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AI and the Legal Profession: Debunking Skepticism and Embracing Technological Advancements

Man with question mark.
January 17, 2024

Actively discussing and advocating for the value of AI, online, I’ve encountered considerable skepticism, particularly from legal professionals.

Like technology before it, AI initially faces skepticism but it’s on a path towards eventual widespread acceptance.

Look at the technology that was questioned and later widely excepted.

  • Email: When email was first introduced, many lawyers questioned its security, reliability, and appropriateness for professional communication.
  • Computers: In the early days of computers, many people were skeptical about their utility, thinking they were too complex and expensive. Associates were not allowed to use them in my firm. I did not.
  • Smartphones: When smartphones were first introduced, some questioned their necessity beyond basic communication. I held off, wondering why you needed text, a camera and apps on a phone.
  • Online Banking: People were initially hesitant to trust online banking for fear of security breaches.
  • E-commerce: Online shopping faced skepticism due to concerns about security and the inability to physically see or touch products. When Amazon started, experts believed no more than 5% of the population would use their credit card on a website.
  • Social Media: The early days of social media raised concerns about privacy and its impact on real-life relationships. Today, there’s few, if any, who do not use social media – including the millions of professionals who use social, right here on LinkedIn.
  • Cloud Computing: Storing data and applications in the cloud faced skepticism due to concerns about data security. Some in legal still question the cloud.

While skepticism often greets new technology, its integration into daily life and work typically follows as its value is proven.

AI and ChatGPT represent significant technological advancements, potentially rivaling the impact of the Internet. These changes, largely positive, herald a new era in technology – and the law.

Skepticism towards AI and ChatGPT may be greater as compared to other technologies. However, as their benefits become increasingly apparent and concerns are addressed, their eventual acceptance across the legal profession seems inevitable.