Webber Wentzel embraces generative AI as part of its ongoing innovation journey

Johannesburg, 26 Jun 2023
Sally Hutton, Managing Partner.
Sally Hutton, Managing Partner.

Webber Wentzel, a leading South African law firm, is taking the lead on responsible artificial intelligence (AI) investment within the African legal landscape as part of its  continued commitment to deliver an exceptional client experience and foster an open, creative and entrepreneurial culture.

While Webber Wentzel has been engaged in AI innovation for some time, it recognises that generative AI is the next frontier and warrants a prioritised and purposeful response from the firm.

The firm has dedicated significant resources to explore, pilot and embed generative AI into its business, with a parallel focus on continuous learning and empowerment of employees. This commitment will allow the firm to remain at the forefront of AI applications in law, ensuring that their clients and employees benefit from the most advanced and effective legal technologies.

"We are excited about the transformative potential of generative AI and the efficiencies it can bring to our business. We are following a pioneering but responsible approach to AI innovation, carefully balancing the opportunities with the associated risks and challenges," said Sally Hutton, Managing Partner.

Webber Wentzel has adopted an investment framework that is tailored to its strategic priorities, the nuances of its business and the legal services sector, the potential risks presented by the technology and, in June 2023, adopted a formal generative AI policy.

The firm's generative AI policy has been carefully crafted to safeguard the interests of the firm's clients, addressing confidentiality, data security and intellectual property concerns, and ensuring that the firm's use of generative AI is always strictly within legal and ethical bounds.

Aalia Manie, Head of Webber Wentzel Fusion.
Aalia Manie, Head of Webber Wentzel Fusion.

"We are applying an investment mindset that is both forward-thinking and grounded in pragmatism and long-term sustainability. We recognise that generative AI is not a magic bullet. We are committed to choosing the right legal technology for each unique use case to scale our expertise and capability, with the aim of providing a top-tier experience that exceeds the expectations of both our clients and people," said Aalia Manie, Head of Legal Solutions & Technology.

Webber Wentzel's AI investment approach reinforces its position as an innovator in legal innovation in Africa, demonstrating a keen commitment to both technological advancement and legal and ethical responsibilities, and ensuring that the firm continues to shape and practise the future of law, today.