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Generative AI Is a Catalyst for Law Firms and Talent Development

Bloomberg Law: “There are broad possibilities around generative AI, and it’s here to help law firms operate. Cleary Gottlieb’s Michael Gerstenzang and Sixth Street’s David Stiepleman outline how law practices need to rethink their judgment and experiences with AI. Generative artificial intelligence and large language models are here. And soon enough, they won’t be optional. We’re not technologists—we both began our legal careers at a global law firm about 30 years ago. One of us stayed at the firm and now leads it; one of us co-founded and co-leads a global investment firm. We both believe generative AI and related technologies will bring massive change in what law firms do and how they do it. Adapting to these changes can enhance the ability to be creative for their clients and give young lawyers the tools to develop. Lawyers must prepare for how this new world will impact the legal profession. Over the last 30 years, there’s been some enormous technological change in the practice of law, thanks to automated redlining software, email, data sites, video conferencing, and the ability to use these tools from anywhere. While speed and convenience have increased, the basics of legal practice have changed relatively little over this period. Day-to-day lawyering has gotten more convenient and hectic, and while the profession has deployed technology in many areas, the model hasn’t fundamentally changed. There’s been enormous hype around the possibilities and perils of generative AI. Routinized, high-volume drudgery is the perfect target for the refined automation of this technology, making it a catalyst for fundamental change to the law firm model. So then what will lawyers be for? Law firms are quintessential “talent” businesses, dependent on the ability to attract, retain, develop, and promote intelligent and driven people. But law firms need to rethink and rank the skills and traits that will maximize the likelihood of developing successful lawyers who deploy their experience and judgment with their generative AI copilot in the service of clients…”

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