A recent article in The Washington Post discusses how one of the largest law firms in the country has announced the use of a robot, actually an AI machine with IBM’s Watson technology that is now part of the firm’s bankruptcy practice. Dubbed “Ross,” the AI machine will be used to conduct legal research, reviewing cases to support matters being handled by the attorneys.
So if you thought online legal services or the estate planning law firm on the other side of town were threatening your practice, here’s something else to keep you up at night.
One of many important things that distinguishes you from “Ross” is that you are a human, but human estate planning attorneys now must prospect for, convert and serve their clients at an unprecedented level in order to maintain their practices.
How can you distinguish yourself from a robot?
If you don’t have a lawyer video on your website already, the existence of “Ross” should be enough incentive to get started. No matter how well Ross or any other AI program can conduct legal research, it cannot match the concern and warmth of a caring professional. One of the best ways to convert prospects from visitors to your website to warm leads is to let them meet you via video.
Even wonderfully brilliant programs like Watson cannot draw on their own personal experiences to relate to human clients. If you came to estate planning or Elder Law because your parents or grandparents had a good experience with a caring attorney—or a bad experience with senior or health services—only another human with a similar narrative can provide the understanding of their situation.
For now, very few mid-sized or boutique law firms have the resources to access such powerful computing systems. It’s going to be a while before Watson or Ross are available on a smaller scale. This means that you have time to maximize your own use of technology so that your humanness is an asset, and not a liability.
IMS offers E2 CRM and CLIPSM that automate a large part of your client intake and client relationship data. They will not replace you but they will give you more time to spend with clients and in practicing law.
What human clients don’t want are inefficient systems that waste their time, feel like they are being forced to do repetitive tasks or spin their wheels. In this particular Human vs. Machine story, the attorneys who thrive will be the ones who incorporate the useful parts of technology, while giving their human clients an emotionally satisfying experience.