Artificial intelligence and machine learning could have a significant impact on the work and structure of law firms, shifting their focus to a more strategic role and demanding a more interdisciplinary approach to legal practice, argues Professor Miguel Poiares Maduro.
AI will change the way legal argument is organised, with greater access to information and new ways to treat and analyse information.
“Good law firms will automate not only the treatment of data but also a lot of legal arguments. The strategic aspects of a case are where they will need to provide added value.”
Law firms will need to develop a culture where people from very different disciplines are brought together to “deliberate collectively” on issues that, by their nature, are likely to get increasingly complex. 
“AI systems may help overcome the problem of silo mentalities and may help to feed a culture of more integrated decision making. These systems overcome disciplinary boundaries. They are, by definition, multidisciplinary.”
Specialists will still be needed. But there will be a premium on lawyers that can promote collaboration and understand the connection between disparate legal issues and have a more strategic way of thinking.
For law firm leaders trying to imagine the future without bias is a challenge, however and, again it comes down to culture. 
“You need a culture that accepts out of the box ideas, but at the same time it is very important not to confuse the extremely original idea with a simply stupid one. Leaders are the ones who can make that distinction. That is the quality of leadership.”

 “AI systems may help overcome the
problem of silo mentalities and may 
help to feed a culture of more integrated

An interview with Professor Miguel Poiares Maduro 
VdA Chair in Digital Governance, Católica Global School of Law