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.

 

 

 

From DSC:
The two postings below show the need for more collaboration and the use of teams:


 

The future of law and computational technologies: Two sides of the same coin — from legaltechlever.com by Daniel Linna Jr.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

An increasing number of lawyers today work with allied professionals to improve processes, better manage projects, embrace data-driven methods, and leverage technology to improve legal services and systems. Legal-services and lawyer regulations are evolving. And basic technologies and AI are slowly making their way into the legal industry, from legal aid organizations and courts to large law firms, corporate legal departments, and governments.

If we are to realize the potential to improve society with computational technologies, law, regulation, and ethical principles must be front and center at every stage, from problem definition, design, data collection, and data cleaning to training, deployment, and monitoring and maintenance of products and systems. To achieve this, technologists and lawyers must collaborate and share a common vocabulary. Lawyers must learn about technology, and technologists must learn about law. Multidisciplinary teams with a shared commitment to law, regulation, and ethics can proactively address today’s AI challenges, and advance our collaborative problem-solving capabilities to address tomorrow’s increasingly complex problems. Lawyers and technologists must work together to create a better future for everyone.

 

From DSC:
As with higher education in general, we need more team-based efforts in the legal realm as well as more TrimTab Groups.

 

 

Excerpts:

Why does this distinction matter? Because law—like so many industries—is undergoing a tectonic shift. It is morphing from a lawyer dominated, practice-centric, labor-intensive guild to a tech-enabled, process and data-driven, multi-disciplinary global industry. The career paths, skills, and expectations of lawyers are changing. So too are how, when, and on what financial terms they are engaged; with whom and from what delivery models they work; their performance metrics, and the resources—human and machine—they collaborate with.  Legal practice is shrinking and the business of delivering legal services is expanding rapidly.

Law is no longer the exclusive province of lawyers. Legal knowledge is not the sole element of legal delivery—business and technological competencies are equally important. It’s a new ballgame—one that most lawyers are unprepared for.

How did we get here and are legal careers  for most a dead end? Spoiler alert: there’s tremendous opportunity in the legal industry. The caveat: all lawyers must have basic business and technological competency whether they pursue practice careers or leverage their legal knowledge as a skill in legal delivery and/or allied professional careers.

Upskilling the legal profession is already a key issue, a requisite for career success. Lawyers must learn new skills like project management, data analytics, deployment of technology, and process design to leverage their legal knowledge. Simply knowing the law will not cut it anymore.

 

From DSC:
I really appreciate the work of the above two men whose articles I’m highlighting here. I continue to learn a lot from them and am grateful for their work.

That said, just like it’s a lot to expect a faculty member (in higher ed) who teaches online to not only be a subject matter expert, but also to be skilled in teaching, web design, graphic design, navigation design, information design, audio design, video editing, etc…it’s a lot to expect for a lawyer to be a skilled lawyer, business person, and technician. I realize that Mark was only saying a basic level of competency…but even that can be difficult to achieve at times. Why? Because people have different skillsets, passions, and interests. One might be a good lawyer, but not a solid technician…or vice versa. One might be a solid professor, but isn’t very good with graphic design. 

 

A momentous change in the legal industry garnering little attention — from forbes.com by Hendrik Pretorius

Excerpt:

The needed evolution in legal service delivery may receive a big push in the near future. Surprisingly, this issue seems to be flying under the radar for many in the legal industry.

The California Bar, through its Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services, created in 2018, seeks to “identify possible regulatory changes to enhance the delivery of, and access to, legal services through the use of technology, including artificial intelligence and online legal service delivery models.”

A report commissioned by this task force stated that “[m]odifying the ethics rules to facilitate greater collaboration across law and other disciplines will (1) drive down costs; (2) improve access; (3) increase predictability and transparency of legal services; (4) aid the growth of new businesses; and (5) elevate the reputation of the legal profession.”

 

Herein lies one of the fundamental challenges within the legal industry: viewing the law as the delivery of a legal product, and understanding that this delivery needs to revolve around the user, not the lawyer. There is a real and growing divide between the current model of legal service delivery put forth by a traditional law firm model and what the public wants. Consumers have raised the bar based on what they are experiencing in interacting with other businesses in other industries.

I love what many of these legal tech companies are doing: They are applying standards from outside the entrenched legal industry and changing entire delivery models. This should be a real wake-up call. But how can law firms truly compete and play a role?

 

Reflections on “DIY Mindset Reshaping Education” [Schaffhauser]

DIY Mindset Reshaping Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

A do-it-yourself mindset is changing the face of education worldwide, according to new survey results. Learners are “patching together” their education from a “menu of options,” including self-teaching, short courses and bootcamps, and they believe that self-service instruction will become even more prevalent for lifelong learning. In the United Sates specifically, 84 percent of people said learning would become even more self-service the older they get.

Among those who have needed to reskill in the last two years to continue doing their jobs, 42 percent found information online and taught themselves and 41 percent took a course or training offered by their employers, a professional association or bootcamp, compared to just 28 percent who pursued a professional certification program, 25 percent who enrolled in a university-level degree program or 12 percent who did nothing.

If people had to learn something new for their career quickly, they said they would be more likely turn to a short training program (47 percent), followed by access to a free resource such as YouTube, Lynda.com or Khan Academy (33 percent). A smaller share (20 percent) would head to an accredited university or college.

 

From DSC:
This is why the prediction from Thomas Frey carries weight and why I’ve been tracking a new learning platform for the 21st century. Given:

  • The exponential pace of technological change occurring in many societies throughout the globe

  • That emerging technologies are game-changers in many industries
  • That people will need to learn about those emerging technologies and how to leverage/use them <– if they want to remain marketable/employed
  • That people need to reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively
  • That many people can’t afford the time nor the funding necessary these days to acquire a four-year higher ed degree
  • That running new courses, programs, etc. through committees, faculty senates, etc. takes a great deal of time…and time is something we no longer have (given this new pace of change)

…there needs to be a new, up-to-date, highly responsive, inexpensive learning-related platform for the 21st century. I call this learning platform of the future, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” And while it requires subject matter experts / humans in significant ways, AI and other technologies will be embedded throughout such a platform.

 



 

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

source

 

Addendum on 9/18/19:

For $400 per course, students will be able to gain access to course videos that are cinematically filmed and taught by “some of the brightest minds in academia.” Outlier.org students will also have access to problem sets, one-on-one tutoring and assessments proctored through artificial intelligence.

 

 

Justice for Some — from theatlantic.com and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Excerpts:

Today in the United States, millions of people like Carol lack access to basic legal resources for a variety of reasons. They forgo legal action because they find the system too overwhelming, for example, or because they perceive it to be too expensive. Many simply do not know when they qualify for legal services in the first place. And it isn’t an issue that affects only the elderly. Middle-class Americans, recent college graduates, first-generation immigrants, and new parents can all experience barriers to accessing the legal resources they need.

This issue affects lawyers, too.

DEFENDANTS FACING JAIL TIME in criminal cases have a constitutional right to be provided an attorney, but many people are surprised to learn there is no equivalent guarantee for individuals in civil cases. Typically, defendants in such cases—including divorces, domestic violence orders, home foreclosures, evictions, wills, and immigration applications—are responsible for attaining their own legal representation. And therein lies the gap.

By one estimate from the Legal Services Corporation1, 86 percent of low-income people with civil legal problems received inadequate or no legal help in the past year. Between 2015 and 2018, roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of domestic relations cases in Philadelphia involved at least one self-represented party. In 2016, 75 percent of low-income rural households experienced a civil legal problem, but only 22 percent sought professional legal help. And in 2017, 90 percent of evicted tenants in New York City never made an appearance in court.

 

“Search results have a huge influence on what people trust,” Hagan says. “If Google tells someone that an answer to their legal question is the number-one hit, people assume that it’s correct, unaware that it may be based on laws in another state. We have seen people click on Australian legal advice even if they’re in California.”

 

“We know the most successful technological solutions to the access-to-justice gap involve collaboration with lawyers, with technologists, with entrepreneurs and, hopefully to an increasing extent, with consumers,” Rodriguez says. “The object of what we’re doing is to improve the ability of lawyers to provide representation, not to supplant their businesses.”

 

The Age of AI: How Will In-house Law Departments Run in 10 Years? — from accdocket.com by Elizabeth Colombo

Excerpt:

2029 may feel far away right now, but all of this makes me wonder what in-house law might look like in 10 years. What will in-house law be like in an age of artificial intelligence (AI)? This article will look at how in-house law may be different in 10 years, focusing largely on anticipated changes to contract review and negotiation, and the workplace.

 

Also see:
A Primer on Using Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession — from jolt.law.harvard.edu by Lauri Donahue (2018)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How Are Lawyers Using AI?
Lawyers are already using AI to do things like reviewing documents during litigation and due diligence, analyzing contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, performing legal research, and predicting case outcomes.


Document Review

Analyzing Contracts

Legal Research

Predicting Results
Lawyers are often called upon to predict the future: If I bring this case, how likely is it that I’ll win — and how much will it cost me? Should I settle this case (or take a plea), or take my chances at trial? More experienced lawyers are often better at making accurate predictions, because they have more years of data to work with.

However, no lawyer has complete knowledge of all the relevant data.

Because AI can access more of the relevant data, it can be better than lawyers at predicting the outcomes of legal disputes and proceedings, and thus helping clients make decisions. For example, a London law firm used data on the outcomes of 600 cases over 12 months to create a model for the viability of personal injury cases. Indeed, trained on 200 years of Supreme Court records, an AI is already better than many human experts at predicting SCOTUS decisions.

 

After 40 Years of Constant Change, What’s Next for the Legal Industry?  — from law.com by Dan Packel
Few could have anticipated the dramatic shift in scope and scale the industry has undergone since The American Lawyer’s founding 40 years ago. We asked some of the law’s brightest thinkers what we can expect over the next 10.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology and Upheaval
While it’s easy to conclude that the technological revolution that’s already been unleashed will continue to drive transformation over the next 10 years, it’s harder to pinpoint how.

Expect more and more tasks to become subject to automation—not just contracts and e-discovery but also areas like trademarks and due diligence for mergers, for starters.

Technology and artificial intelligence on their own are noteworthy, but what’s more compelling is the impact they will have on how firms are structured.

“Everything that can be taken out of the hands of subject-matter experts and handed over to the process experts and technologists will be,” says Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Chairman and CEO Mitch Zuklie. “There will be far fewer associates sitting in rooms with documents and more strategic partnerships among law firms and legal tech providers.”

This transition could help chip away at the supremacy of the billable hour.

Not only will technology move up the value chain for litigation, it will also emerge as a greater player on the deal side. Jae Um, director of pricing strategy at Baker McKenzie, expects to see a much greater focus on compliance and regulatory technology in the next five years.

As AI solutions, which depend upon machine learning, are slowly deployed in the marketplace, their efficacy will inevitably grow.

 

How about a little wild speculation to wrap this up?  With more nonlawyer specialists finding professional homes in law firms, it’s a short leap to hybrids between law firms and professional services operations. Imagine consultants and accountants working together with lawyers and technologists to solve clients’ increasingly complex problems. And what about a high-profile merger between a Big Four firm and a global law firm? I wouldn’t rule it out.

 

 

Western Michigan’s Law School Cuts Tuition — from insidehighered.com by Paul Fain

Excerpt:

While several highly selective law schools for the first time are charging more than $100,000 per year in total cost of attendance, Western Michigan University‘s Cooley Law School this week announcedthat it was reducing tuition rates beginning next year from $1,750 per credit hour to $1,375, a decline of 21 percent.

 

Cooley Law School to lower tuition by 21%, close Auburn Hills campus — from mlive.com by Julie Mack

Excerpt:

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School plans to cut its tuition by 21% in fall 2020, close its campus in Auburn Hills in December 2020 and “reduce the footprint” of its Lansing campus.

No staff reductions are planned, a press release said.

The school’s Board of Directors approved the “bold plan” this week to “sustain and strengthen the law school’s access mission” and “current and future campus efficiencies,” the press release said.

 

Disclosure from DSC:
The WMU-Cooley Law School is where I’ve worked since March 2018. I’m very happy to see this reduction in tuition! I’d like to see this type of price reduction occur throughout higher education.

I have learned a lot in my time at Cooley, and I have a lot more to learn. But I just wanted to say that I’m so impressed with the people who work at Cooley! They are a very welcoming, classy, caring, extremely knowledgeable, talented, mission-driven group of people. They have developed an organization that works to positively change the world and provide greater access to justice.

 

Why GCs Aren’t Buying What Legal Tech Is Selling and Why It Matters for Firms — from law.com by Zach Warren and Gina Passarella Cipriani
Legal technology companies have to get out of their own way in vying for law department adoption, and buyers need to know what they want.

Excerpt:

The legal technology industry has some significant hurdles to overcome in its increased push to sell into legal departments, general counsel say. And GCs admit that they are part of the problem.

On the one hand, technology companies aren’t doing themselves any favors by flooding the market with, at times, dozens of the same offerings, few of which solve specific problems the in-house community has, GCs say. But at the same time, general counsel admit to being distracted, budget-constrained and often unfamiliar with the capabilities of the products they are being pitched.

“It’s overwhelming,” says HUB International chief legal officer John Albright. “There are hundreds of these vendors, and most of them you’ve never heard of.”

As Albright sees it, the legal technology industry is “heavily fragmented,” with vendors selling solutions to a discrete issue that doesn’t necessarily solve the full problem he has or fit into the larger organization’s information systems.

 

Also see:

  • Artificial Intelligence Further Exacerbates Inequality In Discrimination Lawsuits — from forbes.com by Patricia Barnes
    Excerpt:
    The legal system just keeps getting more and more unequal for American workers who are victims of employment discrimination, wage and hour theft, etc. The newest development is that America’s top employers and the law firms that represent them are using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to automate their responses to workers’ legal claims, thereby increasing efficiency while cutting costs.
 

5 Reasons Why BU’s $24K MBA Is A Big Deal — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
Why I’m intrigued.

Excerpt:

The newly announced $24K BU MBA, created in partnership with edX, is a big deal.

Here are 5 reasons why:
#1: The Evolving Connection Between Status and Price:

The Boston University Questrom School of Business is ranked in the top 50 global business schools by US News, in the top 70 by the Economist. Questrom is a brand name business school in a market where the value of the MBA is directly proportional to the status of the institution.

Today, status and price are tightly correlated in the postsecondary market. This is especially true in professional education. Student prices are not set at costs, but at perceived value.

BU should be given credit for challenging this status quo. I suspect that the Questrom $24K MBA will end up improving BU’s place in the global MBA rankings.

 

What is different now is that it will not only be enthusiasm for learning science that will drive schools (and MBA programs) to improve their programs. It will be the market. 

 

Some interesting feedback re: the Bar Exam

Introduction

The National Conference of Bar Examiners’ (NCBE’s) Testing Task Force (TTF) is undertaking a comprehensive,future-focused study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing legal profession. The collaborative study involves input from stakeholders at multiple phases and considers the content, format, timing, and delivery method for NCBE’s current tests, which make up all or part of the bar examination in most U.S. jurisdictions: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The study also includes the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which is administered by NCBE and required for admission in most U.S. jurisdictions.

This Executive Summary provides a synthesis of the stakeholder listening sessions conducted during Phase 1 of the study between November 2018 and June 2019. The purpose of these sessions was to solicit input from various stakeholder groups about characteristics and considerations for the next generation of the bar examination. The sessions were facilitated by ACS Ventures LLC (ACS), an independent psychometric consulting firm. Summaries of the stakeholder input from the sessions are appended to this Executive Summary.

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…I wonder what some design thinking experts might say about the complexities involved here:

  • The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)
  • The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE)
  • The Multistate Performance Test (MPT)
  • The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)

 

 

New Michigan court program could let you resolve legal disputes for free online — from freep.com by Emma Keith

Excerpts:

If you’ve got an issue with your landlord, a friend who owes you money or a serious problem with your neighbors, you may not have to take it to court.

Thanks to a new tool from the Michigan court system, some Michiganders can now solve civil disputes and small claims cases online.

MI Resolve offers users in certain Michigan counties a chance to go through an online resolution and mediation process whether or not their case has gotten to court.

The program is meant to increase equitable access to legal resources and respond to Michigan residents’ goals for their state courts, said Bridget McCormack, chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

The program is meant to resolve small claims, contract disputes, neighborhood disputes, and small landlord/tenant matters. It won’t handle an eviction but will handle rent or maintenance issues.

 

Also see:

 

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