International Journal of Applied Management and Technology




Many law firms have done little to address the opportunities and threats presented by potentially disruptive technology (DT), such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore strategies that some law firm leaders use to address the potentially detrimental influences of DT on their organizations. The systems approach to management was employed as the conceptual framework. Data were collected from 6 participants at 2 international law firms with offices in California, using semi-structured interviews and organizational artifacts. Data were analyzed using inductive and deductive coding and thematic analysis, resulting in 4 themes: (1) recognizing the legal ecosystem and legal firms are open systems, but organizational subsystems often function as semi-closed systems; (2) acknowledging that while DT represents the most significant potential challenge in the near future, the immediate challenge is improving technology, which requires organizational adjustments; (3) recognizing the need for firms to invest more heavily in innovation generation activities; and (4) realizing the need for increased utilization of augmenting technologies, such as AI or ML, to streamline non-advisory outputs. The findings of this study suggest that, while DI may pose a moderate threat, there are also significant advantages to adopting DI as a formal aspect of organizational strategy. The results of this study may contribute to social change by outlining ways in which firms can lower costs to clients while increasing access to legal services for those in underserved communities.