• American Lawyer discusses Altman Weil’s latest Law Firms in Transition Survey here. With findings like this:

“…law firm leaders are increasingly fed up with their partners’ resistance to change. Meanwhile, half of firm leaders said there’s nothing especially different about their firms compared to their competitors,”

it’s a good dose of reality. I also love this quote from the always astute Tom Clay: “(t)he whole profession is changing rapidly, and to just drift along, make incremental changes and not have a dedication to innovation in some way seems idiotic to me.” Here’s the link to the whole study.

(In my experience, Altman Weil has always been careful about methodologically sound research. This survey has 801 law firm leaders responding for an overall maximum margin of sampling error of +/-3.5% at the 95% confidence level. You won’t find many surveys in our industry with less potential for non-response bias; they managed an excellent overall 50% response rate. Nice. With few exceptions, they do not break the data down into segments too small for meaningful statistical analysis, and their longitudinal trends are all based on solid samples. I am annoyed that they report findings with unjustified decimal point precision (e.g., 27.3%), especially when they get into very small segments such as 1000+ lawyer firms. The verbatim comments add nice color to the statistical findings.)


  • While speaking on Silvia Hodges Silverstein’s “Buying Legal Council” webinar this morning, I believe I said “better, faster, cheaper” four or five times. This post (How AI Is Making Prediction Cheaper) on HBR‘s IdeaCast by Avi Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, does a good job of explaining how machine learning accomplishes those goals.


  • Because of its Big Data underpinnings, AI faces all kinds of issues with the GDPR. This post discusses the implications for the insurance industry’s uses of AI. It’s mainly bad news, but some is positive. “Regulators are beginning to teach robots who’s the boss.” More insights from Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr regarding InsurTech Fundamentals and Compliance Strategies for Implementation here.


  • From Artificial Lawyer: “LinkSquares, the Boston, US-based legal AI contract analytics platform for inhouse lawyers, has just raised $2.16 million in a seed funding round in which Regent Private Capital contributed $1 million.” The post includes an interview with Vishal Sunak, Co-Founder and CEO of LinkSquares.


  • Also from Artificial LawyerThomson Reuters Sees AI + Blockchain Creating New Risks for Financial Services. The discussion is about compliance issues and there’s a link to a full report.


  • From American (not Artificial) Lawyer: Orrick Snags Weil Gotshal’s Patent Litigation Co-Chair (Jared Bobrow). Explaining the hire, “Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe chairman Mitchell Zuklie believes Silicon Valley is on the cusp of a new wave of IP litigation. Instead of networking and smartphones, the new flash points will likely involve blockchain, artificial intelligence, connected vehicles and virtual reality.” Here’s the link.


  • “Seyfarth Shaw LLP announced today the formal launch of its Blockchain Technologies team, an interdisciplinary group of lawyers who counsel clients and interface with regulators to address legal issues raised by blockchain technology. Seyfarth’s Blockchain Technologies team comprises attorneys with a variety of legal practices – including Corporate, Securities, Labor & Employment, Litigation, Derivatives, Real Estate, Banking, International, Tax, Employee Benefits and Immigration Compliance….” Details here.


  • “Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and client Ocwen Financial Corporation, … have been named 2018 ACC Value Champions by the Association of Corporate Counsel” for a “due-diligence model enabled documents to be prioritized and fed into a custom platform that utilized artificial intelligence-enabled automatic text summarization and guided review.” (Better, faster, cheaper.)


  • From Jones DayFDA Permits Marketing of First Autonomous Artificial Intelligence-Based Medical Device.


  • The US and UK are formally cooperating on the military use of AI. “Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the launch of a new artificial intelligence hub as he hosted the first ever joint US-UK Defence Innovation Board meeting yesterday (21 May) to explore important areas of co-operation that will maintain military edge into the future.” Details here.


  • This is sooooo not the world I grew up in. Take the Big Three automakers for instance. Ford recently announced that it’s stopping production of all passenger cars except the Mustang, and in this post from Fortune, Mary Barra, the female (yahoo!!!) CEO of GM discusses the company’s reinvention as a tech enterprise. Among her thoughts: “(a)utonomous technology that’s safer than a car with a human driver is coming, and it’s going to get better and better and better with technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.” “In October she unveiled an audacious aspirational goal to focus everyone on a set of long-term targets: zero accidents, zero emissions, and zero congestion.” Hear! Hear!


  • Also from that issue of Fortune: “In our survey of Fortune 500 CEOs this year, a majority of respondents—54%—said AI was “very important” to the future of their companies. That’s up from just 39% last year, and far more than those who cited other technologies like advanced robotics (19%), virtual reality (16%), blockchain (14%), 3-D printing (13%) or drones (6%) as very important.” (I haven’t been able to find an explanation of the research methodology online, but prior years’ surveys have been almost a perfect census of the targeted CEOs, so sampling error is irrelevant and non-response bias is trivial.)


  • Google’s Duplex may not be alone in passing the Turing Test. Seems Microsoft has done it in Chinese! “While Google Duplex, which lets AI mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables through phone calls, has mesmerised people with its capabilities and attracted flak on ethical grounds at the same time, Microsoft has showcased a similar technology it has been testing in China. At an AI event in London on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the company’s Xiaoice social chat bot has 500 million “friends” and more than 16 channels for Chinese users to interact with it through WeChat and other popular messaging services.” Details here.