Navigating the AI revolution: LegalTech Summit in Toronto explores the future of law

GenAI is causing lawyers to question their productivity, pricing, and what sets them apart

Navigating the AI revolution: LegalTech Summit in Toronto explores the future of law

While technological revolutions are inevitable, how they unfold and affect human beings can be unpredictable. At our upcoming LegalTech Summit in June in Toronto, panellists will examine how artificial intelligence, the newest tech revolution for the legal profession, affects lawyers’ work.

Al Hounsell at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP says that generative AI promises to be deeply embedded in law firms’ day-to-day operations, unlike past innovations, which often remained on the fringes of legal workflows. AI adoption will enhance productivity but also demand a new curve of adaptation and skill as firms determine how to integrate it into their data and search capabilities.

David Cohen at McCarthy Tétrault LLP says that after testing AI tools at his firm, he has concluded that having associates review, summarize, and analyze documents will soon become unnecessary when these tools can perform that task with impressive results in seconds.

Tara Vasdani at Remote Law Canada says that as AI tools tackle automatable tasks, the qualities that distinguish lawyers are empathy, human connection, and creativity. “So, if you don’t build the skills to be a creative, effective, autonomous lawyer, you’re really not going to be much different than an AI model,” she says.

While these broad changes are inevitable, how technology affects market dynamics can be challenging to predict. On a recent episode of Canadian Lawyer’s CL Talk podcast, Jordan Furlong predicted that one of the most resilient elements of the legal profession – the billable hour – will survive for a while.

Yet, Cohen argues that AI tools may also upend that certainty. He says that the ability to automate routine tasks could redefine pricing structures and client relationships, urging a shift toward alternative fee arrangements that reflect the actual value and output of legal services.

“We will see AFAs finally pick up steam as the inputs and outputs of legal service delivery shift,” he writes.

Amid this rapid change, one thing is sure: The legal profession is changing fast. But how exactly it will look in the future is far from certain.

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