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Traditional AI vs. Generative AI in Law Firms

Traditional AI vs. Generative AI in Law Firms

We’ve seen a shift in the way law firms use artificial intelligence (AI). 

Traditional AI has long been a cornerstone in optimising routine tasks like document review and legal research. 

These solutions - think contract analysis software that extracts essential information from legal documents - have enhanced efficiency by automating structured, rule-based tasks. This tech is a prime example of traditional AI in action and frees up lawyers to focus on more complex aspects of legal practice.

As we delve deeper into the evolution of AI, the advent of generative AI (GenAI) opens new avenues for innovation and service excellence. GenAI doesn't replace the foundational benefits of traditional AI but rather enhances them. 

By integrating GenAI with existing AI tools, law firms can create a powerful synergy that leverages the strengths of both technologies. Of course, it’s essential to remember that GenAI, like any technology, shines when you combine it with the human touch of expert lawyers. 

Our goal is to demystify the advancements in AI technologies and guide law firms on how to effectively meld GenAI with traditional AI tools.  

Let’s do this.

The Foundations of AI in Law Firms

As we touched upon, the early adoption of traditional AI set a precedent by simplifying processes like document sorting, basic legal research, and preliminary contract review.

By automating the generation of legal documents, firms significantly reduced the hours spent on manual drafting and boosted productivity rates. To back this up with a real world example, the legal team at Medigold Health (one of the UK’s largest and most trusted Occupational Health and Workplace Wellbeing companies), use Definely Draft to handle their contracts.

With a typical contract workload of between 3 and 150 pages per contract, reducing the time they spend inside them is really important. Sebastian Goldsmith, General Counsel and Company Secretary, comments, “Definely is extremely intuitive, easy to use, and allows me to send out more accurate contracts in a fraction of the time. Definely saves me, on average, an hour per day.” 

Similarly, AI-powered legal research tools have enabled lawyers to quickly sift through vast databases of legal documents, identifying relevant case law and statutes with efficiency previously unattainable.

These traditional AI applications have laid a solid foundation for the AI-powered legal tools we see today, setting the stage for the integration of more advanced, generative AI solutions that promise even greater efficiency and innovation in legal practice.

The Advent of Generative AI in LegalTech

Unlike its predecessors, GenAI possesses the capability to understand, predict, and generate human-like text, offering solutions that are not just reactive but proactive in nature.

GenAI tools like GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) have revolutionised the way law firms approach tasks requiring human-like understanding and creativity. From drafting legal documents and generating personalised legal advice to predicting legal outcomes, GenAI extends the scope of AI's utility in law beyond mere automation.

One of the most compelling applications of GenAI in legal practice is the automated generation of legal documents. Unlike traditional tools that rely heavily on templates, GenAI can produce nuanced, contextually relevant documents from brief outlines or instructions, significantly reducing drafting time while ensuring accuracy and compliance.

GenAI also transforms legal research by not just identifying relevant case law and statutes but by understanding and summarising legal arguments. This not only speeds up research but enhances comprehension, allowing lawyers to make more informed decisions faster.

Predictive analytics powered by GenAI can forecast litigation outcomes, which helps lawyers and clients to strategise more effectively. By analysing historical data and current trends, these tools provide insights that were previously impossible to glean through traditional methods.

In client service, GenAI facilitates a more personalised and interactive experience. Virtual legal assistants, powered by GenAI, can provide clients with instant responses to queries, draft initial documents based on specific inputs, and even offer preliminary legal advice. This not only improves client satisfaction but frees up valuable lawyer time for complex, high-value tasks.

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Compliance and data security

Traditional AI, with its rule-based operations, presents a clear framework for compliance, as its actions are predictable and confined within pre-set boundaries.

The introduction of GenAI brings with it a layer of adaptability and autonomy that enhances productivity. However, GenAI introduces more complex ethical and regulatory considerations - such as data privacy, bias mitigation, and decision transparency. This does not undermine the compliance framework. Instead, GenAI complements traditional AI by bringing advanced capabilities that can dynamically respond to new legal scenarios and regulatory changes.

It’s essential to recognise that the effectiveness of GenAI tools is deeply intertwined with the quality of the data they process. By leveraging the strengths of both AI types, law firms can enhance their responsiveness to legal and ethical demands without compromising on security or compliance.

Choosing a GenAI software that prioritises data security and compliance is essential.

Legal-specific GenAI solutions like Definely focus on these aspects by using advanced security measures and compliance features tailored to legal standards. In contrast, generic solutions on the market today (such as CoPilot) may offer basic security features, but there’s often a lack of optimisation for the specific legal compliance space. This potentially poses significant risks when handling confidential client information or sensitive case details.

It’s vital that your firm chooses a GenAI software following a balanced approach: by harnessing the power of GenAI to innovate and improve efficiency whilst upholding the highest standards of legal practice and client confidentiality.

Future-proofing law firms with AI

The rapid evolution of AI technologies poses a question of future-proofing for law firms. 

Traditional AI systems, while still incredibly valuable, increasingly require supplementation with GenAI capabilities to meet the dynamic needs of modern legal practice. To succeed, your firm must adopt a forward-looking approach by investing in AI solutions that not only address current challenges - but are also scalable and adaptable to future legal needs.

Incorporating GenAI into practice is not simply technology adoption; it requires a cultural shift within firms towards continuous learning and adaptability. 

Future-proofing your law firm necessitates a holistic strategy that encompasses the entire spectrum of AI technologies. This includes leveraging traditional AI for process automation and data management, while also harnessing the power of GenAI for tasks requiring higher cognitive understanding and creativity.

To stay ahead, your law firm should:

  • Conduct regular technology audits to identify areas where AI can offer significant improvements.

  • Prioritise investments in AI technologies that offer scalability and flexibility, ensuring they can be adapted as legal practices evolve.

  • Engage with AI developers and LegalTech innovators to customise solutions that meet the specific needs of the firm and its clients.

Legal drafting software is the solution 

Legal contract drafting software, like Definely Draft, can save your firm an extraordinary amount of time and, in doing so, create new avenues for billing. Our legal drafting solution also enables everything to be done in-house, with ease and efficiency that manual document drafting could never achieve. 

Book a demo today and discover how your law firm can benefit from a legal document drafting solution. 

See Definely in action. Book a quick, no-commitment demo today!

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