• From Shearman & Sterling: “Shearman & Sterling today launched “the FinTech Foundry,” a program dedicated to supporting the FinTech-related activities of their clients and the wider global FinTech ecosystem that consists of financial institutions, FinTech start-ups, accelerators and incubators, venture capital and private equity investors, and policymakers. Blockchain, crypto assets, big data and artificial intelligence are just a few of the FinTech activities Shearman & Sterling advises on.”

 

  • White and Case published this in-depth report: Digitalising the mining & metals global supply chain: Rise of blockchain and the smart contract.

 

  • From Dentons, this very large post: Big data in the energy sector: GDPR reminder for energy companies.

 

  • From Legal Insider: “Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a pilot to test how data extracted from judgments and smart analytics might help prepare clients facing litigation.The firm has partnered with Solomonic, a data and analytics platform, to provide its lawyers with hard data and analytics on all the sitting judges in the Commercial Court – as well as the most recent eight retirees – going back more than five years.

 

  • Gide announces the creation of Gide 255, a new team dedicated to digital transformation, headed by Franck Guiader. “Gide 255 covers in particular the growing stakes of blockchain, ICOs, artificial intelligence, automation and various aspects of data processing.”

 

  • This is an interview with Kate Hutchinson, Director of Marketing at CDS during which she explains why eDiscovery vendors are getting into smart contracts. (It’s all about the data.)

 

  • In this post, Nichole Black of MyCase reviews a recent book by Michele DeStefano, (Professor of Law at the University of Miami): Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in the Law.“(The author) explains why the legal industry is in the middle of an unavoidable transformation, and why lawyers are so resistant to accepting this indisputable fact. Then she suggests that lawyers must learn to innovate in order to succeed in the new world order, and provides a framework for legal institutions to use in order to create a culture of creativity, collaboration, and innovation.” The review is an interesting read in itself.

 

  • In this Legal Talk Network podcast, “Abby Rosenbloom talks to Peter Geovanes, Dera Nevin, and Andrew Sprogis about their innovative roles and how to set a precedent when you’re the first one in their position. For law firms looking to add new roles, they offer their advice from establishing strategic goals to firm leadership providing resources and support.”

 

  • From Legal IT Newswire: “ZentLaw, an alternative law firm founded by Monica Zent, has introduced ZentLaw Labs, an innovation lab which aims to bring tech acumen and startup thinking to law. Among the lab’s first projects being announced today are two artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bots. One bot is built for enterprise clients to help them solve their legal resourcing needs by taking them through a series of questions to assess their specific requirements. The other bot is aimed at startups and is calibrated to serve their routine requests. The latter aims to disrupt the way legal services are delivered to startups by providing practical and actionable guidance through the bot to common issues that startups raise.”

 

  • From Bob Ambrogi: “The international legal research platform vLex today introduced the beta version of Vincent, an AI-powered legal research assistant that analyzes legal documents you upload and finds relevant research results. Vincent is in the same vein as CARA from CasetextClerk from Judicata, and EVA from ROSS Intelligence in that you upload a brief, legal document or court opinion, and it finds and it analyzes the document and uses the document’s language and citations to find related cases, statutes, books, journal articles, contract models, and more.” Details here.

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer

– “Global law firm Clyde & Co has today announced that it will be providing legal services to new global banking and energy blockchain platform, Komgo SA.” Details here.

LexisNexis has announced the six new participants for its third Silicon Valley Legal Tech Accelerator programme.” They’re listed here.

  • Here’s a deeper dive into Ron Friedmann’s argument that legal tech is in the midst of “evolution” rather than a “revolution”. It’s an interesting read, well-reasoned with several examples. “…(I)n-house counsel change buying habits slowly, which in turn slows legal innovation.” I love that he focuses on the “voice of the client,” as should we all!

 

  • Machine Learning Makes its Way (Slowly) into e-Discovery by David Raths is a rather thorough discussion of the evolving acceptance of technology-assisted review (TAR) and the development of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). Good stuff if you’re interested in eDiscovery.

 

  • Bob Ambrogi pulled together this impressive list of legal tech companies HQ’d in the LA area. Who knew?

 

  • From Osborne Clarke’s Deborah Harvey and Amy Stray comes, this discussion of the need for autonomous vehicle regulation: Developing a regulatory landscape for the future of mobility.

 

  • If you find autonomous vehicles may be a bit scary, how about Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)? In this article, Blank Rome’s Sean T. Pribyl ” discusses the International Maritime Organization’s regulatory scoping exercise to evaluate existing legal frameworks in order to assess the safe, secure, and environmentally sound operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships.”

 

  • Maayan Lattin of Davis Wright Tremaine prepared, NIST to Begin Workshops to Develop Voluntary Privacy Framework for New Tech Platforms like AI and IoT. “The agency’s objective is to develop a voluntary framework that permits providers of AI, IoT and other innovative technology solutions to better identify, assess, manage, and communicate privacy risks to help ensure consumer confidence and trust.”

 

  • From Neota Logic, THE NEOTA LINK – News & Views on AI in Law & Compliance. It’s news about Neota, its offerings and its clients.

 

  • Kerrie Spencer, staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine prepared this discussion of the ethical issues inherent in legal AI.

 

  • This is an advertorial (infomercial?) from Thomson Reuters re their new Westlaw Edge: Know More Than Your Opposing Counsel and Win. And here’s another, Key Reasons To Use Litigation Analytics.

 

  • The Law Society Gazette’s Joanna Goodman believes we are Reaching a Tipping Point. “Lawtech is approaching a crossroads in terms of technology development, investment and adoption. The start-up dynamic is maturing as a new generation of legal businesses emerges.” Several convincing examples are given, and the thoughtful article separates the substance from the hype.

 

  • Meanwhile, also from the GazetteNew Solicitors not Prepared for AI. Law Society president Christina Blacklaw: “‘At the moment we’re training lawyers for 20th-century practices, not even for current practice,’ she told an international conference on AI in London last week. ‘There is a mismatch with what they are doing in practice today, let alone what they will be doing in future.’”

 

From Artificial Lawyer

– New York-based smart contract pioneer, Clause, has joined forces with consumer legal platform LegalZoom, to provide smart legal contracts to the general public and small businesses. More here.

This sponsored piece from ContractPodAI explains how their automated contract management platform results in fast ROI.

 

Blockchain

From Artificial Lawyer:

– Digital signature giant, DocuSign, has launched an Ethereum blockchain integration and has also set out in detail how it will be working with legal AI company, Seal Software, with which it formed a partnership in June this year. … ‘Intelligent Insights’, … ‘goes beyond keywords to ‘understand’ concepts in agreement clauses, as a human analyst would’. Details here.

– The Accord Project, the smart legal contract consortium co-created by Clause, has announced the launch of a new working group for the real estate and construction industries to be chaired by Philip Freedman, Partner and Chairman of innovative UK law firm Mishcon de Reya. Story here.

 

  • Here’s Volume 35 of K&L Gates’ Blockchain Energizer, summarizing three blockchain news stories.

 

  • This white paper is a bit disconnected from legal, but I found it interesting: The Future of AI in Distribution. “The purpose of this document is to define these technologies and how leading companies are using them so that executives understand both the promises of AI and the threat posed by competitors who use it well.”

 

  • From Artificial LawyerLEVERTON Branches into Debt Risk Analysis With PE Firm. “Legal AI company LEVERTON has announced that it has developed text extraction and analytics capabilities to look for debt risk and financial obligations within Non-Performing Loan (NPL) documents. … The aim is to help support both buyers and sellers of NPL portfolios to ‘harness the power of artificial intelligence to save considerable time and cost in conducting due diligence and closing transactions as well as post-acquisition portfolio management’.”

 

  • Also from Artificial LawyerCMS Launches ‘By Design’ Legal Delivery Group. “International law firm CMS UK has today announced the launch of a dedicated group bringing together specialists from across the firm to focus on the future of its legal service design, delivery and technology for clients.”

 

Blockchain

  • From the LawyeristPodcast #189: Blockchain 101 for Lawyers, with Non-Performing Loan . She explains what it is and why lawyers should care about it — now. Interesting analogies to email and “triple entry bookkeeping.

 

  • Obhan & Associates posted, A blockchain of a proposal: Is the IPO (India Property Office) changing? “Over the past few months, there has been much discussion around mainstreaming the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in processes that are otherwise manual or part-automated. A recent tender (see) issued by the Indian Intellectual Property Office (IPO) indicates that the IPO too is seriously considering exploring these technologies.” Details here.
  • This article is an outsider’s look at AI’s applicability to legal work. Legal AI: How Machine Learning Is Aiding — and Concerning — Law Practitioners.

 

  • Here, Skadden has more to say about the Export Control Reform Act. “The review process is expected to focus on cutting-edge technologies, including robotics; artificial intelligence; machine learning; positioning, navigation and timing; 5G; aerospace; financial technology; and virtual/augmented reality. ECRA directs the interagency review process to consider multiple factors in assessing whether a technology is “emerging and foundational,” including (i) the development of similar technologies in foreign countries, (ii) the impact export controls would have on the development of the technology in the U.S., and (iii) the effectiveness of export controls on limiting the proliferation of the technology to foreign countries.”

 

  • It seems we’re making progress in one of the real obstacles to application of AI in law — the blackbox nature of AI-based decision-making. MIT Lincoln Laboratory develops AI that shows its decision-making process. “Artificial intelligence (AI) that explains its decisions like a human? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.” Summary of (and link to) a paper from MIT here. That problem is mentioned in this post from McCarthy Tétrault. (To Lead In AI, House Of Lords Urges UK To Stay Nimble, Focus On Ethics, And Look To Canada)

 

  • Facebook adds 24 new languages to its automated translation service. “More than 6 billion translations take place on Facebook every day. The new language pairs add to the more than 4,000 available on Facebook today, but are distinct in that they tackle a longstanding problem in machine translation.” A discussion of that problem here.

 

Blockchain

  • From Artificial Lawyer: “Smart contract pioneer OpenLaw has integrated Chainlink’s decentralized oracle service to denominate agreements in US dollars and settle them in the Ether cryptocurrency, ‘creating the first real world link between traditional agreements and fiat currencies‘ says the New York-based team.” “What this video does that we have not seen before is that it shows this approach is not just a theoretical model – this is a real integration, i.e. OpenLaw can do this for real. It works.” Check out this 6-minute video.

 

The College of Law Practice Management just announced the winners of this year’s InnovAction AwardsLawGeex for its contract review automation and NetApp, Inc. for its process automation bot. Congrats to both for winning this very competitive award! (The ceremony will be at this year’s Futures Conference, October 25-26 in Boston.)

 

  • From DWF: Big data, big opportunities. “The adoption of data analytics has grown exponentially, but concerns over security and privacy remain. Read the second in our series of articles that explores how technology is being harnessed to drive the transport of the future.” There’s a link to a “full report” discussing the results of a survey, but there is no information at all about the methodology, even in that “full report”.

 

  • More extraordinary fundraising news: ‘Not to be outdone by Kira Systems’ piddly $50m fundraising last week, Justin Kan’s one-year-old legal tech startup Atrium yesterday (10 September) announced that it has raised $65m and says it is making good progress in realising its vision of transforming the legal industry, or, as TechCrunch’s headline puts it somewhat hysterically, replacing lawyers with machine learning.” More coverage here and here.

 

  • Here’s a link to 2nd Annual Blickstein Group/Exterro Study of Effective Legal Spend Management. There are 59 respondents and no information about methodology or response rates is provided, so be very cautious interpreting the results. The very best case is that they are accurate within +/- 13%. So, if 50% say “yes” to a question, we would conclude that between 37 and 63% of all eligible respondents would have said “yes”, and that’s assuming no non-response bias and other methodological problems.

 

  • This story from Real Estate Weekly focuses on Goodwin’s Salil Gandhi’s thoughts about technology and that industry.

 

  • In this post, LexisNexis’ Kris Satkunas reports: “We look at all of the different types of decisions that have to be made in a legal department, and we help categorize those decisions into five different levels of maturity – based on how the department goes about making them.” “There is plenty of buzz about the possibilities in this area, about starting to use artificial intelligence to make truly data-driven decisions. In many cases, the technology doesn’t exist yet to be able to get to the fifth level, but we can at least take steps to move in that direction – toward that optimal place, even if it’s not fully automated yet. I think that is where the industry is heading.”

 

  • Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus’ Rob Williams postedWorkplace Harassment Is Nothing New, but it’s a Different Beast With Social Media. “Now we’re using artificial intelligence, predictive coding, sampling data – all being pulled and culled by the computer.”

 

  • Here’s discussion of use of Thomson’s new Westlaw Edge in a personal injury firm.

 

  • This somewhat scholarly post from a group at Mayer Brown (United States: If Only: US Treasury Department Report Creates A Wish Tree Of Financial Reform For Fintech). “As the Report points out, the artificial intelligence (“AI”) revolution is here. Treasury offers insight into the problems it anticipates from the use of AI in the financial services ecosystem.” Those insights are detailed in the piece.

 

  • Womble’s Theodore Claypoole posted, How AI Shapes the Future of Wealth Management. “Artificial intelligence (“AI”), from predictive analysis to recommendation engines, will soon provide better decisions, more attentive client service, and a broader customer base for wealth managers willing to trust them. Asset managers are already implementing AI into their businesses.” The piece discusses those applications and provides a bit of background on AI generally.

 

 

  • Here’s a thought piece from HBR: Collaborative Intelligence: Humans and AI Are Joining Forces. “While AI will radically alter how work gets done and who does it, the technology’s larger impact will be in complementing and augmenting human capabilities, not replacing them.”

 

Blockchain

  • A2J: “Is there a place for smart contracts in improving access to legal services for (middle and lower income clients)? In an announcement at last week’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference, Rocket Lawyer says yes….” “Already the easiest way to create and sign legal documents, now Rocket Lawyer will make contract performance and resolution of disputes, secure and affordable, by becoming the first mainstream legal technology company to integrate blockchain technology into everyday legal transactions at scale.” There’s a link for you to try it out.

 

  • From Above the Law, an interview with Linda Selker: “Today, I am excited about the potential of smart contracts and how blockchain technology can even further extend horizons for more convenient, personal, inclusive, portable, and expedient user experiences in virtual, decentralized commerce ecosystem without borders.”

 

  • Hunton Andrews Kurth posted this announcement: FTC to Commence Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century. “The notice, published in the Federal Register, does not specifically mention blockchain or distributed ledger technology specifically, but the broad list of topics that the FTC lists as areas in which it seeks comments could easily accommodate market developments due to the emergence of blockchain technology and related applications.”

 

  • From The RecorderArbitration Innovation? JAMS Preps for Future Blockchain, Crypto Disputes With New Practice. “The ADR group’s new practice leader is Zeichner Ellman & Krause CISO Daniel Garrie, who argues ‘you need to change the rules’ of disputes for new technologies.”

 

  • Mark Radcliffe and Victoria Lee of DLA Piper posted: The Big Legal Issue Blockchain Developers Rarely Discuss. “Software licensed under open source licenses (OSS) is fundamental to the success of blockchain projects.” “However, OSS licenses are generally quite different from traditional proprietary software licenses. The importance of selecting the right OSS license and complying with the terms of that license is rarely discussed by the blockchain community.” They do so.
  • This post from Osborne Clarke’s Will Robertson, Mark Taylor and Tamara Quinn (Profiling and automated decision-making under GDPR) is a solid discussion of these important topics. “Profiling and automated decision-making (or ADM) are two areas of the GDPR that have caused a fair degree of confusion for businesses, often with perceived negativity and assumptions that the law significantly restricts most forms of computer-led analysis of data subjects and their activities. Not necessarily so. As per the general flavour of the GDPR, the law has undoubtedly tightened and places a greater burden and requirements on businesses wishing to carry out profiling or ADM activities. However, there’s still plenty of opportunity for those willing to understand the detail of the law, and more generally align their business models to the core themes of the GDPR.”

 

  • Here‘s a brief but interesting post about future improvements to legal search. How Much Better Can AI Make Legal Search?

 

  • From Baker Donelson’s Clinton Sanko: Legal Artificial Intelligence is Buzzing. Are You Ready? “This blog is focused on promoting responsible and knowledgeable adoption of legal AI.” This post is a somewhat skeptical review of current legal applications of AI. More to come.

 

  • Press releaseiManage Acquires Elegrity, Leader in Risk and Compliance Management. “Broadens capabilities in risk management to better protect law firms throughout the client and matter lifecycle.”

 

  • Here‘s a thought provoking post from Griffin Hamersky’s Ivy B. Grey: Innovation Is A Red Herring Without Cultural Change. “Though changing culture may be the toughest challenge law firms have ever faced, the potential rewards are enormous. No combination of automation, artificial intelligence, and firms from other sectors will be able to compete with the law firms that get this right.”

 

  • Legal AI Firm McCarthyFinch Goes to War in Law at TechCrunch Disrupt SF Battlefield. “McCarthyFinch showed off its AI-powered platform: a virtual lawyer that can be trained and plugged into any legal process, from financial compliance to contract automation. ‘Our AI platform learns up to 100 times faster than traditional AI, using far smaller data sets,’ said Nick Whitehouse, CEO and co-founder of McCarthyFinch. ‘Most importantly, its results are entirely explainable, defensible and trustworthy.'” Big claims! Press release here and coverage here.

 

  • Legal Tech: Key Takeaways from a Unique Secondment from Aird & Berlis LLP to Diligen, a Legal Tech Company. No big surprises, but an interesting read. “There’s been a big divide historically between lawyers and non-lawyers (the term that, thankfully, is beginning to be replaced by “other professionals”), but this separation is breaking down as the legal profession begins to better understand that other professionals bring so much value to the table.”

 

  • Excellent points made here by Jean O’Grady: AI in Legal Research – Does Casetext’s “Document As Query” Search Improve Efficiency and Results? “While some of the conclusions may be valid  – I have a recoil reflex when I smell ‘the fog of hype” which sadly hovers around so many discussions of legal AI.”

 

  • Here’s one last post regarding ILTACON 2018, a review of the conference’s stories of success and failure from Tessa Ramanlal, solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills and co-founder of ANIKA. “For a conference firmly rooted in AI, blockchain and all things legal tech, I was surprised that the focus of ILTACon 2018 was predominantly human. Human successes, human failures, and human communities in this evolving world of legal tech.”

 

  • From SKW Schwarz, Artificial Intelligence: operational blessing, employment law curse? discusses the implications of the German government’s recent definition of “cornerstones for an artificial intelligence strategy.” “There are, however, several areas of employment law where the use of artificial intelligence affects the response to typical disputes in a way that is different from the past.”

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer:

– Irish Firm McCann Launches New Neota Logic Compliance App. Story here.

Minority Report’ AI System, Intraspexion, Boosts ‘Pre-Crime’ Tech with dtSearch. Story here.

 

  • This post from Covington’s Jadzia Pierce is largely a teaser for an upcoming webinar. “…an equally important reason for utilizing AI may stem not from these practical considerations, but rather from the ABA Model Rules: in a comment to the Duty of Competence under Rule 1.1, lawyers are required to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” (emphasis added).”

 

  • “The (US) military’s research arm said Friday it will invest up to $2 billion over the next five years toward new programs advancing artificial intelligence, stepping up both a technological arms race with China and an ideological clash with Silicon Valley over the future of powerful machines.” Details here.

 

Blockchain

  • Google has announced the launch of a system to search for and collect data from the Ethereum blockchain, including data on transactions from self-executing contracts. It will operate via its BigQuery enterprise data analysis platform. Artificial Lawyer coverage here.

 

  • JAMS Launches Smart Contracts, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Practice. “…the first of its kind among institutional ADR providers. The practice is focused on creating protocols that support the use of ADR in disputes arising from blockchain transactions, including smart contracts.” Press release here.

 

  • Posted by Steve Harvey, senior business developer at Legal Futures Associate Allianz Legal Protection, this is a consideration of the balance that must be struck between tech and people in the many applications of blockchain in insurance and law.

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer: “In what is the most significant sign yet of wide-scale adoption of the technology, online consumer law company, Rocket Lawyer, announced yesterday that it will be partnering with smart contract pioneer OpenLaw and blockchain developer ConsenSys, to roll out a variety of blockchain-based applications, starting off with a ‘Rocket Wallet‘ to link to the Ethereum blockchain.”
  • From Above the LawHead-To-Head Showdown Between AI-Driven Legal Research Tools. It’s Casetext versus LexisNexis and there’s a clear winner, but I expect today’s winner will lose tomorrow as all of these applications are improving so quickly.

 

  • “Former FBI lawyer Lisa Osofksy today allayed lingering doubts about the future of the Serious Fraud Office as she delivered her first speech as director of the agency. Osofsky, who has dual US and British nationality, affirmed that she has the attorney-general’s support to maintain the independence and prominence of the SFO over her five-year term.” … “She also wants to enhance the agency’s use of technology to help crack data-heavy cases. Osofsky cited the example of deploying an artificial intelligence robot to help check for privileged material in the landmark Rolls Royce case back in 2016. This led to an 80% saving in the area it was used.” Partners from WilmerHale and White & Case comment in the article. More here.

 

  • Claim Technology, a LawTech start-up pioneering a digital Claims-as-a-Service platform, has integrated their solution with leading customer messaging platform, Intercom. Law firms who use Claim Technology’s chatbot, Robin, can now empower their customers to complete tasks, share media, and get real-time answers to their questions at the point of claim.” Post from Legal Futures.

 

  • Also from Legal FuturesSeries A Extraordinaire: Insight Venture Partners takes a $50m minority stake in Kira Systems. I have generally stopped posting about investments in legal AI because they have become so common, but I will post those that are unusually large or otherwise noteworthy. “Kira, which despite being bootstrapped until now has in the past three years grown from 15 to 115 employees and counts a majority of the global top 30 law firms as customers, signed the deal with Insight Venture last week in order to exponentially (a bit of hyperbole?) accelerate its growth within the legal sector and beyond.”

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer: Kennedys Brings India Tech Team Inhouse, Launches ‘Kognitive Computing’. “The firm said that the new team is focused on ‘rapid prototyping, application development, text analytics, machine learning and blockchain‘.”

 

  • Also from Artificial Lawyer: Meet Tolley.Ai The World’s First Tax Bot, And Help It To Learn. “The tax group within LexisNexis, known as Tolley, has created an NLP-driven, automated tax bot that can answer questions about accounting issues and learn from the feedback you give it. It may prove to be of use to both accountants and lawyers working in this field.” Lots of details here.

 

  • Colorado’s new consumer data protection law among the most demanding in the country. “The law establishes three key responsibilities for businesses and government entities that keep either paper or electronic documents containing Coloradans’ personal identifying information, the Colorado Office of the Attorney General says. It applies to all businesses, from one-person operations or multi-national corporations.” Details from the Denver Post here.

 

Blockchain

  • Pepper Hamilton’s Daniel Sieck postedBlockchain for the Energy Industry: Mid Market Trends – Investor Interest Is On The Rise. “While M&A deal flow remains relatively low in this sector, it is expected to increase, especially among corporate strategic acquirers seeking to obtain blockchain innovation and expertise rather than develop it in house.”
  • Don’t miss this postWhy Alternative Legal Provider Market Share May be Limited, by Ron Friedmann. He presents some compelling arguments, contrary to a lot of recent thinking.

 

  • According to South Africa’s Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, their enterprise search engine, Insight (powered by RAVN) “ensure(s) that legal information is leveraged and disseminated efficiently to lawyers to fulfill their tasks more quickly and more accurately.”

 

  • From Cleary’s FinTech Update, “(i)n its report on Nonbank Financials, Fintech, and Innovation released on July 31st, the Treasury Department (“Treasury”) generally embraced AI and recommended facilitating the further development and incorporation of such technologies into the financial services industry to realize the potential the technologies can provide for financial services and the broader economy.” Full (detailed) report here.

 

  • Womble’s Oliver Rickett and Caroline Churchill wroteIndustry 4.0 and the regulation of artificial intelligence. “This article looks at where AI regulation might be implemented and, specifically, what impact both AI has, and its regulation would have, on the manufacturing industry and what role the UK might have in this ever changing sector.”

 

  • From Harvard Law Today, “Operationalizing innovation in legal organizations.” Questions discussed include: “How is “innovation” operationalized within legal organizations? What are law firms and companies looking for regarding professional backgrounds and skill sets for innovation hires? What are the career paths for these individuals within organizations? By what metrics should “quality” in legal services be measured?” The discussion is based on a survey of 150 individuals (no more methodological details are provided), and should be treated as qualitative and exploratory in nature. “The survey’s target audience is a set of newly emerging innovation professionals. On the in-house side, these individuals are often called ‘heads of legal operations’. On the law firm side, they are often called ‘chief innovation partners’.” The article basically reports what was discussed without providing any conclusions.

 

  • This piece is an infomercial for Westlaw Edge. It’s a brief description of a very important AI-based product.

 

  • From Foley Hoag‘s Gwendolyn Wilber JaramilloUnited States: Foreign Investment And Export Control Reform Update (Part 1 Of Series). “Key elements of the NDAA discussed in this series of Alerts include:” … “4. Establishment of National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence: will conduct a national review of advances in AI and machine learning, address national security needs related to AI, and make recommendations including on how the U.S. can maintain a technological advantage in AI.”

 

  • I’m surprised more hasn’t been written about applications of AI in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Here are some thoughts on that topic from Kluwer Law Arbitration. Bottom line, “So what does AI mean for ADR? There are a good few possibilities – all of which could be true. AI could be a tool for the mediator or adjudicator to embrace, it could be another stage in a bigger resolution process change or it just might be our competition. So are such changes positive or negative? It is hard to know without a crystal ball.”

 

  • From Mark A. CohenLegal Innovation is the Rage, But There’s Plenty of Resistance. It’s an interesting study of why change is not happening, how and why is actually is, and how things may change. “(Lawyers) have an opportunity to leverage their legal knowledge in ways that did not exist previously—as data analysts, legal technologists, legal operations specialists, and scores of other positions yet to emerge. It’s an exciting time to be in the legal profession. It is also past time for the profession to focus on what’s good for consumers, not themselves. That would be ‘legal innovation’.”

 

  • 100th law firm signs up to use Smarter Drafter, the Australian artificially intelligent lawyer. “The software is powered by a unique AI (artificial intelligence), which the team have called Real Human Reasoning™. Smarter Drafter codifies the legal decision making and content of expert lawyers who have worked in top tier law firms like Baker Mckenzie and Clifford Chance. The system works by guiding lawyers through a Smart Q&A, then producing an advanced legal document instantly. Smarter Drafter is only available to law firms in Australia. The largest law firm using the system has over 150 lawyers. The smallest firm is a sole-practitioner….” More here.

 

  • Kim A. Leffert and Corwin J. Carr of Mayer Brown postedElectronic Discovery & Information Governance – Tip of the Month: Defensible Disposition of Data: Guidance from the Sedona Conference Scenario.

 

  • I have a bit of a backlog from Artificial Lawyer (seems they don’t recognize the US’ Labor Day in the UK!), so here goes:

– “Artificial Lawyer recently caught up with Shawn Gaines, the Director of Product and Community Marketing, at ediscovery platform Relativity and asked him if he could tell us some more about the company’s ambitious growth strategy to create a ‘legal tech app store’.” Article here.

This link includes several stories, including these: “Noah Walters, a law student doing a JD/MBA in Canada has developed a site called the Blockchain Law Society to serve as an educational platform for blockchain law-related issues across jurisdictions and that helps connect lawyers with blockchain clients.” and “Legal AI company, Diligen, has extended the company’s contract review platform to also include real estate documents.”

Guest post by Gordon Cassie, co-founder of Closing Folders: Legal Transaction Management Software is Finally a Thing. …(L)legal transaction management software (LTM for the acronym fans) is ready to be inaugurated as the newest category of Legal Tech software.”

 

  • Here’s the final installment of Bob Ambrogi’s Roundup of Company and Product News from ILTACON, Part 4: FileTrail, Workstorm, Casepoint, SeeUnity.

 

  • From Above the Law’s Small Firm Center, Thomson Reuters’ Amy Larson penned, Three Ways to Remove the Pain from Legal Research and Delivering on Client Expectations. Good suggestions here, and it’s no surprise whose products are recommended.

 

  • This opinion piece urges Trump to get serious about AI as a national security issue. AI Weekly: Trump, forget Google — focus on national security.

 

  • Here’s an interesting idea, how might we combine AI and crowdsourcing to come up with better prediction than either alone? Crowdsourcing in the age of artificial intelligence: How the crowd will train machines.

 

  • This development is another step towards the holy grail of General AI. New Artificial Intelligence Does Something Extraordinary — It Remembers.

 

  • From the WSJTop 25 Tech Companies to Watch 2018. “Three industries—AI, blockchain and cybersecurity—dominate the list of companies that look like emerging tech leaders.”

 

  • This is another very practical application of AI — far from the legal arena. Earthquakes. More here.

 

  • And what might those earthquakes impact? How about “risky dams”? It seems AI may be able to locate those too. Story here

 

Blockchain

  • Here’s another pretty easy to understand explanation of how Blockchain works. This one gets a bit deeper than most.

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer:

    – ChainLink: Solving the Smart Contract Fiat Money Problem. “Smart contracts that operate via a blockchain have one little problem: you can’t normally use British pounds, dollars or Yen (i.e fiat money), to conduct business with them. Instead you have to use a cryptocurrency, something that not everyone wants to do. But, ChainLink is working to get around that problem using what the blockchain world calls an ‘oracle’….” Here’s how it works.

– “Blockchain developer the Tezos Foundation has announced that it will issue an undisclosed sum as a grant to Clause to develop a smart legal contract layer on top of the Tezos blockchain.” Details here.

 

  • From Knobbe Martins‘ Bridget A. Smith: Banks Hate Cryptocurrency, But Are Filing Patents Anyway. “The major investment banks have criticized cryptocurrency and blockchain. For example, in their 2018 form 10-k filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan all noted the risks that blockchain and cryptocurrency posed to their bottom lines.”

 

  • Here are a few more thoughts as to how AI and Blockchain may speed each others’ development. How Blockchain Technology Can Transform Artificial Intelligence (AI). “Blockchain has had a mark on the financial sector with cryptocurrency as well as throughout the future of software development. As it continues to improve the way that we encrypt, examine and handle large datasets this can play a particularly important role in the development of AI.”

 

  • Here’s a bit of clickbait from Forbes: Economist Nouriel Roubini Says ‘Blockchain Is Useless, All ICOs Are Scams’. “For Roubini, blockchain is nothing but useless and over-hyped technology. It will never go anywhere because of the proof of stake and the scalability issues. No matter what, this is not going to become another benchmark because it is just too slow.” The author presents contrary views.

 

  • From Roger Aitken via Forbes, this is a deep dive into smart contracts: ‘I Fought The Law’ & Blockchain Won: Smart Contracts For Businesses Handling Legal Have Conviction. “The digital revolution might be changing just about every aspect of society. But for some aspects, the changes can come slowly. Take for instance the legal and justice systems.” “Fortunately, the sector is not entirely opposed to digitization. Digital justice – encapsulating how the justice system and court rooms the world over can leverage technology to save money – is steadily gaining traction (i.e. including PA systems, large screens, video conferencing and high definition displays).”

 

  • This brief article from AALL Spectrum by Fastcase’s Ed Walters and Morgan Wright explains some of the data issues involved in law firm AI applications. Existing and near future AI applications such as contracts, legal research and ‘personalities’ are discussed. They maintain that “(i)t would be natural for the law firms’ experts in legal information, law librarians, to have a central role.”

 

  • Here’s Part 2 of Bob Ambrogi’s Roundup of Company and Product News from ILTACON. Today, iManage, Relativity, BigHand and CaseFleet.

 

  • Again, it’s all about the data. This article from the ABA Journal (Algorithms fall short in predicting litigation outcomes) suggests that, contrary to other posts I have made, predictive analytics regarding litigation results are not yet ready for prime time, and it’s because of data issues.

 

Blockchain

  • “A group of law firms and tech companies have teamed up to develop the Agreements Network, a platform that will aid in the creation, use and sale of smart contracts for lawyers. In a press release issued Thursday, law firms BakerHostetler, LegalBono and ErdosIP, and technology companies Clause, Crowdcube, LexPredict, Libra, Mattereum, Monax, Rymedi, TransparentNode and Wolfram Blockchain Labs announced the launch of the network.” “The network is currently being tested and will launch in October, Forbes reports.” More here.

 

  • Data61 uses IBM Blockchain for Australian smart legal contracts network: The Australian National Blockchain will allow local companies to use digitised contracts, exchange data, and confirm the authenticity and status of legal contracts. “CSIRO’s Data61 has partnered with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and tech giant IBM to build a blockchain-based smart legal contracts network.” Details (and several related links) here.
  • A cheery way to start the day (NOT!): Future elections may be swayed by intelligent, weaponized chatbots. This post does not have a happy ending. “Bots versed in human language remain outliers for now. It still requires substantial expertise, computing power, and training data to equip bots with state-of-the-art language-processing algorithms. But it’s not out of reach. Since 2010 political parties and governments have spent more than half a billion dollars on social-­media manipulation, turning it into a highly professionalized and well-funded sector.”

 

  • To lighten things up a bit after that, here’s proof that an artificial intelligence can indeed be a lawyer.

 

  • I’ve posted it before, and I’m sure I’ll post it again; one of the biggest challenges facing AI is the degree to which technology advances are outpacing legislation/regulation. Here’s a good discussion of the issue as manifested in autonomous vehicles. “The legislation surrounding driverless cars is lagging so far behind the technology involved that the industry is unlikely to see a regulatory framework in place any time soon says leading international business, finance and taxation consultancy BDO. And IEEE, “the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity” can only see problems ahead as the politicians fall further and further behind.”

 

  • “Data protection” legislation seems to be the ‘in’ thing these days, and now India is getting involved. Here’s their Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 – An overview with brief analysis. It’s a thorough review and analysis by Manas Ingle and Anuj Maharana.

 

  • Speaking of ‘data protection’, 29 bipartisan state Attorneys General respond to FTC’s consumer protection hearing announcement. “The letter emphasizes the states’ ‘long history of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices’ under each state’s consumer protection authority and offers specific comment on three areas of the FTC request: (i) privacy and big data; (ii) communication and media technology; and (iii) algorithmic decision tools and other artificial intelligence.” The post is from Buckley Sandler.

 

  • Here’s a bit more from last week’s ILTACON 2018, Joe Patrice, senior editor at Above the Law reports that “(t)his year, the tech market seems to be maturing. Terms like “open architecture” and “API” kept getting tossed around as positive elements of the sales pitch. It’s now cool to admit that your company can’t be all things to all people, but that your product can play well with others to give the customer the solution they want.”

 

  • From Bob Ambrogi, here’s his take on some of the more interesting products rolled out at the conference. Roundup of Company and Product News from ILTACON, Part 1.

 

  • When VC Meets JD: Venture capital is getting in on the law game. Will Wall Street follow? “It’s been a sizzling couple of months in the legal technology world. Hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into legal tech startups since May, and the pace will likely only increase over the coming years.” Fennemore Craig’s James Goodnow predicts, “(t)he cloistered, genteel profession of the past is long gone, and an investment revolution would render the market even less recognizable than it already is.”

 

Blockchain

  • Calling All Lawyers: The Blockchain Opportunities Are Waiting. “In today’s business world, there is a group of ‘next generation’ technologies that are going to revolutionize the way we live, think, interact and conduct business. And blockchain technology is leading the way. Blockchain is one of the fastest growing areas whose digital foundation is serving as the springboard for a plethora of applications that use it such as smart contracts, bitcoin. These new applications target a diverse set of tangible, intangible and digital assets in our culture and are creating increasing opportunities for lawyers.” Details here.

 

  • Quantum Computing as Bigger Concern for Lawyers than Blockchain. “Blockchain—online distributed ledgers that use cryptography to record and verify every transaction—could make the legal oversight needed to oversee contracts and collect intellectual property superfluous. But the technology is still years from becoming a standard. Taking a longer view, it is also merely a stop-gap solution until quantum computing takes hold.” By “quantum computing” the author (Monica Zent) refers to AI much more powerful than what we have today as a result of the enormous processing power promised by quantum computing. This is a compelling argument.