AI in Corporate Law and Practice
The fifth seminar in the ECGI Spotlight Series was held on Monday, 12 April 2021 at 16:00 CEST (10:00 EST).
The seminar focused on two research papers from the ECGI Working Paper Series:
Armour, John and Parnham, Richard and Sako, Mari, Augmented Lawyering (August 21, 2020)
Armour, John and Eidenmueller, Horst G. M., Self-Driving Corporations? (August 25, 2019)
About this event
Artificial intelligence (AI) involves the use of computer systems to perform tasks for which humans would ordinarily use their brains. Dramatic recent advances in computer science have triggered considerable interest in the impact AI will have on a range of white-collar contexts. This Spotlight seminar will explore two of these: legal services and corporate boardrooms.
The technology underpinning many recent advances in AI is machine learning, which works best when trained by large volumes of data. This helps map the likely use-cases in the foreseeable future: tasks for which there are multiple prior examples that can be used to train a system. It implies a negative claim: neither strategic corporate board decisions, nor bespoke legal services, will cease to be done by humans any time soon.
Nevertheless, AI will impact considerably on corporate activities and legal work that are frequently repeated and for which data can be aggregated. This in turn implies that many organisations will face competitive pressure to restructure themselves in order to maximise the benefits of adoption of AI. The deployment of AI systems will be supported by complementary new human roles, involving domain experts and technical experts working together in multidisciplinary teams. Embedding these teams in organisations will be a challenge that corporations—with their hierarchical management structure—will be better placed to deliver than professional services partnerships. Nevertheless, even within corporations, such deployment will entail important strategic questions along with major new ethical and compliance responsibilities. The oversight of these will be an important new work agenda for corporate boards, with implications for their job descriptions and legal duties.
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