Lawyers want to “do something with AI” even though they have no idea what AI can even do

IMG_9179The Walt Disney World Dolphin logo is a fish.

Just a full-fledged fish covered in scales. And while this conveys the resort’s aquatic theme, it’s clearly not a dolphin.

I pondered this startling reality while staring into the fountain in the lobby bar of the hotel hosting the 2023 International Legal Technology Association Congress. Perhaps this is a metaphor – or a coincidence clumsily concocted into a metaphor for the purposes of this hastily assembled brief update from the exhibition hall, which searches for a deeper literary meaning – for the entire event.

The dolphin is what lawyers expect from generative artificial intelligence. The fish is what it can actually deliver in 2023.

This is not a hit to the AI. It’s still a revolutionary tool that promises to revolutionize practice – sort of – but it’s unprepared to live up to most of the mainstream hype. Lawyers have to walk a fine line between openness to the potential of AI to streamline critical tasks and, as you know, discipline.

At the start of this event, I wondered if lawyers would be a barrier to adoption and hampering the industry. I assumed there would be too much bickering on the show between vendors and law firm tech teams who were keen to bring realistic AI to law firms but were unable to get the lawyers on board.

Aside from the amount of legal fanatics out there, it seems like the space could also have the opposite problem.

More than one source told me that some law firm executives have embraced the breathless mainstream AI coverage and are pressuring tech people to “get some AI” just to say they have an AI “strategy.” They don’t understand the limitations of the technology and don’t have defined vulnerabilities that the AI ​​could solve. They just want some AI.

Whatever that means.

Thankfully, there’s a solution for both the skeptical and the overzealous. Trust your tech experts. You know the use cases where AI will improve business practices and where it’s just a silly flourish pinned to a rock solid piece of non-AI technology.

Just because you’re a JD doesn’t make you an expert on everything—no matter what the armchair historians, neurologists, and biochemists on the bench may say.

Earlier: Lawyers know AI will have significant impact…not sure what to do about it
I can’t spell ILTACON without AI. Because then it would be “LTCON”.
The legal industry still has a long way to go before GPT can keep up

HeadshotJoe Patrice is Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. You can always email us tips, questions or comments. Keep following him Twitter if you are interested in law, politics and a healthy dose of university sports news. Joe also serves as Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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