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Artificial Intelligence

A year in review: How AI transformed the legal profession in 2023

· 6 minute read

· 6 minute read

In 2023, artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized multiple global industries, for example:  

  •  AI-powered healthcare tools are advancing diagnostics and treatment 
  • Financial institutions employ AI algorithms for enhanced security and fraud detection 
  • Manufacturing sees increased efficiency through AI-driven automation 
  • Education benefits from personalized learning experiences tailored by adaptive algorithms 
  • Customer service chatbots are virtual assistants are being refined by natural language processing (NLP) technology  
  • Environmental monitoring is using AI to track climate change.  

Here are some notable updates from 2023 in the legal profession.


Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence 

President Joe Biden’s executive order, issued on October 30, 2023, outlines key principles and guidelines for the development and use of AI in the United States. The order aims to balance the benefits of AI with potential risks, such as bias, discrimination, and privacy concerns. It directs federal agencies to establish standards for AI safety and security, protect privacy through legislation, address discrimination in AI algorithms, and ensure responsible AI use in healthcare and education. 

For the legal sector, the Executive Order presents both opportunities and challenges. Legal professionals will need to advise clients on AI-related legal issues, including compliance, liability, intellectual property, contracts, ethics, and human rights. At the same time, they must integrate AI systems into their own practices, such as document review, research, and analysis.  


BCG research into AI integration  

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into business operations requires a nuanced approach, as revealed by a study involving 750 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) employees. Generative AI accelerates specific tasks, such as idea generation, by 25% and improves quality by 40%. However, in more intricate problem-solving tasks, it is less successful, reducing the likelihood of correct answers by 19%. In the latter, human consultants outperformed AI by wide margins. The study recommends an experimental mindset for organizations with a focus on methodical testing and learning when implementing AI. Overall, it calls for a strategic and mindful approach to AI integration, acknowledging both its benefits and its limitations. 


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A timeline of events: how generative AI shaped the legal profession in 2023 



  • Legal tech integrates ChatGPT-3.5 
  • Microsoft invests $10 billion in OpenAI; launches Azure OpenAI Service 
  • DoNotPay uses ChatGPT in legal representation, faces controversy, and discontinues legal products 



  • ChatGPT reaches 100 million users in two months, which is a record-breaking feat compared to competitors like TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify, which took 9, 30, and 55 months, respectively. 
  • Legal tech tools adopt generative AI 
  • Law firms address generative AI policies 
  • Legal fight over AI-generated art gains attention 



  • OpenAI releases GPT-4; capable of passing the bar exam 
  • Legal job demand for prompt engineers and AI specialists rises 
  • Goldman Sachs suggests generative AI may replace 44% of legal tasks 



  • ChatGPT faces security glitch; global privacy concerns arise 
  • ALAS warns of generative AI legal risks 
  • US Copyright Office rules AI-generated content is not copyrightable 



  • Thomson Reuters launches new generative AI offerings 
  • Deepfakes pose challenges for courts 
  • Legal ops community embraces generative AI 
  • Focus on safe generative AI usage increases 



  • Judges require AI disclosure; New York lawyer Steven A. Schwartz fined for fabricated brief that went viral in May 
  • Investment in AI startups increases 
  • Thomson Reuters acquires Casetext for $650M 



  • Authors sue OpenAI over copyright 
  • Law schools debate generative AI in students’ applications 
  • Legal chatbot usage surges 
  • McKinsey estimates that AI could increase annual corporate profits by up to
    $4.4 trillion 



  • Law firms adopt chatbots; prompt engineering training expands 
  • MIT Task Force releases generative AI principles 
  • Legal industry matures in generative AI discussions 



  • The legal industry focuses on education about generative AI 
  • USCO rules AI prompts not copyrightable; tech pricing spikes 
  • Concerns about generative AI “manels” and expertise emerge 



  • White House issues Executive Order on regulating generative AI 
  • Generative AI used in federal trial sparks debate 



  • OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Anthropic’s Claude 2 pass legal ethics exam 
  • OpenAI Dev Day introduces ChatGPTGPT-4 Turbo and GPT Builder 
  • OpenAI undergoes leadership turmoil, with CEO Sam Altman briefly dismissed and later rehired 



  • Purdue Global Law School launches AI course 
  • EU proposed landmark legislation to regulate the use of AI, known as the AI Act


AI at Thomson Reuters 

Thomson Reuters is investing heavily in generative AI to transform the future of professionals, particularly in the legal and tax sectors. Looking ahead to 2024, we’re actively developing generative AI solutions for Practical Law, legal document review and summary, legal drafting with Microsoft Copilot, and Checkpoint Edge for fast, reliable answers to complex tax and accounting questions. 

Thomson Reuters is committed to investing more than $100 million per year in generative AI, following a strategy of building, buying, and partnering – including the $650 million acquisition of Casetext. Generative AI skills are being integrated into flagship products, starting with Westlaw Precision. 


Westlaw precision with generative AI

AI-Assisted Research: Westlaw Precision now integrates generative AI to provide quick and relevant answers to legal research questions. Users can ask questions in everyday language and receive responses with links to trusted Westlaw authority. This feature relies on Thomson Reuters’ proven database, ensuring that responses are grounded in actual sources and not fabricated. 

As lawyers, we should be cautious when using AI to develop responses to complex legal issues that are often dependent on nuance. Because AI-Assisted Research relies on Thomson Reuters’ proven database, I can have the confidence that the response generated from AI is relying on actual sources and not something that is made up.”

– Andrew Bedigian, Counsel, Larson LLP 


CoCounsel Core Integration

When combined with CoCounsel Core, users gain access to an extensive suite of legal generative AI tools. This includes assistance with contract analysis, document review, deposition preparation, and more. 


Partnerships and acquisitions 

Thomson Reuters has invested in Neo.Tax, a company integrated with ONESOURCE Income Tax, using AI to apply tax rules and requirements for claiming research and development (R&D) expenses. Collaborative efforts with Microsoft include a contract drafting solution for Microsoft 365 Copilot for Word. 


Employee upskilling 

Thomson Reuters is committed to upskilling its 26,000-person global workforce in AI. The company has created Open Arena, an enterprise-wide large language model (LLM) learning environment, to facilitate experimentation. 


Generative AI in 2024

2023 was a year of massive evolution for the AI industry, as generative AI technologies reached new levels of impact and performance. Across various sectors, generative AI delivered value to customers, stakeholders, and businesses, enabling new forms of collaboration, creation, and innovation. 2024 may be another year for generative AI to shape the future of information services. 

Don’t miss out on updates or events related to generative AI! Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter – specifically tailored to your area of practice. 

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