Digital disruptors weigh in on the market state

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Law firms of all scales are beginning to embrace technology in response to the forces of digital disruption.

Tae Royle is the head of digital legal services at Ashurst.  He makes the distinction between artificial general intelligence, the kind of AI suggesting robot lawyers, and artificial narrow intelligence which allows firms to streamline processes through machine learning.

“We see a lot of focus on technology, areas such as blockchain, contract automation and artificial intelligence,” he told Australasian Lawyer.

“These are great initiatives because technology helps lawyers deliver legal services faster and more consistently which is better for all clients.”

But innovation isn’t all about the technology.  Ashurst’s innovation division, Ashurst Advance, is growing rapidly, now with around 60 employees.

Royle said that following a survey of in-house counsel globally, Ashurst identified the need for in-house teams to innovate, but at the same time, a lack of resources to do so.

“We think it is crucial for law firms to partner with clients to help them innovate and achieve their targets,” Royle said.

“The good news is that there is plenty of low hanging fruit – lawyers can achieve some fairly extraordinary efficiencies by making relatively simple changes to how they approach various issues.”
Royle will be one of many speakers at this month’s Lawtech Summit, exploring how many firms are responding to digital disruption.

Kate Dillon, knowledge and innovation manager at Gilbert + Tobin, spearheaded the firm’s lawyer coding lessons as part of an innovation push.

“This is about better understanding client needs and the technology,” she said.

“Law firms need to operate in a constant state of beta.”

In late October, the Summit will host it’s 11th annual Lawtech awards, in conjunction with Chilli IQ, recognising industry leaders in digital disruption.