More than half of law firm respondents anticipate a rise in their professional skills
AI is set to have a transformative effect on professionals with 67% of respondents in the newly released Thomson Reuters Future of Professionals Report believing AI will have a transformational or high impact on their profession in the next five years. What’s more, over half of the survey respondents (66%) predict AI will create new professional career paths, while 68% expect roles that do not require traditional legal or tax qualifications to increase over the next five years.
“We are at a unique moment where we have the opportunity to realize the benefits of human intelligence, thinking and collaboration differently, while using the potential of AI to overcome some of professionals’ biggest pain points,” said Steve Hasker, president and CEO, Thomson Reuters. “Through the application of AI to perform more mundane tasks, professionals have the unique opportunity to address human capital issues such as job satisfaction, well-being, and work-life balance. This will in turn unlock time for professionals to focus on complex work that adds value to their client’s needs.”
Improved productivity and efficiency are seen as the biggest positive effects of AI (75% and 67%, respectively) for law firm professionals. Additionally, law firms see AI as an opportunity for increased revenue as more than half (55%) of legal professionals predicted that lower costs for firms, resulting from AI use, will lead to greater firm profitability.
In addition, 81% of legal respondents expect new services to emerge within the next five years, creating new revenue sources.
More than half of legal professional respondents (58%) anticipate seeing a rise in their professional skills, while more than two-thirds of legal professionals see a more consultative approach to advice. As skills will be highly prized, new career paths are likely to emerge, and 81% see a rise in the use of alternative legal service providers.
According to respondents, the legal profession needs to address a lack of technology skills as well as a lack of investment in technology. As for areas of concern, the top issue is accuracy (30%).
Amid the changing nature of professional work, organizations across industries are continuing to adopt AI into their everyday workflows. Most respondents from all industries shared optimism around the power of AI, with 45% pinning their biggest AI aspirations on improved productivity, internal efficiency, and client services, specifically as it relates to operations converging with their talent, customers, and environment.
Additionally, 67% of respondents indicated their biggest personal motivator was “producing high-quality advice.”
More than a quarter (28%) of professionals say work negatively impacts their mental health and wellbeing. Long working hours and fear of making errors are the top two factors driving these perceptions. AI has the power to relieve some of this burden by reducing the time it takes to get the accurate and contextualized information needed to solve a problem, reducing the risk of errors, and automating mundane tasks.
Understandably, professionals are cautious; specifically, the biggest concerns include a compromise of accuracy (25%), job loss (19%), demise of the profession altogether (17%), data security (15%), and ethics (15%).
Research was conducted during the months of May and June 2023 via an online survey. More than 1,200 professionals from the legal, tax and accounting, and risk professions employed by corporations, firms, and government agencies completed the survey. About half of the participants were based in the United States, with most of the remaining half from the UK, Canada, and Latin America.