Law firms are increasingly looking for ways to meet client expectations while also maintaining profitability themselves. When I started out as an M&A associate over 20 years ago, meeting client and business demands was all about billing over 3,000 hours a year, leaving little room for a single day off despite the firm’s “unlimited” vacation policy. But the game has changed substantially for law firms today—the evolution of the legal business model is underway and artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a big role in calling time on the billable hour.
AI is becoming a staple part of leading law firms around the world, helping organizations historically considered inefficient and slow to quickly transform into efficient technology-enabled businesses. Globalization, market volatility and an explosion in the volume and complexity of enterprise data all pose unique challenges for lawyers practicing today. Legal professionals are now expected to review a substantially larger volume of documents within increasingly tight deadlines. The result is more resourcing challenges and a sharp decline in job satisfaction, especially for junior lawyers. In addition to being unsustainable for firms, the sheer time and cost required to conduct a manual review make it no longer a viable option for clients as well.
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