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How AI will drive inequality in the legal services business

Demand for legal services is booming, but the trend is only benefiting a handful of elite law firms, writes J. Stephen Poor, Chair Emeritus at Seyfarth Shaw. That's because "increasingly clients are keeping work in-house or using alternative service providers," that provide commoditized legal services like document reviews or the drafting of legal documents.

Many partners have their heads in the sand, however. A recent study by Altman Weil showed that:

  • 61.5% of law firms are only "moderately" serious (or less) about changing their strategy to incorporate technologies and processes that help provide legal services more efficiently;
  • Only 7.5% of firms have seriously explored artificial intelligence tools; and
  • 65% of partners at law firms are resistant to adopting new technologies.

Why it matters: Lawyers are resisting change even as revenue outside the top two-dozen firms remains flat. There is a huge opportunity for lawyers and firms that learn to leverage automation technology to increase their productivity.