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Law firms urged to remain people-focused amid tech disruption

Law firms urged to remain people-focused amid tech disruption

Technology

A recent report has recommended that law firms navigate technological disruption by giving employees a sense of purpose in their work.

According to the recent Industry Insights report by global HR think tank Reventure, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is going to lead to significant restructuring in professional services organisations, including law firms.

Reventure lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan said AI is likely to replace repetitive, entry-level work often performed by paralegals and junior lawyers.

“The current pyramid structure of organisations is likely to face disruption because AI will begin taking over the repetitive, mundane tasks from everyone’s job,” he said.

“There will also be changes to what organisations in the professional services look for in candidates, and technological aptitude will be high on that list.”

According to the report, “AI will essentially allow lawyers to program a framework of rules, which can then be used to replace associates and paralegals conducting (often unbillable) commoditised work”.

Reventure’s research also indicated that employees without a sense of purpose in their work are likely to be most impacted by the increased take-up of AI.

A Reventure survey of 1,001 Australian workers found those who worked in offices felt the least sense of purpose or meaning.

“It is a great detriment for both organisation and employee if a worker thinks their job has no purpose or meaning, and it is up to business leaders to address the issue,” Dr McMillan said.

“It is also likely that if employees don’t have purpose and meaning in their work, the AI revolution will impact them the hardest.

“But many of the jobs thought of as unimportant in professional services have an important function in the organisational machine. Leaders simply have to communicate that importance. Sometimes it can be as easy as making the connection to an employee with their everyday tasks and how it contributes to the overall goals of the organisation.”

A sense of meaning is particularly important to the growing millennial demographic of the workforce, with Reventure’s survey finding that 77 per cent of millennials are looking for purpose and meaning in their employment.

“While a workplace culture centred on technological advances can add competitive edge, it often overlooks the core reason why workplaces work – the employees,” the report said.

“A common pitfall is to solely motivate workers with financial outcomes or competition. With our research finding that the next generation is increasingly looking for purpose at work, leaders will need to actively follow an agenda focused on purpose and meaning in the culture, which will promote the transition into new arenas of efficiency and productivity.”

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