Technology as Part of the Culture for Legal Professionals -- a Q&A with Mary Grush and Daniel Christian

 


Technology as Part of the Culture for Legal Professionals A Q&A with Daniel Christian — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush and Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Mary Grush: Why should new technologies be part of a legal education?

Daniel Christian: I think it’s a critical point because our society, at least in the United States — and many other countries as well — is being faced with a dramatic influx of emerging technologies. Whether we are talking about artificial intelligence, blockchain, Bitcoin, chatbots, facial recognition, natural language processing, big data, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics — any of dozens of new technologies — this is the environment that we are increasingly living in, and being impacted by, day to day.

It is so important for our nation that legal professionals — lawyers, judges, attorney generals, state representatives, and legislators among them — be up to speed as much as possible on the technologies that surround us: What are the issues their clients and constituents face? It’s important that legal professionals regularly pulse check the relevant landscapes to be sure that they are aware of the technologies that are coming down the pike. To help facilitate this habit, technology should be part of the culture for those who choose a career in law. (And what better time to help people start to build that habit than within the law schools of our nation?)

 

There is a real need for the legal realm to catch up with some of these emerging technologies, because right now, there aren’t many options for people to pursue. If the lawyers, and the legislators, and the judges don’t get up to speed, the “wild wests” out there will continue until they do.

 


 

Podcast: Susan Patrick on Transforming Education Systems for Equitable High-Quality Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark & Susan Patrick

Excerpts:

5 Global Trends

  1. Ensuring education systems are fit for purpose.
  2. Modernizing educator workforce and professional learning.
  3. Innovating education for equity, prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  4. Aligning pathways from early childhood, K-12, college and workforce.
  5. Redesigning schools based on the learning sciences.
    In Fit for Purpose, Patrick and colleagues said, “A school redesign informed by learning sciences puts student success at its center. It incorporates youth development theory, culturally responsive teaching, and evidence-based approaches.” She added, “We must ensure we are designing for equity using research on how students learn best, youth development theory and evidence-based approaches.”


From DSC:

Below are the comments that I relayed back to Tom and Susan on Twitter:

“We need to keep asking– how do we design a system fit for the world we live in?” I thought that this was a great point from Susan. I would just add that not only do we need to look around at the current landscapes, but also what’s coming down the pike (i.e. the world that we will be living in). With the new pace of exponential change, our graduates will need to be able to pivot/adapt frequently and quickly.

Also, watching my wife’s experiences over the last few years, only one of the three school systems offered solid training and development. The other two school systems needed to pay much more attention to their onboarding and training programs. They needed to be far more supportive — working to establish a more team-oriented teaching and learning environment. While the corporate world can learn from the K-12 world often times, this is where the K-12 world could learn a lot to learn from the corporate world.

 

Digital workplaces are the future for the legal industry — from abovethelaw.com by James Lo
The speed of business is accelerating, and digital workplaces are answering the demand for a better way to work, by providing a single platform to manage content, people, and applications. 

Excerpt:

The consumerisation of enterprise technology has led to an increasing expectation from lawyers, clients, and business users alike that the legal technology they are using in the workplace for collaboration, knowledge management, transaction management, and more should be as useful, intuitive, and user-friendly as what they are already using at home on a day-to-day basis.

Digital workplaces are answering the demand for a better way to work, by providing a single platform to manage content, people, and applications. As law firms review their technology strategy for the next three to five years, there is an opportunity to create digital workplaces that will match how lawyers will want to work in the future. Within a digital workplace, a lawyer will have access to relevant data and content, collaborate with both clients and colleagues, share knowledge, and solve problems, all in real-time, from anywhere.

At the same time, clients are expecting firms to be using data, artificial intelligence and other technologies to predict outcomes, reduce costs, improve transparency and ultimately add value. 

 

Google brings AI to studying with Socratic — from zdnet.com by Stephanie Condon
Ahead of the new school year, Google is re-launching a mobile learning app it acquired last year.

Excerpt:

Google this week started rolling out a revamped version of a mobile learning app, called Socratic, that the tech giant acquired last year. The updated app, with new machine learning-powered features, coincides with the start of the school year, as well as other Google for Education initiatives.

Socratic aims to help both high school and university students in their studies outside of the classroom. If students need help answering a study question, they can now use the Socratic app to ask a question with their voice, or to take a picture of a question in their study materials. The app will then find relevant material from across the web.

 

Also see:

  • The School of Tomorrow Will Revolve Around AI — from datafloq.com
    Excerpt:
    We live in exponential times, and merely having a digital strategy focused on continuous innovation is no longer enough to thrive in a constantly changing world. To transform an organisation and contribute to building a secure and rewarding networked society, collaboration among employees, customers, business units and even things is increasingly becoming key.Especially with the availability of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, organisations now, more than ever before, need to focus on bringing together the different stakeholders to co-create the future. Big data empowers customers and employees, the Internet of Things will create vast amounts of data and connects all devices, while artificial intelligence creates new human-machine interactions. In today’s world, every organisation is a data organisation, and AI is required to make sense of it all.

Addendum on 8/23/19

 

A handful of US cities have banned government use of facial recognition technology due to concerns over its accuracy and privacy. WIRED’s Tom Simonite talks with computer vision scientist and lawyer Gretchen Greene about the controversy surrounding the use of this technology.

 

 

A New Way Forward: CAEL Association Update (August 2019) –from evolllution.com by Marie Cini | President, CAEL
As the labor market continues to evolve, CAEL will play a critical role in establishing a collaborative ecosystem linking learners, employers and postsecondary institutions.

Excerpt:

I’m delighted to announce a new partnership between CAEL and The EvoLLLution to deliver timely information on the latest advances related to serving adult working learners. When you consider the rapidly changing nature of the work our members face, it’s hard to imagine a more aptly named organization to collaborate with!

This partnership will provide CAEL members with fresh thinking twice a month in the form of a brief digital newsletter. The focus will be on lifelong learning and transforming traditional structures to better meet the needs of today’s working learners in communities, across industries, inside all postsecondary institutions.

 

How to do strategic planning like a futurist — from hbr.org by Amy Webb

Excerpt:

Nice, linear timelines offer a certain amount of assurance: that events can be preordained, chaos can be contained, and success can be plotted and guaranteed. Of course, the real world we all inhabit is a lot messier. Regulatory actions or natural disasters are wholly outside of your control, while other factors — workforce development, operations, new product ideas — are subject to layers of decisions made throughout your organization. As all those variables collide, they shape the horizon.

Chief strategy officers and those responsible for choosing the direction of their organizations are often asked to facilitate “visioning” meetings. This helps teams brainstorm ideas, but it isn’t a substitute for critical thinking about the future. Neither are the one-, three-, or five-year strategic plans that have become a staple within most organizations, though they are useful for addressing short-term operational goals. Deep uncertainty merits deep questions, and the answers aren’t necessarily tied to a fixed date in the future. Where do you want to have impact? What it will take to achieve success? How will the organization evolve to meet challenges on the horizon? These are the kinds of deep, foundational questions that are best addressed with long-term planning.

 

 

The future of work in America — from mckinsey.com by Jacques Bughin,  James Manyika. and Jonathan Woetzel | July 2019

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Local economies across the country have been on diverging trajectories for years, and ***they are entering the automation age from different starting points.*** Our view incorporates the current state of local labor markets as well as the jobs that could be lost and gained in the decade ahead.

 

 

The US labor market looks markedly different today than it did two decades ago. It has been reshaped by dramatic events like the Great Recession but also by a quieter ongoing evolution in the mix and location of jobs. In the decade ahead, the next wave of technology may accelerate the pace of change. Millions of jobs could be phased out even as new ones are created. More broadly, the day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace.

The labor market could become even more polarized. Workers with a high school degree or less are four times as likely as those with a bachelor’s degree to be displaced by automation. Reflecting more limited access to education, Hispanic workers are most at risk of displacement, followed by African Americans. Jobs held by nearly 15 million workers ages 18–34 may be automated, so young people will need new career paths to gain an initial foothold in the working world. Roughly 11.5 million workers over age 50 could also be displaced and face the challenge of making late-career moves. The hollowing out of middle wage work could continue.

The future of work is not just about how many jobs could be lost and gained. Technology is altering the day-to-day mix of activities associated with more and more jobs over time. The occupational mix of the economy is changing, and the demand for skills is changing along with it. Employers will need to manage large-scale workforce transformations that could involve redefining business processes and workforce needs, retraining and moving some people into new roles, and creating programs for continuous learning. This could be an opportunity to upgrade jobs and make them more rewarding. The choices that employers make will ripple through the communities in which they operate.

 

The need for a next gen learning platform is quickly approaching us!
Either that, or colleges and universities better get FAR more
responsive/nimble, and focus FAR more on lifelong learning.
This is not a joke.

This is not just text on a web page.
This is a future that’s barreling
at us at amazingly fast speeds.
A new chapter is coming at us quickly.

 

 

Amazon pledges $700 million to teach its workers to code — from wired.com by Louise Matsakis

Excerpt:

Amazon announced Thursday that it will spend up to $700 million over the next six years retraining 100,000 of its US employees, mostly in technical skills like software engineering and IT support. Amazon is already one of the largest employers in the country, with almost 300,000 workers (and many more contractors) and it’s particularly hungry for more new talent. The company currently has more than 20,000 vacant US roles, over half of which are at its headquarters in Seattle. Meanwhile, the US economy is booming, and there are now more open jobs than there are unemployed people who can fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Against that backdrop, Amazon’s jobs skills efforts provide some reassurance that—in theory at least—you could be retrained into a new role when the robots arrive.

 

From the announcement:

Based on a review of its workforce and analysis of U.S. hiring, Amazon’s fastest growing highly skilled jobs over the last five years include data mapping specialist, data scientist, solutions architect and business analyst, as well as logistics coordinator, process improvement manager and transportation specialist within our customer fulfillment network.

 

Also see:

  • Amazon to Invest $700M to Retrain 100,000 Workers for New Jobs — from pcmag.com by Michael Kan Icon
    ‘There is a greater need for technical skills in the workplace than ever before. Amazon is no exception,’ the company said. The goal is to ‘upskill’ one third of Amazon’s total work force by 2025 through free retraining programs.
 

Reflections on “Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale” [Christian]

Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale — from philonedtech.com by Clay Shirky
[This was a guest post by Clay Shirky that grew out of a conversation that Clay and Phil had about IPEDS enrollment data. Most of the graphs are provided by Phil.]

Excerpts:

Were half a dozen institutions to dominate the online learning landscape with no end to their expansion, or shift what Americans seek in a college degree, that would indeed be one of the greatest transformations in the history of American higher education. The available data, however, casts doubt on that idea.

Though much of the conversation around mega-universities is speculative, we already know what a mega-university actually looks like, one much larger than any university today. It looks like the University of Phoenix, or rather it looked like Phoenix at the beginning of this decade, when it had 470,000 students, the majority of whom took some or all of their classes online. Phoenix back then was six times the size of the next-largest school, Kaplan, with 78,000 students, and nearly five times the size of any university operating today.

From that high-water mark, Phoenix has lost an average of 40,000 students every year of this decade.

 

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate both Clay’s and Phil’s thought leadership and their respective contributions to education and learning through the years. I value their perspectives and their work.  Clay and Phil offer up a great article here — one worth your time to read.  

The article made me reflect on what I’ve been building upon and tracking for the last decade — a next generation ***PLATFORM*** that I believe will represent a powerful piece of a global learning ecosystem. I call this vision, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” Though the artificial intelligence-backed platform that I’m envisioning doesn’t yet fully exist — this new era and type of learning-based platform ARE coming. The emerging signs, technologies, trends — and “fingerprints”of it, if you will — are beginning to develop all over the place.

Such a platform will:

  • Be aimed at the lifelong learner.
  • Offer up major opportunities to stay relevant and up-to-date with one’s skills.
  • Offer access to the program offerings from many organizations — including the mega-universities, but also, from many other organizations that are not nearly as large as the mega-universities.
  • Be reliant upon human teachers, professors, trainers, subject matter experts, but will be backed up by powerful AI-based technologies/tools. For example, AI-based tools will pulse-check the open job descriptions and the needs of business and present the top ___ areas to go into (how long those areas/jobs last is anyone’s guess, given the exponential pace of technological change).

Below are some quotes that I want to comment on:

Not nothing, but not the kind of environment that will produce an educational Amazon either, especially since the top 30 actually shrank by 0.2% a year.

 

Instead of an “Amazon vs. the rest” dynamic, online education is turning into something much more widely adopted, where the biggest schools are simply the upper end of a continuum, not so different from their competitors, and not worth treating as members of a separate category.

 

Since the founding of William and Mary, the country’s second college, higher education in the U.S. hasn’t been a winner-take-all market, and it isn’t one today. We are not entering a world where the largest university operates at outsized scale, we’re leaving that world; 

 

From DSC:
I don’t see us leaving that world at all…but that’s not my main reflection here. Instead, I’m not focusing on how large the mega-universities will become. When I speak of a forthcoming Walmart of Education or Amazon of Education, what I have in mind is a platform…not one particular organization.

Consider that the vast majority of Amazon’s revenues come from products that other organizations produce. They are a platform, if you will. And in the world of platforms (i.e., software), it IS a winner take all market. 

Bill Gates reflects on this as well in this recent article from The Verge:

“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets.

So it’s all about a forthcoming platform — or platforms. (It could be more than one platform. Consider Apple. Consider Microsoft. Consider Google. Consider Facebook.)

But then the question becomes…would a large amount of universities (and other types of organizations) be willing to offer up their courses on a platform? Well, consider what’s ALREADY happening with FutureLearn:

Finally…one more excerpt from Clay’s article:

Eventually the new ideas lose their power to shock, and end up being widely copied. Institutional transformation starts as heresy and ends as a section in the faculty handbook. 

From DSC:
This is a great point. Reminds me of this tweet from Fred Steube (and I added a piece about Western Telegraph):

 

Some things to reflect upon…for sure.

 

What's the future of law?

Excerpts:

There’s no crystal ball for the legal industry, just as there’s none for life. That said, industry trends don’t arise out of the ether — they develop over time. These trends collectively form the basis for estimations about what the future of the legal industry will look like.

These industry insiders have studied the trends, and they lent us their insights into the future of law. Take a look:

 

#AI #legaloperations #legal #lawfirms #lawyers #lawschools #legaltech #disruption #paceofchange

From DSC:
In looking through these perspectives, one can often see the topics of emerging technologies, changing client expectations, and changing business models.

 

Addendum on 7/1/19:

What Does 2019 Hold for Legal AI? — from law.com by Emily Foges
What developments can we expect in the next year? Where and in what new ways will AI tools be deployed?

 Just as accountants no longer imagine life without excel, lawyers will soon be unable to imagine their day-to-day without AI.

Technology should be seen to work seamlessly in tandem with the lawyers, surfacing relevant and pertinent information which the lawyer then decides to act on.

 

 
 

10 things we should all demand from Big Tech right now — from vox.com by Sigal Samuel
We need an algorithmic bill of rights. AI experts helped us write one.

We need an algorithmic bill of rights. AI experts helped us write one.

Excerpts:

  1. Transparency: We have the right to know when an algorithm is making a decision about us, which factors are being considered by the algorithm, and how those factors are being weighted.
  2. Explanation: We have the right to be given explanations about how algorithms affect us in a specific situation, and these explanations should be clear enough that the average person will be able to understand them.
  3. Consent: We have the right to give or refuse consent for any AI application that has a material impact on our lives or uses sensitive data, such as biometric data.
  4. Freedom from bias: We have the right to evidence showing that algorithms have been tested for bias related to race, gender, and other protected characteristics — before they’re rolled out. The algorithms must meet standards of fairness and nondiscrimination and ensure just outcomes. (Inserted comment from DSC: Is this even possible? I hope so, but I have my doubts especially given the enormous lack of diversity within the large tech companies.)
  5. Feedback mechanism: We have the right to exert some degree of control over the way algorithms work.
  6. Portability: We have the right to easily transfer all our data from one provider to another.
  7. Redress: We have the right to seek redress if we believe an algorithmic system has unfairly penalized or harmed us.
  8. Algorithmic literacy: We have the right to free educational resources about algorithmic systems.
  9. Independent oversight: We have the right to expect that an independent oversight body will be appointed to conduct retrospective reviews of algorithmic systems gone wrong. The results of these investigations should be made public.
  10. Federal and global governance: We have the right to robust federal and global governance structures with human rights at their center. Algorithmic systems don’t stop at national borders, and they are increasingly used to decide who gets to cross borders, making international governance crucial.

 

This raises the question: Who should be tasked with enforcing these norms? Government regulators? The tech companies themselves?

 

 

Law’s Looming Skills Crisis — from forbes.com by Mark Cohen

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The good news is that legal professionals have more career paths, lifestyle options, and geographic nimbleness than ever before. The bad news is that relatively few in the industry are prepared to fill the new roles.

A growing list of clients demand transformed legal services. What does that mean? Legal professionals must meld law, technology, and business and apply principles of digital transformation to the legal function. They must be proactive, data-driven, client-centric, and collaborative*. They must appreciate that clients want solutions to business challenges, not legal tomes.

Legal culture responds to the warp speed change—when it does at all– with buzzwords, denial, and self-congratulation. The packed calendar of industry award dinners celebrating pioneers, innovation, diversity, and other self-declared advances belies data exposing law’s dreadful scorecard on diversity, gender pay equality, advancement opportunities for non-white males, and other legal guild cultural holdovers. Then there’s the disconnect between the lawyer and client view of industry performance. Law’s net promoter score lags other professions and almost all industries. Legal culture needs a jolt; client-centricity, the ability to respond rapidly and effectively to new risk factors and challenges, data-driven judgments, and agile workforces are among law’s transformational musts.

Legal culture is slow to embrace data, technology, new delivery models, multidisciplinary practice, regulatory reform, collaboration, diversity, gender pay equality, the distinction between the practice of law and the delivery of legal services, client-centricity, and digital transformation. Law is rooted in precedent; it looks to the past to prepare for the future. That is no longer the world we live in.

 

From DSC:
*And I would add the ability to look into the future, develop some potential scenarios and some responses to those potential scenarios…in other words, practice some methods used in futurism.

I would encourage my colleagues within the legal education world — which includes the American Bar Association (ABA) — but also judges, lawyers, legislators, attorney generals, public defenders, and many others to realize that we need to massively pick up the pace if we are to help tame the wild west of emerging technologies these days!

 

 

 

 

Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist — from er.educause.edu by Marina Gorbis

Excerpt:

In 2018 we celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the founding of the Institute for the Future (IFTF). No other futures organization has survived for this long; we’ve actually survived our own forecasts! In these five decades we learned a lot, and we still believe—even more strongly than before—that systematic thinking about the future is absolutely essential for helping people make better choices today, whether you are an individual or a member of an educational institution or government organization. We view short-termism as the greatest threat not only to organizations but to society as a whole.

In my twenty years at the Institute, I’ve developed five core principles for futures thinking:

  • Forget about predictions.
  • Focus on signals.*
  • Look back to see forward.
  • Uncover patterns.*
  • Create a community.

 

* From DSC:
I have a follow up thought regarding those bullet points about signals and patterns. With today’s exponential pace of technological change, I have asserted for several years now that our students — and all of us really — need to be skilled in pulse-checking the relevant landscapes around us. That’s why I’m a big fan of regularly tapping into — and contributing towards — streams of content. Subscribing to RSS feeds, following organizations and/or individuals on Twitter, connecting with people on LinkedIn, etc. Doing so will help us identify trends, patterns, and the signals that Marina talks about in her article.

It reminds me of the following graphic from January 2017:

 

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