Getting Your Clients Ready for the Age of AI in Legal Services

Legal professionals across the country rely on Dye & Durham not just for our industry-leading practice management solutions but also for mission-critical data and resources. Providing information that enables you to serve your clients accurately and efficiently is one of our core services.

That’s why we have launched the Dye & Durham Canadian Pulse Report – a new data-rich report designed to uncover trends and insights into the economy, technology, and the property market, three key areas that impact our customers and their clients. Each quarter, we’ll speak with 1,000+ Canadians from all corners of the country to hear directly about how timely developments in these three areas impact their lives and what those sentiments may mean for the legal professionals we support.

Growing comfort levels with Technology and AI

According to the Q3 2023 Canadian Pulse Report, 87% of Canadians say they’ve experimented with using generative AI tools like ChatGPT for business, personal, or both reasons. However, frequent adoption is significantly lower, with less than 10% saying they use AI weekly.

While Canadians are beginning to get familiar with AI, some concern remains about skilled providers incorporating AI into their services. 60% of Canadians say that the idea of lawyers or notaries using AI to support or conduct their services makes them uncomfortable – second only to doctors and medical professionals (63%).

 

Getting Your Clients Ready for AI

A better understanding of usage and benefits would significantly increase comfort levels, as more than a quarter of Canadians say they would be more comfortable if their lawyer/notary could guarantee that using AI would lead to better outcomes or greater accuracy. Nearly as many say they would be more comfortable if it significantly reduced costs or was used to improve the performance of the legal professional without outrightly replacing them.

Given that Canadian legal professionals see the enormous potential for AI to provide cost, efficiency, and accuracy benefits, they need to educate their clients on how AI is being deployed in their firms and how it will improve the services they provide. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Be transparent: In today’s digital age, consumers demand transparency and open communication from their service providers. Legal professionals must keep up with these demands to meet expectations and build client trust. Specifically, legal professionals should be transparent about AI in the following ways:
    • Benefits ─ ‘Why AI?’: Let your clients know why you have opted to use AI to support your services. Explain potential benefits like speed and accuracy, time-savings, cost-savings, and efficiency. For instance, leveraging an AI-enabled research assistant tool might save your firm considerable hours on research while delivering more accurate results. Discuss this benefit with your clients and explain how reducing person-hours spent on specific projects might translate to improved service pricing.
    • Usage ‘How?’: Be open about the specific ways you deploy AI in your practice, and where possible, give them the ability to opt in or out of such services. Doing so gives clients a sense of control and makes them feel part of the process.
  • Highlight human touchpoints: Ensure your clients understand that AI and other technology solutions you deploy in your practice do not replace human input. Highlight the distinct stages of human involvement in your services, including oversight of the AI tools. Additionally, if you use an AI-based customer communication tool, ensure your clients understand they can connect directly to your team when they need to speak to a human. Make sure the process of reaching you is not complicated.
  • Actively seek feedback: Keep a two-way line of communication between you and your clients. Be open with them and encourage them to share their thoughts and concerns with you. This way, you can clarify issues quickly and address any concerns or misconceptions immediately.
  • Be prepared: AI has been making headlines for the last few years but is still new enough to be considered disruptive. Be prepared to answer questions your clients may have about how using AI impacts your workforce. Although AI may reduce the need for certain functions, it can create new job opportunities in various fields.

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Conclusion

AI-driven tools have significant potential to improve legal practice management, and legal professionals recognize this. Being upfront about its use is essential to increasing Canadian consumers’ comfort levels with their lawyers deploying such technologies, and this investment in client education will yield significant benefits for all parties involved.

For more insights, read key takeaways for law firms from the Q3 Canadian Pulse Report.

 

About the Survey

Conducted quarterly, the Dye & Durham Canadian Pulse Report is designed to uncover trends and insights into Canadian sentiment surrounding three key areas: the economy, technology, and the property market. The findings of the report are the result of a survey conducted by Dye & Durham from August 16-18, 2023, among a nationally representative sample of n=1,001 who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey was offered in both English and French.

Read the full report here.

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