Imagine the future of law, legal technology and new law jobs — from canadianlawyermag.com by Monica Goyal
The year is 2025. The legal system was transformed by COVID-19 and the profession reflects that

Excerpt:

The question for all of us is what happens next? Some say lawyers will go back to their offices and things will operate as they did pre-pandemic. But what about the massive changes to global business and the impact of digitization on the profession? How will this new cyber-efficiency influence future legal jobs? Consider three different kinds of lawyers in the year 2025:

 

 
 

The Legal Tech Non-Event — from Above the Law with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for the resource from his Lawtomatic Newsletter

Excerpt:

Welcome to Above the Law’s Non-Event – a legal technology resource for perplexed lawyers who hate trade shows. With the Non-Event, we’re bringing the technology conversation to lawyers directly: in plain English and geared to meet a fully booked schedule. With any luck, it will even be “fun.”

The Legal Tech Non-Event -- from Above the Law

 

Utah Supreme Court to extend regulatory sandbox to seven years  — from utahinnovationoffice.org

U.S. Supreme Court Wary About Extending School Authority Over Student Internet Speech— from edweek.org

Excerpt:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday spent nearly two hours wrestling with its first case about schools’ regulation of student speech in the Internet era. The justices seemed to be searching for a way to rule as narrowly as possible while protecting young people’s right of self-expression, yet giving schools leeway to respond to threats and bullying that originate off campus.

“That sharp line … between on campus and off campus, how does that fit with modern technology?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked during arguments in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. (Case No. 20-255).

Also see:

“The legal industry is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, and legal teams are starting to recognize the robust potential that cloud-based technology has for collaborative litigation to discover the needle-in-a-haystack pieces of information needed to argue and win cases,” said Everlaw CEO AJ Shankar.

 

 

Unbundled law firms find success offering virtual legal services — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran; with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Law Shop by Skogerson McGinn in Van Meter, Iowa, provides unbundled legal services, which means it helps clients with specific legal tasks rather than assisting them with their entire cases or matters.

In the family law realm, its unbundled offerings include coaching self-represented litigants on filling out divorce forms and preparing child support worksheets.

By emphasizing this nontraditional approach, also known as limited-scope representation, The Law Shop has attracted inquiries from consumers across the state seeking affordable legal assistance.

 

Law Society votes to approve regulatory sandbox for innovative legal tech development — from lawtimesnews.com by Aidan Macnab

Excerpt:

At Convocation Thursday morning, the Law Society of Ontario passed a motion to launch a five-year regulatory sandbox pilot for innovative legal tech services.

The initiative recommended by the Law Society’s technology task force would open up a regulatory safe zone for innovative technological legal services. Participants will report to and be monitored by the Law Society, which will study the sandbox to inform policy and regulatory decision-making.

Rocket Lawyer Raises $223 Million To Meet Growing Demand For Its Services — from lawsitesblog.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

The online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer has raised $223 million in growth capital financing to help it meet what it says has been a strong and accelerating demand for its digital legal documents and advice.

Legal technology start-up JUSTLAW notches an impressive milestone — from einnews.com
Small business legal protection offering experiences rapid growth.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, April 13, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Launched in 2020 in the face of the worst pandemic in a century, legal tech startup JUSTLAW set out with the lofty vision to give ordinary Americans access to top attorneys on a 24/7 basis. It’s working. The number of small businesses enrolled in its small business legal protection plan just surpassed 1,000.

 

All Eyes on Utah: Launching the ‘First Nonlawyer-Owned’ Law Firm — from law.com by Alaina Lancaster
Daniel Wilde, an attorney for Law On Call, which claims to be the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the nation, says the entire country can benefit from the innovative business models coming out of Utah.

Excerpt:

[The week of April 5], a registered agent service provider announced that it launched the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the United States.

The move comes after the Utah Supreme Court approved a pilot program that would allow nonlawyers to provide certain legal services—a proposition that’s been kicked around in California, Arizona, Illinois and the District of Columbia. Under Northwest Registered Agent’s Law On Call model, clients can pay a $9 monthly subscription, where they can ring up lawyers directly. They can also hire Law on Call’s attorneys for legal work at discounted rates.

 

Pro:

AI-powered chatbots automate IT help at Dartmouth — from edscoop.com by Ryan Johnston

Excerpt:

To prevent a backlog of IT requests and consultations during the coronavirus pandemic, Dartmouth College has started relying on AI-powered chatbots to act as an online service desk for students and faculty alike, the school said Wednesday.

Since last fall, the Hanover, New Hampshire, university’s roughly 6,600 students and 900 faculty have been able to consult with “Dart” — the virtual assistant’s name — to ask IT or service-related questions related to the school’s technology. More than 70% of the time, their question is resolved by the chatbot, said Muddu Sudhakar, the co-founder and CEO of Aisera, the company behind the software.

Con:

The Foundations of AI Are Riddled With Errors — from wired.com by Will Knight
The labels attached to images used to train machine-vision systems are often wrong. That could mean bad decisions by self-driving cars and medical algorithms.

Excerpt:

“What this work is telling the world is that you need to clean the errors out,”says Curtis Northcutt, a PhD student at MIT who led the new work.“Otherwise the models that you think are the best for your real-world business problem could actually be wrong.”

 

 

Survey: Share Your Experience with the Judicial System During COVID-19 — from legaltechmonitor.com by Laura Bagby

Excerpt: 

A team of researchers wants to know how COVID-19 has impacted your experience with the judicial system. The COVID-19 and the Courts?Survey will examine how the pandemic has affected access to justice and the operation of the courts for attorneys, judges, litigants, court staff, and other members of the community.

The researchers seek to learn which changes in court operations during the pandemic worked well and should be kept in place and which didn’t. The results of the study will help plan for future emergencies and provide a basis for thinking about more permanent reforms to how courts work.

 

The metaverse: real world laws give rise to virtual world problems — from cityam.com by Gregor Pryor

Legal questions
Like many technological advances, from the birth of the internet to more modern-day phenomena such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse will in some way challenge the legal status quo.

Whilst the growth and adoption of the metaverse will raise age-old legal questions, it will also generate a number of unique legal and regulatory obstacles that need to be overcome.

From DSC:
I’m posting this because this is another example of why we have to pick up the pace within the legal realm. Organizations like the American Bar Association (ABA) are going to have to pick up the pace big time. Society has been being impacted by a variety of emerging technologies such as these. And such changes are far from being over. Law schools need to assess their roles and responsibilities in this new world as well.

Addendum on 3/29/21:
Below are some more examples from Jason Tashea’s “The Justice Tech Download” e-newsletter:

  • Florida prisons buy up location data from data brokers. (Techdirt) A prison mail surveillance company keeps tabs on those on the outside, too. (VICE)
  • Police reform requires regulating surveillance tech. (Patch) (h/t Rebecca Williams) A police camera that never tires stirs unease at the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. (Courthouse News)
  • A Florida sheriff’s office was sued for using its predictive policing program to harass residents. (Techdirt)
  • A map of e-carceration in the US. (Media Justice) (h/t Upturn)
  • This is what happens when ICE asks Google for your user information. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Data shows the NYPD seized 55,000 phones in 2020, and it returned less than 35,000 of them. (Techdirt)
  • The SAFE TECH Act will make the internet less safe for sex workers. (OneZero)
  • A New York lawmaker wants to ban the use of armed robots by police. (Wired)
  • A look at the first wave of government accountability of algorithms. (AI Now Institute) The algorithmic auditing trap. (OneZero)
  • The (im)possibility of fairness: Different value systems require different mechanisms for fair decision making. (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • A new open dataset has 510 commercial legal contracts with 13,000+ labels. (Atticus Project)
  • JusticeText co-founder shares her experience building tech for public defenders. (Law360)

 

 

A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
Officers’ use of Boston Robotics’ Digidog intensifies concerns about militarization of the police.

A robot dog is pictured here.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK CITY councilmember Ben Kallos says he “watched in horror” last month when city police responded to a hostage situation in the Bronx using Boston Dynamics’ Digidog, a remotely operated robotic dog equipped with surveillance cameras. Pictures of the Digidog went viral on Twitter, in part due to their uncanny resemblance with world-ending machines in the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror.

 

How a Discriminatory Algorithm Wrongly Accused Thousands of Families of Fraud — from vice.com by Gabriel Geiger; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource
Dutch tax authorities used algorithms to automate an austere and punitive war on low-level fraud—the results were catastrophic.

Excerpt:

Last month, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte—along with his entire cabinet—resigned after a year and a half of investigations revealed that since 2013, 26,000 innocent families were wrongly accused of social benefits fraud partially due to a discriminatory algorithm.

Forced to pay back money they didn’t owe, many families were driven to financial ruin, and some were torn apart. Others were left with lasting mental health issues; people of color were disproportionately the victims.

On a more positive note, Sam DeBrule (in his Machine Learnings e-newsletter) also notes the following article:

Can artificial intelligence combat wildfires? Sonoma County tests new technology — from latimes.com by Alex Wigglesworth

 

Resistance to legal tech ‘fast evaporating’ — from lawyersweekly.com.au by Jerome Doraisamy

Excerpt:

Thomson Reuters’ 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market was recently released, which found that 85 per cent of law firms of all stripes are planning to increase their investments in technology this year, in the wake of the upheaval caused by 2020.

The past year, the multinational corporation said, really emphasised just how much attitudes have evolved about day-to-day legal practice, particularly with regards to digital workflow tools and solutions using the cloud.

The report also surmised that the legal profession, on the whole, absorbed five to 10 years’ worth of technology adoption into 12 months, by virtue of the age of coronavirus.

In light of this, “longstanding resistance” by lawyers to adopt cutting-edge technology is “fast evaporating”, said Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals interim president Paul Fischer.

Also see:

According to Butler, lawyers hoping to transform the profession should ask themselves: if they were designing the system from scratch, what would it look like? “The client has a legal need — what’s the best way of meeting it?” he said. This ‘blank sheet’ approach, popularised by legal futurist Richard Susskind, offers “huge potential” for those entering law, he concluded.

 

Telemedicine likely to change how we receive health care post-pandemic — from mlive.com by Justin Hicks

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

A patient sits in the living room of her apartment in New York City during a telemedicine video conference with a doctor. (Mark Lennihan/AP)AP

Excerpt:

As we look to the post-pandemic future, medical experts believe telemedicine will be here to stay as another option to increase access to care, reduce costs, and free up doctors to spend more time with patients who need in-person care.

“When I think about the pandemic, one thing that didn’t change about our lifestyles is people are busy,” Lopez said. “I think we’ll still see growth in overall visits because of the fact that people want access to care and when you lower the cost, it should go up.”

From DSC:
A friend of mine said that he is doing most of his practice now via the telehealth route (and has been for many months now). Then, recently, when I was at the lab, the knowledgeable woman who assisted me said that she thought virtual health was definitely going to stick. Many doctors and nurses will be using virtual means vs. physical visits she said.

Expectations get involved here — for education, for the legal field, and for other arenas.

 

Technology and Access to Justice: How Does It Work? — from lawdroid.com by Robin Bull

Picture of a keyboard with the word Justice on one of the keys - clicking on this image will take you to an article called Technology and Access to Justice: How Does It Work?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

At its most basic level, the term “access to justice” means the ability that a person has in accessing the legal system. This includes, and is not limited to, the ability to afford an attorney and file a lawsuit. There is only a legal right to an attorney if a person faces a criminal charge. There is no right to an attorney if someone is involved in a civil matter.

In the civil system, there is no constitutional right to an attorney. If a person can afford an attorney, great. Sure, there are legal aid organizations set up to provide access to justice. However, many do not have the funds, enough employees, or enough volunteers to help every person who seeks them out. Many Americans cannot afford to pay an hourly rate to have an attorney handle a civil matter. Even if they manage to come up with a retainer, they may not be able to see the matter through to completion or finish paying their attorney.

Here are a few ways that technology and access to justice work together.  

 

Also see:

If regular people lack the abilty to petition a branch of our government without spending their life savings, then we don't have a democracy. Sonja Ebron of Courtroom 5

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian