Smart computing is changing the nature of legal work even as the profession struggles to understand its scope. Machines sophisticated enough to communicate intelligibly and naturally with human hosts, technology with the processing power to wrangle big data are enhancing the way attorneys do their jobs and affecting the way they think. Law practices are now set up in paperless offices, cases litigated in hi-tech courtrooms, research done almost exclusively online, demanding higher levels of technical competency and professional responsibility. The vocabulary of technology is filling the legal landscape: algorithms, analytics, artificial intelligence (A.I.), automated decision-making, avatars, big data, cloud computing, code, cognitive computing, computer-aided, computer-generated, creative computing, cyborg, data driven, data mining, data science, data trails, deep learning, electronic discovery (e-discovery), expert systems, machine learning, metadata, mobile technology, mosaic theory, natural language, neural networks, paperless and virtual offices, pattern matching, predictive analytics, robotics, self-replicating technologies, smart data, smart technology, source code, and supercomputers. So, time worn lexicons and practice libraries are infiltrated with the latest computer terminologies and technical manuals. The work of lawyers, judges and government officials increasingly relies on the processing power of microchips. So, the Bartleby of tomorrow is taking shape today. From document assembly to document drafting, the borderlands of decision-making, data analysis, and communication will mark the progress of law and raise new questions for the administration of justice. And the breadth of information competence will need to expand with each new generation of technology. This article by Ken Strutin is a significant, comprehensive and expert guide to recent and notable works on the automation of lawyering, the administration of law and legal thinking.
Legal Career Advisor Kathy Morris offers us succinct, actionable and insightful advise on whether you should focus on becoming indispensable or important at work.
Stacy Nykorchuk’s article documents significant facets of determining organizational knowledge strategies, creating the appropriate architecture for the content, managing content creation by subject matter experts, aligning systems with objectives, understanding user, stakeholder and client feedback, and acknowledging associated risk based on work product.
Nicole Black reports that 26 states now require lawyers to stay abreast of changes in legal technology and advises colleagues on how to implement security procedures that will protect your law firm’s data and help to keep client data confidential and secure.
This guide by Pete Weiss – expert listserv manager, communication device integrator, and newswire publisher/editor – provides researchers with an overview of why you should use RSS, along with step by step examples of how to implement this application which should be part of your knowledge gathering and current awareness toolkit.
Legal marketing and business development expert Eric Dewey defines a new term for a multifaceted expert work product and deliverable that librarians are uniquely positioned to develop, implement and manage in a critical leadership role for customers.
Greg Lambert eloquently gives voice to truth which has been delivered through action by many fellow professionals throughout the course of our respective (some decades long) careers – we are not “gatekeepers” nor do we impede the purchase and distribution of innovative, subject matter focused, effective, forward moving technologies, services and resources within our respective organizations. To the contrary, change and disruption are often associated with the work of law librarians, knowledge managers and research professionals in firms.
Zena Applebaum, a law firm competitive intelligence director, defines an important development in the way that critical business information is shared within laws firms and similar organizations. Applebaum defines and aligns the role of “content curation,” a practice and skill wherein information from all the content in the world is provided to stakeholders through a precise, focused and filtered process with the result of direct benefits to specific groups, teams and projects.
Alan Rothman discusses the growing interest in and need for attorneys who have degrees and skills from another field that serves client requirements, previously focused on areas such as engineering, business and medicine. Already well established in professions that include journalism and economics, the legal arena is increasingly embracing the skills and value added work product associated with technical coding. This is reflected in new course offerings in advanced degree programs as well as in job positions that focus on data management and data analytics.
Cheryl Niemeier answers the questions many members have following the decision to change the name of the Private Law Libraries-Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) to the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals-Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS).