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How to Measure the Value of A.I. to Your Firm

Updated: May 20, 2021

Tamir Samman, Senior Director of Revenue, Casetext

As a legal technology company that develops A.I. tools, this is a question we hear somewhat often: “How do I encourage my firm to adopt A.I.?”

The answer might be, “You shouldn’t.” It all depends on the answer to a question more firms should be asking: “Does A.I. lead to real business value for my firm, and if so, how can I measure it?”

Although A.I. adoption might signal a certain level of tech-savviness and an interest in innovation, adopting A.I. for the sake of A.I. is not necessarily a strong investment for your firm to make. It’s also definitely not the best way to pitch A.I. tools to your firm’s leadership.

When we released our A.I.-powered legal research tool, Parallel Search, it was important to us — and to many of our customers — to be able to connect it to real business value for law firms. I certainly don’t want to undersell the incredible work of the brilliant team of data scientists and engineers who brought the product to life, but ultimately, the fact that Parallel Search leverages the most cutting-edge transformer-based neural networks is of little to no value to the attorneys and firms using it for their legal research. The real value, as we identified in the ROI report for Parallel Search, is in its ability to free up time attorneys are otherwise spending on non-billable work.

In general, the advantage of adopting A.I. is most often in its ability to take care of the tasks that don’t necessarily require the insights of an attorney, freeing up the attorney to focus on more critical, substantive work — which, in many cases, is the work that you can actually bill to clients.

With Parallel Search, for example, we’re not taking attorneys out of legal research entirely — an attorney still needs to evaluate the results, cite check relevant cases, etc. — but Parallel Search eliminates the need for an attorney to write and re-write boolean queries, add search filters, and go down rabbit holes in order to find relevant results. Since legal research is frequently an area where clients push back on time billed, particularly when it’s billed by more junior associates, this translates into business value for the firm.

If you’re trying to encourage the adoption of an A.I. tool within your firm, don’t focus on the fact that it’s A.I. or that it’s the most innovative tool on the market. Instead, lead with the operational benefits. What is this tool going to enable your attorneys to do that they couldn’t do before? How is it connected to your firm’s business objectives? How will it ultimately lead to better service for your clients?

If you find that you can’t come up with any good answers to any of those questions, perhaps that tool isn’t worth your firm’s budget anyway.

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