In an article on the World Economic Forum’s publication Agenda, Paul Rawlinson – global chair at Baker McKenzie – explores a question that is much on the minds of those who have been watching the growing impact of technology on the legal profession: “Will lawyers become extinct in the age of automation?”
Rawlinson acknowledges that today lawyers must increasingly attempt to strike a balance between their traditional role as “the Trusted Advisor” with increasing demands from their clients for quick and efficient resolutions to their legal matters.
Rawlinson pulls no punches. He predicts that “The market will kill those who don’t adapt.” However, he says, those who are able to use artificial intelligence and related technologies to augment their own intelligence and creativity – using them as springboards to new approaches and new areas of practice – will not only survive, but will thrive. He uses his own firm’s work in the area of drones and aviation law as an example.
Rawlinson also sees a continuing need for lawyers to build relationships of trust with clients. “Trust is what we crave,” he says. “It’s what separates us from machines; empathy, human instinct, an ability to read nuances, shake hands, and build collaborative relationships.”
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