“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” —Henry VI, Part 2.
Shakespeare interpretations aside, it seems that artificial intelligence is on its way to, well, killing off lawyers. That’s according to a recent survey (PDF) of law firm leaders who say that within 10 years, new attorneys and paralegals could be replaced by an IBM Watson-like computer. The study, which included responses from high-ranking lawyers at 320 firms with at least 50 lawyers on staff, found that 35 percent of the top brass at responding law firms envision replacing first-year associates with some type of AI in the coming decade. Less than 25 percent of respondents gave the same answer in a similar survey in 2011. About 20 percent of those anonymous respondents also said second- and third-year attorneys could also be replaced by technology over the same period. Half of law firm leaders said that paralegals could be killed off by computers.
The AI findings were part of a much larger survey of the law firm landscape.