All I want for Christmas is hu-man

As King Charles draws a lungful of bracing Sandringham air before wishing us all a Merry Christmas, many in the legal profession will be reflecting on 2023 as a year of mixed blessings.

Most of the law firms we have worked with on projects and transactions this year have done pretty well but have nagging concerns about the prospects for 2023.

So, this festive break might be an ideal opportunity to do some DIY, to prepare your law firm for the year ahead. A word of warning though. In my house, DIY stands for ‘Don’t Injure Yourself’, which suggests it’s something that needs to be done with care.

One topic that might feature in your festive DIY plans is trying to get your head around artificial intelligence (AI) and what it will mean for the legal profession as a whole, and your firm in particular.

There is little doubt that AI will prove a game-changer for many law firms, as it will in so many areas of our lives. But my guess is clients will always have a preference for human intelligence.

Unlike AI, human intelligence gives lawyers a unique ability to read the unspoken messages from a client’s body language, to ask seemingly unrelated questions that elicit what a client really needs, and to answer the age-old question: ‘If you were me, what would you do?’. This ability is exceedingly hard to fake.

So, rather than get overly distracted by artificial intelligence this Christmas, here are THREE BIG QUESTIONS that you may wish to ask yourself and that go to the heart of any law firm DIY project:

  1. Does our law firm offer services that clients will want to buy in the year ahead and that we are able to deliver profitably at a price they can afford?
  2. Do we have a clear and compelling vision for our law firm that we can articulate to the members of our team, our clients, and our business connections?
  3. Do we have the governance tools in place that will enable our management team to take and implement all the decisions needed to deliver our services and vision in the year ahead?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, you can reward yourself with a carrot, a mince pie, and a schooner of sherry.

If the answer to all of them is ‘no’, you can still eat the carrot and the mince pie, but I’d save the sherry until after your first January management meeting - you might need it.

Disclaimer: This blog has not been written by an AI chatbot. The errors in it are mine and mine alone. In the words of Rag’n’Bone Man, I’m only human after all.

Nigel Wallis, O'Connors