Efficiencies brought about by newly implemented technologies are reducing the volume of work required of junior lawyers, allowing more time for strategic work, which in turn is impacting the established workflow structure within firms, a new survey shows.

To support this, the ‘shift in the value chain and profile of lawyers’ was identified by 33% of respondents as being the most noticeable impact of increased digitalisation and automation in their organisation to date, followed by 25% of respondents selecting ‘employment decrease’ as the most prevalent impact.

The survey was completed by 264 Australian legal professionals across a range of organisation types, including in-house, mid law and government, and 83% of respondents had more than two years of legal experience.

As a sector with hierarchy and tradition ingrained into its fabric, the impact of change to organisational structures are likely to extend beyond human resourcing, and gives scope for graduates to rethink the career path that has been laid out ahead of them.

Simon Wilkins, Managing Director of LexisNexis Australia, said “The changing nature of work for junior lawyers is clearly a key driver of change within the legal industry, as 44% of the respondents identified the removal of grunt work as a key implication of technologies such as analytics and AI.

“Whilst this change has the potential to significantly impact service models, team structures, and career paths within law firms, there are organisation types within the legal sector in which adoption of technology is taking more time.

“As partners and clients adopt new ways of working and encounter new tech-driven problems, lawyers will need to integrate these new work processes and broaden their skill set to adequately advise clients. As such, it will soon be lawyers’ professional responsibility to be literate in these skills,” concluded Simon.

Following panel discussions throughout August across six Australian cities, LexisNexis is set to release its Legal Frontiers: From AI to Ethics roadshow report in late October.