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The Mad Clientist

Only 4 Years Until AI Hits Big Time

By January 24, 2018April 16th, 2020No Comments

Review your plans, make your decisions, and mark your calendars.

Clients have a schedule for when the future will arrive. Top legal decision makers see AI making an impact in 3.96 years. The outlook for how law firms develop and implement AI may be up in the air – but client thinking is pretty clear.

Strategic Decision Support Expected Even Sooner

Only 20% of corporate counsel expect to be using AI to help with decision making. They have high hopes – expecting AI to actually impact strategy and decision making in only 2.8 years.

These executives are looking for the data and insight to drive better outcomes, generate more effective strategies, and define the shortest path to reaching their goals. Virtually every one of them expects their law firms to bring this insight – believing their firms will possess both the data and knowledge. The very largest of companies are thinking of investing in systems directly but still plan to look to their law firms for strategic input.

Efficiency: Big Gains Anticipated within 4 Years

BTI research shows another 57% of clients expect AI’s impact on efficiency to arrive in just over 4 years – exhibiting considerably more patience than their peers looking for decision support. Initially, they anticipate gains on efficiency ranging from 25% to 33%. This translates directly into fewer billable hours and shorter time frames to deliver the equivalent work.

Client Expectations Are Everything  

Client expectations are as important, if not more so, than the actual result. Your AI success depends not only on your AI prowess but also on managing client expectations. We recommend:

  • Asking clients about their goals, expectations, expected benefits, and time frames.
  • Bringing clients into your plans. Share your approach, goals, and timetable – and ask for comments.
  • Sharing your client-facing technology roadmap – technology companies routinely talk to their clients about their roadmaps. Clients want to know where you are going before they invest in your approach – psychologically or financially.
  • Creating a technology advisory group made up of your largest and thought-leading clients. Bringing this group together will yield much more than insights into your AI strategy.
  • Keeping the dialogue going. Clients have high expectations, and your ability to lead the dialogue proves you can lead the path to AI.  

One of the major unspoken AI-related risks is the ability to meet and exceed client expectations. Firms who aren’t talking to their clients about what they expect, what to expect, when – and what they will get – may find their AI efforts not impactful at all.

Engage now. AI’s time is closer than you think – at least according to clients. 


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