Most Attorneys Don't Currently Use Generative AI For Work

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Lawyers and students are more aware of generative artificial intelligence than legal consumers, but they are also less likely to use this technology for legal purposes, according to a new survey Monday.

LexisNexis Legal & Professional surveyed nearly 1,200 U.S. lawyers, over 1,200 law students and over 1,700 consumers to gauge the impact of generative AI technology. Made popular by OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot, generative AI refers to algorithms that can create new content based on data.

Of those surveyed, 88% of lawyers and law students had heard of generative AI tools compared to just 57% of consumers.

About 60% of lawyers and law students said that increased efficiency is a benefit of using generative AI technology. Fifty-seven percent say that generative AI's potential includes helping with researching matters, 48% say it can help with drafting documents and 43% say it can streamline work.

About two-thirds of lawyers and law students expect law firms to use cutting-edge technology such as generative AI tools.

Nearly half of the consumers have used generative AI tools for legal advice or assistance and 60% say they would consider using this technology for this purpose. Forty-three percent of the consumers say they would consider using generative AI to create a will and 41% say they would use this technology for the legal requirements of setting up a business.

"Generative AI and large language models have tremendous potential to transform the way legal work is done," LexisNexis Legal & Professional CEO Mike Walsh said in a statement. "This survey reflects how lawyers, law students and consumers alike are embracing legal tech in new and exciting ways."

Despite wide awareness of generative AI, it is seldom used in the legal field. Over 80% of lawyers and law students are not currently using generative AI tools in their work or studies. And 68% have no plans to use generative AI for these purposes.

In fact, 61% of lawyers do not think that generative AI will change the relationship between in-house counsel and outside firms.

Despite the difference between legal professionals and consumers when it comes to generative AI, both sides agree on a few things.

Half of the lawyers and 42% of consumers say there will be some impact from generative AI on the practice of law. Thirty-nine percent of lawyers and 45% of consumers would describe the impact as significant or transformative.

There's also wide agreement when it comes to ethics. Over half of the lawyers, law students and consumers have some concerns and questions about the ethical implications of generative AI on the practice of law.

"Generative AI technologies can deliver significant benefits to lawyers, law students and consumers, and we're only just beginning to tap into their potential," Jamie Buckley, the chief product officer for LexisNexis Legal & Professional, said in a statement. "However, large language models are only as good as their training data, and it's essential to employ responsible AI principles in leveraging this new technology."

LexisNexis Legal & Professional conducted the survey between March 15 and March 16. Among the lawyers surveyed, 54% are partners, 12% are associates and 6% are general counsel. Over half work in organizations with 50 or fewer attorneys. Forty-three percent practice litigation and 26% practice business and commercial law.

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

--Editing by Alyssa Miller.

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