I have been bitten by a peculiar bug: legal technology. And as much as I am already tiring of such terms as ‘practice-ready’ and ‘disruption of the legal sector’, I am rather fascinated about legal tech, and trying to anticipate changes to the legal ecosystem (firms & solo practices, law schools, courts, bar associations, other professional associations, vendors, etc.).
A long time ago, I was a fairly profilic blogger, and that experience led me down some pretty interesting pathways to understanding digital librarianship, intellectual property and open access, to some degree. Of course, blogging has changed quite a bit, and so have I. But my plan is to use Madlibrarian (i.e. this blog) as a way publically try to separate the wheat from the chaff, or the substance from the hype. I confess, there will probably be too many references to robot attorney overlords; as a Futurama fan, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of ‘robot lawyers’. I also have a couple of irons in the fire that will be divulged both sooner and later (I hope).
This post does have a LOT of ‘I’s. That’s not standard going forward, but it’s hard to do a re-introduction of myself without using ‘I’. I’ll be better in the future, promise.
Now, for a bit of meat – some interesting long- and medium-reads about Legal Tech that I’ve recently come across:
Guest Post: The Third Wave of Legal AI at Artificial Lawyer — This post, by Kripa Rajshekhar of Metonymy Labs, discusses “good AI” and “bad AI” when laying out the future of legal artificial intelligence. But by Rajshekhar’s reasoning, whether an AI is good or bad has nothing to do with the morality or consequences of its decision-making; it’s the transparency of the AI processes and whether it enhances (good) or takes away from (bad) human agency & decision-making. Given what we are already learning about biases and errors showing up in AI and big data efforts, this is a good check & balance on a lot of hype around AI, within and outside of the legal realm.
Artificial Lawyer also has an interview with Joshua Browder, creator of the legal chatbot DoNotPay. Browder discusses current and future expansion plans for DoNotPay, which started with helping Londoners challenge parking tickets and is now generating legal forms and guidance for refugees and tenants.
Litigation finance, big data and the limits of AI is an article by Christopher Bogart, CEO of a litigation finance firm. His message is pretty simple: “We suspect the litigation finance business will for the foreseeable future remain a business that is still more dependent on specialized expertise and human judgment than it is on big data and AI.” If the use and growth of data analytics to predict litigation outcomes interest you, read it anyway.
Robert Ambrogi has had a lot of good, interesting things to say about legal tech for a long time. And he has a lot to say about a recent ABA Formal Opinion on client confidentiality in email & other electronic communications. There is a long breakdown of the opinion (also embedded there) at his LawSites blog, but he’s also done a shorter ‘takeaway’ explanation at Above the Law. Obviously, attorneys should care enough to read both the opinion and Ambrogi’s longer take, but anyone who works in (or plans to work in) a law practice should at least read the takeaways: understanding when encryption or other heightened cybersecurity measures are needed definitely affects everyone who may be in direct contact with a client, and is likely to also affect those who don’t have direct contact but whose work product may be affected (librarians, document production & records people, etc.)