Canadian Lawyer

May 2024

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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4 UPFRONT NEWS ANALYSIS GENAI DIFFERS from some of the other focal points of innovation that have emerged in recent years, says Al Hounsell, director of strategic innovation and legal design at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP. When it came to things like blockchain and the metaverse, the law firm innovation people may have been excited, but the practice either had no idea about it or very little interest in doing something with it. and analysis, and email writing were the top potential uses for GenAI. Tara Vasdani, the principal lawyer and founder of Remote Law Canada, says that because the specific software implemented in each workplace can vary, it is difficult to know what tasks young lawyers should familiarize themselves with and those they can ignore because AI will automate them. While it is still "extremely critical" to must educate themselves about the AI tools on the market, what can be fruitfully used in practice, and what is not "ready for primetime yet." "It's a buyer beware sort of atmosphere right now," says Grossman. "But it's also very exciting. There's going to be big changes, I think, in the way that law is practised." The adoption of AI and GenAI has highlighted some well-publicized inherent risks of the technology, including accuracy. Lawyers have been caught submitting documents in court citing cases that did not exist because they had used ChatGPT to help produce their filings. Vasdani notes that cybersecurity is another significant risk. A security breach could wreak havoc on a lawyer and law firm if sensitive client data is integrated into AI software without the proper controls. "We are on the brink of a massive change and disruption in our industry" Al Hounsell, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP On the brink of transformation Artificial intelligence and generative AI tools have only just begun transforming the legal profession, writes Aidan Macnab develop skills like legal research and other automatable tasks, she says the qualities of empathy, human connection, and creativity will set the human lawyer apart. Vasdani says the lawyers of the future will need many of the same skills to become successful, but the new tools will allow them to learn those skills much more quickly. Maura Grossman is a research professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Computer Science, an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, and an eDiscovery lawyer and consultant. She says lawyers "With GenAI, the legal tech and legal innovation folks are excited about it. There is also considerable excitement in the practice, where people are excited about how it will change how they practise law." While lawyers expect the law profession's adoption of AI to accelerate drastically in the future, it is already transforming attitudes. In a 2023 LexisNexis survey, 53 percent of the Canadian lawyers who responded said they expect their firms to adopt generative AI tools, like ChatGPT. The respondents also noted that legal research, document drafting

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