Cleary Leader Confident Amid Law Firm ‘Frothiness,’ AI Adoption

Cleary Gottlieb one of the most successful firms in the US – ranked at No. 30 in the most recent Am Law 100 – is confident that AI will help him leverage a smaller pool of lawyers to compete with bigger firms.

Cleary’s managing partner Michael Gerstenzang has been closely watching the advances of generative AI in law firms and is testing training models on the firm’s datasets. It launched a subsidiary technology and project development incubator, ClearyX, in 2020.

“I was super worried that if you have $6 billion in revenue you have a lot of money to invest in technology…Generative AI has made me worry about that much less. Because generative AI is—relatively speaking—inexpensive, and I don’t need to develop it myself.”

Over time, generative AI will reduce the benefit of huge numbers of lawyers using “brute force” on projects. He’s “hopeful” it also will help law firms move away from the billable hour, which he said often undervalues lawyers’ work for clients.

“It will be beneficial for clients and law firms to shift toward value-based billing…Generative AI is going to be helpful to move us toward that model.”

It looks like Cleary Gottlieb is putting a lot of faith into the power of generative AI. Can it help one of the most successful firms in the country move up 10 places in the Am Law 100? Can it help the legal profession leave the billable hour in the dust? It sure seems like this might be one big AI hallucination… but hopefully it’ll work.

Source: Bloomberg Law & Above the Law






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