Law Firm shake-ups to be led by Artificial Intelligence: BDO poll

May 30, 2017

SYDNEY - The global legal profession is facing a seismic shift, with technology set to have the greatest impact on law firms over the next five years, according to a new survey published by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

A poll of the managing partners and senior partners of 50 leading law firms by BDP found more than 80% pointed to technology as the factor most likely to have the greatest impact on their firm.

One in five said they expected Artificial Intelligence (AI) would have the greatest impact, with many believing it would replace the work of lawyers, or strip out a significant layer of work and revenue from law firms. This would in turn bring about changes to the resourcing mix, business models and financial structures at law firms.
Tony Young, Professional Service Partner at BDO Australia, said Law firm leaders are agreed that the pace of change in the legal industry is accelerating.

“One of the key challenges of technology today is how to fund investment in technology in the partnership model to keep up to date with the competition,” he said.

“We are seeing several pioneering solutions enter the market. For example, most large law firms in Australia have moved to implement new technology, such as bespoke client portals and hubs.  Those firms that have yet to respond are waiting to see what the competition is doing.”

The survey was undertaken in the UK, but a number of the firms surveyed have offices and affiliates in Australia.

When asked to identify the greatest challenge their firms face in keeping up with technological change, 49% said cultural change is the biggest barrier to innovation. (ATI).