• I really like this post by Tony Joyner, a partner in Herbert Smith Freehills’ Perth office. (The Inevitable Surprise: How Technology Will Change What We Do.) It provides excellent insights underscored by interesting quotes from the likes of Jack Welch, Pablo Picasso and the British Post Office.


  • Make time for this insightful and entertaining 49-minute panel discussion from Stanford Law about getting lawyers and law firms to embrace AI and other technologies, particularly to facilitate legal research; it features Jake Heller, Patrick DiDomenico, Jean O’Grady, Marlene Gebauer, and Jeffrey Rovner. The title of one of my friend Jeff’s slides is “The Waterfall of Tears, The sad problem of software adoption in law firms.” I love it.


  • Click here for The 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey.

NOTE: Starting today, when I post the results of any survey, I will also present a very top line analysis of how seriously you should take the results. I have a Ph.D. in market research from the University of North Carolina, and know what I’m talking about in this regard. Few of my readers have any technical training in statistics, so it is easy for them to be misled by the findings of research based on poor methodology. For some of my basic thoughts on this subject, check out the very first post I made on this blog.

Regarding the Aderant study, there are only 138 respondents; and it’s an email survey, so the response rate was almost certainly very low; therefore, the findings should be considered “suggestive” and “directional” rather than definitive. (Reporting findings with decimal point detail is very misleading when the margin of sampling error is about +/-10%.) When it is reported that “the top challenges facing law firms are: pricing (36%), cybersecurity (33%, operational efficiency (32%), technology adoption (30%) and competition (26%),” those should be considered to be in a statistical tie, and year-to-year changes of less than ten percent should be considered likely do to sampling error. With a sample this small, any findings based on segmentation (e.g., “a closer look by firm size”) are likely spurious.


  • And here’s another survey (The Littler Annual Employer Survey, 2018). This one has 1111 respondents. That’s a solid number of participants, so making the BIG assumption that the response rate was high (and therefore non-response bias is not of huge importance), we can be 95% confident that the percentages reported are accurate at least at the +/- 2.9 percent level. Nice.

Among the findings: “Recruiting and hiring is the most common use of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence, adopted by 49 percent of survey respondents. Employers also said they were using big data to guide HR strategy and employee management decisions (31 percent), analyze workplace policies (24 percent) and automate tasks previously performed by humans (22 percent). The smallest group of participants (5 percent) are using advanced analytics to guide litigation strategy.”


  • Here’s a video from Artificial Lawyer featuring remarks by Lewis Liu, CEO and co-founder of Eigen Technologies re the limitations of AI. Note especially, “However, we should not lose sight of the limits of these new technologies. We believe firmly that the best combination for accurate data extraction at present is human + machine.”


  • Also from Artificial Lawyer, Ambiguity is the Killer of Smart Contracts by David Gingell, CMO, Seal Software. “A recent article by Bill Li, Chief Network Architect at MATRIX AI, entitled “Intelligent Contracts — the AI Solution for the Issue of Security and Smart Contracts” highlighted two very significant flaws in smart contracts: 1) they are not smart enough and 2) they have poor security mechanisms and tools.” The article discusses these criticisms and presents Seal’s solutions.


  • If there’s a need/opportunity anywhere for AI to fulfill the promise of making legal work “better, faster and cheaper,” it seems to be in Brazil. This post from Artificial Lawyer includes these amazing stats: “(a) study published by the Brazilian National Council of Justice showed that there were 70.8 million pending lawsuits in early 2014, and other 28.5 million suits were filed during that year, totalling 99.7 million cases pending to be reviewed by the judicial branch.” “In 2016, the judiciary system cost over 84 billion Brazilian Reais (approx. £17 billion) or approx. 1.3% of the Gross Domestic Product.”


  • Still more from Artificial LawyerIntegra Blockchain Co. Unveils ‘Smart Leases’ for Real Estate Lawyers.


  • Law firms need to get serious about using chatbots to make their arcane websites easier to navigate. Here’s an update on how good chatbots can be these days.


  • From Imogen Ireland and Penelope Thornton of Hogan Lovells: Are the UK’s intellectual property laws ready for AI?
  • And from Richard Diffenthal and Helen McGowan of Hogan Lovells: Artificial Intelligence – time to get regulating? “We explored some of the current issues and debates with Karen Yeung, Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow in Law, Ethics and Informatics at the University of Birmingham.”



  • Joanna Goodman posted this to Canada’s “Law Society Gazette”. The Only Way is Ethics. She digs into “…the need for responsible technology and a regulatory framework for the use of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly following the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica revelations.”


  • This from Baker McKenzie’s Global Dispute Resolution team in London: Update on the European Product Liability Directive – Still Alive & Kicking.


  • Not yet taking surveillance cameras seriously? Check this post about their improving night vision. And this one about facial recognition at the Royal Wedding.


  • But don’t necessarily get all pessimistic/negative about AI: “One of the world’s most visible environmentalists is optimistic about the future of the planet because of technology. Former US Vice President Al Gore believes advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, connected devices, and other technology will make it possible for society to reach sustainability goals at record speed. ‘The world is in the early stages of a sustainability revolution that has the magnitude and scale of the industrial revolution at the speed of the digital revolution,’ Gore said at the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in Seattle Thursday.”