By Chere B. Estrin
This thing called AI: Will it help you or will it harm you?
Goldman Sachs published a white paper claiming that 44% of all legal jobs are going away and roles such as paralegals may be wiped out. What’s your take on this?
I sat down with Dr. Don Billings, a long-time colleague, who knows just about anything one needs to know about legal technology and beyond. I figured he was one of the best to help me discern whether I was going to have a flood of candidates running from AI or begging me to get them jobs that involved it. As those of you who have been in the field for awhile know first-hand, lawyers are always the last to get on the bandwagon with changes, let alone technology changes. I often feel that it’s like pulling a stubborn mule to get him to move. Not going to happen. He really gave me an eye-opener.
1. Give us the 411 on Dr. Donald Billings.
I am an academic and experienced professional with an extensive twenty-year background in leading business, process automation, and technological innovations within global law firms, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 100 corporations. My comprehensive expertise spans various managerial, legal, and computer science-related disciplines.
2. Where are working nowadays? Somewhere prestigious, I’m sure.
Currently, I am lending my proficiency as a Legal Technology Consulting team member at Sidley Austin, LLP. In this role, I provide both internal and client-focused technical consultations in eDiscovery, digital forensics, and broader legal technology topics. My expertise has allowed me to serve as a subject matter expert, furnishing technical analyses and written testimonies for diverse practice areas, such as intellectual property litigation, internal investigations, white-collar criminal cases, and employment disputes. I am also an active member of the department’s AI task force.
In addition to my work at Sidley Austin, I serve on the board of Cal State East Bay’s executive Big Data Program, where I contribute my knowledge and experience to help shape the future of data science education. Furthermore, I am proud to serve on the boards of several non-profit organizations, using my expertise to impact our communities positively.
3. OK. Enough chit-chat. Let’ get to the meat of this. Goldman Sachs published a white paper claiming that 44% of all legal jobs are going away and roles such as paralegals may be wiped out. What’s your take on this?
While the Goldman Sachs report raises valid concerns about the potential impact of AI on the job market, it may be important to consider a more nuanced perspective on AI’s influence on the economy. According to a recent article by Slate (2023), AI’s effects on the job market may not be as detrimental as the report suggests, particularly in the upper levels of the market. The article highlights how AI can enhance human skills rather than replace them entirely. For instance, AI can be utilized in legal services to streamline research and document analysis, allowing lawyers to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their work (Slate, 2023).
Moreover, the Slate article emphasizes that AI will likely create new job opportunitiesand enhance existing ones by increasing productivity and efficiency. For example, AI can facilitate more accurate diagnoses in the healthcare sector and allow doctors to focus on providing better patient care rather than being bogged down by administrative tasks. Furthermore, AI-driven solutions have the potential to create entirely new industries and markets, spurring economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Therefore, while AI may pose risks to certain job sectors, its overall impact on the economy and job market is likely to be more complex than a simple displacement narrative suggests.
4. Who do you think will be hurt by AI? …..
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