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Top law firms rush to embrace artificial intelligence for property work

Posted on 25/09/2018 by SuperUser Account in Our clients GlobalX Technology
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The nation’s largest law firms have strongly embraced legal technology and 63 per cent are considering using artificial intelligence for outsourced legal work within two years...

The nation’s largest law firms have strongly embraced legal technology and 63 per cent are considering using artificial intelligence for outsourced legal work within two years.

Another 19 per cent of firms of all sizes are planning to adopt AI “in the near future”.

The coming shift towards artificial intelligence has been identified by a survey of 243 law firms across Australia and New Zealand that found almost 78 per cent believed new technology had improved their productivity.

The survey, by legal technology company GlobalX and the Australian Legal Practice Management Association, found just 37 per cent of the largest firms were not planning to use artificial intelligence.

Those planning to embrace this technology nominated property and real estate as the areas of practice where AI would be most effective, followed by wills and probate, commercial, civil litigation, banking and finance and family law.

The survey, which was conducted in July, found that 23 per cent of medium to large firms believed legal technology had significantly increased their productivity and none said their productivity had declined because of technology.

It found that 56 per cent of respondents planned to introduce digital signing in the near future, followed by document management software (41 per cent), practice automation (40 per cent), practice management software (33 per cent) and artificial intelligence (19 per cent).

GlobalX chief executive Peter Maloney said the strong acceptance of technology by large firms came as no surprise.

“The larger the firm, the deeper the pockets and the more is available to invest in investigating the options and implementing new systems,” he said.

The growth of electronic conveyancing was driving more interest in legal practice technology across a range of practice areas.

Law firms were “rushing to implement digital signing” for a wide variety of uses and were also refocusing on document management systems.

The flow-on effect from next month’s mandatory use of e-conveyancing in Victoria was “enormous”, and this would soon be followed by Western Australia and NSW, he said.

“It has taken a while for the firms to move with the technology, but once they realised there was no option — they either get on to the technology or out of the industry — there is a big push to embrace technology,” Mr Maloney said.

He believed the move by law firms to apply technology to legal practice was at an early stage and “there is still a cohort that don’t support the adoption of new technologies”.

“This is just the beginning of the wave,” Mr Maloney added.

The survey found that 68 per cent of respondents believed future technologies would not affect job security but 91 per cent believed their firms would need broader skills.

One of those new skills might be cyber security. The survey found that 25 per cent of the largest firms — those with more than 150 employees — had experienced a cyber security breach in the past two years.

Among smaller firms the proportion that had experienced cyber breaches was much lower.