January 2024 - A Crystal Ball for 2024. What to Expect in the Year Ahead

January 31, 2024

January 2024 - A Crystal Ball for 2024. What to Expect in the Year Ahead

This is a great time of year. After the busyness of the holiday season and the recent year-end, we look forward with hope and optimism to all that is in front of us – a year filled with possibility. Many of us make resolutions to help stay motivated and focused on our goals. We also make plans, identifying steps and timelines to follow in moving forward.

 

Part of looking ahead includes setting expectations. The information we have today helps inform our expectations for tomorrow. And while we don’t have an actual crystal ball in which we can see the future, that knowledge allows us to predict what may occur, often with a great degree of accuracy.

As we begin 2024, QuisLex experts offer the following forecasts in several key areas for the year ahead:

Generative AI captured our attention last year. In this area, QuisLex COO Sirisha Gummaregula says, “In 2024, expect to see significant advancements, accelerated refinements and warp speed utilization of AI-based technology across all industries, including legal. As demand for AI increases, balancing its advancements with benefits to and the safety of humans is critical in all fields, and this balance will continue to be refined in 2024.

AI will continue impacting many areas of the legal industry, including the business of law. Robert Coppola, vice president, legal solutions and strategic growth at QuisLex, offers this prediction: “The focus on AI in the legal space will begin to shift from the technology itself to the experts who can leverage it to improve business outcomes. Many types of AI have been prevalent in legal for a long time, but the emphasis will change from ‘gen AI is cool’ to ‘how is this actually going to help us?’ Lawyers will focus on the substantive legal issues of their clients and seek trusted partners who can leverage modern tech, including AI, to identify its practical applications that reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve business outcomes.”

In the area of contracts, QuisLex vice president, legal solutions and operational excellence, Brian Corbin forecasts, “Explosive new contracting technology features and platforms will continue to hit the market in 2024. However, legal departments absolutely must stay focused on (and invest in) the nuts-and-bolts strategic elements of business process readiness, change management, data quality and, most importantly, having the right mix of resources lined up for the future-state work when technology transforms business as usual. Legal leaders who can appreciate these concerns in 2024 will strengthen critical business partnerships, accelerate return horizons on CLM technology investments and avoid costly implementation snags.”

Coppola’s prediction for eDiscovery is that “2024 will bring increased focus on the front end of the eDiscovery funnel and better governing of corporate data. Data is much easier to control, protect and analyze when you have an information governance strategy in place to help streamline the data that is exposed in the eDiscovery life cycle for litigations or investigations. With companies focused on minimizing how their data can hurt them, new technologies and processes on the far left of the EDRM will be at the forefront in helping reduce the potential and scope of data breaches and cyberattacks and in controlling the overall cost of downstream eDiscovery.”

Julie Maeir, QuisLex director, human resources and communication, shares this prediction for attracting and retaining talent: “With the ‘great resignation’ having subsided in 2023, expect less movement among attorneys and staff in 2024. The market is no longer favoring those who want to change jobs, as the salary bumps of the past that lured people away are not as prevalent. However, both law firm and in-house attorneys will likely continue to leave the practice of law and move to alternative areas.”

On a related topic, Gummaregula offers that “COVID accelerated the realization that a focus on both the individual and collective welfare of employees is paramount for a company’s well-being. We will see greater strides in employee welfare initiatives in 2024 with companies offering greater assistance for family, mental health and other wellness initiatives.”

Privacy remains a critical area of focus for legal professionals. QuisLex associate director, legal solutions, Megan Silverman predicts, “2024 will be a flagship year for privacy regulation with new laws becoming effective in Texas, Florida, Washington and Oregon. The already cumbersome patchwork of privacy laws will become even more difficult to decipher, leading to the creation or adaptation of legal tech to help quickly analyze breached data to identify (a) the jurisdictions in which the impacted data subjects reside and (b) what state-specific rules apply to that data. This will allow breach counsel to focus on the data subject to the more stringent requirements first and create a playbook for tackling the intricacies of each applicable state’s regulations.”

In the area of cybersecurity, QuisLex CTO Michel Sahyoun has this forecast: In 2024, there will be increasing pressure on CISOs and corporate boards to disclose cybersecurity breaches in a prompt and transparent way. This will in turn push even SMBs, including smaller law firms, to take cybersecurity far more seriously and seek the help of security service providers to assess their security posture, remediate vulnerabilities and monitor their infrastructure for potential breaches.”

Sahyoun also offers this insight about emerging technologies: “2023 witnessed the evolution of large language models into a reasonably mature technology, overshadowing all other natural language processing systems. The legal technology landscape saw the use of LLMs through copilots, legal assistants and legally conversant chatbots. Further enhancements in 2024 will create more mature, affordable, customizable and easy-to-use LLM models that will leave the lab to graduate into production use. Legal technology vendors in legal research, eDiscovery and contract management will need to update their existing NLP models with LLM technology.”

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