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90% of lawyers confirm AI is ‘crucial’ for M&A

AI and emerging tech will be “crucial” for M&A lawyers over the next 12 months, according to a new report from Litera.

user iconLauren Croft 12 July 2023 NewLaw
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been revealed to be a key component of mergers and acquisitions moving forward, with 83 per cent of Australian law firms expecting a substantial increase in technology spending over the next year.

According to a new M&A survey from Litera, which surveyed approximately 400 lawyers who focus on M&A transactions across law firms in Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Germany, two-thirds of Australian lawyers identify as innovators or early adopters of new tech.

Thirteen per cent of Australian M&A lawyers identified as “innovators” — meaning they have a high tolerance for risk and are often the first to try new technology — and 55 per cent considered themselves “early adopters” of new technology, with some willingness to take risks.


Over half of M&A lawyers surveyed (53 per cent) said they expect to see an increase in their tech spending over the next 12 months, while 11 per cent believe they will see a significant increase. Further, 83 per cent of Australian lawyers anticipate the largest increase in technology spending will take place over the next 12 months.

According to the survey, Australian law firms are currently very optimistic that M&A engagements will be completed using AI-based technologies within the next three to five years. Ninety-one per cent of respondents said that AI would increase or significantly increase in importance in M&A deals.

The survey results also showed that by using AI to analyse large amounts of data and identify potential risks and opportunities, lawyers are able to make better decisions about pricing, indemnities, and whether or not to proceed with a deal. Within the M&A space, technology helps improve accuracy, security and speed, all of which are essential for successfully closing deals.

The adoption of legal technology can also streamline processes, improve client satisfaction, and increase efficiency — which the report said made it “crucial to the success and competitiveness of law firms”.

Moreover, 83 per cent of Australian M&A lawyers said they believe that AI is becoming a standard part of most M&A due diligence procedures in order to streamline detail-oriented and time-consuming tasks like document comparison and reviews.

AI also enables lawyers to analyse documents and identify risks with a high degree of accuracy in a fraction of the time required through manual reviews, according to Litera APAC lead Stefan Steenveld.

“AI is playing an increasingly important role in M&A law. As technology continues to evolve, we will see M&A legal processes simplified by even more advanced AI solutions,” he said.

“By taking advantage of AI, companies can gain deeper insights and make better-informed decisions about potential deals, leading to more successful outcomes.”

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