Crisis Communications: Implementing generative AI: The culture shift – Part II

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Crisis Communications: Implementing generative AI: The culture shift – Part II

By Gina Rubel

In the first part of this artificial intelligence field guide for legal professionals we touched on the emerging role of generative AI in the legal profession, with a focus on governance and the capabilities firms need to properly enforce AI policies. We also emphasized the potential benefits AI could unlock for forward-thinking legal practices.

Here, we dig deeper by exploring the importance of organizational agility and the cultural shifts required for implementing GenAI tools effectively. We’ll discuss how to structure an environment that fosters innovation while remaining compliant, ethical, and operationally efficient.

The critical necessity of organizational agility

Agility within an organization is more than a buzzword; it’s a crucial strategic imperative in an era of rapid technological changes. Successfully integrating GenAI is not simply about effectively adopting new tools; it requires a fundamental change in how legal professionals approach their work ethic, decision-making processes, billing, and overall organizational culture.

Technological change within law firms and legal departments requires a profound shift in the very fabric of operations. Where traditional software development follows predictable timelines, AI initiatives are much more iterative, experimental, and sometimes uncertain. This shift requires the technical teams, leadership, and operational framework to change.

Implementation teams must understand how market data will inform the strategy and resource allocation before project commencement. This points toward the necessity of foresight and requires flexibility to pivot based on early testing and feedback.

New technologies often face resistance in law firms and legal departments. This dynamic underscores an essential aspect of organizational culture – it must allow for innovation, but the collective wisdom of the team ultimately steers the ship. An “early adopter” mindset must be married to robust checks and balances that encourage progress rather than stifle it.

It’s also imperative to embrace the idea of “failing fast,” which is perhaps the most challenging yet crucial message. For old-guard attorneys, failing was never an option. But with GenAI and its experimental nature, the stakes are different. The ability to experiment, learn, and pivot quickly is now a competitive advantage.

The cultural shift toward GenAI integration

Transitioning toward a GenAI-integrated culture is a multifaceted endeavor. It involves:

Redefining the role of legal professionals: As AI takes over routine and repetitive tasks, attorneys are elevated to being the orchestrators of the legal process, curators of data, and translators of technology into actionable insights for clients. These new roles necessitate a broader understanding of how GenAI can be harnessed to improve the quality and efficiency of legal services.

Nurturing continuous learning: GenAI is not a fixed technology; it constantly evolves with new data and innovations. Therefore, continuous learning is not a luxury – it’s a requisite. This involves creating structured learning pathways, engaging with innovative technology, and encouraging a culture of intellectual curiosity – not just focusing on the billable hour and origination credit.

Encouraging experimentation: A culture that tolerates and even encourages failures, as long as they are fast, leads to more innovation. It is about creating a safe space for creative thinking, risk-taking, and, most importantly, learning from failures when they occur. As Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” Almost 70 years after his death, this outlook is as accurate today as it was in his lifetime.

Balancing regulation with innovation: The legal profession and the many industries it serves are heavily regulated. However, the regulations should be crafted with the future in mind, capable of accommodating modern technologies without compromising ethics or confidentiality. The enforcement of these regulations should foster innovation, not stifle it.

Celebrating successes and learnings: Every milestone, big or small, should be celebrated with the same vigor as the lessons learned from a “failure.” This balance is critical to maintaining morale and keeping the team’s eyes on the future.

Implementing change

With these components of a cultural transition in mind, how do law practices go about implementing such significant change? Here’s a practical roadmap:

Step 1: Define clear objectives

Start with a vision of where your organization will be in the GenAI space. Set clear objectives that align with your firm’s overall strategy, and communicate them effectively. Client needs, market analysis, and available AI capabilities should guide these objectives.

Step 2: Understand and articulate the Why

Employees at all levels must understand why GenAI adoption is necessary for the firm’s future success. This “why” should be woven into the fabric of the firm’s purpose and strategy. We work in an evidence-based industry. Show them, don’t just tell them.

Step 3: Invest in training and development

Provide resources, both financial and temporal, for robust training programs. Ensure that legal professionals are equipped to engage meaningfully with new technology.

Step 4: Create cross-functional teams

This approach fosters diverse perspectives, accelerates learning, and ensures that GenAI implementation aligns with the operational realities of the organization.

Step 5: Foster a culture of collaboration

GenAI adoption involves breaking down traditional silos. Encourage interdepartmental collaboration to unlock the full potential of the technology and the team.

Step 6: Lead by example

Leadership must embody the principles of agility and experimentation. Leaders must be willing to lead from the front by engaging with new technologies.

Step 7: Adapt, communicate, and enforce policies

Policies and procedures must evolve to support the innovative culture you are striving to create. Regularly review and update them to reflect the latest best practices. Be sure to train everyone on those policies and have ways to enforce them.

Wrapping up

Integrating generative AI into a law practice is a complex and multi-layered process. It demands strategic vision, a flexible and adaptive organizational structure, and a cultural shift that embraces innovation while honoring the core principles and high ethical standards of the legal profession.

The transition to a GenAI-integrated culture is not just about the technology; it is about the people and processes that will ultimately make it successful. It is an opportunity to build a practice that is more flexible, innovative, and responsive to the needs of clients in a rapidly changing world.


Gina Rubel is the CEO and general counsel of Furia Rubel Communications. She educates professionals on devising and implementing strategic communications plans to manage their reputation, develop and attract top talent, and drive business success. She is the host of On Record PR. Gina can be reached on LinkedIn at in/ginafuriarubel/.

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