‘Fundamental shift’ is transforming the delivery of legal services, new report concludes — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

“Revolutionary changes are afoot” in the market for legal services, according to a new report.

Clients are actively managing their relationships with outside counsel, nonlaw competitors are gaining ground, and law firms are responding to market changes in innovative ways, the report says.

The 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market was released Monday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. It is available for download here.

However, taking that view is seeing only one side of the story. Over this same period, there has been mounting evidence that the underlying model itself is changing, that clients, non-law firm competitors, and even many law firms are now operating with very different assumptions about the role law firm services should play in the legal ecosystem and how such services should be delivered. In the past year or so, this evidence has grown to the point that it seems apparent that a fundamental shift is now well underway.

Also see:

Lori Lorenzo, research and insights leader of chief legal officer program, Deloitte: “Catching-up and keeping-up with tech advancements for the legal function will remain a top goal for chief legal officers in 2020. Of course, addressing legal team tech skills gaps may drive inclusion of professionals with diverse skillsets, like data scientists, automation experts and the like, into the legal function.”

 

Legal Tech’s Predictions for Artificial Intelligence in 2020 — from law.com by Zach Warren
We may not have robot lawyers, but lawyers and technologists agree that artificial intelligence will have a major impact on the legal profession in 2020.

Excerpts:

Alex Babin, CEO, Zero: “The biggest gains from automating legal practices will be time saved and improved workflow efficiencies as the AI ‘takes over’ more laborious tasks including litigation support, email, e-discovery, and the use of databases for case management. Lawyers will begin to trust in this process, letting AI perform these basic tasks such as auto-filing document and email for compliance. AI will enhance corporate and regulatory reporting and improves contract creation and management.”

Scott Forman, shareholder, Littler Mendelson and founder of Littler CaseSmart and Littler onDemand: “Data analytics and AI have already fundamentally changed the delivery of legal services, but I expect 2020 to bring a greater understanding of how these technologies enhance, rather than overtake, the work of lawyers. While robots and technology will never replace lawyers, they provide data and insight enabling lawyers to do their jobs faster and better. This includes automating aspects of the legal process—so that lawyers can focus on top-of-the-pyramid work—as well as synthesizing and serving up information that guides litigation strategy, identifies potential areas of risk and moves toward predicting legal outcomes.”

 

 

AI fears subside: Most see fundamental change, but not job loss — from .law.com by Frank Ready
ILTA released a new Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning report that alludes to fundamental changes coming for the legal industry—but those disruptions may not be happening where one would expect.

Excerpt:

A new Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning report published last week by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) indicates that while law firms may be expecting AI to yield “fundamental change” within the industry, lawyers shouldn’t count on a significant portion of the work they perform being replaced by software.

Also see:

 

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.
 

Indian police are using facial recognition to identify protesters in Delhi — from fastcompany.com by Kristin Toussaint

Excerpt:

At Modi’s rally on December 22, Delhi police used Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) software—which officials there acquired in 2018 as a tool to find and identify missing children—to screen the crowd for faces that match a database of people who have attended other protests around the city, and who officials said could be disruptive.

According to the Indian Express, Delhi police have long filmed these protest events, and the department announced Monday that officials fed that footage through AFRS. Sources told the Indian news outlet that once “identifiable faces” are extracted from that footage, a dataset will point out and retain “habitual protesters” and “rowdy elements.” That dataset was put to use at Modi’s rally to keep away “miscreants who could raise slogans or banners.”

 

From DSC:
Here in the United States…are we paying attention to today’s emerging technologies and collaboratively working to create a future dream — versus a future nightmare!?!  A vendor or organization might propose a beneficial reason to use their product or technology — and it might even meet the hype at times…but then comes along other unintended uses and consequences of that technology. For example, in the article above, what started out as a technology that was supposed to be used to find/identify missing children (a benefit) was later used to identify protesters (an unintended consequence, and a nightmare in terms of such an expanded scope of use I might add)!

Along these lines, the youth of today have every right to voice their opinions and to have a role in developing or torpedoing emerging techs. What we build and put into place now will impact their lives bigtime!

 

Online courts, the future of justice and being bold in 2020 — from abajournal.com by Ari Kaplan

Excerpt:

Ari Kaplan: How do you define online courts?

Richard Susskind: I describe two aspects of online courts in the book. The first is ‘online judging,’ which supports the idea that human judges, not artificial intelligence, should decide cases, not in a physical courtroom or through oral hearings but by the submission of evidence and arguments by the parties online. It is an asynchronous hearing system where the parties pass messages and arguments to the judge remotely and receive responses in kind. I am entirely open to the argument that this is not suitable for all cases, but there are many low-volume matters for which it is simply disproportionate to take the day off work or for lawyers to take up a court’s time to resolve relatively modest difficulties and differences. The second aspect of online courts is, in a way, more controversial. I call it ‘extended courts’ and suggest that it should be part of the court function to provide a range of tools to help the parties understand their rights and obligations. These resources could help them formulate arguments, gather and organize evidence, and provide ways for the parties to resolve disputes with one another similar to online alternative dispute resolution. This combination of judges making decisions online together with an extended court structure will greatly increase access to justice.

 

Addendum on 1/7/20:

Online Courts and the Future of Justice from State Courts on Vimeo.

 

Legal Tech Broke Investment Record in 2019 as Sector Matures — from biglawbusiness.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpts:

  • Investments in legal tech soared past $1 billion in 2019
  • Key legal tech conference boasted record attendance

Legal technology deals and investments stayed on a fast track in 2019 as the sector becomes increasingly relevant to how Big Law firms and corporate legal divisions operate. Legal tech investments flew past the $1 billion mark by the end of the third quarter. It hit that mark for the first time the year before.

Also see:

“E-discovery sits at the intersection of two industries not known for diversity: legal and high-tech. Despite what can feel like major wins, statistics paint a bleak picture—most U.S. lawyers are white, managing partners are primarily male, and only 2% of partners in major firms are black; leadership at e-discovery companies has historically reflected this demographic. The next decade will see a major shift in focus for leadership and talent development at e-discovery providers as we join law firms and corporate legal departments in putting our money where our mouths are and deliver recruitment and retention programs that fight discrimination and actively recruit, retain, and promote women, minority, and underserved talent.” 

Sarah Brown, director of marketing, Inventus

 

7 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2020 — from interestingengineering.com by Christopher McFadden

Excerpts:

Per this article, the following trends were listed:

  1. Computer Graphics will greatly benefit from AI
  2. Deepfakes will only get better, er, worse
  3. Predictive text should get better and better
  4. Ethics will become more important as time goes by
  5. Quantum computing will supercharge AI
  6. Facial recognition will appear in more places
  7. AI will help in the optimization of production pipelines

Also, this article listed several more trends:

According to sources like The Next Web, some of the main AI trends for 2020 include:

  • The use of AI to make healthcare more accurate and less costly
  • Greater attention paid to explainability and trust
  • AI becoming less data-hungry
  • Improved accuracy and efficiency of neural networks
  • Automated AI development
  • Expanded use of AI in manufacturing
  • Geopolitical implications for the uses of AI

Artificial Intelligence offers great potential and great risks for humans in the future. While still in its infancy, it is already being employed in some interesting ways.

According to sources like Forbes, some of the next “big things” in technology include, but are not limited to:

  • Blockchain
  • Blockchain As A Service
  • AI-Led Automation
  • Machine Learning
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • AI For The Back Office
  • Quantum Computing AI Applications
  • Mainstreamed IoT

Also see:

Artificial intelligence predictions for 2020: 16 experts have their say — from verdict.co.uk by Ellen Daniel

Excerpts:

  • Organisations will build in processes and policies to prevent and address potential biases in AI
  • Deepfakes will become a serious threat to corporations
  • Candidate (and employee) care in the world of artificial intelligence
  • AI will augment humans, not replace them
  • Greater demand for AI understanding
  • Ramp up in autonomous vehicles
  • To fully take advantage of AI technologies, you’ll need to retrain your entire organisation
  • Voice technologies will infiltrate the office
  • IT will run itself while data acquires its own DNA
  • The ethics of AI
  • Health data and AI
  • AI to become an intrinsic part of robotic process automation (RPA)
  • BERT will open up a whole new world of deep learning use cases

The hottest trend in the industry right now is in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Over the past year, a new method called BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has been developed for designing neural networks that work with text. Now, we suddenly have models that will understand the semantic meaning of what’s in text, going beyond the basics. This creates a lot more opportunity for deep learning to be used more widely.

 

 

Don’t trust AI until we build systems that earn trust — from economist.com
Progress in artificial intelligence belies a lack of transparency that is vital for its adoption, says Gary Marcus, coauthor of “Rebooting AI”

Excerpts:

Mr Marcus argues that it would be foolish of society to put too much stock in today’s AI techniques since they are so prone to failures and lack the transparency that researchers need to understand how algorithms reached their conclusions.

As part of The Economist’s Open Future initiative, we asked Mr Marcus about why AI can’t do more, how to regulate it and what teenagers should study to remain relevant in the workplace of the future.

Trustworthy AI has to start with good engineering practices, mandated by laws and industry standards, both of which are currently largely absent. Too much of AI thus far has consisted of short-term solutions, code that gets a system to work immediately, without a critical layer of engineering guarantees that are often taken for granted in other field. The kinds of stress tests that are standard in the development of an automobile (such as crash tests and climate challenges), for example, are rarely seen in AI. AI could learn a lot from how other engineers do business.

The assumption in AI has generally been that if it works often enough to be useful, then that’s good enough, but that casual attitude is not appropriate when the stakes are high. It’s fine if autotagging people in photos turns out to be only 90 percent reliable—if it is just about personal photos that people are posting to Instagram—but it better be much more reliable when the police start using it to find suspects in surveillance photos.

 

From the American Bar Association: 2019 Solo and Small Firm Technology Usage Report

2019 Solo & Small Firm — from the American Bar Association (ABA)

Excerpt:

Solos and small firms are in a unique position to leverage technology in order to become more sustainable and competitive with larger firms and alternative legal service providers—they have the ability to be more agile than larger firms because of their size. There are numerous technology options available and many are solo and small firm budget-friendly. Consumers are demanding convenience, transparency, and efficiency from the legal profession. Attorneys must be adaptable to this driving force. The legal profession has some of the highest rates of addiction, depression, and suicide. Women are leaving the profession in droves and lawyers are struggling to find work-life balance. Technology use can reduce human error, increase efficiency, reduce overhead, provide flexibility, enhance attorney well-being, and better meet client needs.

 

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.

 

Delta Model Lawyer: Lawyer Competencies for the Computational Age — from law.mit.edu by Caitlin “Cat” Moon
Technology changes the ways that people interact with one another. As a result, the roles and competencies required for many professions are evolving. Law is no exception. Cat Moon offers the Delta Model as a tool for legal professionals to understand how adapt to these changes.

Excerpt:

The [law] schools must begin training the profession to cope with and understand computers. […] Minimizing the pain and problems which may be caused by computer-created unknowns is a responsibility of the profession.

 

Accessibility at a Crossroads: Balancing Legal Requirements, Frivolous Lawsuits, and Legitimate Needs — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpt:

Changes in legal requirements for IT accessibility have prompted some to pursue self-serving legal actions. To increase access to users of all abilities, colleges and universities should articulate their commitment to accessibility and focus on changing institutional culture.

 

The future of law and computational technologies: Two sides of the same coin — from law.mit.edu by Daniel Linna
Law and computation are often thought of as being two distinct fields. Increasingly, that is not the case. Dan Linna explores the ways a computational approach could help address some of the biggest challenges facing the legal industry.

Excerpt:

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (“AI”) introduces opportunities to improve legal processes and facilitate social progress. At the same time, AI presents an original set of inherent risks and potential harms. From a Law and Computational Technologies perspective, these circumstances can be broadly separated into two categories. First, we can consider the ethics, regulations, and laws that apply to technology. Second, we can consider the use of technology to improve the delivery of legal services, justice systems, and the law itself. Each category presents an unprecedented opportunity to use significant technological advancements to preserve and expand the rule of law.

For basic legal needs, access to legal services might come in the form of smartphones or other devices that are capable of providing users with an inventory of their legal rights and obligations, as well as providing insights and solutions to common legal problems. Better yet, AI and pattern matching technologies can help catalyze the development of proactive approaches to identify potential legal problems and prevent them from arising, or at least mitigate their risk.

We risk squandering abundant opportunities to improve society with computational technologies if we fail to proactively create frameworks to embed ethics, regulation, and law into our processes by design and default.

To move forward, technologists and lawyers must radically expand current notions of interdisciplinary collaboration. Lawyers must learn about technology, and technologists must learn about the law.

 

 

Considering AI in hiring? As its use grows, so do the legal implications for employers. — from forbes.com by Alonzo Martinez; with thanks to Paul Czarapata for his posting on Twitter on this

Excerpt:

As employers grapple with a widespread labor shortage, more are turning to artificial intelligence tools in their search for qualified candidates.

Hiring managers are using increasingly sophisticated AI solutions to streamline large parts of the hiring process. The tools scrape online job boards and evaluate applications to identify the best fits. They can even stage entire online interviews and scan everything from word choice to facial expressions before recommending the most qualified prospects.

But as the use of AI in hiring grows, so do the legal issues surrounding it. Critics are raising alarms that these platforms could lead to discriminatory hiring practices. State and federal lawmakers are passing or debating new laws to regulate them. And that means organizations that implement these AI solutions must not only stay abreast of new laws, but also look at their hiring practices to ensure they don’t run into legal trouble when they deploy them.

 

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