Two-thirds of commercial property lawyers embracing digitisation roadmaps yet multiple AI adoption concerns cited

A research study of senior commercial property law professionals, commissioned by SearchFlow – one of the UK’s largest providers of legal due diligence data for residential and commercial property transactions, found that while digitisation strategies are firmly on law firms’ agendas, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or automation software continues to be met with a number of perceived challenges.

The Commercial Real Estate Lawyers of the Future report confirms that a significant 95% of law firms said that the pandemic has accelerated their digitisation strategies and adoption of new technologies. Almost three quarters (71%) of senior real estate lawyers agreed that digitising aspects of the legal process would provide their firms with benefits, including a competitive advantage or market differentiation.

While 64% of law firms already have a digitisation roadmap already in place or in progress, when it comes to integrating AI or automation, some law firms are struggling to effectively scope what is needed, align budgets or manage change: 57% said that the fast-moving pace of technologies makes it difficult to scope what is required, while a further 43% believe it is too expensive.

40% of commercial property lawyers believe that change management is a potential obstacle, suggesting that training, changing mindsets and incorporating change in day-to-day processes are hurdles that need to be overcome.

Others expressed concern about risk management, with almost half (48%) believing that an increased use of software automation to handle due diligence processes, instead of person-to-person interaction, has the potential to increase their firm’s exposure to risk.

Dr Thomas Quirke, Managing Director of SearchFlow said,

“Our Commercial Real Estate Lawyers of the Future research confirms that the pandemic has highlighted the underlying value and business benefits delivered by technology in the commercial property transaction process, as well as highlighting gaps where digitisation could further enhance the way real estate is transacted.

“Looking into the future, while various barriers to AI adoption have been cited and represent the clear market challenge, there is a consensus that the use of more data driven processes and automation will play their part in enhancing the real estate transaction process. Some 60% agreed that greater digitisation will enable lawyers to evolve their roles or upskill, as fewer manual interventions will be required. By 2025, a majority agree that technology adoption will lead to faster completions, overall better decision-making and a reduction in administrative steps, meaning practitioners can focus on progressing deals, removing human error and managing risk.”

To download a copy of the Commercial Real Estate Lawyers of the Future report, visit


This article was submitted to be published by SearchFlow as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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