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Panelists agree that law firm strategic plans should be actionable and data-driven.

At the 22nd Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum, David Schaefer, Managing Director at Calibrate, participated in a panel to discuss the benefits of strategic planning and the implications of adopting AI in law firms.

Schaefer stated that strategic plans should be the actionable anchor point for firms, noting that when changes do occur in firms it is due to a lack of commitment to the plan.

“They’re often not anchored to their mission or values. …When things are disruptive, they can drift a little bit.”

He further noted that it should be understood that the strategic planning process should not have a beginning or endpoint, as it is a living document.

“It’s a little bit like trying to be healthy, you have to do it all the time.”

The panel went on to discuss how the emergence of new tech, such as Gen AI, could potentially impact the planning process. Schaefer acknowledged the potential for firms to adopt AI and drive internal change, but reminded the audience that AI itself is not inherently new to firms. He went on to note that there should always be consideration in the planning process that new tech can, and will, emerge and change the way firms operate.

“AI is not the last stop, it’s just the next stop. There will be something after AI that means everybody will be telling us the legal industry is going to end.”

Schaefer also noted that the most critical next step for firms is to familiarize themselves with the technology, especially when undergoing data cleansing. He asserted that many attorneys “go to pull data and find they have five different systems that don’t talk to each other,” often resulting in a costly job for the firm. Although there are many firms that would shy away from the task or question the effectiveness of AI, he counters by asking “If not now, when?”