Brand protection in the era of AI:Gear up or left behind

Artificial intelligence has stormed into the legal industry and started redefining the rules of the game. While the hype around AI often leads to unrealistic expectations, its potential to transform how we work is undeniable. For brand protection practices, AI brings both opportunities and challenges that call for a thoughtful yet proactive strategy.

For years, AI has been an interesting concept that seemed far from having real impact. Almost overnight, that has changed. My newsfeeds are flooded with articles on how AI will revolutionize everything we do. The question is no longer whether AI will shape the future of law practices but how and how fast. A recent report predicts that 44% of tasks in legal services could be automated by AI. Although speculative, that projection highlights the huge portion of legal work still done manually and the scale of transformation AI may drive.

Does that mean AI will wipe out millions of jobs for brand protection lawyers and redefine every aspect of our work? Not quite. But AI is banging on the board of legal services and moving all the pieces around. Whether that knocks you out of the game or propels you forward depends on how you respond.

First, start exploring AI now. The temptation to take a wait-and-see approach is strong, but sitting on the sidelines means falling behind. Generative AI for knowledge work is here to stay and will only become more advanced, powering new applications to speed up common legal tasks. Some can already help review documents and answer questions about them. As AI models and apps develop, they will handle more complex work. Legal teams without an AI strategy risk irrelevance within months.

Second, prepare to make tough calls. We have invested heavily in technologies, tools and skills that AI threatens to make obsolete or less important. For instance, will we still need complex document management systems if AI can extract and organize information for us? Abandoning well-established solutions and resources is difficult but avoiding that will lead to stagnation. The legal practices that thrive with AI will be ready to pivot.

Finally, recognize the opportunities. A radical shift like AI brings stark challenges but also possibilities to overcome obstacles that seemed immovable. AI may allow us to refocus on work that truly requires human judgment and expertise. If we are willing to reimagine how we operate and embrace AI as a tool to augment our capabilities, it can take brand protection practices to new frontiers of efficiency, insights and value.

The conversation on how generative AI will transform brand protection is just beginning. But one thing is clear: as AI powers forward, practices that gear up and make the most of its potential will pull ahead, while those left behind will struggle to catch up. The future is here. The time to act is now.