It used to be that the worst things that could happen to a premium practice was for it to become commoditized. During the course of my nearly 20 years in legal marketing, I have seen in time and again.

Now the worst thing that can happen is disruptive technology. And when it happens, it happens overnight with the drop of a press release.

First came LegalZoom, now comes COIN.

Financial services attorneys (oh, hell, all attorneys) need to be shaking in their boots from this headline:


Bloomberg Headline


And what about these little doosies?

At JPMorgan Chase & Co., a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours.

The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation.

Or this one?

“We have invested heavily in technology and marketing — and we are seeing strong returns,” JPMorgan said in a presentation Tuesday ahead of its investor day, noting that technology spending in its consumer bank totaled about $1 billion over the past two years.

One-third of the company’s budget is for new initiatives, a figure Zames wants to take to 40 percent in a few years. He expects savings from automation and retiring old technology will let him plow even more money into new innovations.

And my favorite:

JPMorgan is scouring for more ways to deploy the technology, which learns by ingesting data to identify patterns and relationships. The bank plans to use it for other types of complex legal filings like credit-default swaps and custody agreements. Someday, the firm may use it to help interpret regulations and analyze corporate communications.

Emphasis added.

Hopefully you’ve read the article (here’s the link again), and rather than being dismissive are saying, “Holy shit!”

  • A few things we should all be asking ourselves:
  • What are your clients doing when in comes to AI? Or any kind of automation?
  • What is happening in their industry that will have significant impact?
  • What should your firm be doing to in the world of AI?
  • Are you exploring new technologies and ways of doing what used to be a skilled task, but now is commoditized, and will soon be automated?

It’s a brave new world and are you preparing, or is your head in the sand?