How Small Law Firms Can Use Generative AI To Boost Business

calendar iconJune 5, 2024

Hundreds of law firms of all sizes are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) tools to boost productivity and gain new business, which may provide a competitive edge for smaller firms.

While artificial intelligence itself is not new to the legal field, lawyers are increasingly adopting the use of generative AI, a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content and ideas, including text, software code, images, synthetic data and more.

Forty-three percent of the Am Law 200, or the 200 largest firms in the country, have a dedicated budget to invest in generative AI tools in 2024, a LexisNexis survey found. In comparison, only 19% of Non-Am Law 200 firms set aside a budget for new automation technologies.

It’s true that larger firms typically have increased funds and resources to devote to new technologies like AI, but smaller firms also have a unique opportunity to utilize these machine-learning tools to streamline tasks and earn new business. Implementing generative AI can help small firms compete with higher-grossing firms on a more equal footing.

Seventy-seven percent of lawyers believe generative AI will increase their efficiency. This is particularly applicable if you’re working at a firm with less than 50 employees. Rather than using limited time and resources to hire new paralegals or junior associates, small firms can leverage generative AI to:

  • Handle administrative work
  • Automate processes, such as drafting generic letters
  • Perform data analysis and research
  • Improve the client experience

The Competitive Edge of Small Firms

Smaller firms have the opportunity to adopt innovation faster than their larger competitors. Though you may not have a big budget or access to certain resources, smaller firms have the ability to be more agile and efficiently embrace change across the firm. Cloud-ready AI tools may be more easily integrated into the tech stacks of smaller firms, in comparison with Big Law firms.

You don’t need to transform your attorneys into AI experts to implement these new tools. Identifying the firm’s pain points and challenges, and implementing a strategic planning process can help smaller firms ensure they don’t fall behind the AI boom. These tools are within reach for firms of all sizes and leveraging generative AI can significantly impact the efficiency and productivity of your firm.

Administrative Work

Generative AI can prove invaluable for attorneys bogged down with hours of non-billable work, such as data entry or executing marketing tactics. Generative AI tools can simplify time-consuming manual tasks such as proofreading forms, writing generic letters and communications, aiding in billing and reviewing documents.

Generative systems also have the power to analyze consumer behavior and trends to provide targeted marketing strategies. This allows smaller firms access to data and enhanced tactics that were previously only accessible to large firms with extensive budgets.

With less resources spent on menial tasks, firms can refocus these resources on gaining new business and better serving existing clients.

Automated Processes

You can build generative AI into numerous firm processes, from drafting to reviewing documents. Machine-learning drafting tools are capable of compiling and pulling preferred language from firm documents or external sources, which can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the finalized product. With less time spent on processes like reviewing and drafting, smaller firms can take on more cases and professionals can focus on more strategic endeavors.

Implementing AI into the document review process can also aid in ensuring your firm is compliant with evolving legal regulations. Generative AI can streamline processes in numerous ways, including:

  • Customized templates for various documents
  • Automatic citations
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Compliance review
  • Creation of documents, such as briefs and contracts
  • Redaction automation
  • Integration with existing workflows

Data Analysis and Research

Another way small firms can utilize AI to level the playing field is to take advantage of a newer generation of analysis and research tools. Certain machine learning algorithms have the capability to shift through large amounts of data to provide predictive outcomes and evaluate legal precedents.

Research and analysis is, of course, time consuming. Attorneys may have to wade through a vast amount of information and run into resource limitations. Once considered the purview of larger firms, AI-powered data analysis is now accessible for smaller firms through software-as-a service (SaaS) platforms at lower costs.

Generative AI can aid in the research and analysis process by providing:

  • Search and retrieval algorithms
  • Cross-references from various sources
  • Efficient data processing and extraction
  • Predictive analysis
  • Data security

Additionally, smaller firms can utilize automated data analysis to assess rates and gain a better understanding of how the practice operates financially.

Improved Client Experience

Generative AI has the potential to transform the customer experience and streamline how firms communicate with their clients. First-draft client correspondence can be written with AI tools and given a professional and courteous tone, which can enhance the client relationship.

Firms can also utilize AI-powered customer relationship management (CRM) systems and chatbots to provide quick replies to clients and reduce some routine client inquiries. These systems can handle manual tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering questions about billing and sending reminders. This not only improves the client experience but allows attorneys to focus on those tasks with a higher added value – analysis, advice and negotiation.


Small firms have a unique opportunity to leverage technology to save time and resources. While larger firms are aggressively pursuing new generative AI tools, smaller firms can take advantage of their agility and shift firm-wide change more quickly. Staff at small firms will need to remain open-minded and flexible when adopting and learning new tech tools, as well as implementing generative AI into existing workflows.

Let Us Guide You Forward

Law firms can use technology to add value for clients and improve how they provide services. Cherry Bekaert’s Digital Advisory practice is prepared to help you optimize your technology stack with advanced tools, strategies, frameworks and expertise. We are equipped to ensure your firm has a strong foundation and strategy in place. Reach out to learn more about how we can help your firm leverage technology to add client value.

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