19 October 2022 | The competition to attract and retain the best legal talent is a key factor behind the surge in AI adoption, say top lawyers from Slaughter and May and proSapient at this year’s Legal Geek conference.
Speaking at one of London’s flagship legal events during fireside discussions hosted by Luminance, the leading provider for AI-powered legal process automation, were Jezah Khamisa, Knowledge & Innovation Manager at Slaughter and May, and Connagh McCormick, General Counsel at proSapient. The industry experts discussed why private practices and in-house legal teams alike are seeking to futureproof their businesses with AI, as they attempt to alleviate the burden widely felt by junior lawyers and retain staff. Jezah and Connagh described how AI is automating the labour-intensive document review work and routine administrative tasks that typically fall to junior lawyers, facilitating a better work-life balance and ensuring resource can be directed to the value-added tasks that truly demand legal expertise.
Providing the law firm perspective, Jezah explained that junior lawyers are entering the legal profession with a growing expectation that next-generation technology will be available to assist them with their day-to-day work. She said: “When recruiting new talent I’m almost always asked what legal tech tools does the firm have? What’s the approach to innovation and legal tech? People are using legal tech adoption as a benchmark for how forward-thinking a firm is – it reflects what their day-to-day life is going to be like and shows if this is a firm that’s keeping competitive. I think it’s really important for recruitment.”
Connagh went on to describe why AI has become so essential to in-house lawyers too. Against a backdrop of soaring salaries and improved hybrid working models offered by private practices, organisations are facing heightened competition for talent. He explained: “One of the biggest problems I’m facing, and I know a lot of other in-house legal teams face, is talent retention. AI allows you to automate a lot of the day-to-day monotonous tasks that a junior or associate is going to do…I think for talent retention, AI is really important.”
Eleanor Lightbody, CEO of Luminance, commented: “In an increasingly competitive job market, it’s clear that law firms and businesses need to innovate if they are going to retain the best and brightest legal talent. Junior lawyers, in particular, are most at risk of being burdened with time-consuming document review work and long working hours, but they can be supported by AI. Technology is key to alleviating the repetitive, manual tasks, freeing up more time for creative thinking, strategic planning and client communications.”