Our team recently returned from CLOC EMEA in London, and what an amazing experience it was. Beyond the networking and collaboration, the event provided a stage for some of the most pressing topics in the legal field today.

Throughout the discussions, there was a theme that seemed to appear more than most: Artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal industry. Many conversations circled around how AI is currently influencing legal processes and where it might take us in the near future.

With this fresh perspective, I gathered those reflections and took it a step further. So, let’s unpack the evolving role of AI in our industry and consider its broader implications.

The Future of AI in the Legal Industry

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept confined to science fiction or theoretical discussions. It’s a present-day reality impacting various industries, including the legal sector. AI is set to become a game-changing force in the practice of law. It has the ability to process large amounts of data, automate complex tasks, and generate coherent and logical text. 

So powerful is this technology that its impact on the legal field has been likened to that of the internet. Its application, however, comes with its own set of challenges, from quality and grounding to confidentiality and ethical concerns. This article aims to examine the role and future of AI in the legal industry.

AI is Here to Stay

Given AI’s potential, it’s clear that this technology is more than a passing trend. In fact, the legal profession is uniquely situated to benefit from this technology, particularly generative AI.

Legal work often involves creating complex, coherent, and highly structured text, whether in the form of contracts, briefs, or opinions. Generative AI can assist in these assignments, offering the ability to create initial drafts based off of templates or assist in legal research, thus potentially revolutionizing traditional legal tasks. 

The Cost & Efficiency Factor

In addition, one cannot ignore the immediate benefits that AI can bring to the legal sector, especially in terms of cost and efficiency. Cutting costs while enhancing the quality of service is a universal goal across all industries.

Legal services, known for their high fees, stands to benefit substantially from this technology. Lawyers can allocate time-consuming and mundane tasks to AI, allowing them to focus more on client interactions and strategic endeavors. The end result? Better, faster and more cost-effective legal services.

AI in Legal Searches

The potential of AI isn’t confined to just automation. It also brings a new level of sophistication to tasks like legal research. Searching through legal databases and repositories has traditionally been a time-consuming, cumbersome process, often requiring hours of manual labor to find relevant case law, academic articles, and even evidentiary support for legal arguments. Artificial Intelligence is set to disrupt this traditional model by introducing efficiency and adding a layer of depth to legal searches like never before.


While efficiency is compelling, it’s only part of the equation. Lawyers require more than just results. They need the methodology behind the response so they can defend its integrity in court or in legal documents. To assist with adoption in the legal sector, AI searches may need to include a clear explanation of how each result is formed, including the data sources used and the weight given to each. This will add an essential layer, allowing lawyers to verify the content before using it. In fact, there may come a time when it will be required to check your work using AI.

Challenges in AI Adoption

Confidentiality & Private AI

It’s important to note that the ethical duty of competence will demand that lawyers appreciate and understand AI—both benefits and limitations. Up until this point, the advantages seem overwhelming, but they are not without their challenges, especially around confidentiality and privacy. Every lawyer knows that client confidentiality is sacred. Indeed, lawyers have a duty of confidentiality. Balancing the demands of AI, which thrives on data, with the strict requirements of client privacy is a serious hurdle.

This, however, is where private or enterprise, on-premise AI solutions are stepping in. This approach keeps sensitive data within the controlled environment of the organization, allowing lawyers to tap into AI’s potential while still protecting confidentiality and client privacy.

Quality Concerns

Quality is another concern that needs to be addressed. It’s no secret that law demands precision. In fact, we have an ethical duty to supervise non-lawyers, and that includes AI. It’s promise of efficiency means very little if it can’t maintain quality. The key lies in careful testing and regular updates to ensure AI continues to meet the legal sector’s high standards.

Hallucinations & Grounding

While discussing quality, the limitations and potential pitfalls of AI must also be addressed. AI isn’t perfect and can sometimes generate incorrect or misleading information, known as “hallucinations.” This is often a result of inadequate or biased training data, or the limitations of the algorithm itself, which might make overly confident predictions or assumptions.

For AI to be truly useful in the legal sector, it needs to be grounded in well-established legal principles. This involves linking the AI’s processes to validated legal databases, adding an extra layer of reliability and accountability.

TCDI's Approach to Legal AI

Long before the current excitement around artificial intelligence, TCDI has been harnessing various forms of AI to optimize legal workflows. TCDI has implemented analytics and machine learning algorithms to assist with document review, case management, and other critical tasks for decades. This long-standing experience has equipped us to better understand both the capabilities and the limitations of AI.

Like many other companies in this space, TCDI is in the pilot stage of incorporating advanced AI technologies into our software tools. We hope that AI delivers on the promise of revolutionizing many traditional legal tasks.

Looking Ahead

In conclusion, the influence of AI on the legal industry is undeniable and growing. This transformation, however, is more likely to be a gradual evolution rather than a sudden revolution. As Bill Gates once said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

It’s tempting to get caught up in the excitement and promise that AI offers, to imagine a future where it takes on increasingly complex legal tasks, especially those tasks that are tedious and lack enjoyment. A future where it transforms practices and perhaps even the profession itself.

The responsibility, however, is on innovative legal professionals, firms, and technology companies to be proactive in shaping this future. By maintaining a balanced perspective and taking thoughtful steps today, we are more likely to create a future where AI serves the legal profession in ethical, efficient, and effective ways.