Adapt To AI or Be Irrelevant, Panelists Tell Lawyers

Panelists at the 4th Plenary Session of the 2024 NBA Lagos Law week have urged Lawyers to embrace the modern technology trend, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or they may loose their jobs. They spoke extensively on the title of the session “Technology Advancements in Legal Practice”.

Abiodun Olatunji SAN, Partner at Abdullahi Ibrahim & co. noted that technology has revolutionized the legal practice in Nigeria and across the globe. He stated that it has given accessibility to justice, client satisfaction and people can sit from the comfort of their homes to settle their disputes. This, he said, has aided the seamless dispensation of justice. He added that there needs to be a regulation by way of an Executive Order of the President to regulate AI.

Jamiu Idowu, Co-founder & CEO Sahel AI said that the development of AI should not be regulated. He noted, however, that the regulation and legislation should focus on the use and misuse of AI and other technologies.

Another panelist, Tosin Akingbade, COO, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, said that attempting to regulate the development of AI and technology generally is futile and would lead to a constant need to play catch up, hence the regulation of its use is a better suited alternative.

Inemesit Dike, Executive Director, at The Legal Concierge, stressed that there is a huge research gap in the legal technology space which needs to be addressed. Law firms need to be less conventional and invest in tech. She noted that Nigerian law firms are only looking at how to make AI do good research but that the world has moved past that. She added that most young lawyers are not interested in the conventional law service. Thus, Law firms should create a legal product that can serve Africa as a whole and not themselves.

The NBA was urged to challenge the law firms that sponsored the conference to invest in a fund that would be used to invest in tech and data acquisition.

Ope Olusaga, Managing Director, Law Pavillion Business Solution noted that the revolution of AI is upon us and they people are not taking note of that. An illustration was given of a scheme called “deep fake” where people will create fake identities or make a fake reality look real in live video conferencing platforms. This, he said, brings up concerns that with the use of video conferencing for court proceedings, witness statements and leading of evidence, there can be problems of “deep fake” where the supposed witness is not the actual witness and the evidence provided is not real. As such, AI will cause a lot of disruption in the legal space and there is the need for regulation for the use of any technology in general and AI in specific so that justice will not be evaded and it will be seen to be done.

The generations of lawyers in the legal industry need to be educated on the use of AI and there are levels to the use of AI. This is because of the large misconception on the use of AI, specifically ChatGPT. Thus, the need for education on the use of AI and technology generally cannot be overemphasized. AI will only take the jobs of Lawyers who refuse to adapt and make themselves familiar with it.