Professional Service Firms of the Future: Organizational Responses to Artificial Intelligence in the Legal and Audit Professions


Whilst AI-technologies are viewed as important for long-term competitiveness, exactly how professional service firms’ (PSFs) are responding to a new technological imperative is not yet fully understood. Following their initial analysis of AI adoption in legal services, Sako and Armour (2019) developed a typology of AI-enabled business models in PSFs. This will be used as a framework to explore firms’ responses to AI and how these are changing the archetypal PSF business model. Key issues of interest include:

  1. Impact of AI technologies on human resource practices: Assuming the more routine aspects of auditing and legal work are displaced, what does this mean for professional work and how is the role of the auditor or lawyer being transformed?
  2. Inter-organizational Collaborations (IoCs): Firms are forging new alliances but beyond their announcements in public, they remain a mystery. Insights into how they operate and suggestions to maximize their effectiveness will be of value to firms and wider stakeholders.
  3. Implications of, changes to, established modes of professionalism and claims to expertise. technological transformation will erode existing boundaries between professional work’ (Noordegraaf, 2013), disrupting historical claims to expertise deployed to legitimize professionalism. The pilot study will explore the implications of the impact of technological developments on the boundaries of professional work.