Kennard (Ken) R. Strutin, lawyer, law librarian, Director of Legal Information Services for the New York State Defenders Association, professor, author, teacher, colleague, friend and respected leader in the effort to illuminate the struggles of incarcerated persons and to champion justice for them, died on November 30, 2018 after a brief illness – he was …
Itai Gurari begins his article with a reference to DARPA’s recent announcement of interest in “researching and developing ‘third wave’ AI theory and applications that address the limitations of first and second wave technologies by making it possible for machines to contextually adapt to changing situations.” Gurari welcomes this acknowledgment of the limitations inherent in the machine learning techniques that dominate the field of Artificial Intelligence today – as he defines the subject of this article along with the objective of his company’s work: “While we won’t see significant advances in “third wave” AI for many years to come — or even a jelling around what precisely the “third wave” is — these next generation technologies will likely have a big impact on the field of law, which is a welcome prospect for a field severely in need. Understanding why requires an examination of the first two waves — AI’s past and present — and their critical shortcomings.”
Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health/medical, to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways our privacy and security is diminished, often without our situational awareness. Note – a highlight of this week’s column is – Surveillance and Legal Research Providers: What You Need to Know
Ken Grady’s commentary focuses on the challenges to successfully operationalizing “lean” in the legal sector. He states – “to understand why lean thinking is struggling in the legal industry, we need to understand who is teaching lean. Most of the people who “teach” lean in the legal industry have little experience implementing lean. They have read books, consulted, taught, and advised, but they haven’t been on the front lines doing thousands of hours of lean.”
Librarian John Hubbard’s extensively documented article is timely and prescient, with its first publication on March 9, 2017 prior to: the release of James Comey’s book; a long series of departures from the White House and even more from Congress; with a backdrop of a rising storm of controversy about purported misconduct by the current U.S .President – in the decade prior to his election and during his campaign. Hubbard’s introduction: “We live in uncertain times. With big data and a boom in our ability to transmit ideas comes a seemingly greater amount of erroneous information, and therefore the need for everyone to be able to properly identify, discredit, and prevent the spread of falsehoods. What follows is a tour of how much the misrepresentation of reality pervades our world (from whimsical pranks and well-intentioned hoaxes to full-blown propaganda intended to defraud and manipulate), concluding with a discussion of tactics for taking a rational and scientific view so that we may both decrease our susceptibility and improve our ability to detect misinformation.”
In his article Ken Grady describes one possible future for the legal services that embodies radical transformation. He bases this new paradigm on Elon Musk’s premise: the only things unchangeable are the laws of nature. In the case of your law practice this means that regulations, custom, habits, and processes and procedures are all the focus of actionable change. Grady suggests specific ways that the innovative use of current technology and how you approach your work and client services can effectively and positively impact the not too distant future of your profession.
Itai Gurari talks about a new tool from Judicata called Clerk that analyzes and grades briefs, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, looking for areas of improvement and attack. Clerk’s analysis spans seven dimensions that measure how well the brief is argued, how well it is drafted, and the context within which it arises.
This commentary by attorney Nicolle Schippers offers insight and perspective on how technology has changed the paradigm of legal services and client communications in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, Schippers calls upon her colleagues to engage in a continuing dialogue to collectively deliver more consumer-focused and service-oriented services that leverage actionable technology solutions applied in the interest of best serving the legal needs of consumers.
Nicole Black’s article addresses how solo and small law firms can effectively implement business process improvements using applications for critical tasks including time-tracking, billing, and invoicing.
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.