AI and the future of the legal function
AI unquestionably has enormous potential to shape and enhance how General Counsel and the functions they lead operate and
demonstrate value. But there is, and will likely continue to be, a pronounced gap when it comes to the nuanced actions and
decisions which demand high levels of judgement, creativity, and empathy.
As part of our Next Generation GC Network, Hedley May had the pleasure of bringing together senior legal leaders in a
fascinating and incisive discussion about what a technology-enabled legal function of the future could look like. Here, we
summarise some key themes that arose:
We’re at an inflection point – generative AI is fundamentally different
Though the potential for AI to transform the legal profession has been widely acknowledged for years, our participants agreed
that new technological capabilities enabled by ChatGPT and competing large language models (LLMs) represent a fundamental
As one put it, “We’ve seen legal tech over the years that had very slow adoption – as well as lots of legal tech providers simply
putting an ‘AI sticker’ on top of whatever they’re selling. What we’re talking about now is something completely new. Generative
AI is a different beast”.
This includes, for example, the increasing feasibility of using AI to generate drafts based on prompts, to interpret legal provisions,
to reason about information, and to act as a sounding board for human thinking – capabilities which, until recently, were far
outside the scope of what was considered possible to automate. One of our participants drew parallels between the coming
impact of generative AI on the legal profession and the way it is already transforming the field of computer programming –
whether in code or natural language, technology can increasingly draft to precise standards when given well-defined instructions.