Turning big data into big answers.

Position::Interview
 
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In 2016, Mark T. Greene, Ph.D., independent consultant, and Elonide Semmes, president of Right Hat LLC, were asked by LMA to help identify the next big thing for legal marketers. Their response: artificial intelligence (AI).

Based on that response, LMA is creating a broad range of programming for 2017 that will help legal marketers better understand AI and how it will impact their roles in the industry. To kick off this effort, Greene and Semmes hosted a webinar, which can be accessed here: Bit.ly/LMAAI

The Strategies editorial staff sat down with Greene and Semmes to discuss:

* Ways in which AI is currently being used in the practice of law;

* The long-term impact AI will have on the business of law; and

* How AI is likely to change marketing and business development.

Based on your research, why should legal marketers be looking to AI as the "next big thing"?

* Semmes: What I think is starting to happen more often is that instead of just having this idea of Big Data, people are seeking "Big Answers." This is a term coined by Gartner that involves the ability to take all the disparate data sets that we have been collecting and bring them together in order to take action--something that historically hasn't been done very well within law firms. And artificial intelligence is that tool that allows us to take action. Initially where you will start to see the value of AI for legal marketing is with the ability to automate repetitive and manual tasks.

* Greene: I agree with Elonide, and in looking at the legal industry as a whole, I would say that 2017 will be the year in which law firms look to adopt AI for purposes of creating a competitive advantage. But by 2018, AI will become table stakes for doing business, and what that means for law firms is that they must decide to either get onboard or get left behind.

For legal marketers in particular, the ability to get in touch with AI will help them become true strategic leaders in their firms. Knowing what's coming in terms of the technology, and understanding the vocabulary, should get them a seat at the table because an awful lot of lawyers aren't going to see this coming.

What happens when one firm starts really embracing AI is that they become faster, cheaper, better; and those firms not embracing AI have the potential to get blown out of the water. The opportunity for marketers is to become significant participants in their firm's decisions to invest in AI, either to be leaders in the eyes of their clients or just keep up.

What are some specific examples you believe are most exciting for legal marketing?

* Greene: I've been using algorithms to predict client needs for years. As an example, we had a thing called "lit-spotting," where we could say that if...

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