Digital upskilling in legal: More than just new technology — from legalexecutiveinstitute.com by Bob Dolinsky; with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for this resource

Excerpt:

How many law firms have digital upskilling programs for their lawyers and staff members? Based on what I hear and read, very few, if any.

Amazon, for example, recently announced a commitment of more than $700 million to its “Upskilling 2025” program, an internal training initiative designed to promote customer satisfaction and worker advancement. Another example is PwC, which has a digital upskilling program to develop its in-house talent pool called “New world. New skills.” In 2019, PwC announced that it would invest $3 billion into job training for its 275,000 employees around the world, enhancing its workforce and client service delivery to better address emerging digital needs.

The goals of these and similar initiatives is to help ensure that employees have the skills in the digital arena to be successful, to position these organizations as preferred employers, and to provide customer and client service excellence.

Also from Gabe:

“Virtual justice” (the preferred, if unsettling, term) is an emergency response to a dire situation. But it is also a vision some judicial innovators had long tried to realize. One leading booster, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, told me that going online can make courts not only safer but “more transparent, more accessible, and more convenient.” Witnesses, jurors, and litigants no longer need to miss hours of work and fight traffic. Attorneys with cases in multiple courts can jump from one to another by swiping on their phones.

 

Pro:

AI-powered chatbots automate IT help at Dartmouth — from edscoop.com by Ryan Johnston

Excerpt:

To prevent a backlog of IT requests and consultations during the coronavirus pandemic, Dartmouth College has started relying on AI-powered chatbots to act as an online service desk for students and faculty alike, the school said Wednesday.

Since last fall, the Hanover, New Hampshire, university’s roughly 6,600 students and 900 faculty have been able to consult with “Dart” — the virtual assistant’s name — to ask IT or service-related questions related to the school’s technology. More than 70% of the time, their question is resolved by the chatbot, said Muddu Sudhakar, the co-founder and CEO of Aisera, the company behind the software.

Con:

The Foundations of AI Are Riddled With Errors — from wired.com by Will Knight
The labels attached to images used to train machine-vision systems are often wrong. That could mean bad decisions by self-driving cars and medical algorithms.

Excerpt:

“What this work is telling the world is that you need to clean the errors out,”says Curtis Northcutt, a PhD student at MIT who led the new work.“Otherwise the models that you think are the best for your real-world business problem could actually be wrong.”

 

 

Survey: Share Your Experience with the Judicial System During COVID-19 — from legaltechmonitor.com by Laura Bagby

Excerpt: 

A team of researchers wants to know how COVID-19 has impacted your experience with the judicial system. The COVID-19 and the Courts?Survey will examine how the pandemic has affected access to justice and the operation of the courts for attorneys, judges, litigants, court staff, and other members of the community.

The researchers seek to learn which changes in court operations during the pandemic worked well and should be kept in place and which didn’t. The results of the study will help plan for future emergencies and provide a basis for thinking about more permanent reforms to how courts work.

 

The metaverse: real world laws give rise to virtual world problems — from cityam.com by Gregor Pryor

Legal questions
Like many technological advances, from the birth of the internet to more modern-day phenomena such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse will in some way challenge the legal status quo.

Whilst the growth and adoption of the metaverse will raise age-old legal questions, it will also generate a number of unique legal and regulatory obstacles that need to be overcome.

From DSC:
I’m posting this because this is another example of why we have to pick up the pace within the legal realm. Organizations like the American Bar Association (ABA) are going to have to pick up the pace big time. Society has been being impacted by a variety of emerging technologies such as these. And such changes are far from being over. Law schools need to assess their roles and responsibilities in this new world as well.

Addendum on 3/29/21:
Below are some more examples from Jason Tashea’s “The Justice Tech Download” e-newsletter:

  • Florida prisons buy up location data from data brokers. (Techdirt) A prison mail surveillance company keeps tabs on those on the outside, too. (VICE)
  • Police reform requires regulating surveillance tech. (Patch) (h/t Rebecca Williams) A police camera that never tires stirs unease at the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. (Courthouse News)
  • A Florida sheriff’s office was sued for using its predictive policing program to harass residents. (Techdirt)
  • A map of e-carceration in the US. (Media Justice) (h/t Upturn)
  • This is what happens when ICE asks Google for your user information. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Data shows the NYPD seized 55,000 phones in 2020, and it returned less than 35,000 of them. (Techdirt)
  • The SAFE TECH Act will make the internet less safe for sex workers. (OneZero)
  • A New York lawmaker wants to ban the use of armed robots by police. (Wired)
  • A look at the first wave of government accountability of algorithms. (AI Now Institute) The algorithmic auditing trap. (OneZero)
  • The (im)possibility of fairness: Different value systems require different mechanisms for fair decision making. (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • A new open dataset has 510 commercial legal contracts with 13,000+ labels. (Atticus Project)
  • JusticeText co-founder shares her experience building tech for public defenders. (Law360)

 

 

Resistance to legal tech ‘fast evaporating’ — from lawyersweekly.com.au by Jerome Doraisamy

Excerpt:

Thomson Reuters’ 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market was recently released, which found that 85 per cent of law firms of all stripes are planning to increase their investments in technology this year, in the wake of the upheaval caused by 2020.

The past year, the multinational corporation said, really emphasised just how much attitudes have evolved about day-to-day legal practice, particularly with regards to digital workflow tools and solutions using the cloud.

The report also surmised that the legal profession, on the whole, absorbed five to 10 years’ worth of technology adoption into 12 months, by virtue of the age of coronavirus.

In light of this, “longstanding resistance” by lawyers to adopt cutting-edge technology is “fast evaporating”, said Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals interim president Paul Fischer.

Also see:

According to Butler, lawyers hoping to transform the profession should ask themselves: if they were designing the system from scratch, what would it look like? “The client has a legal need — what’s the best way of meeting it?” he said. This ‘blank sheet’ approach, popularised by legal futurist Richard Susskind, offers “huge potential” for those entering law, he concluded.

 

Telemedicine likely to change how we receive health care post-pandemic — from mlive.com by Justin Hicks

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

Excerpt:

As we look to the post-pandemic future, medical experts believe telemedicine will be here to stay as another option to increase access to care, reduce costs, and free up doctors to spend more time with patients who need in-person care.

“When I think about the pandemic, one thing that didn’t change about our lifestyles is people are busy,” Lopez said. “I think we’ll still see growth in overall visits because of the fact that people want access to care and when you lower the cost, it should go up.”

From DSC:
A friend of mine said that he is doing most of his practice now via the telehealth route (and has been for many months now). Then, recently, when I was at the lab, the knowledgeable woman who assisted me said that she thought virtual health was definitely going to stick. Many doctors and nurses will be using virtual means vs. physical visits she said.

Expectations get involved here — for education, for the legal field, and for other arenas.

 

Technology and Access to Justice: How Does It Work? — from lawdroid.com by Robin Bull

Picture of a keyboard with the word Justice on one of the keys - clicking on this image will take you to an article called Technology and Access to Justice: How Does It Work?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At its most basic level, the term “access to justice” means the ability that a person has in accessing the legal system. This includes, and is not limited to, the ability to afford an attorney and file a lawsuit. There is only a legal right to an attorney if a person faces a criminal charge. There is no right to an attorney if someone is involved in a civil matter.

In the civil system, there is no constitutional right to an attorney. If a person can afford an attorney, great. Sure, there are legal aid organizations set up to provide access to justice. However, many do not have the funds, enough employees, or enough volunteers to help every person who seeks them out. Many Americans cannot afford to pay an hourly rate to have an attorney handle a civil matter. Even if they manage to come up with a retainer, they may not be able to see the matter through to completion or finish paying their attorney.

Here are a few ways that technology and access to justice work together.  

 

Also see:

If regular people lack the abilty to petition a branch of our government without spending their life savings, then we don't have a democracy. Sonja Ebron of Courtroom 5

 

Legal tech CEOs urge lawyers to keep innovating beyond the COVID-19 pandemic — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran

Excerpt:

Lawyers should continue to embrace and further develop the technological and business innovations they have adopted in recent months even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, two prominent legal technology leaders said Tuesday at the ABA Techshow 2021.

“We have the opportunity today to build towards that third horizon or slouch back towards that first horizon,” said Ed Walters, CEO and co-founder of legal research company Fastcase. He enthusiastically encouraged attendees to “build the legal services and law firms of 2022, not rebuild what was broken in 2019.”

 

Two items from Gabe Teninbaum’s Lawtomatic Newsletter | Issue #121, March 10, 2021 

  1. [LegalPioneer.orgLegalpioneer Chrome extension: the Law Sites Blog has a really interesting write-up. on a a new extension for the Chrome browser that allows you to do research on thousands of legal tech products in a new way: “Say you are reading an article online about contract lifecycle management and want to know what companies offer products for that. A new extension for the Chrome browser puts the answer a click away. With the new Legalpioneer Chrome extension installed, highlight a word or phrase on any web page to search and explore a database of more than 5,500 worldwide technology businesses serving legal professionals and the law.”  Remarkable – I’ve tested it and it works as reported  Plus, it’s free. You can learn more at legalpioneer.org. or download the extension via Chrome using this link.
    .
  2. 4 Changes To Make To Your LinkedIn Profile That Will Enhance Your Legal Skills And Visibility — from abovethelaw.com by Wendi Weiner
    With more than 700 million users on the platform, LinkedIn offers you the ability to be seen, noticed, and scouted when you are (and aren’t) job searching.
 

Legal tech to the rescue — from nationalmagazine.ca by Julie Sobowale
The legal industry has shown it can adapt to disruption. But it has further to go in partnering with alternative service providers.

A woman walking into an abstract high tech scene

Excerpt:

“Most lawyers and legal leaders have to confront what they have done in the past,” says Chris Bentley, Director of The Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ) at Ryerson University. “They rejected technology, embraced the past, fought against having services in the cloud, fought against using online research tools, and rejected being able to video conference calls with clients.”

 

LexisNexis Extends Its Context Language Analytics to Cover Attorneys’ Briefs and Motions — from legaltechmonitor.com Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Last year, LexisNexis introduced Context, a refinement of an analytics tool originally developed by Ravel Law that analyzes the language of a judge’s opinions to determine the cases and arguments the judge finds most persuasive in deciding specific types of issues. As I reported then, that original launch also included Context for expert witnesses, and, since then, LexisNexis has expanded Context to also cover courts and companies.

Today, LexisNexis is further expanding Context with the introduction of Attorney Analytics, the fifth module in the platform, for researching opposing attorneys in litigation matters.

Also see:

 

Reimagining the Future of Legal Regulatory Reform (emphasis below from DSC)

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 | 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM EST

The American legal system has been designed by lawyers for lawyers, on the assumption that parties with legal needs will be represented by lawyers. But in more than 76 percent of civil cases in state courts today, at least one of the parties is unrepresented by counsel. The result is a system that is not adequately serving tens of millions of people every year. In response, the regulations that govern legal services are starting to shift in ways that have the potential to transform the legal system so that it better serves the public. Arizona and Utah are leaders in this regulatory reform movement. In this virtual webinar, participants describe the conditions that are driving change, explain Arizona’s and Utah’s innovations, and share their visions for the future of legal services regulation.

For more information, please visit futureofthelegalprofession.org

 

The Triple Threat Facing Generalist Law Firms, Part 2: Legal Tech — from jdsupra.com by Katherine Hollar Barnard

Excerpts:

In Legaltech, a Walmart associate general counsel estimated the product provided a 60 to 80 percent time savings. That’s great news for Walmart – less so for lawyers who bill by the hour.

Sterling Miller, the former general counsel of Marketo, Inc., Sabre Corporation and Travelocity.com, made a compelling case for why law firm clients are turning to technology: In-house lawyers are incentivized to find the most efficient, lowest-cost way to do things. Many law firm lawyers are incentivized to do just the opposite.

To be sure, software is unlikely to replace lawyers altogether; legal minds are essential for strategy, and robots have yet to be admitted to the bar. However, technology’s impact on an industry dominated by the billable hour will be profound.

Also see:

Judge John Tran spearheaded adoption of tech to facilitate remote hearings and helped train lawyers — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward; with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for this resource

Excerpt:

If you need a judge who can be counted on to research all courtroom technology offerings that can help proceedings continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, look no further than John Tran of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.

After the Virginia Supreme Court issued an order June 22 stating that remote proceedings should be used to conduct as much business as possible, Tran offered webinars to help lawyers with the Fairfax Bar Association get up to speed with Webex, the platform the court uses for remote proceedings.

“When Webex has a news release, he’s all over that. He’s already had a private demo. He is one of a small number of exceptionally tech-savvy judges,” says Sharon Nelson, a Fairfax attorney and co-founder and president of the digital forensics firm Sensei Enterprises.

 

AI in the Legal Industry: 3 Impacts and 3 Obstacles — from exigent-group.com

Excerpt:

In this article, we’ll talk about three current impacts AI has had on the legal industry as well as three obstacles it needs to overcome before we see widespread adoption.

Consider JPMorgan’s Contract Intelligence (COIN) software. Rather than rely on lawyers to pour over their commercial loan contracts, the banking giant now uses COIN to review these documents for risk, accuracy and eligibility. Not only does this save JPMorgan 360,000 hours per year in contract review, it also results in fewer errors. One can also look to major law firms like DLA Piper, which now regularly rely on AI for M&A due diligence. At Exigent, we’ve had first-hand experience using AI to support document analysis for our clients as well.

2. Legal departments need to build cross-functional expertise
…bringing greater diversity into the legal department is essential if the efficiencies promised by AI in the legal industry are to be realized.

Fortunately, some legal departments have begun to bring data scientists on board in addition to lawyers. And the industry is beginning to open up to hybrid roles, like legal technologists, legal knowledge engineers, legal analysts and other cross-functional experts. It’s clear that a greater diversity of skills are in the legal department’s future; it’s just a matter of how smoothly the transition goes.

 

Legaltech Careers Guide: roles, organisations and routes into legaltech jobs — from lawtomated.com

Excerpt:

This guide includes our most frequent FAQs and advice based on our experiences and those of others working in legaltech, legal ops, and innovation who made the jump from a traditional lawyer role into this space, or who entered the space from outside of legal.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian