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New Survey Identifies How Consumers Would Be Willing to Use Generative AI to Address Legal Needs

May 04, 2023 (3 min read)
New Survey Identifies How Consumers Would Be Willing to Use Generative AI to Address Legal Needs

By Steve Carroll

If it feels to you like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools have gone from a sci-fi idea to a transformational tech in a matter of months, it’s because they have.

ChatGPT was launched as a prototype on November 20, 2022, and within a matter of a few months it has touched off a flurry of excitement, astonishment, investment and fear. We wanted to be on the front end of this conversation in the legal industry by taking the pulse of lawyers, law students and consumers on this fast-moving phenomenon.

The LexisNexis Survey

LexisNexis has just completed the most extensive legal profession survey of generative AI and its potential impact on the practice of law. In this post, we will report on the findings from our conversation with consumers nationwide. In a future post, we will share what we learned from talking to lawyers and law students.

The survey was conducted in March 2023 and included 4,180 participants, including 1,176 lawyers, 1,239 law students and 1,765 consumers across the U.S.

What Consumers Are Saying

The LexisNexis survey found that 57% of consumers are aware of generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, and roughly one in three have used a generative AI tool. Among these consumers who are aware of the technology, a stunning 48% have already used some form of generative AI tool to obtain legal advice or assistance with a legal question.

Consumers were more likely to have tried generative AI for legal purposes if they were younger (under 45), wealthier, male and more educated.

We then asked those consumers who are aware of generative AI tools about their specific legal-related use cases so far. The most popular responses were: researching legal topics (67%); understanding legal processes/requirements (64%); finding qualified legal professionals in my area (50%); and drafting legal documents/contracts (39%).

When we asked which legal needs they would consider using generative AI to address in the future, the top three responses were:

  1. General legal advice (60%)
  2. Creating a will (43%)
  3. Setting up a business (41%)

Other responses included setting up a rental agreement (39%), financial power of attorney (30%), filing a small claims lawsuit (30%), buying a house (28%), preparing to sue someone (20%), filing for divorce (19%) and filing for adoption (10%).

Interestingly, just 14% of respondents said they would not consider using generative AI for legal advice or assistance.

Potential Disruptive Force

The findings of the LexisNexis survey are consistent with other research that indicates generative AI has the potential to be an extremely disruptive force in the legal market. A March 2023 report from GoldmanSachs warned that generative AI is putting 44% of legal jobs at risk.

“Although worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by the creation of new jobs and new occupations, that does not appear to be the case in the legal industry,” according to a Law360 article article based on the report. “The study showed the legal industry consists of at least 50% of importance- and complexity-weighted tasks that are exposed to automation and likely to be substituted by AI.”

Of course, as The New York Times noted recently in an article ominously titled, “AI is Coming for Lawyers, Again,”: “Previous advances in AI inspired predictions that the law was the lucrative profession most likely to suffer job losses. It didn’t happen. Is this time different?”

LexisNexis Commitment to AI

LexisNexis has been leading the way in the development of legal AI tools for years, working to provide lawyers with products that leverage the power of AI technology to support key legal tasks. We have also sought to be thought leaders on this topic, shining light on the power of AI in legal research, while establishing important safeguards and data control programs to make sure that we are abiding by responsible AI development principles.

We’re now pioneering the use of generative AI for legal research, analysis and the presentation of results, with a focus on how these tools can enable legal professionals to achieve better outcomes and advance the rule of law. We invite you to join us on this journey by following our Lexis+ AI™ web page, where we will share more information about these AI-powered solutions and how they can support the practice of law.

Download a free copy of the LexisNexis Study on Generative AI and the Legal Profession.

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