Pinsent Masons director of knowledge and innovation delivery David Halliwell talks about what law firms should consider when implementing AI in this 60-second interview on key topics from the upcoming Business Leadership Summit.

Why do you think technologies such as AI and predictive coding are apparently gaining momentum in term of their uptake in the UK legal market?

It’s about increasing capability. Richard Susskind talks about increasingly capable machines, but law firms are getting better at recognising and deploying the benefits of the machines. Partly it’s because they have more effective internal advocates in IT, knowledge and innovation functions; but as much as the rising tide of technical awareness in the world is being reflected in lawyers’ expectations of what technology can do to help solve clients’ problems better.

Do you have any experience of using AI or seeing it in action? Were you impressed?

I’ve been impressed and I’ve been mildly outraged! There are some genuinely good and effective applications available. But there is also a lot of simple workflow, process and search tools being dressed up in AI clothing. That’s why firms need a capable and knowledgeable expert to help them sort the wheat from the chaff.

What would you say are the biggest benefits of using these sorts of technologies?

Improving efficiency, quality and consistency of service delivery. Massively turbo-charging data-driven projects. And opening lawyers’ eyes to the potential of legal and risk advice based on data rather than experience or gut instinct.

What sorts of opportunities do they present for legal services providers to be seen to be at the cutting edge of a market or present themselves as forward-thinking or trail blazers?

Clients are seeing the same developments as firms are, and the most sophisticated are already exploring ideas in this space. There’s so much happening that there are great opportunities for firms to work collaboratively with clients to develop solutions together, bringing their complementary expertise together. We are working with a wide range of clients in different sectors to embed new working practices based on AI. And it is already a key differentiator.

What do you see as the biggest concerns or risks about using these sorts of technologies?

The biggest cost of implementation is rarely the technology but the change process. So one risk is failing to implement properly and so failing to realise the phenomenal benefits this can bring.
What data exists on how much more accurate AI or predictive coding is than more traditional methods?

Where we have compared, our experience is that a properly implemented AI system produces hands down measurable improvements in accuracy and speed of delivery when compared to a fully manual process.  No doubt about it at all.

What do you think the future looks like in terms of the uptake of technologies like AI and predictive coding in the UK and what is that likely to mean for the legal market?

It’s only going to grow. Our lawyers and our clients are coming up with new use cases all the time.  We love the challenge that presents to us and our team is only going to get bigger to meet that demand.

Pinsent Masons’ David Halliwell is part of The Lawyer Business Leadership Summit 2016 advisory board and featured in this year’s Hot 100. Find out more about the event and register your place to attend here.