AI is a two edged sword for lawyers. Embrace AI in your business development to set yourself apart or possibly be the victim of the work AI can do to replace you.

An article this week by Claire Cain Miller and Courtney Cox in The New York Times sheds light on the transformative power of AI, particularly large language models like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

Historically, automation has affected predominantly blue-collar jobs. However, AI seems to be targeting more cognitive, creative, office-based professions, many of which require higher levels of education, including lawyers.

This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for lawyers. AI is already starting to assist in tasks like drafting documents, conducting legal research, and even predicting legal outcomes.

The reporters cited, in detail, the legal AI startup Harvey, funded by OpenAI, as an example.

“Senior partners use it for strategy, like coming up with 10 questions to ask in a deposition or summarizing how the firm has negotiated similar agreements.

“It’s not, ‘Here’s the advice I’d give a client,’” Winston Weinberg, a co-founder of Harvey, told the Times. “It’s, ‘How can I filter this information quickly so I can reach the advice level?’ You still need the decision maker.”

He says it’s especially helpful for paralegals or associates. They use it to learn — asking questions like: What is this type of contract for, and why was it written like this? — or to write first drafts, like summarizing a financial statement.

“Now all of a sudden they have an assistant,” [per Weinberg]. “People will be able to do work that’s at a higher level faster in their career.””

Not only should lawyers embrace AI in there legal work, but they should embrace AI on the business development side by establishing authority, demonstrating one’s value, and safeguarding yourself in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Lawyers can easily bolster their blogging efforts and by doing so, carve out a niche and establish themselves as a trusted thought leader.

Doing so you can avoid being a victim of the transformative power of AI.