Earlier this week, an article on the BBC's Business web page caught my eye : “Could AI take the grind out of accountancy?” For someone who enjoys words, less so numbers, it did make me begin to wonder just how powerful AI might be in the years ahead if accountancy is to become fun.

The following morning I had an answer. At 7am, my daily dose of The Lawyer's Horizon ("Our data rich and strategic daily insight, helping you map the way ahead", it confidently proclaims) hit my in-box. “AI, Freshfields and Richard Susskind” dangled the headline. 

For those unfamiliar with Professor Susskind, he is a highly regarded futurologist who, for many years, has excelled in putting the wind up the fusty, musty legal profession. And, in fairness, not without success.

The Third Edition of his work “Tomorrow's Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future” was published 12 months or so ago with this as its trailer: “For Richard Susskind, the future of legal service is neither Grisham nor Rumpole. Instead, he predicts a world of online courts, AI-based global legal businesses, liberalized markets, commoditization and alternative sourcing, disruptive start-ups, legal training in virtual reality, and a new range of law jobs.”

Now according to Professor Susskind, as the Horizon article reports, the power of Generative AI is multiplying like tribbles on the Starship Enterprise. So much so that by 2030 its performance will have improved 300,000 fold. Imagine that. Accountancy won't just be fun, it'll be a riot.

Only a fool of Feste's repute would deny that all this is going to have a seismic impact on who does what and how across the legal profession. But this is surely not a case of killing all the lawyers.

Instead it is an opportunity to allow lawyers to do more of what it is difficult to imagine, at least to my inexpert eye, AI will for many years yet be capable of doing - to work successfully with the infinite diversity of our clients, all of whom - let us assume - will remain human, to find creative solutions, to articulate the complex until understood, to counsel and guide, recognizing the myriad nature and nurture differences that might separate them whilst uncovering and achieving the common goals that unite them.