Demystifying Artificial Intelligence (AI) — from legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com
A legal professional’s 7-step guide through the noise

Excerpt:

AI IS NOT ONE THING
AI is not a single technology. Really, it’s a number of different technologies applied in different functions through various applications.

Some examples include:
Natural language processing (NLP), which is behind many AI applications in the legal industry whose work product is, as we know, text-heavy by nature. NLP is used to translate plain-English search terms into legal searches on research platforms such as Thomson Reuters Westlaw, and also to analyze language in documents to make sense of them for ediscovery or due diligence reviews.

Logical AI/inferencing is employed to build decision trees in systems such as TurboTax®. This guides users through questionnaires resulting in legal answers or drafts of legal documents. Human expertise is built into the logical structure of these systems.

This only scratches the surface of the capabilities of AI. All of the functions and technologies identified below are starting to be used in the legal space, sometimes in combination with one another.

Technologies

  • Logical AI/Inferencing
  • Machine Learning
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Robotics
  • Speech
  • Vision

Functions

  • Expertise Automation
  • Image Recognition & Classification
  • Question Answering
  • Robotics
  • Speech (Speech to Text, Text to Speech)
  • Text Analytics (Extraction, Classification)
  • Text Generation
  • Translation

 

 

The meaning of artificial intelligence for legal researchers — from legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com

Excerpt:

Many legal professionals currently use artificial intelligence (AI) in their work, although they may not always realize it. Even among the most tech-savvy attorneys, questions remain as to what AI means for the legal profession today – and in the future.

Three of the most common questions include:

  • What is the definition of AI and how does it differ from other types of technology?
  • How will advances in AI change the way legal professionals work in the future?

And, perhaps most importantly:

  • How do you know when AI technology can be trusted in the legal space?

In this post, Thomson Reuters Westlaw shares answers to these questions based on the perspectives of our experienced attorney-editors and technology experts.

 

 


While the following isn’t necessarily related to AI, it is related to legal education and may be helpful to those who will be trying to pass the Bar Exam:


 

You Can Beat The Bar Exam. Here’s How. — from nationaljurist.com by Maggy Mahalick

Excerpt:

Use All Your Resources
You are not the first person to study for this exam. You are not in this alone. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for everything. Save yourself time and energy by using resources that are already out there for you.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (“NCBE”) has countless free and paid resources on their website alone. They provide a sample of past Multistate Essay Exam (“MEE”) questions, along with the analyses of the correct answers. They also provide a limited number of sample multiple-choice Multistate Bar Exam (“MBE”) questions with the correct answer choices for free. They provide more questions with answer explanations for a fee.

You can also sign up for a bar prep program that uses past retired questions from previous bar exams. The NCBE licenses these questions out to some companies to use instead of simulated questions. Real questions will give you an idea of what the exam will look and feel like.

If you like using flashcards but don’t have the time or patience to make your own, there are several websites that provide online flashcards for you as well as websites that allow you to make your own deck online. For example, AdaptiBar has a set of online flashcards that you can add your own notes to.

 

 

 

 

“How to design business cards people will remember you by” — from canva.com by Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
SoDesigner Sarah Salaverria has tips to breath new life into one of the oldest forms of marketing. Here she offers her best tips for designing business cards that look professional, modern, and memorable.

Excerpts:

  • Placement. Placement is huge – where you put your name on the card. Go bold! Make it big, in an awesome font that takes up the majority of the card.
  • Color. Color is incredibly important in communicating what you do, and how you want people to feel about you. You want colors that stand out, but also tell your story.
  • One unique feature. Choose one unique feature to make your card stand out, whether that’s the shape of the card, or the texture, or a big, loud design.
  • Font. Designers are very picky about fonts.
  • Simplicity. Keep text to a minimum and only cover the absolute ‘need-to-knows’: Name, website, phone number. Your business card has one job – to help people remember you. Don’t ask it to do all of your other marketing for you.

 

 

 

What online teachers have learned from teaching online — from insidehighered.com by Mark Lieberman
Online instructors offer wisdom they’ve gathered — what to do and what not to do — from years of experience teaching in the modality.

Excerpts:

When I first began teaching online, I noticed a disconnect between students and the course content. While I worked to make it relevant to their lives, I often saw students doing the work simply for the grade. Clearly something was not translating. In the last year, I’ve become more focused on helping students connect their passions to the course content. My courses still have objectives. However, I ask students when the semester starts to identify one to three goals and create a short video about what they want to achieve in the course. They reflect on these goals and can modify them at the midpoint and the end. During the semester, I ask students to consider what they are doing during the week to help them meet their goals. They don’t always need to share this information, but having this as a thread in the course helps them stay connected to the content and each other. Students are aware of what their colleagues’ goals are and often reach out and share ideas and resources in support. [Hall]


I also began to see that teaching online could support learner variability better than teaching in a classroom. I observed one student with dyslexia express herself eloquently in video, while her written expressions were fragmented. These experiences illuminated the value of Universal Design for Learning, opening a new world of opportunities for teaching online. [Brock]

I’ve been teaching online since 2008 and entirely online since 2013. When I first started teaching online, I was afraid to create new content or change the course in any way once the course launched. I thought the course curriculum and online environment had to stay “frozen” and intact or I would risk confusing students. Now, I create additional tutorials as needed, using screen-casting tools, videos and podcasts to add additional content to assist students. I have also since learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to online teaching and learning. Some students prefer basic content and straightforward assignments. Other students like to interact with the instructor through instant messaging, email and discussion boards. I started doing optional webinars for students who wanted more interaction and personalized learning, but I don’t require them. I find that the same group of online students in each course (who enjoy interaction) usually attend the webinars. The webinars are recorded for students who couldn’t attend or prefer the recording format.

Over all, I’ve learned to be more laid-back, multimodal (e.g., webinars, podcasts, etc.), proactive and flexible for my students.

Semingson

 

 

There need to be more active learning activities in an online course.

Greenlaw

 


In a typical class, students talk only to the instructor and each other. Resources, questions and information that are created and shared rarely transition to the next course. In true community, all students and instructors within a program could regularly access information and ideas in a shared space regardless of the content they are currently learning. [Hall]

There are numerous tools and strategies for interacting with students, like web-conferencing platforms, course audio and video tools, and collaborative tools that allow for synchronous or asynchronous interaction. There are simply more ways to communicate, to collaborate and to create. [Hobgood]

Insert from DSC:
Re: this last quote from Hobgood, I love this idea of creating an online-based community of practice — or community of inquiry — that spans across classes and semesters. Great call!

 

Efforts to improve student access to online courses are key, but we also know that equity gaps get worse when minority students learn online. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Relationships are at the core of meaningful college experiences and they’re particularly important to underserved students who are more likely to doubt their academic abilities. Underserved online students need the presence of an engaged instructor. If you teach online, your human presence matters. This has been my greatest takeaway from 15 years of teaching online and, perhaps, more striking is that this point still seems revolutionary to so many.

Pacansky-Brock

 

 

 

Addendum:
7 Steps to Better Online Teaching — from chronicle.com by Esther C. Kim

Excerpt:

Provide suggestions for a strong classroom climate. At the start of the semester, I offer ways for students to stay engaged in an online classroom environment, and I explain the importance of remaining on camera and on audio. Without a proper explanation, students mistakenly think that they can multitask during live class sessions. Among the tips I offer them:

  • Refrain from opening email, texting, or browsing the web.
  • Choose a space where you don’t encounter distractions, which could include family members, laundry, dirty dishes, or a busy street outside your window.
  • Avoid sitting on a comfortable couch or bed.
  • Pay close attention to peers’ comments and ask yourself if you agree or disagree, and why. Add to the dialogue by sharing your thoughts.
  • Avoid taking class from coffee shops or other public spaces. The background noise can create a distraction both for you and for the entire class. Also, internet connections may be inconsistent in public spaces.

Don’t use the chat box when you can speak instead. On my university’s platform, there’s a chat box in which students can type messages in real time. This could be a useful tool if used properly. But I often find it difficult to simultaneously read the chat box while listening to a student who’s speaking. The same goes for when I am speaking and someone is typing comments or questions in the chat box. If there’s a robust dialogue happening among a few of the students and others want to interject, they can place their comments in the chat box. Otherwise, I ask that they take advantage of the face-to-face online time by verbalizing their questions or comments.

From DSC:
Esther’s point on how difficult it is to both read/respond to the chat area while also trying to listen to someone else speaking is a great example of cognitive load — and it being overwhelmed with too much information to process at one time.

 

 

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning— by Peter C. Brown, Henry L Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel

Some of the key points and learning strategies they mention in the preface:

  • The most effective learning strategies are not intuitive
  • Spaced repetition of key ideas and the interleaving of different but related topics are two excellent teaching/learning strategies

 

“This is a book about what people can do for themselves right now in order to learn better and remember longer. The responsibility for learning rests with every individual.”

 

 

Some the key points and learning strategies they mention in the first chapter:

  • When they talk about learning they mean acquiring knowledge and skills and having them readily available from memory so you can make sense of future problems and opportunities.
  • There are some immutable aspects of learning that we can probably all agree on:
    1. To be useful, learning requires memory, so what we’ve learned is till there later when we need it.
    2. We need to keep learning and remembering all our lives.
    3. Learning is an acquired skill and most effective strategies are counterintuitive
  • Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful
  • We are poor judges of when we are learning well and when we’re not
  • Rereading text and massed practice (i.e., cramming) of a skill or new knowledge are by far the preferred study strategies of learners of all stripes, but they”re also among the least productive. Rereading and cramming give rise to feeling of fluency that are taken to be signs of mastery, but for true mastery or durability these strategies are largely a waste of time.
  • Retrieval practice — recalling facts or concepts or events from memory — is a more effective learning strategy than reviewing by rereading
    • Flashcards are a simple example
    • Retrieval strengthens the memory and interrupts forgetting
    • A single simple quiz after reading a text or hearing a lecture produces better learning and remembering that rereading the text of reviewing lecture notes.
  • Periodic practice arrest forgetting, strengthens retrieval routes, and is essential for hanging onto the knowledge you want to gain.
  • Space out practice and interleave the practice of 2 or more subjects, retrieval is harder and feels less productive, but the effort produces longer lasting learning and enables more versatile application of it in later settings.
  • Trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution leads to better learning, even when errors are made in the attempt.
  • Learning styles are not supported by the empirical research.
  • When you’re adept at extracting the underlying principles or “rules” that differentiate types of problems, you’re more successful at picking the right solutions in unfamiliar situations. This skill is better acquired through interleaved and varied practice than massed practice.
  • In virtually all areas of learning, you build better mastery when you use testing as a tool to identify and bring up your areas of weakness.
  • All learning requires a foundation of prior knowledge.

 

If you practice elaboration, there’s no known limit to how much you can learn. Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words and connecting it with what you already know. The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.***

 

“When learning is hard, you’re doing important work.”

 

“Making mistakes and correcting them builds the bridges to advanced learning.”

 

Learning is stronger when it matters.^^^

 

  • One of the most striking research findings is the power of active retrieval — testing — to strengthen memory, and the more effortful the retrieval, the stronger the benefit.
  • The act of retrieving learning from memory has 2 profound benefits:
    1. It tells you what you know and don’t know, and therefore where to focus further study
    2. Recalling what you have learned causes your bring to reconsolidate the memory
  • To learn better and remember longer, [use]:
    • various forms of retrieval practice, such as low-stakes quizzing and self-testing
    • spacing out practice
    • interleaving the practice of different but related topics or skills
    • trying to solve a problem before being taught the solution
    • and distilling the underlying principles or rules that differentiate types of problems

 

One of the best habits a learner can instill in herself is regular self-quizzing to recalibrate her understanding of what she does and does not know. 

 

Brown, P. C., Roediger III, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014).
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learning/dp/0674729013

 

 

*** This quote reminds me of what turned Quin Schultze’ learning around. With Quin’s permission, the following excerpt is from Quentin Schultze’s solid book, Communicate like a True Leader (pages 35 & 36)

 

 

 

During the beginning of my sophomore year, I started reviewing each day’s class notes after classes were over. I soon realized how little I recalled even of that day’s lectures and discussions. It dawned on me that normal note-taking merely gave me the impression that I was learning. I implemented a strategy that revolutionized my learning, launched me successfully into graduate school, helped me become a solid teacher, equipped me to be a productive researcher-writer, and made it possible for me to be an engaging speaker.

I not only reviewed my notes daily. I rewrote them from scratch within a couple of hours of each class meeting. I used my actual course notes as prompts to recall more of the lecture and to help me organize my own reactions to the material. My notes expanded. My retention swelled.

My revised notes became a kind of journal of my dialogue with the instructor and the readings. I integrated into my revised course notes my daily reading notes, reworking them into language that was meaningful to me and preparing to ask the instructor at the next class anything that I was uncertain about. From then on I earned nearly straight A’s with far less cramming for exams.

Moreover, I had begun journaling about my learning — one of the most important communication skills. I became a real learner by discovering how to pay attention to others and myself.

In a broad sense, I learned how to listen.

 

^^^ This quote explains why it is so important to answer the first question a learner asks when approaching a new lesson/topic/lecture/etc.:

  • Why is this topic relevant?
    i.e., why is this topic important and worthy of my time to learn it?

 

 

The Law Firm Disrupted: Walmart Won’t Pay You to Cut and Paste — from law.com by Roy Strom
The world’s largest retailer, locked in a battle over the future of its business, has developed a tool to help make its many outside lawyers more efficient.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Earlier this week, Walmart Inc. announced it would be rolling out 500 more giant vending machines in its stores to deliver online orders in seconds. The tool is designed to compete with online delivery services from Amazon.com Inc.

The world’s largest retailer also announced this week a tool that will compete (in some sense) with its outside counsel. Walmart has licensed a product from LegalMation that automatically drafts responses and initial discovery requests for employment and slip-and-fall suits filed in California. By this fall, the product should cover those cases in all 50 states.

LegalMation says it takes under two minutes to drag and drop a PDF of a suit into its product and receive a response to that case, in addition to a set of targeted requests for documents, form interrogatories and special interrogatories. That work has traditionally been handled by junior lawyers at Walmart’s outside firms, and LegalMation claims it can take them up to 10 hours to do. The savings on preparing an answer to these complaints is as much as 80 percent, LegalMation said.

“You’re still reviewing the outcome and reviewing the affirmative defenses,” said LegalMation co-founder Thomas Suh, a longtime legal technology advocate. “You’re eliminating the brainless cutting and pasting.”

 

About six months after the Harvard program, Lee and Suh had drilled down on where to apply AI, and they teamed up with IBM’s Watson to build their product. They also had to develop their own neural network that they said is the “secret sauce” to LegalMation’s ability to parse legalese.  “We would not be able to do this without an AI engine like Watson, and likewise I don’t think a product like this would be doable without our neural network,” Lee said.

 

 

Also see:

 

Also see:

Automation in the Legal Industry: How Will It Affect Recent Law School Grads? — from nationaljurist.com by Martin Pritikin

Excerpt:

A 2017 study by McKinsey Global Institute found that roughly half of all work activities globally have the potential to be automated by technology. A follow-on study (also from McKinsey in 2017) concluded that up to one-third of work activities could be displaced by 2030. What, if any, impacts do these eye-popping findings have on the future on the legal profession, especially for recent law school graduates embarking on their careers?

Recently, it was announced that ROSS, a legal research artificial intelligence platform powered in part by IBM’s Watson technology, was unveiling a new product, EVA, which will not only find applicable cases, but quality check case citations and history. As usual, this latest development has gotten people worried that human lawyers—and, in particular, recent law grads who have traditionally been tasked with legal research—may be on a path to extinction.

Obviously, no one can predict the future with certainty. But if history is any guide, these new technological developments will shift the type of work new lawyers are expected to do, but won’t necessarily eliminate it.

We may not be facing a future without lawyers. But it is going to be a future that requires lawyers to learn how to utilize technology effectively to serve their clients—something we should all welcome, not fear.

 

College of Law Announces the Launch of the Nation’s First Live Online J.D. Program — from law.syr.edu

Excerpt:

The American Bar Association has granted the Syracuse University College of Law a variance to offer a fully interactive online juris doctor program. The online J.D. program will be the first in the nation to combine real-time and self-paced online classes, on-campus residential classes, and experiential learning opportunities.


The online J.D. was subject to intense scrutiny and review by legal education experts before the College was granted the variance. Students in the online program will be taught by College of Law faculty, will be held to the same high admission and academic standards as students in the College’s residential program, and will take all courses required by its residential J.D. program.

 

Also see:

 

 

From DSC:
This application looks to be very well done and thought out! Wow!

Check out the video entitled “Interactive Ink – Enables digital handwriting — and you may also wonder whether this could be a great medium/method of having to “write things down” for better information processing in our minds, while also producing digital work for easier distribution and sharing!

Wow!  Talk about solid user experience design and interface design! Nicely done.

 

 

Below is an excerpt of the information from Bella Pietsch from anthonyBarnum Public Relations

Imagine a world where users interact with their digital devices seamlessly, and don’t suffer from lag and delayed response time. I work with MyScript, a company whose Interactive Ink tech creates that world of seamless handwritten interactivity by combining the flexibility of pen and paper with the power and productivity of digital processing.

According to a recent forecast, the global handwriting recognition market is valued at a trillion-plus dollars and is expected to grow at an almost 16 percent compound annual growth rate by 2025. To add additional context, the new affordable iPad with stylus support was just released, allowing users to work with the $99 Apple Pencil, which was previously only supported by the iPad Pro.

Check out the demo of Interactive Ink using an Apple Pencil, Microsoft Surface Pen, Samsung S Pen or Google Pixelbook Pen here.

Interactive Ink’s proficiencies are the future of writing and equating. Developed by MyScript Labs, Interactive Ink is a form of digital ink technology which allows ink editing via simple gestures and providing device reflow flexibility. Interactive Ink relies on real-time predictive handwriting recognition, driven by artificial intelligence and neural network architectures.

 

 

 

 

Better Brainstorming — from hbr.org by Hal Gregersen

Excerpt:

Brainstorming for questions, not answers, wasn’t something I’d tried before.

Underlying the approach is a broader recognition that fresh questions often beget novel—even transformative—insights. Consider this example from the field of psychology: Before 1998 virtually all well-trained psychologists focused on attacking the roots of mental disorders and deficits, on the assumption that well-being came down to the absence of those negative conditions. But then Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association, and he reframed things for his colleagues. What if, he asked in a speech at the APA’s annual meeting, well-being is just as driven by the presence of certain positive conditions—keys to flourishing that could be recognized, measured, and cultivated? With that question, the positive psychology movement was born.

Brainstorming for questions rather than answers makes it easier to push past cognitive biases and venture into uncharted territory.


The methodology I’ve developed is essentially a process for recasting problems in valuable new ways. It helps people adopt a more creative habit of thinking and, when they’re looking for breakthroughs, gives them a sense of control. There’s actually something they can do other than sit and wait for a bolt from the blue. Here, I’ll describe how and why this approach works. You can use it anytime you (in a group or individually) are feeling stuck or trying to imagine new possibilities. And if you make it a regular practice in your organization, it can foster a stronger culture of collective problem solving and truth seeking.

 

 

 

AI Helps Figure Out Where Students Go Wrong on Math Problems — from steamuniverse.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Researchers at Cornell University are working on software that will help math teachers understand what their students were thinking that led them to finding incorrect answers.

Erik Andersen, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell, said that teachers spend a lot of time grading math homework because grading is more complicated than just marking an answer as right or wrong.

“What the teachers are spending a lot of time doing is assigning partial credit and working individually to figure out what students are doing wrong,” Andersen said in a prepared statement. “We envision a future in which educators spend less time trying to reconstruct what their students are thinking and more time working directly with their students.”

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Six ingredients for the successful virtual classroom — from clive-shepherd.blogspot.com by Clive Shepherd

Excerpts:

1. Hook your learners in
2. Use radio techniques to engage with sound
3. Illuminate your ideas with imagery
4. Put your ideas into context using demonstrations, examples, cases and stories
5. Take advantage of the fact you’re live – get interactive

If you’re not going to interact with your audience, there’s absolutely no point in running a live session. If you want to present a large body of content, why not do this in advance in text, as a video or a podcast? Reserve a live session for things you cannot do any other way. Virtual classrooms provide lots of possibilities for interactivity, so use them constantly.

6. Bridge to the next step

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the article entitled, “Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper,” I began to wonder…might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule & provide practice tests & distributed practice on content? In the future, will there be “learning bots” that a learner can employ to do such self-testing and/or distributed practice?

 

 

From page 45 of the PDF available here:

 

Might Alexa be a tool to periodically schedule/provide practice tests & distributed practice on content?

 

 

 

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