Examining the 2016 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey Part 3: The Future of Legal Technology

This is the last of our three-part series regarding the 2016 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey. This week we are going to focus on the future of legal technology, specifically artificial intelligence.

Since artificial intelligence was such a hot topic at ILTACON 2016, and it was a new category in this survey, we figured we would address it! AI technology can be described as a computer that learns to perform tasks that we usually think only humans can do. Things like machine learning, to augmented reality, to self-driving cars also fall into the category of artificial technology. Specifically, IBM Watson and ROSS were the most talked about AI technologies during ILTACON. When asked about exciting technology trends, artificial intelligence was named the most exciting among respondents.

One survey question asked about firms who are currently evaluating, or already using, artificial intelligence technologies, systems or related strategies. Only 2% of respondents answered they are already using it, and 11% of respondents are evaluating AI technology. In the last 12 months, only 3% of respondents purchased AI technology, and in the next 12 months, 6% plan on purchasing AI technology. Since this is a new category there is not any information to compare these numbers to, but we can see that people are aware of AI and some early adopters are taking advantage of investing in this technology. When asked where AI will have the most influence within law firms, 71% of respondents said that AI will be most useful in e-discovery. Following e-discovery were document automation (41%) and legal research (40%.)

The future of AI in legal looks promising. ROSS is specifically built to be a robotic lawyer, and it is meant to free up time for the human lawyers to focus on service to their clients, and leave the time-consuming things, like research, to the AI technology. There is little adoption now, but as time goes on, and more firms become comfortable with the idea of AI, I think we will see an increase in adoption. After all, ILTACON did have quite a bit of sessions addressing AI, and in their Summer issue of Peer-to-Peer they featured an article about AI systems and the law. You can check that out here before the fall issue comes out.