Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the Legal Innovators Conference in San Francisco. It was a deep-dive into the next big things in legal tech and a chance to explore the future of our industry. Here’s a recap of the major themes and insights that sparked interest throughout the conference:

Embracing the AI Revolution

There’s no denying it, AI is shaking things up in the legal world. From outperforming humans in tasks like speech recognition to the exciting possibilities of law-specific AI (hello, LawGPT!), AI was a hot topic at the conference.

However, despite the buzz, the idea of AI lawyers still feels a bit like science fiction. We all know there’s potential, but without a clear example, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like. It’s a tantalizing mystery that keeps us on our toes, and I’m eager to see how it unfolds.

And of course, not everyone’s ready to jump on the AI bandwagon. I could sense a bit of a tug-of-war between caution and curiosity among potential AI users—classic Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD) on one side and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on the other. Navigating these emotions will be crucial as we steer the future of AI in our field.

The Growing Family of Large Language Models (LLMs)

AI is a broad umbrella, and under it, there’s a growing family of Large Language Models (LLMs). These LLMs, such as ChatGPT, have the potential to change the game in the legal profession. But for now, the winning team seems to be humans working hand-in-hand with an LLM. It makes me wonder when, or if, AI will surpass this dynamic duo.

The Practical Side of AI Adoption

All this talk about AI and LLMs is exciting, but there’s also a real side to it—deciding if and how to integrate these technologies into our work. Do firms and enterprises build their own LLMs, even with the hefty hardware requirements? How do we manage changes when introducing new AI systems? We’ll need to address these questions head-on to make the most of what AI offers.

Also, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room—the need for solid security, privacy, and ethical standards for AI. These are big issues that we’ll need to tackle for this technology to take a stronger foothold in the legal world.

The Promise of Low-Code/No-Code Platforms

With all the AI chatter, it was refreshing to hear about other tech like low-code/no-code platforms. These tools offer an efficient way to manage workflows and data. They could even encourage a return to building custom internal solutions. It’s a reminder that there’s more than one way to harness technology in our field.

A Shifting Legal Landscape

The conference was a clear sign that the legal field is changing—fast. We’re on the hunt for AI solutions to save time and money, especially as budgets tighten and teams shrink. Plus, with the growing influence of legal software and service providers, it seems like our traditional ways of working, like the billable hour model, may need a rethink.

In short, the Legal Innovators Conference was an exciting glimpse into the future of legal tech. We’ve got challenges ahead, but the potential is huge. I can’t wait to see where we’re headed next!