What could the legal profession look like 20 years from now? Well, if technology keeps trending as it does, it’ll be a sector teeming with as many innovative and efficient solutions as other industries.
According to a Deloitte Insight report, the next two decades could see more than 100,000 law jobs become automated. The sooner lawyers can learn to incorporate AI into their day-to-day, the easier time they’ll have remaining relevant.
Fortunately, making that transition won’t be as complicated as it might sound. Some envision AI as make-believe smarter-than-human robots. But real AI has far narrower (and more realistic) applications, especially for general counsels being asked to source and hire talent. And when they see how AI can streamline those processes, they’ll begin to see it as a worthwhile investment.
Why Lawyers Need Focused AI
Most people use narrow AI daily in their personal lives. Pinterest recommends certain pins for its users. Google Maps suggests a faster route home. Those little tastes of AI make life much easier and indicate the host of benefits that narrow AI can provide to general counsels.
General counsels have finite time and mental bandwidth for staying on task. Leaders can use AI to quickly analyze the information they have on hand — a time-consuming task when done manually — then leverage those findings to forecast potential outcomes and come to quick conclusions.
For project management, the availability of AI empowers users to delegate the right tasks to the right people and focus more time on human-specific tasks. Smarter tools can also simplify the hiring process. Wise legal departments generally try to source talent from on-demand legal marketplaces before making permanent hires, but AI can streamline both processes.
AI won’t be approaching the stand for cross-examination anytime soon. But by tackling the busywork, AI allows general counsels to take a narrower approach to building a team and running a department.
Let AI Reduce Talent-Specific Decision Fatigue
General counsels can’t afford to neglect sourcing and hiring competent talent. If you’re in the market for an AI solution to complement your hiring approach, consider the following strategies:
1. Pick a tool that handles administrative tasks.
Either subscribe to or buy AI-powered software that can handle manual workflows like sourcing, hiring, project management, and performance reports. When assessing potential vendors, ask about their road maps and how their products create long-term value.
Technology already allows attorneys to input project needs and to let the software scan massive external talent databases. With one click, general counsels can tap into that database to find qualified applicants without spending exorbitant amounts of time and money on recruiting. In fact, research by Rallyware CEO George Elfond found that AI can even improve employee productivity (32 percent) and retention (43 percent). AI makes for a less taxing recruitment process, freeing general counsels to focus on more high-level human responsibilities.
2. Train staff to leverage AI.
No one is born knowing the fundamentals of AI. Most people don’t even have the basics down after law school. Work with team members to identify the biggest potential benefits of AI implementation, then help staff learn to make the most of their new tools.
Specifically, showcase how this technology speeds up talent acquisition. AI can distill data down to its most pertinent parts and then provide said information to a user to make a decision. Educate your staff on how to read the information AI provides and apply it to sourcing and hiring decisions. Or, if there’s a way to outfit an AI solution so that it filters in the most promising candidates, train your team on the best way to leverage that feature.
These tools can serve a valuable purpose in optimizing the hiring process — but only if best practices for using AI resources are learned.
3. Focus on scaling alongside technology.
Tools powered by AI will only become smarter with time. Lawyers need teams that can not only handle the pace of progress but can also leverage AI into making good hires faster than they would by more traditional means.
Build a team that knows how to use AI to maximize the effectiveness of that hiring process. Onboard people with business savvy, not just technical know-how, and lean on smarter tools to find outsourced candidates for one-off jobs and optimize workforce spend to expand or contract your legal department according to its evolving needs.
Whether you need someone for a short sprint, a six-month project, or a full-time opportunity, use technology to determine what you need and when you’ll need it. This will help you better allocate resources, which allows the entire department to run more efficiently.
For lawyers, AI is not some scary, far-off possibility. It’s here now, and it’s changing the way legal departments operate in a number of ways, including how they hire. Even though lawyers will not be replaced by robots anytime soon, general counsels of all stripes must address the rapid advancement of AI technology. Their team chemistry, efficiency, and quality of service all depend on it.