‘Informed’ approach key to adopting AI, tech into legal profession: Norton Rose innovation director


Entering the second generation of legal tech with AI

We’ve now entered a second generation of legal tech solutions, Hounsell says, much of it focused on artificial intelligence. “And one thing I feel is a little bit different with this explosion of [AI] startups is that there seems to be an excitement in the air” about the tools now becoming available.

He also notes that AI is in a “100 percent hype cycle” right now, creating overexuberance on one side and the “fear of new things on the other.” For law firms, Hounsell notes that privacy and security concerns are “always absolutely top of mind.”

Considering this, Hounsell sees his role as cutting through the hype to see what AI solutions can really help lawyers and law firms do their work. It’s also not about replacing lawyers or legal staff with AI but “enhancing [their] capabilities.”

Hounsell says he distinguishes between “rules-based” AI and “pattern or statistics-based AI.” The first type looks at automation systems, the rules by which the legal tech tool operates to produce, for example, a first draft of a document or dealing with office workflow.” He says this type of AI has been around in a commercial sense for several years.

The other type of AI, which has captured the public’s imagination in programs such as ChatGPT and large language models, is about finding patterns within data to arrive at conclusions.