8 Bold Legal Technology Predictions For 2024

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What could be bigger than the rise of generative artificial intelligence in 2023? How about the next iteration of AI in the legal field in 2024?

Experts in law firms and vendors told Law360 Pulse about their boldest legal technology predictions for 2024, all of them involving AI.

Some predictions see the use of AI expanding in legal departments, law schools and even the highest court in the country. But, experts also say there might be setbacks in AI among BigLaw firms and AI legal startups.

Here are eight bold predictions about legal tech next year from experts in the industry.

A Generative AI-Created Brief Will Be Filed To The Supreme Court

Lawyers were sanctioned and scolded by judges in 2023 for using generative AI to write legal briefs, and in some cases were required to disclose the use of AI. But 2024 will be a different game.

Chris Dralla, CEO of the AI platform TypeLaw, predicts that the first brief written by generative AI will be filed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2024. Additionally, Dralla said that the court won't realize that AI was used to write the brief.

"I think it will happen because that's something we're going to be able to offer some of our customers who file to SCOTUS in 2024," Dralla told Law360 Pulse. "They've already used TypeLaw AI automation to format and edit briefs submitted to SCOTUS, and generative AI for drafting is a logical extension of what we already do well."

Lawyers will also spend less time preparing arguments for court, as AI can handle the technical and procedural aspects of a case, according to Dralla. This would allow lawyers to devote more time to thinking about the substance of a case.

"I think briefing is going to be more articulate and specific, which will help courts arrive at fairer decisions more efficiently," Dralla said.

Lawyers Will Be Ethically Compelled to Use AI-Powered Legal Tools

As the use of AI in the legal field raises ethical concerns, industry associations may need to step in and provide clarity.

Cat Casey, the chief growth officer for the e-discovery company Reveal, told Law360 Pulse that concerns about proportionality, the need for speed to gather evidence and increasing complex and large-scale data volumes will lead to a new ruling in 2024 with lawyers having an ethical obligation to use AI or some form of advanced legal technology.

"With the increase of mainstream adoption, [more] user friendly interfaces and data challenges will create a perfect storm," Casey wrote. "The delta between linear e-discovery and AI-powered will become so great that failure to leverage this efficiency will no longer be tenable."

This new ethical obligation would likely arise from a combination of existing Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and American Bar Association rules. Casey cites a few examples, including FRCP Rule 1, which calls for the "just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding" and ABA Model Rule 1.1, which deals with the ethical duty of technical competence.

The idea of a new ethical obligation for AI isn't entirely new to the legal industry. In November, a Florida Bar ethics committee issued proposed guidelines for attorneys using generative AI in their legal work. So a new ethical ruling in 2024 wouldn't be that surprising.

New Specific Use-Case GPTs Will Emerge for Practice Areas

One-size-fits-all may not work with law firms using generative pre-trained transformers, or GPTs, which are the models that power generative AI tools. Lawyers might need AI tools that are built specifically for each practice area.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP's Hunter Jackson, the firm's chief knowledge officer, and Michael Shea, the chief information officer, told Law360 Pulse that specific GPT models will emerge in 2024 that are tailored for discrete practice groups, industries, tasks and scenarios.

"These GPT models will combine vectorized information from various sources with custom GPT models that are trained on specialized datasets and objectives," Jackson and Shea wrote to Law360 Pulse.

For example, some GPT models will be developed to conduct big data analysis on financial agreements. Other models will be used in e-discovery for locating relevant information from large collections of documents.

"These use-case specific GPT models will offer more value and efficiency for the legal professionals, as they will address their specific needs and challenges," Jackson and Shea wrote.

In-House Teams Will Opt For Multi-Purpose AI Tools

As a sort of counterpoint, instead of relying on tailor-made AI tools for each department, corporations might transcend traditional departmental boundaries in their approach to generative AI and data.

In 2024, enterprises might try to navigate the AI cycle by following a multidisciplinary approach to AI adoption. In other words, AI tools will be shared across departments.

"Integrating expertise across data scientists, finance, engineering, and legal, among others, will lead to a more cross-functional, agile, and efficient enterprise-wide environment that capitalizes on cross-department data pools to up-level generative AI into a valued resource," Bernadette Bulacan, the chief evangelist at contract management software company Icertis, wrote to Law360 Pulse. "Legal leaders must wear two hats across the enterprise as they will be asked to join cross-functional steering committees to look at responsible AI use across the enterprise while still being committed to transforming the legal department with the best technologies."

Boutique Firms Will Out-Innovate BigLaw

BigLaw has historically embraced technology more than Mid-Law and smaller firms, resulting in an edge when it comes to innovation. Larger firms were also more likely to adopt generative AI tools in 2023 than their smaller counterparts.

Philip Weldon, the director of e-discovery and litigation support technology at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, predicts that we could have a changing of the guard in 2024.

"Boutique litigation firms will out-innovate big law through GPT-related technology adoption," Weldon wrote to Law360 Pulse. "Because they aren't weighed down by on-premise infrastructure debt."

Weldon described this on-premise infrastructure debt as "ye old server farm."

Without being constrained by this debt, Weldon said that boutique firms will be able to jump more nimbly to cloud computing.

The LLM Market Gets A Correction

Generative AI tools are powered by large language models, or LLMs. Expectations about LLMs soared in 2023, but the hype might dissipate in 2024.

Experts with the legal tech services company Redgrave Data predict that there will be an LLM correction, similar to a market correction, in 2024 in which the promises and hype of the technology will experience a shakeout.

This prediction might not be unexpected given that others are also forecasting a similar decline in AI hype in 2024. But the Redgrave Data team predicts that the cause of the correction will be due to the rise of "computational thinking" to solve problems. Computer scientists often rely on computational thinking to develop the algorithms that underlie AI, according to the team.

"At this moment we are seeing a significant increase in the willingness of lawyers to adopt a computational thinking mindset — perhaps due to the fact that LLMs have made AI more accessible than ever before," Redgrave Data's team Jeremy Pickens, Mark Noel and Mollie Nichols wrote to Law360 Pulse. "With computational thinking comes greater discernment about what is and is not of value. This will lead to the shakeout."

AI Legal Startups Will Face Backlash, Consolidation

There's been no shortage of new legal AI startups in the market promising to transform the way that law firms work. Some of these tools can do just that, and others may fall short.

"2024 will see a separation of the wheat from the chaff when it comes to AI capabilities, and there will be a backlash from customers toward vendors who have overhyped minimal AI technology capabilities in their products," Ajith Samuel, chief product officer for the e-discovery software company Exterro, wrote to Law360 Pulse.

Customers prefer vendors with true copilot capabilities beyond simple AI chat, such as task automation, according to Samuel.

Another preference among AI customers is data privacy. Some AI vendors have been more open about data privacy than others.

"In 2024, some startup LLM creators will figure it out, making their tools more palatable for business use cases and unlocking more enterprise budgets," Charles Lu, the vice president of operations for the contract platform LexCheck, wrote to Law360 Pulse. "As a result, we'll see industry consolidation as some newcomers run out of money, others get acquired, and a few find product-market fit and pull ahead of the pack."

Indeed, the legal tech industry is already seeing an uptick in consolidation as some startups run low on funds. The gap between the number of funding rounds and the number of acquisitions shrank in the third quarter of 2023, according to an analysis by Law360 Pulse.

AI Tutors Will Help Law Students

There's little doubt that AI won't continue to develop at a swift pace. One potential advancement involves the use of multi-modal models, which allow platforms to learn from a combination of data.

Min Chen, a vice president and the chief technology officer of global platforms for the Asia Pacific business of LexisNexis, predicts that the rise of multi-modal AI in 2024 will enable more natural and intuitive human-machine interaction. These tools will progress from basic chatbots to more advanced tools used for legal research.

The potential use cases of multi-modal models include AI tutors, according to Chen.

"It's also possible that AI tutors will emerge for law students, providing personalized guidance, guiding their learning by reviewing assignments, recommending study materials, and even participating in moot court exercises," Chen wrote to Law360 Pulse.

Since ChatGPT already has outperformed human test takers on both the bar exam and a legal ethics exam, having AI tutor law students makes some sense.

--Additional reporting by Ryan Boysen and Sarah Martinson. Editing by Nicole Bleier.

Law360 is owned by LexisNexis Legal & Professional, a RELX Group company.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included a typo in a company's description. The error has been corrected.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.



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