Justice for Some — from theatlantic.com and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Excerpts:

Today in the United States, millions of people like Carol lack access to basic legal resources for a variety of reasons. They forgo legal action because they find the system too overwhelming, for example, or because they perceive it to be too expensive. Many simply do not know when they qualify for legal services in the first place. And it isn’t an issue that affects only the elderly. Middle-class Americans, recent college graduates, first-generation immigrants, and new parents can all experience barriers to accessing the legal resources they need.

This issue affects lawyers, too.

DEFENDANTS FACING JAIL TIME in criminal cases have a constitutional right to be provided an attorney, but many people are surprised to learn there is no equivalent guarantee for individuals in civil cases. Typically, defendants in such cases—including divorces, domestic violence orders, home foreclosures, evictions, wills, and immigration applications—are responsible for attaining their own legal representation. And therein lies the gap.

By one estimate from the Legal Services Corporation1, 86 percent of low-income people with civil legal problems received inadequate or no legal help in the past year. Between 2015 and 2018, roughly 80 percent to 90 percent of domestic relations cases in Philadelphia involved at least one self-represented party. In 2016, 75 percent of low-income rural households experienced a civil legal problem, but only 22 percent sought professional legal help. And in 2017, 90 percent of evicted tenants in New York City never made an appearance in court.

 

“Search results have a huge influence on what people trust,” Hagan says. “If Google tells someone that an answer to their legal question is the number-one hit, people assume that it’s correct, unaware that it may be based on laws in another state. We have seen people click on Australian legal advice even if they’re in California.”

 

“We know the most successful technological solutions to the access-to-justice gap involve collaboration with lawyers, with technologists, with entrepreneurs and, hopefully to an increasing extent, with consumers,” Rodriguez says. “The object of what we’re doing is to improve the ability of lawyers to provide representation, not to supplant their businesses.”

 

The Age of AI: How Will In-house Law Departments Run in 10 Years? — from accdocket.com by Elizabeth Colombo

Excerpt:

2029 may feel far away right now, but all of this makes me wonder what in-house law might look like in 10 years. What will in-house law be like in an age of artificial intelligence (AI)? This article will look at how in-house law may be different in 10 years, focusing largely on anticipated changes to contract review and negotiation, and the workplace.

 

Also see:
A Primer on Using Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession — from jolt.law.harvard.edu by Lauri Donahue (2018)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How Are Lawyers Using AI?
Lawyers are already using AI to do things like reviewing documents during litigation and due diligence, analyzing contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, performing legal research, and predicting case outcomes.


Document Review

Analyzing Contracts

Legal Research

Predicting Results
Lawyers are often called upon to predict the future: If I bring this case, how likely is it that I’ll win — and how much will it cost me? Should I settle this case (or take a plea), or take my chances at trial? More experienced lawyers are often better at making accurate predictions, because they have more years of data to work with.

However, no lawyer has complete knowledge of all the relevant data.

Because AI can access more of the relevant data, it can be better than lawyers at predicting the outcomes of legal disputes and proceedings, and thus helping clients make decisions. For example, a London law firm used data on the outcomes of 600 cases over 12 months to create a model for the viability of personal injury cases. Indeed, trained on 200 years of Supreme Court records, an AI is already better than many human experts at predicting SCOTUS decisions.

 

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. 

 

The Adaptable Organization Series: Part 5: The Ecosystem — from capitalhblog.deloitte.com; posted by Don Miller and Tiffany McDowell

Excerpt:

In an Adaptable Organization, understanding the external environment becomes a continuous activity that fuels constant efforts to evolve the business.

Encouraging people to constantly sense the external environment helps people inside the organization to be open about what they are seeing and how they believe it will impact the organization.

It is a stark contrast to the “set it and forget it” strategy and organizational design that traditionally occurred every three to five years.

Yet this expansive system can easily become misaligned and requires a greater purpose to remain connected.

A shared purpose connects the ecosystem; defines success through the eyes of customers, stakeholders and society; and helps motivate people to succeed. Not only are Adaptable Organizations able to respond quickly to changes, but they also take their role as a social enterprise seriously, moving away from being solely a “business enterprise.” These organizations aim to engage and connect with the hearts and minds of their workers, customers, communities, and societies-at-large. Adaptable Organizations are grounded in social purpose and bring teams on a journey while responding to changes with agility, speed, and ease.

A shared purpose holds the ecosystem together. Direction is given from the shared purpose and not from an organizational hierarchy. By bringing a purpose statement to life and connecting the dots for workers through storytelling and meaningful narratives, workers are more likely to commit to the organization’s strategy and execution.

 


A Financial Crisis — Student Loan Debt — from freedomdebtrelief.com by Micahel Micheletti; with thanks to Aimée Bennett (APR, Principal, Fagan Business Communications, Inc.) for this resource

Key findings

1)  Impact of student loan debt on stress, day-to-day life (college attendees/grads)

  • 67% of respondents said the cost of their college education has caused them to feel overwhelmed.
  • 47% said their college education cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression).
  • 38% said the cost has caused them to lose sleep at night.
  • 49% said the cost of their college education has impacted their choice of where to live.
  • 42% said it impacted their choice of careers or jobs.

2)  Impact of student loan debt on finances (college attendees/grads)

  • 59% respondents said they can’t save any money because of the cost of their college education.
  • 45% said they can’t go on vacation because of college costs.
  • 32% said they are carrying credit card debt because of college costs.
  • 48% said they have been unable to pay off (or down), or have delayed paying off (or down), other types of debt because of the cost of college.
  • 47% have been unable to, or have delayed contributing to, saving for emergencies.
  • 43% believe their college education cost has impacted their retirement age.

3) Willing to make sacrifices to eliminate student loan debt (college attendees/grads)

  • 52% of respondents said they would take a job with a salary less than what they expected if the company paid off their student debt.
  • 27% said they would be willing to commit a maximum of five years to a company if they paid off their student loans; 28% said they would be willing to commit more than five years.

4) Impact of child’s student loan debt on parents

  • 20% of parents said their child’s college education cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression) of their own.
  • 20% of parents said their child’s college education cost has caused them to lose sleep at night.
  • 40% of parents believe their child’s college education cost has impacted their retirement age; 41% said the cost has impacted their overall retirement plan.
  • 42% said they had given up saving for retirement; 42% gave up going on vacation.

 

Additional survey findings

1) Student loan debt reforms

  • 54% of students said they feel that student loan debt should be forgiven by the federal government.
  • 63% of students, and 52% of parents, said they would support expanding student loan forgiveness for those in public service (e.g., teachers, government employees, first responders, military service).
  • 54% of students, and 42% of parents, said they would support free or subsidized tuition for low-income households.
  • 53% of students, and 50% of parents, said they would support tax breaks for companies that offer student-loan repayment programs.

2) Expected length of time to pay off student loan debt

3) Lack of knowledge of loan terms, types – among both college attendees/grads and parents

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 


From DSC:
This type of thing makes me wonder about the future of the legal profession as well. For example, here’s a relevant quote from The Uberization of Legal Technology by Felix Shipkevich:

In an age when there’s an app for everything, whether it’s to book air travel, rent a car, sell products or start a business, there wasn’t an app that could simply and easily connect you with legal counsel. Giving consumers a tool to book free consultations is the future of law, and the heart of attorney business development. 

Consumers have historically had little access to attorneys for a variety of reasons. First, unlike for doctors and mechanics, there is no annual legal checkup (though perhaps there should be). Consumers may be intimidated by not knowing costs upfront or even knowing if they have a case worth discussing. Assuming that every American will have at least three legal questions annually, there’s an untapped market of over a billion potential legal inquiries every year.


 

And by the way, as legal-related matters aren’t taught much in K-16, that’s an interesting idea:

First, unlike for doctors and mechanics, there is no annual legal checkup (though perhaps there should be).

 


 

 

After 40 Years of Constant Change, What’s Next for the Legal Industry?  — from law.com by Dan Packel
Few could have anticipated the dramatic shift in scope and scale the industry has undergone since The American Lawyer’s founding 40 years ago. We asked some of the law’s brightest thinkers what we can expect over the next 10.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology and Upheaval
While it’s easy to conclude that the technological revolution that’s already been unleashed will continue to drive transformation over the next 10 years, it’s harder to pinpoint how.

Expect more and more tasks to become subject to automation—not just contracts and e-discovery but also areas like trademarks and due diligence for mergers, for starters.

Technology and artificial intelligence on their own are noteworthy, but what’s more compelling is the impact they will have on how firms are structured.

“Everything that can be taken out of the hands of subject-matter experts and handed over to the process experts and technologists will be,” says Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Chairman and CEO Mitch Zuklie. “There will be far fewer associates sitting in rooms with documents and more strategic partnerships among law firms and legal tech providers.”

This transition could help chip away at the supremacy of the billable hour.

Not only will technology move up the value chain for litigation, it will also emerge as a greater player on the deal side. Jae Um, director of pricing strategy at Baker McKenzie, expects to see a much greater focus on compliance and regulatory technology in the next five years.

As AI solutions, which depend upon machine learning, are slowly deployed in the marketplace, their efficacy will inevitably grow.

 

How about a little wild speculation to wrap this up?  With more nonlawyer specialists finding professional homes in law firms, it’s a short leap to hybrids between law firms and professional services operations. Imagine consultants and accountants working together with lawyers and technologists to solve clients’ increasingly complex problems. And what about a high-profile merger between a Big Four firm and a global law firm? I wouldn’t rule it out.

 

 

Why GCs Aren’t Buying What Legal Tech Is Selling and Why It Matters for Firms — from law.com by Zach Warren and Gina Passarella Cipriani
Legal technology companies have to get out of their own way in vying for law department adoption, and buyers need to know what they want.

Excerpt:

The legal technology industry has some significant hurdles to overcome in its increased push to sell into legal departments, general counsel say. And GCs admit that they are part of the problem.

On the one hand, technology companies aren’t doing themselves any favors by flooding the market with, at times, dozens of the same offerings, few of which solve specific problems the in-house community has, GCs say. But at the same time, general counsel admit to being distracted, budget-constrained and often unfamiliar with the capabilities of the products they are being pitched.

“It’s overwhelming,” says HUB International chief legal officer John Albright. “There are hundreds of these vendors, and most of them you’ve never heard of.”

As Albright sees it, the legal technology industry is “heavily fragmented,” with vendors selling solutions to a discrete issue that doesn’t necessarily solve the full problem he has or fit into the larger organization’s information systems.

 

Also see:

  • Artificial Intelligence Further Exacerbates Inequality In Discrimination Lawsuits — from forbes.com by Patricia Barnes
    Excerpt:
    The legal system just keeps getting more and more unequal for American workers who are victims of employment discrimination, wage and hour theft, etc. The newest development is that America’s top employers and the law firms that represent them are using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to automate their responses to workers’ legal claims, thereby increasing efficiency while cutting costs.
 

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system — from fastcompany.com by Mike Elgan
In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

In place since 2014, the social credit system is a work in progress that could evolve by next year into a single, nationwide point system for all Chinese citizens, akin to a financial credit score. It aims to punish for transgressions that can include membership in or support for the Falun Gong or Tibetan Buddhism, failure to pay debts, excessive video gaming, criticizing the government, late payments, failing to sweep the sidewalk in front of your store or house, smoking or playing loud music on trains, jaywalking, and other actions deemed illegal or unacceptable by the Chinese government.

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE
Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

 

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy.

 

From DSC:
Who’s to say what gains a citizen points and what subtracts from their score? If one believes a certain thing, is that a plus or a minus? And what might be tied to someone’s score? The ability to obtain food? Medicine/healthcare? Clothing? Social Security payments? Other?

We are giving a huge amount of power to a handful of corporations…trust comes into play…at least for me. Even internally, the big tech co’s seem to be struggling as to the ethical ramifications of what they’re working on (in a variety of areas). 

Is the stage being set for a “Person of Interest” Version 2.0?

 

Mark 2:1-12 (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

 

From DSC:
“…what they were thinking in their hearts” Wow….that wording hasn’t caught my attention the way it just did this morning. It doesn’t refer to thinking as I/we tend to view it — i.e., with our minds — but rather, thinking in our hearts. Hmmm….

 

 

International Legal Tech Conference Breaks Attendance Record — from biglawbusiness.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Law firms are cashing in on blockchain through the growth of practice groups that represent blockchain developers and users. Attorneys are also are considering growing their use of “smart contracts,” which are blockchain based.

In addition to seeking continued growth in its membership and conferences, ILTA in the coming year will be focusing on diversity and inclusion within the legal tech sector, said Rush.

Legal tech investments have skyrocketed from $233 million two years ago to $1.7 billion in 2018, according to figures from the Legal Tech Sector Landscape Report by Tracxn Technologies.

 

Amazon, Microsoft, ‘putting world at risk of killer AI’: study — from news.yahoo.com by Issam Ahmed

Excerpt:

Washington (AFP) – Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among leading tech companies putting the world at risk through killer robot development, according to a report that surveyed major players from the sector about their stance on lethal autonomous weapons.

Dutch NGO Pax ranked 50 companies by three criteria: whether they were developing technology that could be relevant to deadly AI, whether they were working on related military projects, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future.

“Why are companies like Microsoft and Amazon not denying that they’re currently developing these highly controversial weapons, which could decide to kill people without direct human involvement?” said Frank Slijper, lead author of the report published this week.

Addendum on 8/23/19:

 

Autonomous robot deliveries are coming to 100 university campuses in the U.S. — from digitaltrends.com by Luke Dormehl

Excerpt:

Pioneering autonomous delivery robot company Starship Technologies is coming to a whole lot more university campuses around the U.S. The robotics startup announced that it will expand its delivery services to 100 university campuses in the next 24 months, building on its successful fleets at George Mason University and Northern Arizona University.

 

Postmates Gets Go-Ahead to Test Delivery Robot in San Francisco — from interestingengineering.com by Donna Fuscaldo
Postmates was granted permission to test a delivery robot in San Francisco.

 

And add those to ones formerly posted on Learning Ecosystems:

 

From DSC:
I’m grateful for John Muir and for the presidents of the United States who had the vision to set aside land for the national park system. Such parks are precious and provide much needed respite from the hectic pace of everyday life.

Closer to home, I’m grateful for what my parents’ vision was for a place to help bring the families together through the years. A place that’s peaceful, quiet, surrounded by nature and community.

So I wonder what kind of legacy the current generations are beginning to create? That is…do we really want to be known as the generations who created the unchecked chaotic armies of delivery drones, delivery robots, driverless pods, etc. to fill the skies, streets, sidewalks, and more? 

I don’t. That’s not a gift to our kids or grandkids…not at all.

 

 

Gartner: Top Wireless Tech Trends to Watch — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

The research firm identified 10 key wireless trends worth watching as the technology continues to develop over the next five years:

  • Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) wireless. This is the technology that will allow conventional cars, self-driving cars and the road infrastructure to all share information and status data.
  • Wireless sensing. This involves using the absorption and reflection of wireless signals as sensor data for radar tracking purposes. As an example, Gartner pointed to wireless sensing as an indoor radar system for robots and drones.
 

Philippians 2:5-11 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

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