Law Firm AI Downunder
A new report on law technology affecting law firms in Australia and New Zealand suggests that an increasing number of law firms will embrace artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years to enhance talent retention and operational efficiency.
The Changing Legal Landscape Industry Report, conducted by Dye & Durham and the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association, surveyed 97 Australian law firms, 23 New Zealand law firms, and eight multinational firms in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.
The key findings showed an acceptance of law technology developments, particularly AI, and shows the following:
- AI Adoption: The report reveals that 15 percent of Australasian law firms plan to implement AI within the next year, with 72 percent of legal teams anticipating expansion.
- Competitive Advantage: Technology adoption is seen as a crucial tool for retaining clients and attracting new business, and 29 percent of surveyed firms believe AI can benefit their operations. The rapid introduction of technology, coupled with rising client expectations, is driving this shift.
- Work-Life Balance: The report indicates that 81 percent of respondents credited technology for improving their work-life balance, with a significant decrease in fear of change from 31 percent in 2022 to just 9 percent in 2023.
- Barriers to Technology Adoption: The primary challenges for law firms in adopting new technologies are time and resource costs (23 percent) and a lack of knowledge (16 percent). These barriers have reduced significantly over the past five years, reflecting increased confidence in leveraging technology.
- Preferred Technologies: Electronic signing technology is expected to lead technology adoption in the next year (57 percent), followed by practice management software (54 percent), document management software (52 percent), and precedent generation software (48 percent).
- Impact of AI: While 47 percent of respondents expressed concern about the impact of AI and large language models on the legal profession in Australasia, 35 percent were concerned about its impact on themselves.
- Technology Value-Add for Clients: The report notes a trend of using technology as a value add-on for clients, with 51% of respondents expecting to offer technology value-adds within the next year, and 68% believing technology advancements would benefit clients.
In summary, the legal profession in Australasia is recognizing the growing importance of AI and technology adoption for remaining competitive, retaining clients, and improving operational efficiency.
Some firms are also using artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze legal documents and provide insights to their clients. The adoption of technology has not only improved the quality of legal services but also increased access to justice for many Australians and New Zealanders.
Law firms that proactively embrace technology are likely to gain a competitive edge in the future the report shows as legaltech developments further push the profession into its brave, new future.