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Survey Finds Legal Industry in Last Place in AI, Machine Learning Adoption

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Less than half of legal senior executives surveyed in a new report said their organizations offer training on emerging technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Business analytics juggernaut RELX Group polled 1,000 U.S. senior executives across government and the health care, insurance, legal, science and banking industries. Of the law firm leaders surveyed, only 44 percent said they offer employee training on the technologies—the least of any industry.

Over a quarter (26 percent) of legal industry executives said they do not use artificial intelligence or machine learning in their work, and 12 percent weren't even aware of machine learning being used in their industry.

The survey also found that 20 percent of legal senior executives do not believe that advanced technologies make their businesses more competitive. In contrast, across all the sectors surveyed, 88 percent of senior executives agreed that AI and machine learning would help their businesses be more competitive.

Overall, 74 percent of the executives surveyed said their company currently utilizes big data in some form, and 56 percent reported employing machine learning or AI. Those working in the insurance, science/medical, and banking industries were most likely to have adopted these technologies, while those in the government sector typically trailed behind, the report found. The legal industry, which ranked just ahead of government, is behind all other business sectors.

Seventeen percent of legal decision-makers also reported they are not using big data to generate insights.

“While awareness of these technologies and their benefits is higher than ever before, endorsement from key decision-makers has not been enough to spark matching levels of adoption,” Kumsal Bayazit, chair of RELX Group’s technology forum, said in a statement.

The survey further shows that while 94 percent of industry leaders are aware of artificial intelligence and 91 percent are aware of machine learning, only 18 of them could answer how or why these technologies were being implemented in their organizations.