The Artificial Lawyer Guide to Legal Tech – Autumn 2022 — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

It’s been a wild ride the last couple of years, but what should we be looking out for as we move into the Autumn of 2022? Here are some thoughts from Artificial Lawyer.

 

Bridget McCormick, Michigan Chief Justice Who Has Championed Access-to-Justice Initiatives, Named President of AAA — from legaltechmonitor.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

Bridget M. McCormack, who, as chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, has been a leading voice on modernizing the court and justice systems to expand access to justice, is retiring from the court at the end of this year and in February will become president and chief executive officer of the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR).

In recent years, McCormack has become a leading champion of initiatives to enhance access to justice, both within Michigan and nationally.

 

ABA cleans up accreditation rules surrounding distance education for law schools — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke

Dive Brief (emphasis DSC):

  • Recent amendments to American Bar Association accreditation standards addressed definitions of distance education, but Leo Martinez, immediate past chair of the ABA Council for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, says the resolution won’t change much for law schools without waivers allowing them to conduct extra distance education.
  • The changes, made at the ABA’s annual meeting in August, were meant to clarify language in accreditation standards.
  • The ABA, which serves as the accreditor for 199 law schools and programs, requires waivers for institutions that want to offer more than one-third of J.D. program credits online. But it remains interested in reviewing distance education.

From DSC:
For an industry in the 21st century whose main accreditation/governance body for law schools still won’t let more online learning occur without waivers…

…how can our nation expect future lawyers and law firms to be effective in an increasingly tech-enabled world?

Here’s the pace of change in the world today:

The exponential pace of change is like warp speed for the U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek) or the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars).

Yet here’s the pace that the American Bar Association (@ABAesq) has been taking — and continues to take — at least in the area of supporting online-based learning as well as in developing sandboxes/new methods of improving access to justice (#A2J):

.

It’s high time the ABA did their research re: online-based learning and majorly picked up their pace. Undergraduate online-based education started back in the late 1990’s for crying out loud! (And the number of students taking one or more of their courses completely online has been increasing ever since that time.)

Plus, many law school students are adults who have jobs as well as families. They often don’t have the time nor the money to travel to campuses in order to take part in something that they could have easily accomplished online.

It’s also appropriate to recognize here that the current learning ecosystems out there continue to move more towards hybrid/blended learning models as well as a hyflex model. 

The ABA is not serving law school students nor our citizenry well at all in this regard.

 

The Finalists of the American Legal Technology Awards Are…! — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

After receiving 225 submissions across eight categories, the American Legal Technology Awards have today announced the lucky finalists. They include a wide range of companies and individuals, ranging from judges, to law firms, to startups and larger legal tech businesses. So, without further ado, here are the finalists in the table below, with three finalists in each category.

Looking For Trouble And Finding It: The ABA Resolution To Condemn Non-Lawyer Ownership — from professionalresponsibility.fkks.com by Ron Minkoff

Excerpt:

At the ABA Annual Meeting last week, the Illinois State Bar Association (“ISBA”), the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”), and several ABA entities sponsored Local Resolution 402 (hereafter, the “ISBA Resolution”) in an effort to stop the entire ABA – if not the entire American legal profession – from permitting non-lawyer ownership of law firms, in any form.  The ISBA Resolution read as follows:

Teaching (and Pressuring) Law Professors to Teach Technology – Katie Brown (TGIR Ep. 171) — from legaltechmonitor.com by

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In her view, law professors “are required to educate people so that they can go out into the practice and successfully do that. And so beyond just, rule 1.1 with legal technology and having that competency, for us as law schools, I think we have an ethical obligation to be teaching legal technology.” This approach needs to be embedded into the Law School’s culture, because it costs money, time, and effort to do correctly.

From DSC:
Agree. I completely agree.

Understanding The Justice Gap — from medium.com by Kevin Golembiewski

Excerpt:

The law is a language. Pleading, cause of action, discovery, hearsay, res judicata, statute of limitations, civil procedure. To understand and protect your legal rights, you must learn this language and the complex rules that govern it. Or you must find an interpreter — that is, a lawyer. No different than if you were in a foreign country without an interpreter, if you have a legal problem but no lawyer, you cannot advocate for yourself.

That is the reality for millions of low-income Americans, according to a recent study by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). About 50 million Americans have household incomes below 125% of the poverty threshold, and 92% of them do not have any, or enough, legal help for their civil legal issues — issues that range from eviction to domestic violence to disability benefits. Those Americans are stranded in the land of the law without an interpreter.

Litera releases The Changing Lawyer Report 2022 at ILTACON — from legalitprofessionals.com

Key takeaways

The five trends to watch, with some representative data points from the report include:

  1. Allied professionals (process managers, technologists, data analysts, etc.) play a more significant role in supporting law firms and lawyers and enhancing legal service delivery. 83% of lawyers believe that allied professionals make their job easier.
  2. Automation is everywhere, as law firms turn to AI and other technologies to enhance the speed and accuracy of legal processes across all practice areas. 91% of lawyers expect AI-based document review to become a standard part of most M&A due diligence processes.
  3. Technology and data improve client service delivery by providing real-time insights about law firm performance, pricing and budgeting, and work allocation. 78% of lawyers agree that technology helps them offer a better client experience.
  4. Cloud-based solutions are taking over, driven partly by the obvious need for remote and blended workplace access to law firm applications that arose during the pandemic. Leading types of cloud applications that have been moved to the cloud include financial and practice management (64% of firms), document management (53%), portals and intranets (35%), and business intelligence platforms (31%).
  5. Changing work expectations are a significant driver of technology adoption when lawyer recruitment and retention are challenges for law firms. A new generation of lawyers sees technology as a path to better work/life balance. 53% of lawyers ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ with the statement technology makes my job more enjoyable.
 

Increasing Access to Justice — from law.upenn.edu

Excerpt:

By his second year of law school, Willis had created the idea for the Fellowship and, with the support of several key partners, was able to launch the program and begin to pursue the mission of connecting people dedicated to using innovative ideas to expand access to the justice system.

To ensure that the program remained truly inclusive and diverse, Willis has prioritized building relationships with law student affinity groups at different schools across the country. Having personally served on the board for the National Black Law Students Association, Willis knows the value of those personal connections and prioritizes promoting equity within the access to justice technology space.

“The goal really is to try to build community around this group of innovators who will address these structural issues within our legal system to really improve services for the most vulnerable populations and communities,” Willis said. “There’s always more work to be done, but I’m really proud of the changemakers who have come through the program and who are really making a name for themselves and working on important impact work.”

Also relevant/see:

As States Toy With Reform, Legal Tech Cos. Fill Justice Gap — from law360.com by Sarah Martinson; with thanks to Penn Law Future of the Profession Initiative

Excerpt:

More than 100 legal technology companies have formed in the last 10 years to provide legal assistance to millions of Americans who can’t afford an attorney, helping to bridge a gap in access to justice, while less than a handful of states have taken action to expand the practice of law.

According to the Legal Services Corporation’s 2022 Justice Gap Study, low-income Americans do not get adequate legal help for 92% of their substantial civil legal problems and the cost of legal assistance is a barrier.

 

Lawyers trying to strangle alternative legal advice — from calmatters.org by Dan Walters
“Scope of practice” conflicts are common in the California Legislature and one is a bill that would forbid the State Bar from exploring alternative legal services.

Excerpt:

There is, however, a darker side to California’s licensing system. It gives licensees monopolies over specific services defined by the Legislature.

Therefore, who is legally authorized to provide what service is ultimately as much a political issue as one of professional competency. No session of the Legislature is complete without at least one “scope of practice” battle.

Also relevant/see:

ABA Sides Against Opening Law Firms Up to New Competition — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The American Bar Association is pouring cold water on efforts to loosen restrictions on who can own law firms, including moves that could open firms up to new competition from corporations.

The group’s House of Delegates on Tuesday passed a non-binding resolution discouraging changes to state rules barring the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers. But it also encouraged state bar groups to explore innovations designed to increase access to justice by making legal services more affordable.

“By reaffirming our core value of independence of the legal profession and the prohibition against nonlawyer ownership, the ABA House’s action today is a huge victory for all lawyers,” said Foley Hoag partner Stephen Younger, a previous president of the New York State Bar Association.

From DSC:
Yes…that emphasized part of the last paragraph seems to say it all. A victory for lawyers, but not a victory for the American people. Not for those who are trying to access the legal system. Not for those who are fighting to provide more access to justice.


Addendums on 8/13/22:

***

And it’s not just in the United States either:

***

How Did Legal Services Get So Unaffordable, and What Are We Going to Do About It? — from chicagobarfoundation.org

Excerpt:

Over the past 50 years, we gradually have gone from a time in our country where the average middle-class person or small business generally could find affordable legal services when they needed them to a time today where everyday people struggle to afford legal help and lawyers often joke that they could not afford their own services if the need arose.

 

America’s Lawyerless Courts — from americanbar.org by Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, and Alyx Mark

Excerpt:

Our research reveals an unavoidable truth: The civil justice system is broken in state civil courts. There is a massive disconnect between what courts were designed to do—solve legal disputes through lawyer-driven, adversarial litigation—and what these courts are asked to do today—help people without lawyers navigate complex social, economic and interpersonal challenges, most of which are deeply tied to structural inequality. As one judge we observed told a courtroom full of litigants, “This courtroom is like the emergency room.”

Five key findings from our work highlight the scope and nature of the crisis: State civil courts are primarily lawyerless, traditional adversary litigation has largely disappeared, the judicial role is not working, the law is not developing, and people’s court experiences amplify inequality and human suffering.

 

How will the Metaverse Influence Business and Legal Processes? — from jdsupra.com

Excerpt:

While some will be hesitant to use the metaverse and adoption is difficult to predict, it is not going away and will undoubtedly affect internal processes, business dealings, case strategy, and more. Organizations should start thinking about the possibilities now to be better prepared for future challenges. Below are some predictions on how the metaverse will influence operations, strategy, and investments across different areas of the enterprise.

Lawyers & the Metaverse — from joetechnologist.com by Elizabeth Beattie and Joseph Raczynski

Excerpt:

In a new Q&A interview, Thomson Reuters’ technologist and futurist Joseph Raczynski offers his insight about the Metaverse and how it will impact the legal industry.

I have likely spoken to thousands of lawyers over the last several years. They are extraordinarily bright, but with one limiting factor — their dedication to their craft. This means that they do not have the time to lift their heads to see what is coming. All these emerging technologies will impact their practices in some way, as well as the business of law. At a minimum, lawyers need the opportunity to focus on the big four: AI, blockchain, workflow, and the grab bag of general emerging technology. There are a multitude of places to learn about these things, but I would include some of the classics such as Google Alerts, Twitter threads on these topics, and magazines like Wired, which should be a staple for everyone.

These legal issues should be on college business officers’ radars — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
A panel at the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ annual meeting covered legal questions spanning many offices on campus.

Let’s not presume that virtual hearings are the best solution in family law — from canadianlawyermag.com by John Silvester

Excerpts:

Proponents argue that virtual hearings are less expensive for clients, leading to enhanced access to justice for those who cannot afford to pay for their lawyers to travel to a courthouse and then sit and wait for hearings to commence. Sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast.

Virtual hearings are advantageous in some scenarios, but there are at least three reasons why moving to an almost entirely virtual legal world may prove problematic.

LawNext Podcast: CALI Executive Director John Mayer on Using Tech to Advance Legal Education and Access to Justice — from lawnext.com by Bob Ambrogi and John Mayer

Excerpt:

In this episode of LawNext, Mayer joins host Bob Ambrogi to discuss the history and mission of CALI and to share his thoughts on the use of technology to enhance legal education. They also talk about how and why A2J Author was developed and how it is used by courts and legal services organizations to help those who are without legal representation. Mayer also shares his thoughts on the future of innovation in law and on the future of CALI.

Louisiana Approves Virtual Custody Services and Proposes Virtual Currency Business Licensing Rules — from natlawreview.com by Moorari Shah and A.J. S. Dhaliwal

Excerpt:

Recently, the Louisiana lawmakers and regulators have taken steps to legalize operations in the state involving virtual currencies. On June 15, the Louisiana governor signed a bill that, effective August 1, 2022, will allow financial institutions and trust companies to provide virtual currency custody services to their customers as long as they satisfy certain requirements on risk-management and compliance. On June 20, the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions (OFI) published proposed rules on licensing and regulation of virtual currency businesses in the state pursuant to the Louisiana Virtual Currency Business Act, which went into effect on August 1, 2020.

 

Criminal Justice Algorithm Predicts Risk of Biased Sentencing — from courttechbulletin.blogspot.com

Excerpt:

A new algorithm aims to assess the likelihood of defendants being treated unfairly in court.

The tool considers details that ought to be immaterial to the ruling — such as the judge’s and defendant’s gender and race — and then predicts how likely the judge is to award an unusually long sentence. This can suggest when socio-demographic details may be swaying judgments, resulting in especially punitive treatments.

 

5 reasons why legal tech matters — from lawyer-monthly.com by Colin Bohanna

Excerpt:

5. Technology can improve access to justice
Using technology can help to increase access to justice in a number of ways. The increased adoption of videoconferencing technology seen during the pandemic has had a positive impact on those who have traditionally struggled to access legal services. That includes those living in rural areas, who may not live in proximity to a lawyer qualified to deal with their specific matter; those working in precarious situations that may not enable them to travel to meet a lawyer or who may have family- or elder-care responsibilities; and people with disabilities who may have mobility issues that make travel difficult.

Tech can also play an essential role in the support of legal aid. We know there’s a perception that the level of paperwork, admin, and invoicing requirements means the burden of conducting legal aid is high. As Clio is committed to transforming the legal industry, we offer a legal aid solution as part of our practice management software at no extra cost in order to increase access to justice, for all. It helps to cut legal aid processes drastically so that legal aid providers can focus on their client work and make legal aid work more financially viable.

Also relevant/see:

Top 10 Legal Operations Trends in 2022. — from jdsupra.com

Key legal operations trends for 2022

1. Growing legal operations teams
2. Formalizing the legal operations function
3. Implementing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) program
4. Finding new ways to improve processes
5. Insourcing more work
6. Strengthening vendor management
7. Expanding the use of data analytics tools
8. Increasing technology investments
9. Strengthening the law department’s technology acumen
10. Improving data security

 

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

 

Only 37% of Lawyers are Satisfied with their Firm’s Technology — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

A new survey has found that only 36.7% of lawyers are satisfied with the tech tools on offer at their firms, and with only 37.1% saying that they had used a new product at their law firm in the last six months. So, they’re not too happy with what they’ve got, while most firms are not bringing in anything much that is new either.


Mat Rotenberg, CEO of Dashboard Legal, the company that conducted the survey, told Artificial Lawyer that a key factor here is the retention of talent, i.e. that underinvesting in tech that removed drudgery would inevitably contribute to lawyer attrition.

‘This survey raises the question of whether firms are doing what they can to retain top talent. It appears that partners are not asking associates what they want to make their lives better.’

He noted that the survey data also showed that although lawyers were not that pleased with what was on offer, they did indeed value tech solutions and believed they could help.

 

Animated Series: What’s Up with the Metaverse — from joetechnologist.com by Joseph Raczynski with creative by Elise Harmening, Esq.

Video description (emphasis DSC):

What’s Up with the Metaverse, published on June 2, 2022, was written by Joseph Raczynski of Thomas Reuters, a member of the Governing Council for the Center for Innovation, and created by Elise Harmening, Esq., Project Specialist Manager at the Center for Innovation. Innovation and You is a production by The American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation to help lawyers and our members think about innovative legal technology and practices as the legal landscape continues to change. Join the conversation on Twitter @ABAInnovation.

 

Also see:

Animated Series: What is an API? — from joetechnologist.com by Joseph Raczynski with creative by Elise Harmening, Esq.

 

Remote court transcription technology enables virtual court appearances — from abajournal.com by Nicole Black

Excerpts:

That’s why it’s imperative to make certain remote options are available for all aspects of legal work since doing so is the only way to guarantee the justice system doesn’t come to a grinding halt. One way to prevent that is to take advantage of the virtual deposition transcription tools I discussed in last month’s column. In that article, I provided an overview of virtual deposition transcription products and services that rely on videoconferencing tools and software platforms to facilitate remote depositions.

Another way business continuity has been maintained since March 2020 is via virtual court proceedings. Remote court appearances are now more common since courts periodically shifted to partial or fully remote operations throughout the pandemic. Many judges have become accustomed to and appreciate the convenience of virtual court proceedings, and many expect them to continue even after the pandemic ends.

Because all signs point to the continuation of virtual court proceedings, I promised in last month’s article that I would focus on remote court proceeding options in this column. These include software platforms and artificial intelligence language-processing tools that facilitate remote court proceedings.

Nicole’s article mentioned the following vendor/product:

Live Litigation -- Remote Solutions for Attending and Participating in Depositions, Trials, Hearings, Arbitrations, Mediations, Witness Prep, and more.

 

Seeing the possibilities, I finally took a chance. I studied English, political science and finite math, and each class I passed deepened my confidence and self-love.

This growing self-love was key to my academic development. Growing up, I didn’t experience much real love, outside of my mother and a few family members. I most often encountered the kind of false love expressed through violence and monetary possessions. College changed the way I thought about myself and others. I worked hand-in-hand with men from all backgrounds to complete assignments, and even taught other students. Before I knew it, I was getting A’s on my essays and solving quadratic equations in math class.

When people question why it’s important to educate prisoners, I remind them that to see change, we must support change. We must give individuals the opportunity to see themselves as more than the harm they’ve caused, more than what was once broken within them.

Christopher Blackwell

Also relevant/see:

Calvin University's Prison Initiative

 

University Behind Bars

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian