Artificial intelligence (AI) has moved from the silver screen and into our homes and businesses. Without even knowing it, most people encounter some manifestation of AI in their daily lives. From intelligent personal assistants such as Siri and Alexa to integrated AI systems such as IBM’s Watson, AI has already had — and will continue to have — a profound impact on the way we work, play, and live.
As attorneys immersed in the technology space, we have witnessed, assessed, and counseled how technology, including AI, will affect the legal profession and the role of general counsel. Although technological changes are often incremental, the sum of those changes with respect to the increased adoption of AI will be enormous. For example, the ability of artificial intelligence to handle certain repetitive and mundane tasks of a legal department in a consistent and efficient way will precipitate a shift in focus of the legal team and likely reduce the legal resources necessary to perform many tasks.
In this article, we discuss three key areas that we believe AI will disrupt and how they will affect general counsel: (1) the automation of routine legal and compliance services and the corresponding repurposing of existing resources; (2) document assembly and analysis; and (3) the need to shift from tactical to strategic thinking.
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