Move to where the ball is going, not to where it’s been

Wayne Gretzky, the famous ice hockey player, said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” And so I’ve stolen this and adapted it to football for this article because I’m surrounded by it at home — but also because I’ve spent the last 10 months talking to customers and prospects reading about and experiencing the rise and focus of generative artificial intelligence (genAI) in legal, and I’m suggesting that there is an argument to pause and reflect on a whirlwind 2023.

Now what’s football got to do with this column? It’s tenuous at best, but I was at my son’s training ground and I heard a very experienced coach talk about anticipation, patterns of play and trying to see the game two passes ahead in both defence and attack. This got me thinking about the noise and excitement that AI and genAI in particular has generated of late, and I wondered are we all running to where the ball is right now?

Rush to be first movers

The pace of technology change in the last few years has been phenomenal and it’s been very exciting to see how the global legal community (both vendors and law firms) are rushing to acquire, build and adopt new tools — especially those with genAI capabilities — of late. The innovation team at almost every firm I have spoken to recently have had to pivot and adapt to this new normal because we all need a proverbial ‘thing’. This pivot has left already prioritised projects and expectations in the wind.

However, I’m concerned that both vendors and firms are trying too hard to be first movers, inadvertently neglecting two significant issues in legal technology — an ever increasing and uncontrollable amount of unstructured data, and a lack of clearly defined processes and paths to automation.

This is an extract from an article featured in Briefing Magazine. Read the full article here.