With 2024 under way, Thomson Reuters leaders in the legal space share their perspectives on the year that was. The legal industry’s 2023 milestones centered, of course, on the anticipation and impact of generative AI.

Yet as Paul Fischer, president, Legal Professionals, noted in Law.com’s milestones series, 2023 was “also notable for a sense of optimism after years of instability and uncertainty in the industry.”

Fischer explained in Law.com: “We saw demand for law firm services grow for three consecutive quarters as well as three straight quarters of rate growth. Challenges including hiring and managing expenses remain. Yet if law firm financials continue heading in the right direction – alongside factors such as the rise in ALSPs and the potential for AI to revolutionize daily workflows – the legal industry may be poised for a strong 2024.”

Fischer’s outlook was echoed by Emily Colbert, senior vice president, Product Management.

“In 2023, we watched the legal industry lean into generative AI, learning rapidly and experimenting while expressing both excitement and caution,” Colbert said. “In 2024, we will see more early and mid-term adopters actually incorporate generative AI into their workflow, responsibly, and start to realize the benefits.”

She explained why the legal industry is ripe for adoption of generative AI.

“The document-heavy nature of the legal profession makes us especially well-suited for a disruptive technology, and as we learn and develop more, we’ll be able to deliver more on the promise of AI,” Colbert said. “I’m confident that the more legal professionals experience the time savings and automation generative AI provides, the faster it will spread.”

Mark Cullen, senior director, Product Management, agreed. In Law.com, he recently reflected on “the paradigm shift in the legal industry’s sudden interest in incorporating cutting-edge technology into the day-to-day workflow” in 2023.

“Historically, the industry has been pushed into tech adoption – e.g., eSign during the pandemic – but now it’s a pull, where lawyers are asking their tech teams and leadership when they can use tech such as large language models (LLMs) in their jobs,” Cullen said in Law.com. “ChatGPT captured the world’s imagination with its ability to imitate human language creation and pseudo-creativity through a language-based interface – sparking thoughts on how this word-creation machine can be harnessed in the legal industry, an industry of words.”

Check back soon for 2024 predictions and what Thomson Reuters leaders are watching in the legal landscape.

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