Legal Professionals Not Ready

Legal Professionals Not Ready for Generative AI, But Still Plan to Use it: eDiscovery Trends

72 percent of legal professionals are not ready for the impacts of generative AI. But 40 percent are still using or planning to use it.

Those are two of the key findings from the 2023 Ediscovery Innovation Report, compiled by Everlaw in partnership with ACEDS and ILTA and released earlier this week. Everlaw surveyed 245 legal professionals in the US across law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and legal service providers during June and July.

Key findings regarding generative AI include:

  • 72 percent of respondents either disagree or strongly disagree with the premise that the legal profession is prepared for the impact of generative AI.
  • 46 percent of respondents cited inaccurate or unproven results as a challenge for using generative AI in legal matters, with 17 percent citing inability to explain it or justify how AI works, and 14 percent citing security concerns around sending data to a third-party software platform.
  • Yet, 40 percent of respondents are either currently using generative AI (12 percent) or planning to use it (28 percent).
  • Not only that, but 76 percent of respondents said they would use generative AI for identifying patterns in data sets, and 50 percent said they would use it for summarizing documents.

The survey also asked several questions related to on-prem vs. cloud-based eDiscovery. Key findings for that topic include:

  • 47 percent of respondents report using cloud-based eDiscovery tools, managed either in-house (23 percent) or via partners (24 percent). Another 22 percent use a hybrid approach, leaving 31 percent that use an on-prem approach.
  • The past two years has shown almost a complete reversal of cloud vs. on-prem use, with 56 percent of respondents stating their eDiscovery deployment was entirely on-prem in 2021 (vs. 27 percent for pure cloud), while 56 percent of 2023 respondents stated that cloud-based eDiscovery is already the norm. An additional 39 percent expect cloud-based eDiscovery to become the norm within the next two years, which pushes the number to 95 percent of respondents who say it’s the norm now or expect it to be within the near future.

The 27-page PDF report – chock full of statistics and graphics – is available here.

I’m not surprised that legal professionals are not ready for the impacts of generative AI, yet many are still moving ahead with it. But I am surprised that more people don’t already consider cloud-based eDiscovery to be the norm.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised that legal professionals are not ready for the impacts of generative AI? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.


Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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