The legal profession has long been associated with tradition and resistance to change, with its classical court practices and reliance on extensive legal publications. While the integration of Information Technology (IT) has undoubtedly improved the quality and efficiency of legal services, it has not catalyzed significant reform within the legal profession. However, with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a paradigm shift in the world of law firms and beyond is now within reach.
In this evolving landscape, another significant facet of change in the domain of commercial law has emerged: the rise of sustainable finance. The adaptation of legal and economic-technical solutions to socially and environmentally responsible standards is gaining increasing regulatory significance and commercial appeal. Referred to as sustainable finance or investing, this approach incorporates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data into investment management, expanding the range of financing options while ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals (Berg, Fabisik, and Sautner 2020). Evaluating the sustainability of investments must be comprehensive, transcending limitations and biases concerning the means and tools employed to achieve these goals.
The convergence of technology and sustainable practices highlights the necessity of reshaping existing business models in response to dynamic, digital environments. It is imperative for companies to use resources, particularly technology, responsibly and efficiently, to not only improve the present but also secure the future for generations to come, while fostering a stronger relationship with the environment (Musleh Al-Sartawi, 2022).
It is believed that the fusion of these innovations could ignite revolutionary changes in the delivery of legal services, benefiting the economy, society, and the environment. Recent technological advancements have introduced the concept of neural networks that mimic human behavior, particularly in cognitive processing, problem-solving, and computational intelligence. AI applications now assist lawyers in tasks such as due diligence procedures, automated preparation of legal documents based on simple variables, and predictions of legal case outcomes using advanced research and statistical analysis tools.
The benefits of implementing such applications in a law firm include rapid analysis of similar cases, enhanced legal research findings, improved issue matching, and the suggestion of more effective and potentially more profitable solutions. Nonetheless, the transformation is not instantaneous and is expected to encounter resistance, as witnessed in historical instances such as the Industrial Revolution’s impact on labor relations during the 19th century and the resistance to the introduction of IT in the Soviet economy during the 1970s.
However, the aim of innovation is not to replace human work entirely but to free lawyers from standardized procedures and minimize errors, enabling them to focus on generating substantive legal thinking. AI can be an ally to legal professionals, aiding the utilization of sustainable financing options by providing suggestions and facilitating training on available options. Furthermore, the integration of legal analysis with the parameterization required by the ESG framework can be accelerated through the systematization of legal advice, supported by the computing power that technology offers.
Embracing solutions aligned with sustainability and eco-friendly policies can give legal firms an edge, enhancing their reputation and leading to greater opportunities for adopting ESG policies in their internal processes. AI’s potential to combine algorithms, predictive models, and data analysis to support sustainable finance appears promising. With an increasing number of investors considering sustainable standards in their decision-making, the demand for comprehensive financial reporting emphasizing these standards is also on the rise. Consequently, non-compliance with sustainability policies may lead to heightened transaction costs, penalties, and damages, affecting legal relationships and business environments.
AI holds the potential to address pressing issues such as climate change and environmental degradation, facilitating and promoting ESG while reducing business and investment risks. Its acceptance within the legal world and adoption by law firms, however, remain crucial to its establishment in transactions and its integration into business practices. The legal profession stands on the brink of a transformative era, where embracing AI and sustainable finance can pave the way for a more progressive and responsible future.