New Study Finds Majority of Lawyers Trust AI, Points to Improved Quality of Work and Increased Job Satisfaction

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, June 14th, 2024

 Ironclad, the leading digital contracting platform for modern businesses, today announced the inaugural release of the State of AI in Legal Report: a double opt-in survey commissioned by Ironclad and carried out by the independent research firm OnePoll. The report, which surveyed 800 American attorneys and legal operations professionals—evenly split between law firms and in-house roles, explores adoption rates, sentiment, and top use cases for artificial intelligence in the legal field.

Click here to download the full 2024 State of AI in Legal Report.

The report includes five chapters addressing topics like trust and adoption, use cases, risks and roadblocks, top areas of concern, and AI's role in addressing job satisfaction. A few key findings for the report were:

Lawyers are generally trusting of AI and actively using it, citing improvement in quality of work

  • 71% of legal professionals responded that they were trusting of AI, with 74% of respondents saying they use AI for legal work.

  • 92% of those who use AI for legal work say it's improved the quality of their work.

  • Of them, 90% expect to use AI tools more frequently in 2024 than they did in 2023.

In-house legal teams are further along when it comes to AI, while law firms are more apprehensive

  • 96% of in-house teams' companies allow the use of AI tools, compared to 74% at law firms.

  • 87% of in-house lawyers actively use AI tools for legal work, compared to 60% at law firms.

  • 31% of respondents were concerned that AI could completely or partially take over their jobs - but law firms were five times more likely to ban AI usage than corporations.

  • In-house teams are more likely to invest in AI than law firms (84% vs. 58%).

Could AI help address the legal burnout problem?

  • While 19% of respondents said they never feel dissatisfied with their job, over 80% of respondents shared some level of dissatisfaction at work.

  • 59% of attorneys working in private law firms never or rarely feel dissatisfied, and 13% always or often dissatisfied. Meanwhile, 81% of those working in-house said they were rarely or never dissatisfied and 5% were always or often dissatisfied.

  • 'Task overload' is a driving factor for dissatisfaction in the legal industry. 49% of dissatisfied respondents said meeting stressful deadlines is the cause, with 44% identifying having too many tasks to complete in a day as the culprit.

  • 57% of lawyers who feel at least some work dissatisfaction said using AI could help alleviate it, with 49% of AI users stating it saves time during their workday and 41% stating AI helps offload mundane tasks.

Most lawyers are optimistic about AI—and believe regulation will help

  • 79% are excited to see what potential AI has for legal.

  • 83% would be more open to using AI tools at their workplace if there was proper regulation surrounding its use.

  • While almost a quarter of respondents hadn't faced any hurdles yet, the biggest areas of concern surrounding AI was information accuracy (40%), security (37%), and navigating company policies (17%).

Top areas where AI is most useful include tagging metadata and flagging risky clauses in contracts

  • The top three instances where respondents think AI is most useful is to tag metadata in documents (34%), flagging risky contract clauses (33%), and contract analysis (29%).

  • Research (50%), summarizing case law (28%), and reviewing documents for litigation (15%) were also top responses.

"There's been a narrative that lawyers are resistant to change and skeptical of new technology," said Ironclad CEO and co-founder, Jason Boehmig. "We've always believed that lawyers are on that cutting edge, they've just needed the right tools. And what this research shows is that AI is going to usher in the next wave of legal productivity on a massive scale."