Corporate clients will ’push back’ on bills for legal services provided by artificial intelligence - unless those services demonstrably add value, according to research by an international firm. 

In a report on the ‘client perspective’ on artificial intelligence published today, Herbert Smith Freehills says that clients have ’strong and varied views’ on why their lawyers should invest in new technologies. According to its research, reasons include the ability to:

  • Reshape client relationships. Clients want their law firms to move beyond traditional transactional lead delivery to a new, more collaborative relationship model’. The report adds: 'Clients will push back on charges based on a legal provider's AI tools, unless they come up with better integrated services.'
  • Embrace new business models, including new ways of working such as collaborating with third parties. ’Client demand is for the legal industry to adopt a professional services approach’. 
  • Still provide top human talent. As computers take over many tasks traditionally done by trainees, junior lawyers will 'have more time with senior lawyers to enhance their development and do more of the intellectual brain-work on a matter'.

Herbert Smith Freehills' research does not appear to have found clients who say they want lower legal bills. 'From a client's point of view of the post-AI world, efficiency supersedes cost. In the new legal landscape, productivity should be measured in terms of output per hour, or value contributed. This is certainly how our clients view things. 

Mark Rigotti chief executive, said that artificial intelligence is changing the way law firms do business. 'The traditional model for delivering legal services is being redefined and clients expect their law firms to deliver more value.'