Exploring the impact of generative AI on the future of professions

How will generative AI and other emerging technologies shape the future of legal services, private equity, investment banking, accounting, and consulting?

Ralph Baxter

“Generative AI and other technologies are about to bring unprecedented change to professional service businesses. For those leaders who get it right, their firms will enjoy meaningful competitive advantage, and those who don’t will fall behind.”

Ralph Baxter, Former Chairman & CEO of Orrick, & Intapp Board Member

As a global provider of cloud solutions to some of the world’s biggest firms, Intapp understands the array of challenges facing professional service businesses right now. And despite the fact that their clients operate in very distinct sectors, they are, by and large, all knowledge-based or expertise-driven businesses. This creates some common areas of interest when it comes to questions about the future of work, developing professional talent, firm management and the impact of new technologies like generative AI.

The company’s leadership observed that although their clients possessed a number of shared challenges, there aren’t many opportunities for leaders from different professions to get together to explore how they might address them – so they decided to create a space to do just that.

In the summer of 2023, Intapp partnered with Treehouse Innovation to convene a diverse group of senior leaders from across legal services, private equity, investment banking, accounting, and consulting. The goal was to collaboratively explore how AI and emerging technologies would impact everything from client relationships, talent development and resource management, to how everyday work actually gets done.

Here’s what happened:

We had the privilege of co-designing this event with Intapp’s Scott Fitzgerald, Pat Archbold, and Maureen Farr. The research, content and participant experience were developed in close collaboration with Intapp Board Member Ralph Baxter (also named one of the “Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years” by The American Lawyer) and Richard Susskind, the world’s most cited author on the future of legal services.

During the event, the cross-discipline group of leaders explored a gallery of stakeholder “hopes and fears” research conducted by Treehouse, shared stories from their own experiences, and were inspired by external thought leaders. Alexia Cambon, a senior director on Microsoft’s Modern Work research team, helped the group explore the current possibilities of emerging AI technologies, as well as what lies ahead on the roadmap.

Richard Susskind ensured the ambition level for the day remained high – stretching the group’s thinking beyond AI’s potential to automate or accelerate the way work gets done today, to imagining a world where AI offers entirely new ways of achieving the fundamental outcomes that clients are seeking to achieve.

Richard Susskind

“The disconcerting message here for all professionals is that our clients don’t want us. They want the outcomes we bring. Lawyers are only the current best solution to solving legal problems.”

Richard Susskind, OBE

This input enabled the group to think beyond the current impact of technologies like ChatGPT and others, and begin to consider the profound implications of the coming changes in technology and their potential to fundamentally change existing business models and ways of working.

Facilitated by the Treehouse team, and supported by live graphic illustration to bring emerging concepts to life, the group then set out to create a long term vision and road map to 2033 for their industries, and to construct near-term plans of action to take back to their firms following the event.

This event marks a new phase in Intapp’s ongoing efforts to stay close to the evolving needs of their clients. By convening cross-discipline groups to actively explore and co-create the future, Intapp gains invaluable insight into not only what their clients need today, but what they will likely need tomorrow – enabling them to provide the most relevant products, services and support possible.

Intapp will continue to engage its clients in creative ways to more deeply understand their challenges and facilitate collaboration across sectors. They will be consolidating the outcomes from these interactions to generate actionable thought leadership to help all of their clients navigate the challenges and opportunities in a rapidly evolving future.

El Tong

“It was great to give people from quite different professions and organisations the opportunity to step outside of their bubbles and try to imagine an uncertain future together. We consistently heard throughout the day that combining the research with expert insights and then providing a framework for translating that into action helped people walk away with a new understanding of what the future might hold, and how they can start preparing for those coming changes today.”

El Tong, Lead Facilitator, Treehouse Innovation

Further reading on how AI will shape the future of professional service businesses:

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts
The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts

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