The Impact of Fourth Industrial Revolution on the Legal Industry
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week will draw 3,000 participants from around the globe. Many of the world’s top leaders will attend the gathering, which marks its 50th anniversary this year.
Brian Peccarelli, chief operating officer of Customer Segments for Thomson Reuters, wrote a column about what the World Economic Forum refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He described this business revolution as: “a moment in time when increased automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and continued technological disruption will fundamentally change the way we live, work and relate to one another.”
He noted how this period of radical change is reshaping the legal industry.
“We’ve been on the front lines of this revolution at Thomson Reuters,” Peccarelli explained. “Our core client base of tax and accounting and legal professionals have seen their industries fundamentally disrupted by new technology and rapid-fire regulatory change. For some, the process has been painful. For others, it has created huge opportunities. The difference between the two: agility.”
He cited the billable hour as one example. He noted how a surge of alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) has affected law firms’ revenue streams, yet leading firms have thrived by adapting their business practices and operations.
“That process includes everything from adopting the latest AI tools to make the legal research and discovery process more efficient, to offering specialized services to help clients manage the crush of new regulatory requirements they all face,” Peccarelli explained.
He highlighted agility as the secret to succeeding in a rapidly changing environment, particularly the ability “to stay flexible enough to bend when the rules of the game keep changing.”