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Artificial Intelligence

Embracing the wave of change: Generative AI’s role in legal services

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

The legal profession is on the cusp of a significant transformation, driven by the advent and integration of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). The latest report from the Thomson Reuters Institute, “Generative AI in Professional Services,” provides an in-depth analysis of GenAI’s impact on legal services, offering valuable insights into how the technology is reshaping the industry.  

GenAI: A new era for legal professionals

GenAI technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and its successors, have introduced unprecedented potential for creating new content, conducting legal research, and drafting documents in a fraction of the time it would take a human. With greater accuracy and nuanced task understanding, GenAI is not just a tool for the future—it’s a present-day asset that is already being incorporated into legal workflows. 

Industry response to GenAI

The legal sector’s response to GenAI is a blend of cautious optimism. While some professionals are hopeful and excited about the possibilities GenAI presents, others are hesitant due to concerns about accuracy and over-reliance on technology. Nonetheless, approximately one-quarter of professionals report that their organizations are updating workflows to include GenAI, with many more in the contemplation phase. 

GenAI’s practical applications in law

A significant majority of legal professionals recognize that GenAI can be applied to their work, with many believing it should be. The technology is being used for tasks ranging from legal research to drafting documents. The adoption rate is higher among legal professionals and corporate risk and fraud professionals compared to those in tax, accounting, or government roles. 

GenAI’s influence on business models

GenAI is prompting law firms to reconsider their billing models. While some anticipate a greater use of alternative fee arrangements, others expect to absorb GenAI costs as part of their overhead. This reflects the diverse strategies firms are adopting in response to GenAI’s integration into legal services. 

Client expectations and firm preparedness

Clients are key drivers in the adoption of GenAI. Although explicit directions from clients are still emerging, there is an increasing expectation that law firms should utilize GenAI to enhance service delivery. More than half of the respondents from corporate legal and tax departments believe that their outside firms should be using GenAI. 

Training and skill development

Despite the growing importance of GenAI, training for legal professionals remains limited. Corporate risk and legal departments report higher levels of GenAI training for staff, while law and tax firms lag behind. As GenAI becomes more prevalent, training and skill development will likely become a priority. 

Concerns and considerations

Accuracy, data security, privacy, compliance with laws and regulations, and ethical usage remain primary concerns for professionals considering GenAI adoption. Over half of the respondents cited these issues as significant barriers to embracing GenAI. 

Looking ahead

As GenAI continues to gain prominence, its impact on efficiency, billing, and job roles is becoming more evident. Legal professionals are parsing the differences between GenAI platforms and their applications, preparing for a future where GenAI plays a significant role in the legal industry. 

The legal profession is at a pivotal moment, with GenAI offering both challenges and opportunities. Firms that proactively explore and integrate GenAI into their practices stand to gain a competitive edge, improving efficiency and client service. The Thomson Reuters Institute report provides a roadmap for understanding and navigating the evolving landscape of GenAI in legal services. 


To explore the profound impact of Generative AI on the evolution of legal professions and to equip yourself for the forthcoming changes in legal practices, read the comprehensive report. 

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