No matter what size your firm is or its location, you must have a global mindset. Oh, and we will all be replaced by robots.

Those were the key takeaways after the Wednesday morning keynote at ILTA 2014. Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future Research Limited presented “Unleashing IT to Disrupt, Define and Differentiate Future Strategies,” which drew on the ILTA Legal Technology Future Horizons global study about how IT could impact the legal profession over the next decade. The study used a combination of desk research, interviews, workshops and two global surveys – one explored business applications of IT in the legal sector and the other provided input to create an emerging technology timeline. Talwar discussed the findings in his keynote, most notably:

1) 73 percent of respondents strongly agree that the capacity for rapid IT-enabled innovation will be a critical differentiator for law firms in the future. Rapid IT and emerging technologies will become much more important to court systems because of cost pressures, according to Talwar. In addition, he mentioned that lawyers are getting increasingly frustrated because they aren’t able to accomplish innovation on their own at their firms, so they are partnering with technology venture capitalists to get it done. Not to mention, we’ll see companies like Google figuring out ways to “house our brains on the internet in 10 to 15 years.” Talwar went on to talk about how wearable technology will create bigger challenges around the bring-your-own-device phenomena, since more companies are working to create technologies that are actually embedded in our bodies (i.e., cocular implants, GPS chips, memory devices, etc.). This trend will be connected to an immersive multi-sensory “internet of everything.” We could see a big shift in legal systems to take this into account. And we already are with automated systems like those that fine you for running a red light. No human interaction needed.

2) Despite the importance placed on the role of IT in delivering law firm innovation, only 15 percent agree with the view that in the next decade, the role of the CIO will evolve from chief information officer to chief innovation officer.

3) Given the scale of the opportunity, 77 percent agree to some extent that technology firms will increasingly enter the legal industry, using disruptive innovations to provide direct legal service delivery.

4) 91 percent expect the transparency of the legal process to increase as a result of client demands.

5) 88 percent expect emerging technologies to become an integral part of courts in developed countries.

6) Artificial intelligence (AI) is going mainstream. It is seen as a potential long-term game changer for the legal sector, with 88 percent agreeing that AI advisers and helper apps will structure legal documents and check the content generated by lawyers. Talwar noted that law firms need to develop quick responses to client problems, and intelligent agents can help from previous experience. He also stressed that we will see true artificial general intelligence, where synthetic intelligence will be smarter than humans.


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