The Spanish Flu to Covid-19: How this Pandemic is Pushing Courts to Modernize — from legaltalknetwork.com by Bridget Mary McCormack and Daniel Linna

Episode notes:

Even before the global pandemic, Michigan courts were moving more quickly than many others to modernize. Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack talks with host Dan Linna about accelerating the state’s plans to offer online hearings, online dispute resolution, and to continue efforts to establish e-filing statewide.

Not everything is going smoothly, but McCormack notes some judges are almost current on their dockets. And importantly, she believes that many temporary quick fixes will lead to permanent changes that improve access to justice statewide and increase public trust in the judicial branch.

 

Law schools should have flexibility in responding to ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ ABA House of Delegates says — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

Excerpt:

Resolutions regarding distance-education programs, the adoption of emergency policies by law schools, teach-out plans and provisional program approval were approved this week by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
Perhaps faculty members and their students in Computer Science Departments across the nation could unleash some excellent products/projects/ideas to make this happen! Talk about Project Based Learning (PBL)! Students and faculty members could have immediate positive impacts on the nation for their work.

 

Will the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally remake the legal industry? — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran

Excerpt:

They both note that while the Great Recession was a substantial shock to the economic system, COVID-19 has resulted in the sudden upheaval of society at large. This includes changing how members of the public can access the court system or connect with a lawyer.

“It is really fundamentally disrupting overnight every single component of the legal system, and that is very different than 2008-2009,” says Leonard, who is also Penn Law’s chief innovation officer. “I think it creates enormous opportunities for changing many of the ways we work as lawyers, the ways we provide legal services to our clients and also the ways the justice system as a whole works.”

In the short term, Leonard says the pandemic has resulted in massive “forced experimentation.”

People being sworn in on a laptop

In June, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice McCormack swore in a cohort of law students via a Zoom conference. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Supreme Court; Shutterstock.

Also see:

 

Gartner Legal Tech Hype Curve – 2020 Positions — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

Research company Gartner has published its Legal Tech Hype Curve analysis for 2020, showing where various types of tech are on their famous development and real world adoption chart.

Have a look at the main chart below:

 

The increasingly essential role of the law librarian — from abovethelaw.com by Robert Ambrogi
Robots are not coming for law librarians’ jobs.

Excerpts:

Last year, I contributed a chapter to Law Librarianship in the Age of AI, a book published by the American Library Association. In my chapter, on the future of AI in law libraries, I described what I see as four roles of law librarians that exist already and that will become more essential as technology evolves.

    1. Librarian As Gatekeeper
    2. Librarian As Guide
    3. Librarian As Ethicist
    4. Librarian As Interpreter

 

 

Renters, homeowners face new phase of coronavirus crisis with evictions, foreclosures looming — from finance.yahoo.com by Alexis Keenan

Excerpt:

A potential housing crisis is on the way for millions of Americans whose mortgage and rent deferrals are about to sunset.

Evictions loom as the end of state and local moratoriums will no longer protect homeowners and tenants unable to make payments because of COVID-19 lockdowns. A minority of U.S. states have already expired orders against evictions, and a host of others across the country are set to expire over the next two months.

Once they do, residents are facing a possible flood of non-payment legal actions. The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) predicted recently that by the end of September, more than 20 million U.S. renters —many of them Black and Latino located in big cities — will be at risk for eviction.

 

NEW! Resolve disputes online for free -- with or without a mediator!

Excerpt:

This is a new service supported by the Michigan Supreme Court’s Administrative Office to provide a free, quick and easy way of resolving disputes that are typically filed as a small claims or landlord/tenant case in the district court.

Through MI-Resolve, parties can resolve their disputes online with or without the help of a mediator. Parties can also arrange to meet in person with a mediator or via videoconference. Mediation is a process in which a trained neutral person (a mediator) helps parties identify a solution to a dispute that best works for them. Mediators do not take sides, evaluate claims, or provide legal advice.

 

 

Majority of minority female lawyers consider leaving law; ABA study explains why — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

Seventy percent of female minority lawyers report leaving or considering leaving the legal profession, according to an ABA report on the challenges that they face.

The statistic isn’t statistically significant because the researchers couldn’t find enough women of color in longtime practice to conduct the needed analysis, according to a preface to the reportLeft Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long-Term Legal Careers for Women of Color.

A June 22 ABA press release is here.

“Women of color have the highest rate of attrition from law firms as they continue to face firm cultures where their efforts and contributions are neither sufficiently recognized nor rewarded,” according to the report.

From DSC:
This is discouraging news. Crud.

 

 

2020 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer: Performance Drivers and Change in the Legal Sector — from globenewswire.com

Excerpt:

Top Trends and Readiness
Lawyers predicted pressure from a series of trends expected to impact their organizations over the next three years and technology topped the list. The top trends expected to have the most impact are:

  • Increasing Importance of Legal Technology – 76%
  • Meeting Changing Client / Leadership Expectations – 74%
  • Emphasis on Improved Efficiency / Productivity – 73%
  • Ability to Acquire and Retain Talent – 73%
  • Coping with Increased Volume and Complexity of Information – 72%
 

litera tv dot com -- Daniel Linna and Bob Ambrogi's conversation on June 3, 2020

WEDNESDAY | 6.3 | Law Insights with Bob Ambrogi and Daniel Linna, Director of Law and Technology Initiatives, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Notes (emphasis DSC):

  • Trying to build community, collaborate, work together
  • How do you manage a team remotely? How build community online?
  • Spontaneous interactions still needed
  • In what ways does the online ecosystem ADD to what we are doing?
  • Jury trial – online; equalizer for those involved in trial; “all in same space on the screen”
  • Start with some basic/smaller things – landlord/tenant
  • Racism going on heavily this week – a second pandemic
  • Developing a quality movement in law (Linna)
  • We need quality metrics and we need to measure the value being provided. What makes something effective, high-quality, and valuable? Now apply that thinking to the delivery of legal services.
  • Project mgmt / quality movement – less defects, etc. in 1980’s / lean thinking / 6 sigma in GE / but haven’t seen this in the area of law
  • Empiricism in law – 100 years ago medicine and law were in the same spot; since then medicine started more testing, empirical work, data-driven practices; but law didn’t
  • Daniel Linna’s blog – https://www.legaltechlever.com/
  • Can we come up with metrics?
  • Dan worked with a lawyer-assisted program in Lansing, MI – what happened? What was duration of cases? Data-driven thinking; measure; make it more of a science
  • Bob asked isn’t law less scientific and perhaps more art than a science?
  • What kinds of metrics are we talking about in litigation?
  • Contracts – can we figure out what adds value and what makes a contract “better?” (Insert from DSC: Better for whom though?)
  • What actually matters to the client? Clauses that lawyers think that are important, businesspeople don’t think are important. Risk mitigation is not all the client thinks about.
  • Incomprehensible contracts – too hard to understand
  • Natural language generation – what inputs do we need? We don’t want many contracts to be the dataset that an algorithm gets trained on.
  • (Insert from DSC: Daniel relayed some information that reminded me of Clayton Christensen’s disruptive thinking: 80% of impoverished folks get NOTHING. Totally disconnected. Perhaps we don’t need perfection, but even something is much better than nothing. For example, provide an online legal aid booklet to those who are trying to represent themselves.)
  • Go for low-hanging fruit for more empirical
  • Ambrogi: How does the work you are doing impact access to justice (#A2J)? How could quality movement impact police procedures? Is there applicability in terms of what you are writing about?
  • Human-Centered Design – uncovering biases. Why would people TRUST the criminal system if they can’t trust the CIVIL system? Perhaps if landlords thought differently. Disconnected.
  • Innovate, improve, project management;
  • Way decisions are made vary greatly; need more open data from our courts; lack of transparency from courts.
  • Leadership – commitment to resolve issues. Lacking vision. What do we want our legal systems to look like/act like?

Call to action:

  • Have or develop a quality mindset
  • Leadership needs to paint a vision for what the future looks like
  • Training around legal operations
  • How to measure quality and value – be more data-driven

We need disruption AND continuous improvement – not one or the other.
–Daniel Linna

 

Young and in Legal Tech: Are You Sure You Want to Make the Leap? — from law.com by Zach Warren
Because of a changing law firm model, starting a legal technology company is becoming more attractive than ever for young law firm grads and associates. But legal tech founders say that while there are benefits, a smooth landing isn’t guaranteed

Excerpt:

Listening is the primary way to help balance on a precarious tightrope, Rubin adds. “It’s a delicate line to walk when you’re starting a company between being humble and really knowing that you’ve never started a company before and you haven’t been practicing for 30 years. There are a lot of things you don’t know. But also having conviction that you have an idea that you really stick to and that you believe can be a serious changemaker in an industry that has struggled with change.”

 

From DSC:
When reading the article below…Wayne Gretzky’s quote comes to mind here:

The legal industry needs to skate to where the puck is going to be.

ANALYSIS: The New Normal—Law Firms May Never Be the Same — from news.bloomberglaw.comby Sara Lord

Excerpt:

In our recent 2020 Legal Operations Survey, Bloomberg Law asked organizations including law firms, corporations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions, a number of questions relating to their use of data and metrics. Included in our survey were questions relating to whether law firms measure the value of legal operations and legal technology. Responses indicated that two-thirds of law firms measure legal operations value and nearly one-quarter of law firms using legal technologies measure the value of that legal technology.

Firms think clients expect increased use of legal tech for efficiency

 

Invitation for Comment on Emergency Rulemaking — from uscourts.gov
Request for Input on Possible Emergency Procedures

Excerpt:

The committees seek input on challenges encountered during the COVID pandemic in state and federal courts, by lawyers, judges, parties, or the public, and on solutions developed to deal with those challenges. The committees are particularly interested in hearing about situations that could not be addressed through the existing rules or in which the rules themselves interfered with practical solutions.

And from Canada:
Our civil justice system needs to be brought into the 21st century — from theglobeandmail.com by Rosalie Silberman Abella

Excerpt:

I’m talking of course about access to justice. But I’m not talking about fees, or billings, or legal aid, or even pro bono. Those are our beloved old standards in the “access to justice” repertoire and I’m sure everyone knows those tunes very well.

I have a more fundamental concern: I cannot for the life of me understand why we still resolve civil disputes the way we did more than a century ago.

In a speech to the American Bar Association called The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice, Roscoe Pound criticized the civil justice system’s trials for being overly fixated on procedure, overly adversarial, too expensive, too long and too out of date. The year was 1906.

Any good litigator from 1906 could, with a few hours of coaching, feel perfectly at home in today’s courtrooms. 

 

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