Law 2030 podcast with Jennifer Leonard, Jordan Furlong, and Cat Moon -- April 2020

 


 

Jennifer Leonard, Jordan Long, and Cat Moon
Part I — 4/10/20

Law 2030 Podcast: The future of legal services -- Part 1 of 2 -- Leonard, Furlong, & Long

This episode is the first of two episodes that discuss the future of the profession in the wake of the COVID19 crisis. Guests Jordan Furlong and Cat Moon discuss:

  • How COVID 19 exposes the access to justice crisis the profession has created
  • Why the crisis offers the opportunity to leverage technology in new ways
  • Why the structures and systems that have defined the profession have been so durable
  • Whether lawyers view the crisis as a blip or a transformation
  • How leaders can pivot toward innovation

From DSC:
At several points in the conversation, when Cat and Jordan were both referring to the importance of experimentation within the legal realm, I was reminded of this graphic that I did back in 2013:

I was reminded of it as well because Jennifer Leonard rightly (in my perspective), brought in higher education into the discussion at several points. There are some similarities — especially concerning power and privilege. Well, it’s now true in the legal realm as well (and probably has been true for a while…I’m just behind).

Experimentation. Experimentation. Experimentation. <– so key in the legal realm right now!

 

Other notes I took:

  • Triage: Need to deal with essentials to keep afloat. Yourself, staff, clients, cash flow. Put out the fire.
  • Reconstruction: In parallel, create “field hospitals.” Recession is going to have massive impacts on old systems. Need new systems. Start building institutions that work. Build as many of these as you can. Experiments.  House isn’t going to be inhabitable after the fire. Need a new shelter — maybe start w/ a tent, then a cabin, then a house. Build on something small.  Start building what’s going to replace the old systems.
  • Power and privilege imbalance is why people haven’t been able to change things.  “I can make you do something for me. You come here so I can dispense justice to you.” But not just judges…throughout the system.
  • Public legal awareness and legal education. In high schools, universities, colleges, churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.
  • Higher ed and legal services? Anything we can learn from each other?
  • Systems created by people who rule the systems. Power imbalance exists in higher ed, but hubris is completely indefensible within the legal realm. Need much better access to legal information and legal understanding.
  • OS on the Mac. Don’t have another OS for legal system to move to. We need to redesign our legal OS to serve more people.
  • Law is society’s OS.  Law is DOS-based…need Windows or Mac type of leap.
  • Self protectionism. Hubris. Power imbalance. Power hungry.
  • Yet many who enter legal profession come in wanting to make the world a better place. Why the move away from these ideals? Need more focus on developing professional identity. Structure, framework for how to be a lawyer. Students become more cynical as time goes by. Also, there’s “ladder pulling.” Pay your dues. Get hazed. I had to do it…now you have to do it. Bar Exam good example of this. Confirmation bias. It’s the way we’ve always done it.

Today, the following things ARE happening — so it CAN be done!  The people in charge just didn’ want to do these things.

  • lawyers working from home
  • e-filing of documents to courts
  • video hearings in court
  • faster, cheaper, more convenient

 


Jennifer Leonard, Jordan Long, and Cat Moon
Part II – 4/14/20

Law 2030 Podcast: The future of legal services -- Part 2 of 2 -- Leonard, Furlong, & Long

On this second part of a two-part series, Professor Cat Moon and Jordan Furlong discuss COVID 19’s impact on legal education and law firms. The conversation explores:

  • The “knock out effect” the crisis has on the various parts of the lawyer formation system
  • Who might take ownership of coordinating the new landscape of lawyer accreditation
  • The opportunities lifelong learning creates for law schools to be involved in the ongoing development of legal professionals
  • How human-centered design and project-based learning offer ways to integrate the three sides of the Delta model of lawyer competency
  • How small and solo law firms might be impacted by the crisis

Notes I took:

  • The knock-out effect.
  • How can we coordinate amongst the players in the system? Will be hard, because of the existing fiefdoms. Power and authority move back up the chain to those who did the delegating in the first place. If the power has been delegated to you, you are at a disadvantage. Jordan sees an assertion of authority from a central entity — legislatures most likely; possibly courts.
  • This moment offers us an opportunity to experiment and to redesign our systems. Can find new ways to fulfill missions.
  • Have no choice but to embrace the ambiguity of the moment.
  • Triage, then try to build something better than what we had before.
  • We have to build something different. “And look, the sky’s not falling!” Think big. Act boldly in these experiments. Expand what we think is possible.
  • The repercussions of the Coronavirus will be with us for much longer than many think it will
  • Legal principles/concepts/rules. Areas of practice. Professional formation (ethics, integrity, operational aspects, & more). Know the law, but also WHY we have the law and lawyers.
  • Can learn “black letter law” asynchronously and via videoconferencing.
  • Need to expand curriculum: Project/time management, customer service, financial and tech literacy
  • Delta Model — a framework for developing lawyer competencies; starts in law schools; what are the skills and competencies; the foundation is the practice of law; research, issue spotting, PM, data analysis, understanding business; understanding people; wholistic approach. A lifelong journey of growth. 
  • Law schools — 3 years, then done. Not a productive way to do things. We need to keep people on top of their game throughout a career. Is legal education a place or a system/process that you enter and re-enter again and again throughout one’s career? Wouldn’t it be great if I could access ___ modules along the way?
  • How are we going to create/design highly engaging online-based learning experiences? #1 on Cat’s priority list now. Got moved up the priority list.
  • There are pros and cons for both F2F and online-based learning. Humanizing impact when your professors are teaching from their homes.
  • Reframing legal education just as we are reframing courts as a service, not a place.
  • Blended approach can be very effective/powerful.
  • Need to collect data on what’s working and what’s not working.
  • Fundamental business model of corporate side is likely at the end of its course; law firms will need a new model for generating profit. For smaller firms, prospects are more dire as their clients are going through major negative changes. Potential unsustainability of many practices.
  • How can we provide different models that expand access to justice? That help develop happier and healthier lawyers?
  • Per legalproblemsolving.org, human-centered design is:
    • …a fluid framework for discovering problems, ideating solutions, and iterating to continuously improve solutions. HCD provides a methodology for considering both legal service delivery challenges, as well as clients’ legal problems. The HCD method also serves as a tool individual law students can use to craft a rewarding, successful legal career.

 

 

Pandemic II: Justice system down — from law21.ca by Jordan Furlong

Excerpt:

We need to recognize a couple of things about our justice system, in order to fully appreciate the fate that awaits it in the COVID-19 era and the tasks that now lie in front of us.

The first is that the system has nowhere near the capacity or resilience required to handle an emergency of this magnitude. Like our hospitals, which are about to be overrun with virus patients, our courts are perpetually underfundedtechnologically handicapped, and already overloaded.

Case backlogs are common, hearings are routinely adjourned, and even straightforward cases stretch out over months and years. There is an entire body of constitutional law that addresses how long you can delay a person’s trial before their rights are violated, and it should tell us something that we don’t even find that remarkable anymore.

What this crisis has revealed is the central operating assumption of our justice institutions, which has now become our stumbling block: Everybody comes to the courthouse.

Richard Susskind has made many insightful observations over the course of his career, but I suspect one will outlast all the others: “We have to decide if court is a place or a service.” For hundreds of years — right up until last month, in fact — court has been a place. By the time this pandemic has truly run its course, court will be a service.

 

The 2020 ABA Techshow

Also see:

EU Proposes Strict Regulations for AI — from futuretech360.com by John K. Waters

Excerpt:

The European Union this week unveiled its first proposed regulations for artificial intelligence (AI) technology, along with a strategy for handling personal digital data. The new regs provide guidance around such AI use cases as autonomous vehicles and biometric IDs.

Published online by the European Commission, the proposed regulations would apply to “high-risk” uses of AI in areas such as health care, transportation and criminal justice. The criteria to determine risk would include such considerations as whether a person might get hurt, say, by a self-driving car or a medical device, and how much influence a human has on an AI’s decision in areas like job recruiting and law enforcement.

 

 From DSC:
Here are two other example of AI’s further integration into the legal realm:

Casetext is Automating Litigation — from businesswire.com
Casetext’s new litigation automation technology, Compose, automates substantive legal work — and a substantial number of billable hours

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Casetext, the legal technology company known for its groundbreaking A.I. legal research platform, today announces a new product that will define litigation automation: Compose. Compose, which automates the first draft of a legal brief, is poised to disrupt the $437 billion1 legal services industry and fundamentally change our understanding of what types of professional work are uniquely human.


UC Irvine School of Law To Integrate Blue J Legal’s AI-Enabled Tax Platform into Curriculum
— from businesswire.com
First of its kind initiative aims to prepare graduate students for careers in tax law where AI will be integral to the decision-making process

The joint effort aims to demonstrate why advanced technological integration in higher education is important and how to leverage it, specifically in tax law.

 

 

Online tool will help ‘Spot’ legal issues that people face — from .pewtrusts.org
Artificial intelligence can boost non-lawyers’ ability to navigate civil court system

Excerpt:

People looking for information on legal questions often start their searches online, without a good handle on the terminology. Today’s machine learning tools can help put nonlegal phrasing into context, using artificial intelligence to match people’s situations with specific legal issues, supplying accurate information and connections to potential services.

A team at the Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Lab at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, is building an application programming interface, or API—known as Spot—that can serve as a computerized issue spotter. Spot could be used by legal services websites and others to help lay users, and its functionality will improve as it accumulates more data and real-life examples.

 

BIGLAW 2040: What will happen when Gen Z is in charge? — from law360.com by Natalie Rodriguez

Excerpts:

The opportunities that BigLaw has begun offering associates to spend months-long stints working out of international offices will evolve from rare resume brags to almost standard career milestones for those interested in leadership positions.

“If you don’t have global experience, you’re not becoming a CEO anymore, and that’s going to be true of becoming a managing partner. If you want to be a global business, you’re going to have to understand the world,” Wilkins said.

The legal leaders of 2040 will also have to expand their circle — think data technicians, cybersecurity professionals, chief knowledge officers, legal tech and artificial intelligence systems engineers, all of whom are going to play much larger roles in the BigLaw ecosystem in the next few decades.

Addendum on 2/11/20:

The Skills Every Future Lawyer Needs — from law360.com by Erin Coe

Excerpt:

To provide those outcomes and solutions, many lawyers of the future will be responsible for building the systems that replace the old ways of working.

They will become legal knowledge engineers, legal risk managers, legal systems analysts, legal design thinkers and legal technologists, and they will be the ones solving clients’ problems, not through one-on-one advice, but through technology-delivered solutions, according to Susskind.

The challenge for existing lawyers is whether they are prepared over the next 20 years to retrain themselves for these new roles.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the legal industry — from law.comby Christian A. Farmakis
Artificial intelligence (AI) is adding efficiencies and transforming businesses everywhere, and legal practices are no exception.

Excerpts:

How is AI technology disrupting the legal industry?
AI legal technology won’t replace lawyers, but these tools will drastically change the way lawyers provide services for their clients. While estimates vary, 23%t to 35% of a lawyer’s job could be automated. As a result, lawyers will need to be more strategic and supervisorial, able to act as project managers and supervise the information being fed into systems, and knowledgeable about the assumptions underlying the machine learning algorithms.

What will be the next wave of AI legal technology?
The next generation, which is starting to hit the market now, will be document automation and legal research and writing tools, as well as predictive technology tools. For example, a contract can be put through an algorithm in order to identify how risky it is. It could be used to determine how likely it is to go into litigation or if it complies with the company’s internal contract procedures and policies.

Another use is analytic tools that can measure efficiency and pricing of the legal services. E-billing and practice management tools could measure whether a service contract should cost $2,500, not the $7,500 that’s being charged. In other instances, AI could help firms do estimates for alternative fee arrangements.

 

How technology and law changes for career development — from lawtechnologytoday.org by Manan Ghadawala

Excerpt:

But things have been changing in technology and law over the years. Let us look at these developments in technology and law and also see how technology already [is] — and will — impact legal careers.

Joni Pirovich from Hall & Wilcox explained, “As technology trends are pervasive across all industries, it’s now incumbent upon law firms to ensure lawyers have a good starting language to interpret technology concepts and how they interact with legal principles.”

The increase in law firm technology did surprise some people. Forbes found out that there was a 713% jump in investments in technology for law firms in 2018—almost 1.63 billion USD—bolstered mostly by the arrival of eDiscovery, which is an electronic method for finding important information specific investigations or suits.

#Automation #MachineLearning #AI #BigData

 

 

Juris announces launch of AI powered software to help people solve their own legal problems — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

Legal technology company Juris has announced the launch of their service, DepositLetter, an online tool built to recover illegally withheld security deposits on behalf of renters. Customers complete a five-minute online interview and Juris does the rest automatically to show their former landlord that they know their rights under the law, to demand their money back, and even threaten to sue. DepositLetter is the first service built on the Juris Virtual Legal Assistant platform, a law-powered A.I. expert system made to help people solve their own legal problems.

Also see:

Millennial lawyers demand mobility. Are law firms ready to provide it? from law.com by Alex Babin
Like it or not, remote work is coming to the legal world. Even among law firms, the development of policies to accommodate work performed away from the office appears to be a notable trend.

Excerpt:

Like it or not, remote work is coming to the legal world. Even among law firms, where I am repeatedly reminded that the adoption of technology tends to lag behind other workplaces and industries, the development of policies to accommodate work performed away from the office appears to be a notable trend. In part, this is being driven by increasing numbers of millennials in the legal workforce. According to a 2019 Deloitte survey, nearly 75% of millennials think a “work-from-home” or “work remotely” policy is important. But the changing perspective is also very likely a function of a broader transition in the legal industry toward technology-enabled efficiency.

 

Some of the topics/items mentioned include:

  • Technologists join lawyers in creating the legal realm of the future.
  • Future lawyers will need to either have project managers on staff or be able to manage projects themselves.
  • Lifelong learning is now critically important. One doesn’t necessarily need to be able to code, but one needs to be constantly learning.
  • Need to understand legal principles but you will also need to have augmented skills (which will differ from person to person)
  • New business and delivery models. Don’t presuppose that the current model will always be around.
  • There will be fewer traditional roles/practices. Traditional roles are sunsetting; new skillsets are needed.
  • Students: Do your due diligence; read up on the industry and think about whether there’s a good fit. Learn your craft. Get experience. Be who you are. Bring your unique brand to the table.
 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Virtual access to legal assistance becoming mainstream is hopefully not far off!

From DSC:
Along these lines, we’ll likely see more bots and virtual legal assistants that we will be able to ask questions of.

#A2J #AccessToJustice #legal #lawyers #society #legaltech #bots #videoconferencing #AI #bots #VirtualAssistants

Along these lines, also see:

Innovative and inspired: How this US law school is improving access to justice — from studyinternational.com

Excerpt:

Though court and other government websites in the US provide legal information, knowing what to search for and understanding legal jargon can be difficult for lay people.

Spot, software that is being developed at the LIT Lab, aims to fix this.

“You know you have a housing problem. But very few people think about their housing problems in terms of something like constructive eviction,” explains David Colarusso, who heads the LIT Lab. “The idea is to have the tool be able to spot those issues based upon people’s own language.”

Developed by Colarusso and students, Spot uses a machine-based algorithm to understand legal queries posed by lay persons. With Spot, entering a question in plain English like “My apartment is so moldy I can’t stay there anymore. Is there anything I can do?” brings up search results that would direct users to the right legal issue. In this case, the query is highly likely to be related to a housing issue or, more specifically, to the legal term “constructive eviction.”

 

Lastly, here’s an excerpt from INSIGHT: What’s ‘Innovative’ in BigLaw? It’s More Than the Latest Tech Tools — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Ryan Steadman and Mark Brennan

Top Innovation Factors for Success

  • The first step is always to observe and listen.
  • True innovation is about rigorously defining a client problem and then addressing it through a combination of workflow process, technology, and people.
  • Leave aside the goal of wholesale transformation and focus instead on specific client use cases.

Before revving the engines in the innovation process, the safety check comes first. Successful innovation requires a deliberate, holistic approach that takes into consideration people, process, and technology. Firms and vendors that listen and learn before implementing significant change will stand apart from competitors—and help ensure long-term success.

 

The Future Ready Lawyer — from Wolters Kluwer

Excerpts:

Leveraging technology as a strategic advantage is characteristics of high-performing businesses and professionals around the world. The same is true for the legal sector. Technology is a differentiator, and will become even more important as legal professionals recognize and leverage the unprecedented insights, capabilities and efficiencies that technology delivers. In addition, the emerging legal ecosystems will demand it, as tech-empowered players outside of the traditional legal profession continue to enter and disrupt the market.

 

Excerpt from the Future Ready Lawyer

 

 

From DSC:
It’s interesting to note how many times the words “technology” (205 times) and/or the word “technologies” (77 times) appear in that report.

 

 

Big money is betting on legal industry transformation — from forbes.com by Mark Cohen

Excerpts:

Law has been big business for decades, but only recently has significant venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneur money been pumped into the legal sector. Last year saw an eye-popping 718% increase in legal industry investment, and this year’s capital infusion through the third-quarter has already surpassed last year’s $1 billion total and could well double it. Capital is turbocharging customer-centric providers that are leveraging technology, process, new skillsets, and data to transform the legal function and the delivery of legal services.


Teaser alert: what’s to prevent Amazon, Google, or some other tech giant from entering the legal space, creating a global platform, injecting billions into infrastructure and talent, creating a global legal services hub that connects consumers with global legal delivery sources as never before imagined? Short answer: the inclination to do so.

 

Legal delivery has morphed into a three-legged stool supported by legal, technological, and business expertise. 

 

Basic elements of an interactive legal application — from nonprofittechy.com by Quinten Steenhuis

Excerpt:

So, you want to create your first interactive legal application (sometimes also called guided interview or wizard). Congratulations! Whether you are creating the next TurboTax for drafting a will or a blockbuster access to justice app for pro se debtors, there are some standard elements of the application that it will help you to understand, whether you are a developer yourself or managing an outsourced project. This will be the first in a small series of blogs about getting started in interactive app building. As I’ve built these apps both for non-profits and law firms over the last few years, I realized it can help for everyone to share the same vocabulary. This guide applies to one kind of legal app–a linear wizard-like interview that helps a pro se user create a letter, fill out a form, or perhaps complete an intake.

For the most part, these concepts apply whether you are using DocassembleHotDocsA2J AuthorContract Express, or any of a number of different platforms. Of course, they also hold true for platforms built on Docassemble, such as Documate and Community.Lawyer.

 

 

Commentary: Momentum is building to fix our legal system. Let’s seize it. — from sltrib.com by Deno Himonas, Gillian Hadfield and John Lund

Excerpts:

We like to say we are all equal under the law. And in terms of our rights, that may be true, but it’s flat wrong when it comes to access to justice. Each year millions of Americans face a legal world of confusing online privacy policies and employment contracts, painful family or small business disputes, struggles with insurers and service providers, evictions and foreclosures, and more. What unites people, from poor to upper-middle class, is the fact that the vast majority muddle through all of this without any legal help.

Why in a world with so much law do so few have access to affordable legal help? The answer is very simple: lawyers cost too much and yet there’s no good alternative.

Finally, a few states are taking steps to change this.

How bad is the problem? A 2010 study in New York found that 98% of people in court facing eviction, 99% of borrowers in consumer credit matters, and 95% of parents in child support cases were in court without a lawyer.

Lawyers don’t cost too much because they’re greedy. They cost too much because a set of rules that courts and bar associations came up with about a hundred years ago—originally intended to ensure lawyers behaved ethically—forces them to operate in a highly inefficient business model and without the capacity to embed their expertise in technologies that could drive down the cost of legal advice.

 

 

 

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