Some Law Schools Using More Legal Tech Than Many Law Firms

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 13, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

According to recent reports, law schools are using legal tech more than many law firms.

In one survey, nearly 62 percent of the respondents said they are already using or intend to use new technologies in their classrooms. Meanwhile, another survey revealed a mere 7.5 percent of law firms are using tools like artificial intelligence.

While comparing the studies may be like comparing seeds to apples, together they say something about the future of legal tech in the profession.

Law Schools

Thomson Reuters surveyed 105 attendees at a recent meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. In addition to those who said they already use legal tech, most respondents said they want more technology to better prepare students for practice.

"Other top-cited reasons for integrating new technologies into the curriculum included a 'personal interest in changes to the practice of law' as well as students' requests," the company reported.

Law schools are using document assembly tools, time-tracking software and other technologies in classrooms. Some law schools have incorporated virtual reality in their instruction.

"It's a necessity for our law students to leave law school with a technology proficiency," said Joe Harroz Jr., dean of Oklahoma University College of Law.

Law Firms

Altman Weil, in a survey of nearly 400 law firms, said less than 10 percent of the respondents were using artificial intelligence in their practices. Only 9.4 percent of the largest firms -- with the largest budgets -- said they use AI.

Midsize firms fared worse, with 5.7 percent reporting that they use smart robots. Cost apparently is an issue.

Connie Brenton, senior director of legal operations at NetApp and chairman of the board of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), said AI technology takes "significant resources to get up and running."

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