From around 1760 until about 1830, the world underwent a massive change in the manufacturing process. Dubbed the industrial revolution, machine tools and steam power replaced traditional hand production methods. These changes altered almost every aspect of life and increased output and efficiency to levels never before thought possible.
The Industrial Revolution was not a singular event. Continued innovation has led to multiple Revolutions between then and now. Today, we find ourselves living the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a world driven by data, mobile technology, and artificial intelligence.
Alma Asay, Chief Innovation Officer at Integreon, spoke with BYU Law students on how this latest Revolution is impacting the legal profession.
“The pace of tech is accelerating at an exponential state,” Asay said. “The legal industry is not immune to this and can’t help but be impacted.”
Change isn’t a bad thing. There seems to be this mistaken notion that automation means fewer jobs. While computers are automating some legal tasks, the technology itself is at its best when paired with capable users.
“It’s not about technology replacing lawyers,” Asay said. “It’s about technology in combination with lawyers. One without the other performs much weaker than when the two are combined.”
Perhaps Iron Man is the appropriate analogy. The suit isn’t nearly as useful on its own as when Tony Stark is wearing it. And Tony is a lot more capable in his AI-enhanced armor than he is in an Armani.
Technology is helping reign in legal sending by improving efficiency and effectiveness. With many organizations looking to cut costs, firms must find ways to offer the same quality services while keeping rates at levels clients are willing to spend. Tools empowered with AI can help young associates manage their many demands while still performing at a high level.
According to Asay, now is the time for students and new lawyers to get involved. Law firms and the legal industry are just starting to implement new technologies.“Yes there will be robots, but lots of lawyers still use fax machines,” Asay said. The future takes time to develop and students will be the ones to adopt these tools and provide feedback for growth and improvement.
Written by John Ternieden