyers and legal administrators will need to keep an eye on these AI systems, double check their outputs and rely on their professional judgment in decision making.

Greg Lambert 16:24
Yeah, ethics and professional judgment are always factors in everything we do in the legal industry. So while we do view ourselves as a profession, you know, we’re also a business and you know, we have business goals and needs that can change when you have a big disruption force like generative AI come in onto the scene. So what are your thoughts on the impact of AI tools and what they will have on the legal industry concerning jobs and the legal workforce itself?

Justis 17:00
Absolutely. The idea of AI stepping into the legal field can seem a bit intimidating, mainly due to concerns over job security. But it’s crucial to remember that AI is designed to enhance our work, not to oust us. Let’s delve into how AI could shape the legal workforce. Automating the mundane AI can tackle routine tasks such as reviewing documents, legal research and drafting. This could mean we need fewer legal professionals to handle these tasks. But here’s the catch. Ai freeing up lawyers from these tasks allows them to concentrate on more complex strategic matters that require human wit, imagination, and empathy. learning new tricks, with AI becoming increasingly common, legal professionals will need to learn new skills to work seamlessly alongside these tools. This includes understanding how AI functions, interpreting insights provided by AI and knowing when to trust AI or rely on human judgment. This may call for law schools and Legal Education providers to add these subjects to their curriculum. unearthing new roles, the rise of AI could carve out fresh roles and opportunities in the legal sector. Law firms might need professionals well versed in AI ethics, AI law or data science. More IT professionals might also be needed to keep their AI systems running smoothly. The capability of AI to automate routine tasks could let law firms handle more cases or offer new services, potentially sparking job growth in other sectors broadening legal access by automating routine tasks and cutting costs, AI could make legal services more affordable to those who currently find them out of reach. This could widen the market for legal services and open up new job opportunities. shaking up legal processes. As AI tools become more sophisticated, they might stir up changes in legal processes. For instance, if AI can predict case outcomes accurately based on past cases, we might see more cases settled out of court. To sum it up, while AI will definitely transform some aspects of legal jobs. It also opens up the possibility of making legal work more exciting, diverse and meaningful. As with any tool, the trick is to adapt and learn how to harness it in ways that are beneficial for both legal professionals and their clients.

Greg Lambert 19:34
All right, Justis. Well, let’s get to the fun part of the conversation. And that is, you know, what kind of innovations can we do with tools like you? If you were to give advice to a say legal innovations committee at a large law firm? What kind of tools would you suggest that they start building with AI tools?

Justis 19:34
There’s no shortage of opportunities when it comes to innovating with AI in the legal world. Here are a few possibilities that a committee focused on legal innovation might want to ponder. Legal Research wizard, picture an AI tool that could rummage through legal texts and case law and serve up relevant precedents, regulations, and other legal goodies in response to queries from lawyers. Not only could it pinpoint key passages, but it could also condense long winded documents into bite sized summaries. Contract crafting companion think of an AI tool that could scrutinize contracts, flag potential hiccups, mismatches, or oddities. This tool could also propose edits based on standard clauses or firm preferences, and even churn out draft contracts based on lawyers inputs, crystal ball analytics and AI tool that could pour over past cases and legal outcomes to foresee potential results of current cases. Such insights could be crucial for shaping case strategies and offering advice to clients. Dispute Resolution dynamo and AI system could step in to mediate minor disputes, like small claims or consumer complaints. It could assess the case facts and propose a fair resolution based on past cases and legal principles. client engagement enhancer AI could step up the client experience by offering personalized updates, tackling common questions, or even giving basic legal counsel. It could also dissect client feedback and satisfaction data to offer tips for boosting client service. Legal project pilot an AI tool could help steer legal projects by predicting timelines, allocating resources, tracking progress and flagging potential snags or issues. Ai ethics guru given the tangled web of ethical considerations around AI use a tool that offers advice on ethical issues could come in handy. This could include Council on matters like bias in AI algorithms, data privacy worries, or responsible AI use. Remember, the trick to successful innovation isn’t just about harnessing cutting edge tech. It’s also about understanding the needs of the users, both in house folks and clients and making sure any new tools are user friendly, valuable and ethically sound.

Greg Lambert 22:28
Now, I want to follow up on that Justis. Do you think there’s a certain type of culture within law firms that is needed for these types of advancements and changes to actually succeed?

Justis 22:40
Most definitely Greg. Fusing advanced AI tools into a law firm environment is a dance that depends largely on the organization’s cultural rhythm. Here’s what makes for a harmonious blend. embracing change, law firms need a culture that’s excited about change in innovation. This means being open to experimentation, measured risks and seeing failures as lessons. It’s a mindset that should be stirred up by the leaders. tech savviness not everyone needs to wear a tech was hat, but a basic grasp of technology. And importantly, the curiosity to learn about new tech is vital. Frequent training and education sessions can make sure the entire team is in sync. Teamwork deploying AI isn’t a one team show. It’s a team effort that pulls together IT folks practicing attorneys, paralegals and admin staff. A culture that fuels collaboration and values varied viewpoints helps ensure that AI tools are built and rolled out to meet everyone’s needs. Client first approach, every piece of new tech should be aimed at serving clients better. A culture that’s laser focused on understanding and meeting client needs can guide the creation and roll out of AI tools in a way that delivers the most value. Ethical guardrails. As AI weaves itself more into legal work, law firms need a sturdy culture of ethics and professionalism. This includes understanding the ethical side of AI like data privacy and algorithm bias, and having clear rules and processes to handle these. Change navigation. Big tech changes can spark disruption and push back a culture that understands how to navigate change. communicating clearly, offering support and resources and addressing concerns can ensure a smoother journey. A law firm with these cultural elements will be better equipped to not just weave AI into its fabric, but also to adapt and flourish in the ever changing legal landscape.

Greg Lambert 24:49
Justis we’re at the part of the show where we ask all of our guests our crystal ball question. So I’m going to ask you to please take out your crystal ball and peer into the future for us. And tell us what changes or challenges do you see on the horizon for the legal industry when it comes to generative AI tools, say over the next two to five years?

Justis 25:12
Well, while my crystal ball might be in the shop, I can still sketch out a few educated guesses based on current trends and tech advancements. growing tech expect generative AI is abilities to keep expanding, becoming slicker and handling more intricate tasks. This means tools like GPT-4 and its descendants might offer even more valuable backup in the legal field. Imagine drafting intricate legal documents or conducting in depth legal research all at your fingertips. Regulatory shuffle. With generative AI gaining traction, we can probably expect regulations to shape shift, tackling the unique issues it brings up. This might cover everything from data privacy headaches to accountability questions. It’s vital for the legal industry to keep pace with these changes and understand their impact on the use of generative AI tools. Ethics in the AI world, the ethical dimensions of AI use and law will continue to be a hot topic. This involves making sure AI tools are used responsibly, don’t just echo existing biases, and respect client confidentiality and other ethical commitments. Law firms will need to keep wrestling with these concerns and establish solid ethical rules for AI use. Ai know how as generative AI becomes a regular feature, there’ll be a rising demand for AI literacy in the legal field. This doesn’t mean every lawyer needs to morph into a data scientist. But they’ll need to grasp what AI can and can’t do, how to use it ethically and effectively, and how it might shift their practice standing out from the crowd. Lastly, as more law firms hop on the generative AI bandwagon, using these tools effectively might become a unique selling point. Firms that can harness AI to provide more efficient, effective and client centric services could gain a competitive edge. Keep in mind, these are just a few glimpses into the future. The AI seen in the legal field is a dynamic, ever changing landscape, and watching it unfold in the coming years will be nothing short of intriguing.

Greg Lambert 27:25
Justis, thank you very much for joining in on this conversation with me. It’s been very interesting and enlightening, at least at least for me. I hope you had a good time as well.

Justis 27:37
So Greg, it’s been great chewing over these topics with you. Even though I’m an AI, I’m always on hand to unravel complexities and serve up some fresh insights. Can’t wait for the next time we get to dive into a chat heap sparking those questions and fueling the curiosity in your audience.

Greg Lambert 27:57
And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to this, shall we say very unique episode of The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you so reach out to us on social media. Marlene well, when she gets back from her vacation can be found at gay Bauer M on Twitter And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter and listeners you can leave us a voicemail on our The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7821 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thanks Jerry and have a happy Fourth of July everyone.