2019 Legal Trends Report — from clio.com

Excerpts:

Get access to the legal industry’s first longitudinal analysis on how law firms succeed—and how they struggle. You’ll also get critical insights into how today’s legal consumer shops for legal services.

This year’s report also includes results from our in-depth analysis of law firm responsiveness, where we put firms to the test with 1,000 emails and 500 phone calls.

 

Clio's Legal Trends Report for 2019

 

The impact of voice search on firms — from lawtechnologytoday.org

Excerpts:

“Alexa, where can I find an attorney near me who specializes in…?”

“What is my liability if a tree in my yard falls on my neighbor’s house because of a storm?”

“…voice-activated legal searches are coming, and probably faster than you expect.”

 
 

Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao and Jonathan Stray
Play our courtroom algorithm game The US criminal legal system uses predictive algorithms to try to make the judicial process less biased. But there’s a deeper problem.

Excerpt:

As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early on as you come to terms with the world around you. Something either feels fair or it doesn’t.

But increasingly, algorithms have begun to arbitrate fairness for us. They decide who sees housing ads, who gets hired or fired, and even who gets sent to jail. Consequently, the people who create them—software engineers—are being asked to articulate what it means to be fair in their code. This is why regulators around the world are now grappling with a question: How can you mathematically quantify fairness? 

This story attempts to offer an answer. And to do so, we need your help. We’re going to walk through a real algorithm, one used to decide who gets sent to jail, and ask you to tweak its various parameters to make its outcomes more fair. (Don’t worry—this won’t involve looking at code!)

The algorithm we’re examining is known as COMPAS, and it’s one of several different “risk assessment” tools used in the US criminal legal system.

 

But whether algorithms should be used to arbitrate fairness in the first place is a complicated question. Machine-learning algorithms are trained on “data produced through histories of exclusion and discrimination,” writes Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor at Princeton University, in her book Race After Technology. Risk assessment tools are no different. The greater question about using them—or any algorithms used to rank people—is whether they reduce existing inequities or make them worse.

 

You can also see change in these articles as well:

 

 

Priorities for new lawyers are changing. Can the legal industry keep up? — — from law.com by Annie Datesh, Natasha Allen, and Nicole Hatcher, Atrium
As the legal field continues to move forward, it is well-primed to place greater value on technological advancements, diverse leadership, and healthy work cultures over settling for the status quo.

Excerpts:

Yet the legal industry these lawyers are joining is evolving, and now increasingly hosts a new cohort of professionals—those shaped by technology and innovation, and who value diversity, mentorship, and efficiency over homogeneous workplaces with minimal coaching and exhausted capacities.

Amid a strengthening job market, why are jobs in a generally well-respected industry being looked over in favor of other industries? One reason could be the legal industry’s notorious lack of progressiveness. The industry’s technology landscape is one such area of slow growth; its lack of diversity is another.

The legal industry’s long-standing dismissal of technology, while slowly changing, is fairly well known. While legal technology holds enormous potential for law firms, the industry as a whole has been famously slow to adopt modern technologies or meaningfully innovate on the traditional law firm business model. Why? For smaller firms, money can be tight, and solutions can be expensive.

 

The good news is that the legal industry is slowly but surely becoming more receptive to the benefits of evolving its traditional approach to the business and practice of law. Legal technologies continue to offer increased efficiencies to law firms, should they elect to adopt them, and the call for diversity and other cultural improvements within firms and the legal industry more broadly is on the rise.

Those players in the legal industry who are able to recognize prevailing industry trends now will be in the best position to act on them.

 

An inserted graphic from DSC:

 

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.

 

 

With IP Accelerator, Amazon edges into the legal services arena — from by Robert Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Online retailer Amazon has taken a step into the legal services industry, launching a curated network of IP law firms providing trademark registration services at pre-negotiated rates.

The goal of the new Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator is to help companies more quickly obtain IP rights for their brands and access to brand-protection features in Amazon’s stores. It specifically targets small- and medium-sized businesses by making it easier and more cost effective for them to protect their ideas.

 

Also see:

Amazon's new IP Accelerator program -- October 2019

 

Three threats posed by deepfakes that technology won’t solve — from technologyreview.com by Angela Chen
As deepfakes get better, companies are rushing to develop technology to detect them. But little of their potential harm will be fixed without social and legal solutions.

Excerpt:

3) Problem: Deepfake detection is too late to help victims
With deepfakes, “there’s little real recourse after that video or audio is out,” says Franks, the University of Miami scholar.

Existing laws are inadequate. Laws that punish sharing legitimate private information like medical records don’t apply to false but damaging videos. Laws against impersonation are “oddly limited,” Franks says—they focus on making it illegal to impersonate a doctor or government official. Defamation laws only address false representations that portray the subject negatively, but Franks says we should be worried about deepfakes that falsely portray people in a positive light too.

 

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.

 

 

The 7 biggest technology trends in 2020 everyone must get ready for now — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpts:

  • AI-as-a-service
  • 5G data networks
  • Autonomous Driving
  • Personalized and predictive medicine
  • Computer Vision
  • Extended Reality
  • Blockchain Technology

 

From DSC:
I appreciate this list from Bernard. I would also add voice-enabled interfaces/products (NLP) to this list, as well as more integration of AI into learning-related applications and services. 

For the federal agencies, state representatives, senators, law schools, students in law school, lawyers, legislators, CIO’s, and CEO’s etc. out there: Are you/we ready for these? Given the pace of exponential change, how are you seeking to keep a pulse-check on these types of emerging technologies and their impacts on our society? How are you/we guiding the development of these emerging technologies?

 

The blinding of justice: Technology, journalism and the law — from thehill.com by Kristian Hammond and Daniel Rodriguez

Excerpts:

The legal profession is in the early stages of a fundamental transformation driven by an entirely new breed of intelligent technologies and it is a perilous place for the profession to be.

If the needs of the law guide the ways in which the new technologies are put into use they can greatly advance the cause of justice. If not, the result may well be profits for those who design and sell the technologies but a legal system that is significantly less just.

We are entering an era of technology that goes well beyond the web. The law is seeing the emergence of systems based on analytics and cognitive computing in areas that until now have been largely immune to the impact of technology. These systems can predict, advise, argue and write and they are entering the world of legal reasoning and decision making.

Unfortunately, while systems built on the foundation of historical data and predictive analytics are powerful, they are also prone to bias and can provide advice that is based on incomplete or imbalanced data.

We are not arguing against the development of such technologies. The key question is who will guide them. The transformation of the field is in its early stages. There is still opportunity to ensure that the best intentions of the law are built into these powerful new systems so that they augment and aid rather than simply replace.

 

From DSC:
This is where we need more collaborations between those who know the law and those who know how to program, as well as other types of technologists.

 

The rise of the lawyer  — from law21.ca by Jordan Furlong

Per Jordan:

Earlier this year, I received an invitation to write the epilogue for a book called New Suits: Appetite for Disruption in the Legal World, by Michele DeStefano (founder of the groundbreaking Law Without Walls program based at the University of Miami Law School) and Guenther Dobrauz-Saldapenna (partner and leader of PwC Legal Switzerland and leader of PwC’s global legal tech efforts). New Suits is an enormously ambitious and illuminating exploration of the frontiers of technology-powered legal practice, especially for large enterprise clients and their outside counsel, and I highly recommend that you read it.

Of course, I’m no technology expert, and I felt supremely unqualified to say anything useful about the impact of blockchain, AI, RegTech, and so on. But I thought that lawyers who read New Suits, especially newly called lawyers or law students, might reach the end of the book feeling a little overwhelmed by the scale of change facing them, and wondering whether the legal world of the future would in any way resemble the one they had already entered — and if that world would need, want, or even welcome lawyers.

So I wrote what was essentially a message to those lawyers, to explain what all the forthcoming changes would mean for them, what the new legal world was going to demand of them, and what they should feel both empowered and required to demand in return. With the kind permission of the authors, and with a few small edits, here is that lengthy but heartfelt message. 

 

So here’s what I’d very much like you to remember: What you do matters. Who you are matters. When you speak out, it has an impact. When you fall silent, that has an impact too. Do not let yourself get lost in the noise and complexity of the machine; do not lose sight of the primacy and power of true service; do not lose who you are, and who you could be, amid the upheaval and disruption to come. Out of this chaos, you can forge new meaning and greater purpose. Out of the end of one era in the legal profession’s history, you can launch the start of another.

 

Also see:

 

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.

 

 

 

UPS just beat out Amazon and Google to become America’s first nationwide drone airline — from businessinsider.com by Rachel Premack

Key points:

  • The US Department of Transportation said Tuesday it granted its first full Part 135 certification for a drone airline to UPS.
  • UPS currently conducts drone deliveries at a large hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • It will now be able to operate drones anywhere in the country — an industry first.
  • Another drone operator — Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet — also has Part 135 certification. But the scope of its operation is limited to Christiansburg, Virginia, about 210 miles southwest of the state capitol Richmond.

From DSC:
Add to that, these delivery bots, drones, pods, and more:

 

From DSC:
I wonder…will we be able to take a quiet walk in the future? That may not be the case if the building of these armies of drones continues — and becomes a full-fledged trend.

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2019 | Daniel Christian