Lawyers manage workload and boost efficiency with generative AI, new report finds

updated on 14 June 2024

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Lawyers reported significant benefits from using generative AI, including improved workload management and efficiency, according to a new report by Ashurst LLP.   

The global law firm conducted comprehensive trials of three different Generative-AI platforms involving 441 partners, lawyers and staff from November 2023 to March 2024. The first of its kind report provides valuable insights from using the technology and aims to increase transparency and demystify its applications in the legal industry.

The report found that generative AI significantly reduced the time spent on various legal tasks, including:

  • 80% of time was saved on drafting UK corporate filings;
  • 59% of time was saved on industry research reports; and
  • 45% of time was saved on first draft legal briefings:

Managing workload was also among the key benefits, with 61% of respondents saying the technology simplified day-to-day tasks such as summarising meetings and allowed them to focus on higher-value work instead. Meanwhile, 88% of respondents said generative AI made them feel more prepared for the future.  

According to the report, content created using generative AI also closely resembled human output when legally correct. The report’s expert panel correctly identified all human-generated content; however, 50% of the AI-generated output was misidentified as having been produced by a human or the panel were unable to tell. The expert panel cited language and writing techniques as indicators of human-generated work, as well as inconsistencies in grammar and spelling.

Ashurst's chief digital officer, Tara Waters, recognises the huge potential of generative AI to boost efficiency and provide new ways to deliver solutions to clients.

That said, as advanced AI technologies are increasingly being used in legal work, Waters addressed the concerns that “humans will be replaced by technology”, describing it as  “one of the most common and frustrating misconceptions”. She added: “There are lots of possibilities this new technology offers and much more testing to be done.”