Here's how this UAE law firm is tapping AI, cloud to stay competitive

Fichte & Co.'s Matthew Peet brings an 'experimentation mindset' to the CIO role as AI, cloud and smart contracts shake up the legal profession.

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Technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart contracts and cloud computing are driving big changes in the legal field. Law firms that do not adopt new tools for interacting with clients and managing and analysing the vast amount of documentation involved in their case loads risk falling behind more innovative and efficient competition.

An emerging market for technology aimed at the legal profession, or legaltech, is starting to redefine how lawyers do their jobs. Legaltech aims to optimise the process of storing, accessing, and analysing the vast amount of information involved in legal work, as well as streamline interactions between lawyers and clients.

Law practices still often engage in procedures such as low-level paperwork in which the qualifications of lawyers and other staff provide no differential value. But technology including AI and a range of analytics software has advanced to the point where it is poised to take over at least some of the work traditionally done by legal professionals, leading to fears that a big portion of legal work will be commoditised, reducing law firm fees and putting lawyers out of work.

Rather than reject such technologies out of fear, lawyers should adopt them, urges Richard Susskind, president of the Society for Computers and Law and ubiquitous speaker on IT and the law.  "Better and more efficient techniques for delivering legal services are now emerging and I urge the legal profession to embrace them," Susskind writes in his book, The End of Lawyers?. "Clients – from multinational corporations to individual citizens – deserve nothing less from their professional advisors."

Will AI replace lawyers?

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