legal profession
legal profession

A.I. Is Coming for Lawyers, Again

More than a decade ago, lawyers were singled out as an endangered occupational species, their livelihoods at risk from advances in artificial intelligence.

But the doomsayers got ahead of themselves. While clever software has taken over some of the toil of legal work — searching, reviewing and mining mountains of legal documents for nuggets of useful information — employment in the legal profession has grown faster than the American work force as a whole.

Today, a new A.I. threat looms, and lawyers may feel a bit of déjà vu. There are warnings that ChatGPT-style software, with its humanlike language fluency, could take over much of legal work. The new A.I. has its flaws, notably its proclivity to make things up, including fake legal citations. But proponents insist those are teething defects in a nascent technology — and fixable.

Will the pessimists finally be right?

Law is seen as the lucrative profession perhaps most at risk from the recent advances in A.I. because lawyers are essentially word merchants. And the new technology can recognize and analyze words and generate text in an instant. It seems ready and able to perform tasks that are the bread and butter of lawyers.

“That is really, really powerful,” said Robert Plotkin, an intellectual property lawyer in Cambridge, Mass. “My work and my career has been mostly writing text.”

But unless the past isn’t a guide, the impact of the new technology is more likely to be a steadily rising tide than a sudden tidal wave. New A.I. technology will change the practice of law, and some jobs will be eliminated, but it also promises to make lawyers and paralegals more productive, and to create new roles. That is what happened after the introduction of other work-altering technologies like the personal computer and the internet.

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Why is it a smart business for law firms to attract and retain more women lawyers

I am proud to be the managing partner at Levin & Perconti, a nationally recognized personal injury and medical malpractice law firm, where 50 percent of our attorneys and 46 percent of our partners are women.

In recent years as the number of our female lawyers and partners increased, so did we have success as a firm. Female lawyers play leading roles in most of the firm’s biggest cases and many are successfully balancing careers and families.

I wish I could say that in 2023 our firm is the norm for the legal profession, but sadly it is not, especially in the area of ​​law we practice, which traditionally is male dominated. Many law firms are still operating like it was the 1960s, and it is pushing too many female lawyers out of the profession.

In recent years women have accounted for more than half of the nation’s law students, but female attorneys make up only 38 percent of the legal profession. There is a leaky pipeline with many talented female lawyers leaving the profession within 10 years mainly because of the lack of flexibility law firms provide women during the childbearing years and when raising young children, an unsupportive culture and even today, unequal pay and career advancement.

Plugging that pipeline and stopping the exodus is not just the right thing to do for women, it’s also a smart business move. Law firms spend time and money recruiting and training lawyers. To have female lawyers leave just as they are reaching their prime and taking their expertise and working relationships with them is not a good return on investment. It is disruptive for clients and unsustainable for the legal profession moving forward in the future.

I began as a law clerk at Levin & Perconti in 2006. They had

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Alternative legal services providers growth is dramatically accelerating, making up $20 billion of the legal market

  • Technology consulting is one of the fastest-growing use cases
  • Law firm captives are the fastest-growing segment, Big Four are the slowest-growing

Thomson Reuters, January 31, 2023, TORONTO – Alternative legal services providers (ALSPs) now make up a $20.6 billion segment of the legal market and growth is accelerating dramatically, according to the Alternative Legal Services Providers 2023 Report. The report is issued biennially by the Thomson Reuters Institute; the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law; and the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

ALSPs experienced a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% from 2019-2021, a significant jump from the 15% CAGR from 2017-2019.

The report states that ALSPs are finding new ways to serve both law firms and corporate legal departments, and the boundaries between all three are becoming increasingly blurred. Independent ALSPs are the largest segment, making up 87% of the ALSP market. While captive ALSPs owned by law firms are the smallest part of the market, they are also the fastest-growing – up nearly six-fold since 2015. ALSP services from the Big Four consulting firms account for $1.5 billion of the market, growing at 5 %CAGR.

“Both law firms and in-house counsel are increasingly seeing the value of alternative legal service providers,” said James W. Jones, a senior fellow at the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law. “Meanwhile, ALSPs are expanding the services they offer to law firms and legal departments by providing specialized services, improving cost efficiency, and delivering greater flexibility in headcount.”

More Growth Ahead

A growing percentage of law firms of all sizes expect to either maintain or increase their ALSP spend. Among the largest law firms, 26% plan to increase spending on ALSPs, while only 3% forees decrease use.

For corporate legal departments,

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Alternative legal services market hits $20.6 billion – report

(Reuters) – As the market for alternative legal services continues to grow, providers owned by traditional law firms remain the fastest-growing segment, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The total market reached $20.6 billion by the end of the 2021 fiscal year, up 45% from two years prior, according to the biennial report by the Thomson Reuters Institute, the Center of Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and the Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford.

The report on alternative legal services providers (ALSPs) includes independent companies, the Big Four professional services firms and ventures created within law firms — so-called “captive” providers.

Law firm captives make up the smallest part of the ALSP market with about $1 billion in revenues, compared to independent providers which generate about $18 billion and the Big Four which have reached $1.5 billion, the report said.

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But as the fastest-growing segment, the captives, which include firm business units, technology incubators and firm-owned independent providers, have grown 117% since 2019 and 589% since 2015.

Large law firms including Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Norton Rose Fulbright have recently created new alternative legal ventures.

The report said the ALSP market has hit new heights as law firms and corporate legal departments continue to expand their use.

“ALSPs are expanding the services they offer to law firms and legal departments by providing specialized services, improving cost efficiency, and delivering greater flexibility in headcount,” James Jones, a senior fellow at the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law, said in a statement.

The report is based on a survey of about 650 respondents from law firms and corporate legal departments based in the US, UK, Canada, EU and Australia. The Thomson Reuters Institute

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Legal Aid offer –

Enhanced fees for lawyers to support the profession.

Community Safety Minister Ash Regan has made a “substantial and credible offer” of support to Legal Aid practitioners.

A robust package of support was set out by Ms Regan in a letter to the sector today which builds on the increases to fees already introduced over the past three years.

The offer directly addresses issues raised as priorities by the legal profession and has been made following extensive engagement to provide a sustainable way forward for criminal defense solicitors.

It sets out:

  • A package of funding worth £11m. This is equivalent to an 10.3% increase in solicitors’ fees, on top of the £10m increase already introduced, and would bring the total recurring increase to legal fees since 2019 to over 25.2%
  • Significant extension of a legal traineeship scheme for a further two years at a cost of an additional £1m
  • And a framework for agreeing regular, evidence-based, fee reviews that directly addresses issues raised by the legal profession as priorities

Minister for Community Safety Ash Regan said:

“This is a substantial and credible offer following extensive engagement with the sector and I’d urge lawyers to accept it.

“Our aim always has been to find a settlement that responds to the concerns raised by members of the profession and builds on the increases to fees already introduced over the past three years.

“We also have to find an agreement that is affordable in the context of public finances and supports the on-going process of justice recovery and transformation.

“The offer has been made in the context of a very challenging financial position and that is why I must emphasize there is no scope for further immediate increases beyond this offer. Additionally I have asked for a cessation of planned disruptive action which has

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