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UK could soon be the world leader in generative AI for lawtech

Previously, legal professionals dedicated extensive hours to meticulously examining documents and investing significant time and effort in research. However, for numerous contemporary law firms, this traditional approach is becoming obsolete. The legal landscape is undergoing a transformative shift, propelled by innovative technology and automation.

Nowadays, AI tools can pitch in to tackle the tasks that usually eat up a lawyer’s time, like checking documents, doing due diligence, drafting legal paperwork, and conducting legal research. As of 2021, Oxford University figured that roughly half of all solicitors in England and Wales were getting a hand from some kind of AI-powered legal tech (specific solutions designed for the legal field).

Generative AI has the potential to make big advancements in our legal field. Thanks to more advanced programs like ChatGPT and other large language models, we can witness their impressive ability to grasp complex questions and generate meaningful responses. It offers an exciting sneak peek into what lies ahead. Imagine the possibilities for law firms in terms of enhancing access to legal services—cutting down on time and costs from the once labor-intensive tasks.

UK opening doors for AI in lawtech

Every new breakthrough opens the door to quicker, sharper, and more efficient work, allowing lawyers to concentrate on tasks that truly demand their expertise. Most importantly, it’s a genuine chance to make legal services easier for the public as they navigate the realm of legal rights. It’s a victory for law firms, but above all, it’s a triumph for those who rely on their services.

So, they’re currently in a fresh and thrilling phase of trying things out and delving into new possibilities. The Government is really into this. Over the last decade, the UK has rapidly become a global frontrunner in lawtech, and the country aims to support its innovators in keeping that momentum going.

In 2019, they kickstarted LawtechUK, a program run by the industry to boost the lawtech scene in the UK. It’s currently in its second phase, led by CodeBase and Legal Geek, and it’s been a massive hit, raising £6 million in funding from 2019 to 2025. They’re also lending a hand to lawtech folks in pushing and selling their products globally.

Also Read: How The Humane AI Pin aims to replace your smartphone

UK lawtech roping in global business

Thanks to the Ministry of Justice’s GREAT Legal Services campaign and the Department for Business and Trade, UK lawtech is making business ties around the world—tapping into promising markets like Singapore, Australia, and the US. The GREAT campaign is all about showcasing different UK legal services, and in the past financial year alone, it played a role in securing over £6 million in expected business wins for UK lawyers, along with more than 60 business leads.

The field is getting stronger and stronger with every new advancement. Check out Harvey AI—it’s diving into natural language processing, machine learning, and data analytics to automate and boost different parts of legal work, like contract analysis, litigation, and regulatory compliance.

Genie AI came up with a tool that drafts contracts, using a ton of data to recommend clauses. Summize, on the other hand, provides legal contract lifecycle management and whips up internal summaries of contracts to help out lawyers. RobinAI whipped up a machine learning model by crunching data from over 4 million legal documents. This lets users draft and negotiate contracts up to 80% faster and saves them a whopping 75% on legal fees. On the other hand, Legl added a generative AI layer to step up client due diligence, making it simpler and faster to gather info and cutting down the data pros need to sift through.

It doesn’t just make legal services better

The perks go way beyond just making legal services more efficient. According to a report from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, AI could pump in as much as £630 billion into the economy by 2035. Plus, it might spark over 14 million new jobs by 2027, as more companies bring in tech experts and train up their teams—so teamwork and backing for businesses are absolutely crucial.

That’s why the UK is putting money into a top-notch AI Research Resource in Bristol, fueled by a £900 million fund, to supercharge scientific discovery and keep the UK leading the way in AI development. The Isambard-AI cluster is set to be one of the most potent supercomputers in Europe, giving industry pros and researchers the tools they need to tap into the groundbreaking potential of AI.

With all this growth and cool stuff happening, it’s imperative to think about the risks to really make the most of what generative AI has to offer. They need the right rules that let us be innovative while making sure users are protected.

They also need the systems we build to be transparent. If they can’t figure out how a decision was reached, how are they supposed to explain it or trust it in what they’re doing? Plus, they require dependable data to work with and to steer clear of the dangers of bias and discrimination. That way, users can feel secure managing information in line with GDPR and data privacy regulations.

Also Read: Europe’s urgent drive to tackle AI sovereignty challenge

Government wants the UK to be a technological powerhouse

The government is all in on this, recognizing AI as one of the five crucial technologies needed to turn the UK into a global science and technology powerhouse. Just a month ago, LawtechUK gathered lawyers, tech folks, regulators, and other pros to dig into what generative AI can do for the legal field and how it can be a win for consumers of legal services.

Now, they’re taking the lead in figuring out how this tech is getting used nationwide, outlining areas to enhance collaboration and really tap into its potential. And with LawtechUK’s Regulatory Response Unit, regulators are coming together in a quick-response forum to help startups navigate the regulatory scene.

And there’s more to it. The fresh Office for Artificial Intelligence is cooking up a regulatory setup that’s all about promoting innovation, tackling risks without putting the brakes on growth. They’re basing it on five principles that steer and shape the responsible development and use of AI.

In the end, every innovation comes with its share of risk, and Generative AI brings up a bunch of ethical, social, and practical concerns. But it’s a risk they’re committed to handling. That’s why their Frontier AI Taskforce is on the job, assessing the risks of AI, and just last week, the UK hosted a global AI Safety Summit.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.