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Navigating the Generative AI Landscape in Legal: Deloitte’s Insightful Poll

The integration of generative artificial intelligence (GAI) into the legal industry is under significant scrutiny, especially after incidents like the Mata v. Avianca case, where a ChatGPT-generated brief included fictitious case citations. This event is emblematic of the broader concerns the legal sector faces regarding AI, encompassing issues of bias and cybersecurity.

A recent Deloitte poll conducted during the “Setting the AI table: Leave a seat for legal” webinar reveals the industry’s divided stance on embracing GAI. Surveying 75 to 131 legal, risk, and compliance professionals, the study uncovers their plans and apprehensions about AI adoption in their work.

Adoption Trends and Challenges

About 42% of respondents anticipate increasing their use of GAI for tasks like contract analysis and e-discovery. However, a similar proportion (40%) remains unsure about using the technology in the coming year, with only 2% foreseeing a decrease in GAI usage. This hesitation reflects the industry’s cautious approach towards a rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Mike Weil, Managing Director at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, views these findings as a foundational understanding of the industry’s current state regarding AI. This engagement level is seen as a positive indicator of lawyers’ involvement in evaluating AI risks.

The Leading Concerns

The predominant concerns highlighted were hallucinations (32%) and bias (23%), followed by fears of adversarial attacks and social engineering (18%). These apprehensions underscore the need for diligent oversight and responsible use of AI technologies.

Jonathan Foster, also a Managing Director at Deloitte, predicts a shift in these concerns. As professionals become more adept at using GAI tools, worries about hallucinations may reduce, but the threat of sophisticated social engineering attacks is expected to grow.

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Legal Professionals in the AI Landscape

Legal experts are increasingly consulted about the implications of AI, with 29% of organizations seeking their advice monthly or more frequently. The survey also found that 57% of respondents’ companies either have or will develop a strategy for GAI use within the next year, indicating a proactive stance towards integrating AI in legal workflows.

Educational Gaps

A striking educational gap is evident in the understanding and acknowledgment of AI’s role in e-discovery. Over half of the respondents (51%) claimed not to use any AI in e-discovery, and another 27% were unsure, indicating a potential underestimation of established AI techniques already in use.

The Way Forward

Both Weil and Foster emphasize the importance of education in understanding and utilizing AI effectively in the legal field. They note the varying levels of AI comprehension among professionals, highlighting the need for thorough and informed discussions about the technology’s potential and limitations.

Deloitte’s survey portrays a legal industry at a crossroads with GAI. While enthusiasm for adopting new technologies is evident, concerns about reliability, bias, and cybersecurity remain prominent. As the industry progresses, the pivotal role of legal professionals in guiding AI’s responsible use is increasingly apparent, shaping the future of legal practice in the AI era.

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