Legal teams in the age of AI

Find out more
Year after year, in-house lawyers continue to face an unprecedented combination of challenges.

International conflict, hyperinflation, the aftermath of a global pandemic; they’ve all been in the in-tray of legal teams over the past 12 months. But the advent of generative AI has swept through the operating models of forward-thinking companies globally faster than anything we’ve seen for generations. 

How are legal teams rising to the challenge? How are they advising their businesses about the risks and opportunities gen AI can bring? And how is 2024’s uniquely challenging environment affecting lawyers’ ability to collaborate, get contracts signed, take on strategic work, and safeguard their own mental health?

Who did we survey?

We surveyed 105 in-house lawyers, with titles including:

  • Chief Legal Officer (6%)
  • General Counsel (18%)
  • Head of Legal (24%)
  • Senior Legal Counsel (17%)

And a range of others including Deputy General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel, VP Legal, Legal Operations Manager, Legal Director, Legal Counsel, Privacy Counsel, Legal Manager and others.

Respondents were based in 25 countries including the UK, US and most of continental Europe.

Through dozens of questions we were able to paint the picture below - the State of In-house 2024: Legal in the age of AI.

The big picture: key takeaways

Lawyers are turning to generative AI to overcome constraints: 86% have used it, with 44% using it daily or weekly, receiving a massive time-saving benefit for doing so

Is the worst of the downturn over? 46% expect their legal team to grow; 50% for it to stay the same size, and only 4% expect it to shrink

Lawyers felt the squeeze: limited budget & resource is the #1 concern (identified by 58% of respondents), followed by being buried in low-value work (identified by 52%)

Technology alone is not enough: despite advances, half of in-house lawyers have experienced burnout in their roles. 

… but it helps: burnout experience is at 58% amongst lawyers with no CLM, and drops to 42% where CLM has been implemented.

Introduction: embracing technology in the legal sector

We are witnessing an era of rapid technological advancement and we in the legal sector are at a pivotal crossroads. Our ability as lawyers to adapt and innovate will define the future of legal practice.

This survey explores the significant themes of legal team dynamics, the adoption of generative AI, and the ongoing concerns surrounding privacy in the context of these emerging technologies, each reshaping our traditional understanding of what it means to practice law.

One of the most promising findings from the survey is the stabilization of legal team sizes. After a period of uncertainty and downsizing, half of the respondents expect their legal teams to maintain their current size, while nearly half anticipate growth.

This trend suggests that the worst of the recent pandemic and economic related challenges may be behind us, positioning legal departments for a combination of strategic expansion and resource optimisation.

The survey also highlights the rapid adoption of generative AI within the legal sector. An impressive 85% of in-house lawyers surveyed have already used generative AI tools, with close to 45% reporting weekly or daily usage.

This widespread adoption underscores the transformative potential of AI in streamlining tasks such as contract analysis, due diligence, and litigation support, enhancing efficiency, and enabling lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks. However, this adoption is not without its concerns.

Privacy emerges as a lingering issue in the context of generative AI. As these tools become more integrated into legal workflows, ensuring the protection of sensitive information and maintaining client confidentiality is paramount. Respondents express a keen awareness of the need for robust privacy safeguards in deploying these technologies. 

The legal sector’s growing reliance on technology is not just about keeping pace with digital transformation but also about staying ahead in a highly competitive environment

While privacy concerns remain a significant consideration, it’s clear that the legal sector’s adoption of AI continues to accelerate, driven by the pressing need to enhance efficiency and stay competitive in an increasingly digital landscape.

In both in-house legal departments and private practice, the adoption of AI is being driven by similar pressures. The legal sector’s growing reliance on technology is not just about keeping pace with digital transformation but also about staying ahead in a highly competitive environment. 

The increasing prevalence of AI tools specifically tailored for legal application is a testament to this shift. New AI solutions are continually being developed. These promise advanced capabilities ranging from predictive analytics in litigation to sophisticated contract analysis and compliance monitoring. 

These tools are fast becoming integral to modern legal practice, enabling lawyers to deliver faster and, hopefully, more accurate results while navigating the complexities of privacy and ethical considerations.

As you look into the findings of the 2024 State of In-house, consider the detail as areflection of our collective journey through a transformative era in legal practice. This survey not only captures the current state of affairs but also serves as a guide for navigating the opportunities and challenges ahead. It underscores our resilience, creativity and unwavering commitment to excellence in the face of technological evolution. 

The legal sector’s ability to adapt, innovate and address the complex issues surrounding generative AI will shape the future of our profession.

Let’s take a deep dive into the data to explore three key themes: AI, collaboration with the business, and work-life balance.

1. Legal in the age of AI


Last year, 45% of respondents definitively told us they won’t using generative AI in their legal teams.

Fast forward 12 months, and adoption looks like this:

Inside a year, legal teams not using generative AI have dropped from 45% to 14%. 44% use it daily or weekly.

It’s hard to remember a new technology being adopted so widely and quickly by legal teams. Since Goldman Sachs declared that legal was one of the top two industries most vulnerable to AI disruption, and that 44% of legal tasks might be automated with AI, the pace of change has been relentless. 

And it’s no surprise - gen AI excels at parsing large amounts of text-based information, of which there’s no shortage in legal.

So what are legal teams actually doing with generative AI? Unsurprisingly, the top use cases centre around contracts:

Drafting and reviewing contracts are dream use-cases for generative AI, alongside text-centric tasks like proofreading and summarizing.

Hit the button below to find out how you can draft, review and summarize contracts in moments with Juro's AI Assistant.

Want to save 90% of time on contracts?

Book a demo to find out how Juro is helping 6000+ companies to agree and manage contracts up to 10x faster than traditional tools.

Get a demo

But what’s even more encouraging is the innovative array of use cases that lawyers are finding beyond contracts. Our respondents are using gen AI for:

  • Visualizing data
  • Building legal chatbots
  • Creating learning and training content
  • Authoring legal FAQs
  • Answering repetitive questions
  • Filling in RFPs
  • Writing context-specific communications for the business

… plus dozens more.

Thriving in the age of AI

The prize on offer for early-adopter teams is clear. If budgets and resources remain constrained, but lawyers want access to the higher-value strategic work that gives them a seat at the leadership table, then finding ways to load repetitive work onto LLMs might be the way to get there.

As fractional GC Lucy Ashenhurst told the delegates at Scaleup GC 2024:

“We can offer so much more as strategic partners, problem solvers and project managers - if we can automate a lot of simple work, we can ask for the more interesting work and engage on the big topics that legal brains can be so powerful in solving.”

The pace of progress in generative AI is dizzying - ChatGPT’s fifth public model makes even its third look rudimentary. A year on from the ‘AI spring’, it seems likely that lawyers adopting AI to increase their productivity will pull ahead of those who don’t.

Bridging the AI trust gap

However, it’s clear that AI vendors as a whole still have a lot of work to do in order to convince discerning lawyers that their solutions are completely safe. We asked respondents how confident they were that generative AI products were watertight from a data privacy and protection point of view. Here are the findings:

40 per cent of lawyers sitting on the fence isn’t unusual, but fully 53 per cent lacking confidence in generative AI products’ privacy posture is concerning. Further digging into the reasons why some legal teams are hesitant to adopt AI bears this out, with lawyers citing reasons like:

  • “risk of hallucinations, uncertainty about privacy and confidentiality”
  • “confidentiality concerns”
  • “data privacy concerns”
  • “inaccuracy”
  • “security / leaking proprietary information”
  • “risks of sharing sensitive personal data”
  • “not willing to risk my job trusting an AI response to nuanced questions”
  • “misuse of data”

Lawyers are right to be cautious. After all, it’s their job to protect the company from risk. Legal teams should find a vendor they can rely on, with a transparent approach to trust and strong testimonials supporting their platform.

While governments and international bodies scramble to produce regulatory frameworks that can underpin the safe use of new technology, it’s more important than ever that lawyers feel comfortable with the safety of new platforms. 

At the same time, the greatest risk to many companies - particularly fast-growth tech companies - might be acting too cautiously:

One of the biggest risks for us as lawyers is actually a failure to innovate and compete due to being too risk-averse about AI
- Michael Haynes, General Counsel, Juro

AI companies are commanding huge valuations and attracting massive investment, with the megacap tech companies jostling for position to make sure they come out on top. It’s imperative that AI is leveraged safely - but it’s likely a business imperative that you leverage it in the first place, to avoid being out-competed by those who are.

The Juro take

In-house lawyers don’t need to do routine admin. That’s been clear for years, thanks to the automation of quick tasks like drafting NDAs.

In 2024, the opportunity of generative AI gives every business the power of an army of 100 top-class paralegals ready to help, if you just know how to ask.

Reducing the drafting of routine contracts to a couple of clicks is just the start. Thanks to gen AI, you can do the same with negotiating contracts; redlining them; drafting deviations when counterparties push back; monitoring renewals; discussing them with your exec peers; tracking obligations and risk; the list goes on. We believe the most powerful applications of AI will fit right into the workflows you already use.

Incredible companies can thrive with lean, or hyper-specialised, legal teams, if they know how to harness the people-technology partnership that can make legal work happen faster, and at the point of need.

That means contracts are handled and you can focus your efforts on powering your company through the recovery. M&A, commercial strategy, new products, new markets; that’s the work available to you - if you’re able to capitalise safely on generative AI for your legal team.

2. Collaborating better with the business


Legal and sales; sales and legal. Far from being the perennial ‘frenemies’, always at loggerheads, misaligned and misunderstood, sales and legal are in fact equally vital to any growing business. No revenue can be recognised until a contract is signed, so a successful partnership with commercial teams is non-negotiable.

Underscoring this fact, 87 per cent of our respondents work directly with sales teams. The survey reveals that the friction points between the two teams are clear:

How and when sales should involve legal in the commercial workflow seems to be the biggest pain point - 58% of respondents zero in on this process as the most difficult part of their relationship.

A lack of CLM makes things worse

If the business hasn’t implemented a CLM yet, lawyers are 1.5x more likely to feel this pain. Both of the top two friction points are significantly reduced, if a CLM has been implemented:

This makes sense - modern contract automation platforms like Juro allow you to design the right workflow for your business, with approval workflows, fallback positions for negotiation, and signatories clearly defined.

Without this process in place, the issue of when and how to consult the legal team becomes less predictable. The relative maturity of the sales technology stack, in comparison to the legal equivalent, throws this into sharp relief. There are clearly dominant platforms for sales teams, with Salesforce and HubSpot owning large chunks of the CRM market:

… while CLM has yet to achieve more than 50 per cent adoption, even amongst tech-forward legal teams at fast-growth scaleups:

Similarly, while creating and managing deals is a well-worn process for most growing companies, a legal process as routine as requesting a contract is handled by a mixture of email, messaging platforms and a range of other workarounds:

Keep it simple

Focusing on a contract process that’s simple, easy to use, fast to implement and achieves widespread adoption is a great starting point for many businesses (which is why so many modern businesses choose the CLM with the highest adoption rate in the category).

But prior to that, good contract process starts with good contracts. Achieving a set of terms that makes it easy for both parties to agree sounds like a no-brainer, but too many companies still approach contract negotiation as an adversarial process. In fact, the one overriding thing that both parties have in common is that they are committed to working together.


Simple, generous, collaborative contract templates can go a long way. To augment them with technology and enable better collaboration with commercial teams, look for a contract platform with:

Market standards for CLM implementation are WAY too slow

Juro’s average implementation time in 2024 is 29 days - something in which we take great pride (and perhaps explaining why we have the highest adoption in CLM, according to G2). But a huge 92% of CLM implementations take longer:

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that legal teams can feel frustrated when trying to improve cross-functional processes to collaborate with other teams. 

Sales teams quite rightly don’t want to have to risk even one month-end or quarter-end being distracted by a new software implementation. Technology vendors owe it to their customers to get them to value as quickly as possible, so teams can start to realise ROI and collaborate better with their colleagues in days - not months.

Read more about Implementing Juro.

Riding in the company’s leading car

In general, we found our respondents to be hugely positive about their commercial colleagues. Below, lawyers share some of their favourite things about working with sales. It’s a winning partnership that can have a huge impact on the company’s growth.

  • "They are driven and creative, and it brings a different energy"
  • "It’s great to be in the company's leading car"
  • "They are dynamic and they are willing to take risks"
  • "They value the legal team's guidance and input"
  • "They’re at the cutting edge and knowing what's going on commercially"
  • "We love celebrating hard-earned victories together"
  • "I love the thrill of the close"

Find out how Placemakr's legal and sales teams collaborate on contracts effortlessly in this case study.

The Juro take

We’ve advocated for years that in-house lawyers shouldn’t be sinking time into drafting routine contracts. It’s one of a number of legal tasks that commercial colleagues can handle themselves, thanks to intuitive templating solutions that can provide watertight drafts.

Handling routine drafting in this way avoids legal being a bottleneck to the creation of new contracts, which makes legal-sales collaboration easier and faster.

In 2024, what’s exciting is that this universe of self-serve tasks can extend beyond simple drafting. Sales teams can self-serve on negotiation with AI playbooks. They can self-serve on fallback clauses with conditional logic and dynamic templates. They can self-serve on obligation management thanks to automated reminders, custom table views and AI-powered search.

If these tasks are democratised across teams, it creates space for both teams to focus on the value-add lawyers can bring beyond routine contract tasks. Handling complex negotiations, helping with commercial strategy, diving into privacy issues - lawyers can help commercial teams in so many ways. With the right people-technology partnership, we can unlock new levels of productivity to help both teams thrive.

3. Work-life balance and burnout

Traditionally, one of the reasons lawyers moved from private practice to an in-house role was to access a better work-life balance. Without billable hour targets and the intensely hierarchical structure of a law firm, lawyers moving through their careers could access a more sustainable way of working.

Our survey found this to be the case for the majority of respondents who’d previously worked in private practice:

However, despite a reduction in hours, fully half of in-house lawyers are still experiencing burnout in their roles:

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress, for example, working a stressful job.

Common signs of burnout:

  • Feeling tired or drained most of the time
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated
  • Feeling detached/alone in the world
  • Having a cynical/negative outlook
  • Self-doubt
  • Procrastinating and taking longer to get things done
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Source: Mental Health UK

Why are lawyers susceptible to burnout?

Cultural issues within the legal profession, such as the hours worked and the corporate culture, are often blamed for lawyers’ susceptibility to wellbeing concerns like the risk of burnout. 

But for me, as a former lawyer and now therapist to lawyers, it’s the perfect storm of these cultural factors, together with lawyers’ innate qualities, that make burnout risk so high. 

People attracted to a career in the law often have certain characteristics, such as:

  • Being incredibly driven
  • Having insecurities
  • Looking externally to evaluate self-worth

These characteristics, combined with the cultural environment, can make it difficult for lawyers to have genuine professional boundaries, creating conditions in which burnout becomes a serious risk.

How can lawyers safeguard their mental health?

As a therapist specialising in the legal profession, here are three top tips to prevent and manage burnout:

  1. Look inwards

Rather than looking outward at challenges in their life or job, looking inward to understand yourself, your characteristics and your triggers can be a much more useful starting point.

  1. Don’t assume you can ‘think’ your way out of it

A common fallacy in therapy is that if you change the way you think, it’ll improve your behaviour. In fact it’s often the other way around - we have to behave our way into better thinking. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but get easier and easier as time goes on.

  1. Bank the marginal gains

Lawyers can be demoralised if the boundaries and improvements that they hear about seem unrealistic to achieve. Instead, pick off the marginal gains where you can - do I need to say yes to this? Can I squeeze in some free time on Friday? These small wins can give you confidence, rather than the all-or-nothing ‘New Year’s Resolution’ approach, which often fails in practice.

Despite challenges, in-house lawyers are happy and engaged

Against the backdrop of a challenging business environment, huge technological disruption and the risk of stress and burnout, in-house lawyers are largely happy in their roles. 56% of respondents want to stay in their current role.

Respondents also shared dozens of reasons why in-house legal is still the role for them. Flexibility, proximity to key business decisions, learning more about different functions, being heard and valued at the very top level, and of course the community are all key factors.

Conclusion & key takeaways

The relentlessness of challenges for in-house legal teams shows no signs of slowing down. The COVID pandemic might be behind us, but whether it’s banks collapsing, inflating spiralling or international conflict spiralling out of control, in-house lawyers will continue to face a dizzying array of challenges that can strain their mental health.

Annmarie Carvalho’s tips to avoid burnout can help any lawyer to keep a handle on their wellbeing. And earlier in this report, we’ve seen how forward-thinking teams can use the latest generative AI to ease their administrative burden, and handle their ever-increasing workload, without adding headcount. 

Generative AI’s almost unique suitability for significant portions of legal work create an exciting opportunity. Instead of needing to be reachable at all hours, sole counsel or lean legal teams can use AI (in the form of contract playbooks, or legal chatbots, for example) to create self-serve knowledge bases.

Lawyers’ role in these instances is simply to engineer knowledge at arms’ length, allowing commercial colleagues to self-serve as and when they need to. Embracing this future allows lawyers to reduce the pressure on their inboxes, as well as their work-life balance.

The AI gold rush will turn out to be fool’s gold if the net result is that lawyers continue to work harder and harder. At Juro, we advocate for a future where lawyers’ emotional intelligence (EQ) is just as important as their legal advice (IQ) - and it can’t be easily automated.

Join a community of 1000+ of your in-house legal peers for private events, content and peer-to-peer learning at

Join in-house legal's growth community

Join our private community of 1000+ in-house lawyers at scaling companies for exclusive events, perks and content.

Your privacy at a glance

Hello. We are Juro Online Limited (known by humans as Juro). Here's a summary of how we protect your data and respect your privacy.

Read the full policy
(no legalese, we promise)