• The EY/Riverview deal continues to reverberate throughout the legal industry, and it seems EY isn’t going to gently move things along. According to LegalFutures this morning: “Riverview Law is set for a huge global expansion over the next five years once EY completes its acquisition, the partner who is to head the new business has said. Chris Price, EY global head of alliances – tax, told Legal Futures that the plan was to increase staff numbers from 100 to 3,000.”

And from Accountancy Daily, “EY is to plough an additional $1bn (£784m) into new technology solutions, client services, innovation and the firm’s ‘ecosystem’ over the next two financial years.” “Additionally, Nicola Morini Bianzino has joined as EY global chief client technology officer (CCTO) and Steve George as EY global chief information officer (CIO). They join Barbara O’Neill, EY global chief information & security officer (CISO).”


  • Artificial Lawyer has launched their AL 100 Legal Tech Directory to meet this need: “People want to have some idea of what all these companies (providers of ‘progressive legal tech’) are offering, who they are and who runs the company, how do they price their software, what security standards do they meet, what markets do they operate in, and what makes their application special? In short, people want some detail.” I won’t try to offer a complete description. Check this out!


  • Here’s a real world example of AI at use in litigation: Legal Week Innovation Awards 2018 – AI Innovation: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. “Not only was the outcome a success, it also saved the client a considerable sum of money on a traditional document review (estimated to be about two-and-a-half times more expensive).”


  • From Finnegan‘s Susan Y. Tull and Paula E. Miller in The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law. Patenting Artificial Intelligence: Issues of Obviousness, Inventorship, and Patent Eligibility.


  • Artificial intelligence in the legal industry: AI’s broader role in law – Part 2. “This is the second article in a three part series looking at artificial intelligence’s growing presence in the legal industry. Here, Information Age looks at AI’s broader role within the law firm, with specific case studies from Perkins Coie and Hogan Lovells.” Like Part One, worth your time.


  • Not AI per se, but “Californian law firm, Keesal, Young & Logan (KYL), and legal tech company, Mitratech, have together announced today the formation of a ‘TAP Workflow Automation partnership’ that is aimed at helping clients improve their legal processes.” More from Artificial Lawyer here.


  • From Drinker Biddle: President Trump Signs New National Security Legislation Governing Foreign Investments in the United States: How the New Law May Affect You. The post includes: “‘Critical technology’ includes any technology subject to U.S. export control lists (i.e., the U.S. Munitions List and Commerce Control List) as well as yet-to-be-defined “emerging and foundational technologies.” These “emerging and foundational technologies” will be defined by U.S. export control authorities and may include certain new technologies that are not currently subject to significant export controls, such as Artificial Intelligence, some forms of quantum computing and advanced materials, as well as more traditional technologies deemed fundamental to the U.S. industrial base, such as chemicals, energy, metallurgy and transportation.”



  • From K&L GatesBlockchain Energizer – Volume 33. “Four New York Utilities Will Collaborate to Develop “Transformative” Use Cases for ‘Shared Blockchain Infrastructure.'”


  • “The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is claiming the world’s first bond transaction delivered solely using blockchain, having been charged with the honour by the World Bank.” “The “$AUD Kangaroo bond”, Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument (bond-i), which uses a private Ethereum blockchain, has been developed alongside the Northern Trust, QBE, and Treasury Corporation of Victoria.” More here.


  • “The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, in collaboration with 11 financial regulators and related organisations including America’s Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, created a Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which will support a ‘global sandbox’ to test out new technology such as AI and blockchain.” More here from Artificial Lawyer.


  • Blockchain and AI “could underpin” future law firms. “A future where law firms are ‘distributed entities’ based on blockchain and smart contracts, and lawyers will add value by being “stronger” trusted advisers assisted by artificial intelligence, has been mapped out by futurologists. The paper was co-authored by leading UK legal academic Professor John Flood, currently working at Griffith University in Australia, and his colleague at the Law Futures Centre there, Lachlan Robb.” “Lawyers’ main activity could still be as a ‘trusted adviser’, but with enhanced value, they argued. This time, the lawyer will not only be imbued with the expertise gained from experience and knowledge – but also augmented with the power of machine learning. Our traditional conception of the lawyer does not disappear but reappears in a stronger form.”
  • A couple of days ago I reported on EY’s acquisition of Riverview Law. Since then it has been very widely reported (e.g., here) and the subject of many tweets, blog posts (e.g., here) and articles. Many see it as a portent of things to come, some agreeing with “Cornelius Grossmann, Ernst & Young’s global law leader, (who) said in a press release that the acquisition ‘underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services.’ EY says the company will help it cut the costs of routine legal activities.” Artificial Lawyer’s in-depth analysis includes: “The EY/Riverlaw deal matters, but it matters most because it is part of a far larger picture: the incremental industrialisation of the provision of legal services to the global economy and society as a whole.”


  • AI you can use! This interview with Ping CEO Ryan Alshak describes how his company tries to take the pain out of timekeeping. “We obsess over eliminating the friction of timekeeping. There is no reason why it should take just as long to log work as it does to perform the work in the first place. Our design motto is ‘less clicks.’ In terms of automation, we plug into systems lawyers use to perform billable work and we leverage machine learning to build a complete timesheet. So, a lawyer works exactly as they are now, and Ping captures, categorizes, describes and codifies it automatically. The lawyer just needs to review and release.” Of course, this is only relevant if your law firm still records time.


  • From Radiant Law, a LawTech Glossary with more than a twist of sarcasm. for instance, AI is, “A term for when a computer system does magic. “General” artificial intelligence refers to thinking computers, a concept that for the foreseeable future exists only in science fiction and LawTech talks. “Narrow” artificial intelligence refers to a limited capability (albeit one that may be very useful) such as classifying text or pictures, or expert systems. Discussions of AI that blur general and narrow AI are a good indication that you are dealing with bullshit.” I also enjoyed this one: “Design thinking: A new approach to improving processes, involving sticking brightly coloured post-it notes to walls or, preferably, windows.”


  • Ropes & Gray (Mark V. NuccioGideon BlattMike Tierney) issued this alert regarding a report issued July 31: Treasury Department Issues Regulatory Report on Fintech and Innovation. Among Treasury’s recommendations: “Further development and incorporation of cloud technologies, machine learning, and artificial intelligence into financial services.”


  • This article (The Robots are Not Just Coming – They are Already Here) is from the Journal of Accountancy, but its recommendations for “Cherished Advisors” are applicable to law firms.


  • Computer Security: New genre of artificial intelligence programs take computer hacking to another level. “(A) team from IBM … have used the artificial intelligence technique known as machine learning to build hacking programs that could slip past top-tier defensive measures. The group will unveil details of its experiment at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.”  “Whoever you personally consider evil is already working on this.” More here.


  • National Security: As China’s Military Masters Artificial Intelligence, Why Are We Still Building Aircraft Carriers? “China appears determined to seize this AI “high ground” of future conflict. For the last two years, Chinese companies have won an AI competition for detecting objects. The Chinese are happy for the U.S. to keep building carriers and bombers, so long as they deploy the more advanced technologies that can disable these systems.” “…(I)n the Pentagon’s initial request for $74 billion in new defense spending in fiscal 2019, only .006 percent was targeted for science and technology.”

Meanwhile, thisPentagon to create new command for fighting in space, but resists Trump’s proposed ‘space force’. “Trump has never explained at length why he favors creation of a space force as an additional military service, but the concept often draws loud cheers at rallies.”

And this: JAIC: Pentagon debuts artificial intelligence hub. “On June 27, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan issued a memorandum that formally established the Defense Department’s new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). According to the memo, JAIC’s overarching aim is to accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, scale the impact of AI tools, and synchronize the department’s AI efforts.”



  • Like Oil and Water: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. This post‘s author () remarks that “(o)ver the next ten years, AI and Blockchain are two technologies that will form a pillar for the next set of billion (trillion?) dollar organizations. When combined with the Internet of Things, there are some useful applications that will be created to make our lives even easier.” But for now, he sees AI’s utility mainly in detecting fraudulent blockchain activity, and conversely that blockchain can serve as “(d)ecentralized AI marketplaces for data that AI needs.”
  • LexisNexis’ Lex Machina “announced a major new expansion that provides analysis of insurance litigation.” Details from Artificial Lawyer here.


  • Also from Artificial Lawyer: “Canada-based legal AI pioneer, Kira Systems, has completed its SOC2 Type II reporting certification to help remove any fears customers may have over data security.”


  • This piece from The National Law Review reminds lawyers that it is their duty to keep up with technologies such as AI. “Comment 3 to the ABA Model Rule 5.3 was amended in 2012 to take into account situations where it is necessary for attorneys to rely on vendors. “When using such services outside the firm, a lawyer must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations.”


  • From Hydraulics & Pneumatics (my first from that publication!): How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Construction. “Artificial intelligence is expected to alter business models in the construction industry in areas including logistics, customer relationship management, support, workflow automation, and finance. Even more, artificial intelligence can help in recreating realistic situations for training, reducing injuries and costly mistakes and making operations more efficient. This can enable operators to better use existing labor resources, helping with the skilled labor shortage in construction.” The article explains current constraints to adoption.


  • Don’t forget to swallow your AI: This swallowable chip uses glowing bacteria to spot hidden illnesses. “Researchers at MIT have been working on a chip that could one day be offered to patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeds instead of an endoscopy. The researchers have created a prototype of the chip that can be swallowed like a pill, sampling a patient’s gastrointestinal environment for signs of bleeding as it travels through their digestive system.”


  • Trump’s trade war with China has AI implicationsTrump focuses on technology exports, foreign investments in ongoing trade war. “Already threatened by escalating U.S. taxes on its goods, China is about to find it much harder to invest in U.S. companies or to buy American technology in such cutting-edge areas as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.”



  • From Waller: “When it comes to digital coins or tokens, it’s best to approach with caution, ask plenty of questions and conduct extensive research before making an investment, warns the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”).”


  • And now, blockchain-based insurance against security failures of smart contracts: Ethereum-Powered Insurer Nexus Is Winning Over Blockchain Skeptics. “With Nexus, Karp is trying to revive mutual insurance, a model that dates back to the 17th century and, many argue, aligned the interests of participants better than today’s profit-maximizing insurance firms. Nexus is one of a handful of blockchain startups, at various stages of development, aiming to use the technology for this purpose.” Much more here.
  • Congrats to Artificial Lawyer for turning two today (that’s about 100 in AI years!). From AL today:

Case Crunch Team Splits Up, CourtQuant is Born. “Simply put, it looks at old cases and predicts how new cases will likely perform based on models developed from patterns in the old cases.” Details here.

This sponsored content from Leverton describes their product, “an AI-powered data extraction platform, that applies deep learning/machine learning technology to extract and structure data from real estate leases, financial, insurance, and more corporate documents in 30 languages.”

Solomonic is described here. It’s a “new legal tech company provides lawyers with the ability to make data-led predictions on commercial and tax-related disputes by tapping previous case information to give a steer on possible outcomes for a new, similar case.”


  • For those new to legal AI, this post from Law.com is a good, brief introduction to what law firms are up to. Looking Beyond Document Review, Legal Is Branching Out With Artificial Intelligence.


  • The subject of this press release doesn’t sound like AI per se, but it’s Big Data (for a law firm). “EffortlessLegal LLC, a Chicago-based tech company bringing advanced automation and machine-learning products to the legal space, introduced today the launch of EffortlessIntake, a cloud-based product designed to automate a law firm’s intake process.”


  • Citing Allen & Overy as an example, this post from HBR (A 5-Part Process for Using Technology to Improve Your Talent Management) presents several useful prerequisites for successful adoption of data-driven tech in talent management.


  • Here’s a very useful guide to “litigation analytics”, including five types of these analyses and overviews of the leading vendors in the space. “The recent maturation of the foundational technologies needed to support machine learning have made advanced data analytics and sophisticated language processing possible on a scale never before seen. Using these tools, massive amounts of data can be sifted through, organized and analyzed in mere seconds.”

– On a related note, “Litigation outcome prediction has taken a further step into the mainstream with a partnership between a major litigation law firm and a start-up that presents lawyers with data on how judges have ruled in the past. Solomonic, which specialises in data science and litigation analytics, is scheduled for commercial launch in the autumn.” (Also, see post above re Solomonic.)


  • Wolters Kluwer’s Dean Sonderegger prepared this post discussing where legal technologies stands on the diffusion/adoption curve. Spoiler alert: he thinks we’re pretty far along.


  • Here’s the next installment of Thomas Fox’s AI, Compliance & the Value of Collaboration: Part III — AI Driving Compliance Process. “It is through this business process improvement that AI will help to drive greater business efficiency and, at the end of the day, greater corporate profitability.”


  • New York Law School “will launch its Business of Law Institute in fall 2018.” Courses and programs will include “Upper-level seminars on Compliance and Bank Regulatory Matters, Smart Contracting and Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity and Risk Management taught by outside experts in these fields.” More discussion here.


  • This half hour from Law Practice Advisory Podcast (Artificial Intelligence: Just Plain Smart Marketing) is largely speculative regarding legal marketing.


  • From K&L Gates’ Jonathan LawrenceUK Law Commission: Smart Contract Research. “The aim is for smart contracts to be relied upon even in the absence of trust between the parties concerned. This is because they facilitate a complete symmetry of information, and a completely transparent process.”


  • Valerie Kenyon of Hogan Lovells posted this piece, The connected home: From smart fish tanks to connected kitchen appliances, product companies must navigate GDPR and Product Liability Directive compliance, cyber risk, and other IoT challenges. 


  • Foley’s Peter Vogel posted this very brief post to their “Internet, IT & E-discovery” blog. Do you like the idea that Facebook is increasing the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)?


  • Here’s a wake-up call re China’s AI ambitions. China’s AI focus will leave US in the dust, says top university professor.



  • BigLaw firms are working together to influence how blockchain technology will operate in the future. This post describes several such groups.


  • Singapore Airlines has launched a Blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet developed in collaboration with Microsoft and KPMG Digital Village.
  • This post from Ron Friedmann (Exploding Legal Surveys and Conferences) is a good way to start the week. Ron asserts that one of the common findings of these ever-proliferating surveys is “that large law firms and corporate law departments have already transformed, if not been disrupted.” He rightly concludes that this is “hogwash.” I suggest that, as I have proven several times in this blog, many (probably most) surveys about our industry are conducted for marketing/promotional purposes — largely to generate clickbait headlines — and employ such poor research methodology as to be laughable. Again, caveat emptor.


  • From Oklahoma State’s Assistant Professor of Legal Studies in Business, Mike Schuster, this 3:20 video on patent laws and AI.


  • Check out this post from Joanna Goodman. It’s a solid discussion of AI-powered analysis tools (“the use of algorithms in the justice system”) with a deep dive re chatbots. “How will tighter data protection regulations affect development of legal services and AI‑powered analysis tools? Law firms and counsel have to walk the talk on compliance.”


  • In this post (AI, Compliance & The Value of Collaboration: Part I — The Compliance Role), Thomas Fox discusses “what a compliance professional can bring to an AI solution.” It’s a pretty deep dive.


  • With GDPR behind us (right??), next comes California’s data protection law. Here’s the best discussion of that one I’ve seen so far. Sullivan & Cromwell Discusses California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. “Businesses need to consider how to apply the requirements of the CCPA with their information technology systems that handle PI (personal information) and address potential challenges in applying the new rules to important areas like big data analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms that leverage PI.”


  • From McCarthy Tétrault this in-depth white paper. The title tells it all: From Chatbots to Self-Driving Cars: The Legal Risks of Adopting Artificial Intelligence in Your Business. It’s almost a year old (sorry I missed it when first published), but still very relevant. It includes country-by-country analyses, and analysis by area of law.


  • Also from McCarthy, this news release “announc(ing its) membership with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative and the EEA Legal Working Group, founded to bring together leading global law firms and leading legal minds to explore building legal use cases and applications using blockchain technology. In addition, McCarthy Tétrault became a contributor to the OpenLaw smart contract project.


  • This Artificial Intelligence Deals Tracker from CB Insights even includes “legal”. There are trends from 2013 to present and a link to sign up for the full report.


  • From Artificial Lawyer, “The UK’s Law Commission, which was created by the Government to help study the need to reform and improve the law, has launched a special ‘scoping study’ to explore smart contracts. It will look at what needs to be done to ensure that current law is ‘sufficiently certain and flexible to apply in a global, digital context and to highlight any topics which lack clarity or certainty’ in relation to using smart contracts.” More here.

Must Read: If you’re especially interested in blockchain or just want to learn what it’s all about, read this fresh report from McKinsey & Co.: Blockchain beyond the hype: What is the strategic business value? (The interactive infographics are outstanding.) “Blockchain was a priority topic at Davos; a World Economic Forum survey suggested that 10 percent of global GDP will be stored on blockchain by 2027. Multiple governments have published reports on the potential implications of blockchain, and the past two years alone have seen more than half a million new publications on and 3.7 million Google search results for blockchain.” “Despite the hype, blockchain is still an immature technology, with a market that is still nascent and a clear recipe for success that has not yet emerged.” Some very interesting and practical insights and applications are discussed. Applications in 14 specific industries are discussed — not legal.


  • Speaking of McKinsey, this story describes the Houston Astros amazing rise from profoundly terrible to World Series champs under general manager Jeff Luhnow, formerly a management consultant for McKinsey (who surrounded himself with other nerds). “‘How do you combine soft information with hard information in a way that allows you to make the best decisions?’ asked Luhnow in 2014.” It’s an interesting story of how combining big data analytics with “gut feeling” may still be the best solution — for now. “In an era in which we are deluged by data, with the specter of job-killing artificial intelligence looming on the horizon, success isn’t a matter of man or machine, but of man plus machine. As long as man remains in charge.”


  • Back to blockchain: “The Association of Legal Administrators is the first membership association to become part of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC), joining more than 30 large companies, law firms, software companies and universities. The GLBC exists to develop standards that govern the use of blockchain technology in the business of law.” Details here.


  • And more blockchain, this time a two-part post regarding cryptocurrencies from Barnes & Thornburg’s Trace Schmeltz (here and here). Cryptocurrencies — An Overview of the Legal Landscape, The Risks of Investing, and the Future of the Markets. It’s a good explanation of this aspect of blockchain with an explanation of the risks in trading and potential future.


  • From KennedysWhy being app-athetic is bad for law firms. “One simple yet undeniably persuasive argument for law firms to cultivate legal technology is that their clients want them to.”


  • I expect good things from Bob Ambrogi’s new podcast, “LawNext.” He’s off to a good start with this interview of Nicole Bradick.


  • A couple of years ago I would have been surprised to see stories regarding AI and pot. But this morning, “Global Cannabis Applications Corp. is a global leader in designing, developing, marketing and acquiring innovative data technologies for the cannabis industry. The Citizen Green platform is the world’s first end-to-end – from patient to regulator – medical cannabis data solution. It uses six core technologies: mobile applications, artificial intelligence, regtech, smart databases, blockchain and digital reward tokens, to qualify candidates for clinical studies.”


  • From Artificial Lawyer:

– Meet Sibyl AI – The New Claims Prediction System.

– US Survey Finds Big Legal Tech Knowledge Gap Among Lawyers. (I could not find the survey methodology, so caveat emptor.)

– Brummie Legal Automation Co. Clarilis Bags $4m Investment.

– Casetext and the Need for Legal AI for ‘Small Law’.  “…(S)mall firms have a double whammy of a challenge: they lack the financial resources to invest in AI research suites and they lack the additional staff resources to do that research work manually.”


  • Here’s some noteworthy AI-related news from the world’s biggest tech companies:

– Apple bigwigs Tom Gruber and Vipul Ved Prakash call it quits amid Siri reshuffle. (Dear Lord, I hope this means Siri with catch up to Google Assistant, or at least Alexa.)

– “(IBM) … reported second-quarter profit and revenue that topped analysts’ expectations as it benefited from growth in higher-margin businesses including cybersecurity and cloud computing.” “…IBM has been focusing on an array of new technologies ranging from artificial intelligence to cloud computing as it tries to offset weakness in its legacy business of selling hardware and software.” And this storyIs Watson enough to carry IBM?

Microsoft Will Build AI Into Everything, Says CEO Satya Nadella. “It’s going to have perception capability, language capability and autonomy that’s going to be built into the applications going forward.” Details here.

 Intel Partners with Forbes to deliver an all-new Digital Publication called ‘Forbes AI’. “You know that times are changing when Intel, who just turned 50 yesterday, is pushing hard into Artificial Intelligence. Last month during Computex, Intel’s keynote included a segment on AI for PC’s developer program as illustrated in an Intel slide below.” More here and here.

  • I have a good excuse (well, kinda) for posting a link to the full text of yesterday’s Nelson Mandela Speech by Barack Obama. And here’s the video. (It’s more than an hour long.) “And the biggest challenge for your new president when we think about how we’re going to employ more people here is going to be also technology, because artificial intelligence is here and it is accelerating, and you’re going to have driverless cars, and you’re going to have more and more automated services, and that’s going to make the job of giving everybody work that is meaningful tougher, and we’re going to have to be more imaginative, and the pact of change is going to require us to do more fundamental reimagining of our social and political arrangements, to protect the economic security and the dignity that comes with a job.”


  • Another Big Law “Skunkworks:” Clifford Chance Looks to Break Out to Break Through With 2 New ‘Innovation Units’. “Clifford Chance’s recent launch of two new ‘innovation units,’ Clifford Chance Applied Solutions and Clifford Chance Create, is an attempt for the firm to eke out the necessary space for experimentation. The Create unit will be charged with helping the firm flesh out its technology ecosystem and partner network, while Applied Solutions is dedicated to helping build and scale out technology systems for clients.” A few details here.


  • This infomercial post for Thomson Reuters’ new Westlaw Edge provides a history of legal research and some interesting observations. “If lawyers want greater confidence in their results, they need to spend more time on legal research – time they simply don’t have. ‘Lawyers desperately want to save time, but they are terrified that they will miss something,’ observes Tonya Custis, a Research Director at Thomson Reuters who specializes in AI with an emphasis on natural-language search.”


  • From Norton Rose: Why collaborative AI can become a legal minefield. “To compete we (Canada) must be strategic in how we marshal our resources, and a key factor will be intellectual-property management, particularly in collaborative AI developed by different stakeholders. Determining who owns or controls the IP rights of a new technology and, in turn, who will be rewarded for their expertise and efforts, can get messy if contracts do not exist or do not contain clear IP terms.” “…(A) clear IP framework for AI innovation is needed in Canada.”


  • Here’s an interesting discussion by Carolyn Elefant of how Big Data/AI could dissuade smaller law firms from taking cases that they really should. Data Analytics And The Importance Of Loser Law. “It’s solos and smalls who often stand on the front lines in using the justice system to change the law and stand up for those desperate clients who have no other options. If data analytics makes solos and smalls less inclined to take these types of cases due to fear of liability, then we all lose out.”


  • This is the introduction to a larger piece linked in the article. Law Firms Need Artificial Intelligence to Stay in the Game. “The legal department is savvier and has more options in the form of ASPs and legal technology – It’s time for law firms to embrace change. Artificial Intelligence is a key ingredient in doing so.”


  • According to this survey by Reed Smith, in the shipping industry, “(t)echnology to address environmental issues and emissions ranks above blockchain as the most significant driver of change over the next five years….” But ‘analytics of big data’ ties with those environmental concerns.


  • From Stephen M. Honig of Duane Morris, this deep dive (though he says it’s ‘shallow’) into the implications of blockchain and the rest of the ‘digital economy’ for corporate boards. It’s too much for me to summarize, but I especially like his analysis of how blockchain, big data, the internet all disintermediate. Good stuff.


  • PwC just issued this report, forecasting growth in the UK in professional, technical and scientific employment due to AI advances over the next few years and in the long term. “The sectors that we estimate will see the largest net increase in jobs due to AI over the next 20 years include health (+22%),  professional, scientific and technical services (+16%) and education (+6%).” I find it amusing when reports like this report prognostications with two decimal point precision (e.g., page 50), and when they run statistical tests on a dataset of 42 observations. They will be lucky to correctly guess the direction of changes 20 years from now, much less the degree. Of course, no one will check these predictions, so they’re safe.


  • From Artificial LawyerSubmitting Trial Evidence? There’s a Blockchain App For That Now. “The blockchain application will be used within CaseLines’ products to store the ‘transactions in the digital journey’ of an item of evidence within digital justice systems globally and is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.” Cool.


  • From Above the Law, this is an interesting discussion of IBM’s ambitions to “build a robot lawyer,” as evidenced by the recent debut of it’s Project Debater.


  • More blockchain news: “Five specialist attorneys have launched strategic advisory firm Ketsal Consulting in conjunction with law firm Blakemore Fallon to guide companies through the fast-moving blockchain and cryptocurrency legal and regulatory landscape. Founded by a team of attorneys from top law firms and a former senior special counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ketsal Consulting and Blakemore Fallon will provide authoritative advice on building compliance-focused business models at a time when the blockchain industry faces conflicting direction from international regulatory bodies and shifting legal sentiments.”


  • Who would have thought we needed this, just a few years ago: Representatives from 150 tech companies sign pledge against ‘killer robots’. “A pledge has been signed by over 2,400 individuals working in artificial intelligence and robotics against the use of the technology for lethal reasons.”



Amazon Prime Day (actually a day and a half) officially starts at 2 PM CT today (but some things are already on sale), so you may be tempted to finally take the plunge and add Amazon’s Alexa to your home environment. All of the Alexa units are about half their usual prices, starting at $30. Google has responded with price drops on its Google Home units, starting at $34.

So which, if either, should you buy? General wisdom is that Alexa is best for shopping (I have found it ‘not so easy’), and Google is best for information and music (yes, it is). Here’s an examination of both in some detail. (I have Google, Alexa and Siri all over my home and car and use them all a lot, so I’m a pretty good judge.)

One highly influential factor should be your general tech environment. If you have Amazon Prime and generally use Amazon Music stuff a lot, Alexa is not a bad choice. If you (and your home) are Android, Google is probably the best fit. If you are an Apple/Mac/iTunes person, you’ll find Siri superior in terms of music and especially security. One of the reasons Apple tends to lag the others a bit in terms of tech is their superior focus on keeping things secure.

Strictly in terms of personal assistants, Google is best, followed by Alexa and then Siri. Because I am generally an Apple guy, I find myself using Siri most, but I rely on Google for my morning briefing. My home automation is set up for all three, but again, I most often use Siri. All three continue to improve very quickly.

With Siri, your hardware is limited to your iPhone, iPad, Mac (with video baked in) and their HomePod speaker ($349). Google has several speaker options but for video you need to connect to your TV. Amazon has several speakers and two video options.

Regardless of which you may choose, now’s a great time to time to buy!

And now, on to the rest of AI!!

  • Post of the day, this from Michael Mills. Siri, Esq.—The AI Robots are (not) Coming. The clever title is misleading, the AI solutions ARE coming and they will take some jobs. The article is a good update on the state of AI in law.


  • Last week I posted about the major new AI releases by Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis. Here, from Artificial Lawyer is a good overview of the implications of these releases and related moves by their smaller, more agile, competitors. And here’s Bob Ambrogi’s in-depth look at Lexis Analytics.


  • From Hogan Lovells: Artificial intelligence and data analytics in fraud and corruption investigations. “This update explains how the process of gathering, sorting and evaluating enormous volumes of data has changed, and why skilled human intelligence is likely to remain a required component of an accurate analysis.”


  • Law Technology Today posted this interesting editorial about the evolution of legal service providers. “Regardless of where your firm is now—BigLaw or SmallLaw, OldLaw or NewLaw—if you are still around in 2050, it’s likely you will be practicing SmartLaw.”


  • Fasken is promoting it’s use of AI to better serve clients. “At Fasken, our Legal Innovation team understands that AI is about more than robots and autonomous driving. With AI tools, performance gets better over time as the technology learns and improves from experience. We’re embracing the disruption, taking new approaches and using the benefits from a number of tools to transform our legal services for our clients.” This post discusses a webinar on the subject, but I could not find a link.


  • From ABFJournal, “While some lawyers may be leery of or intimidated by artificial intelligence tools, a panel of experts has demystified the technology and described the ways in which it can expand the legal services market. Karim Guirguis and John Hartgen recap a recent American Bankruptcy Institute panel discussing the role of artificial intelligence in bankruptcy.”


  • Ganado Advocates took a leading role in drafting Malta’s blockchain legislation, making it one of the world’s most blockchain-friendly countries. Here’s an interview with one of their partners on the subject. “The purpose was to make Malta a blockchain hub, attracting a number of investments in the country. And, I mean, the aim of the regulation has already attracted lots of interest. As a law firm, we’ve been inundated with requests and have already been working on a number of transactions. And we anticipate that this will go on and progress even further now that the laws are in place.”


  • “Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly disrupt the U.S. real estate market. Vasiliki Yiannoulis of the law firm Withers, discusses how this new technology will impact the industry within the next few years.”


  • From K&L Gates: “AI systems are increasingly utilized to help streamline certain diagnosis, treatment, and administration procedures. In this episode, Ryan Severson discusses some of the key legal issues associated with AI and how the landscape is expected to change over the next few years.”


  • Mayer Brown Tech Talks, Episode 1: Staying Ahead of AI with Rebecca Eisner. 24-minute webinar here. It’s mainly an overview of AI generally, with some legal considerations near the end.


  • “POLITICO hosted a conversation on the role of government and its implications for AI growth in national public safety, privacy and civil rights. Watch the full video here to see how artificial intelligence is accelerating rapidly — from social media bots to facial recognition technology to driverless vehicles.”


  • From Jeffrey Catanzaro of UnitedLex: What junior lawyers need to know about artificial intelligence. “… AI and other associated technologies are creating huge opportunities – especially for younger lawyers – but it’s important for those who are newly qualified not only to recognise those opportunities but also to appreciate how the job is changing.”


  • Finally for today, here’s an interesting slant on legal tech: With A Defined Go-To-Market Strategy, Legal Tech Can Conquer The Industry. “The most glamorous figure in the legal profession used to be the trial lawyer. Now it’s the nerd.”
  • The big news yesterday was Thomson Reuters’ launch of “…Westlaw Edge, an updated, artificial intelligence-assisted legal research platform. The updates include new warnings for invalid or questionable law, litigation analytics, a tool to analyze statutory changes and an improved AI-enhanced search called WestSearch Plus.” Here’s their video promo piece, and here the press release. Kudos to Thomson Reuters for garnering so much coverage, such as here and here. This early review by Bob Ambrogi is especially interesting, as is this from Jean O’Grady.

At the same time, Artificial Lawyer has this coverage of Eikon Digest, Thomson Reuters’ “new algorithmic research service aimed at the financial sector, in a move that shows the increasing use of machine learning, NLP and related tech.”


  • Meanwhile, “LexisNexis® Legal & Professional today announced the launch of Lexis Analytics, a comprehensive suite of analytics tools that leverages advanced technology, vast stores of legal content and expert curation to give lawyers a decisive competitive advantage in the business and practice of law.” Here’s the press release.


  • From LegalWeek, here are Jeffrey Catanzaro’s thoughts about: What junior lawyers need to know about artificial intelligence. “The new lawyers of today are the managing partners and general counsel of tomorrow, and although some commentators may assert that the profession is disruption-free, an increasing body of evidence does suggest the contrary. As the American media mogul Ryan Kavanaugh once said: -The key is to embrace disruption and change early. Don’t react to it decades later. You can’t fight innovation.'”


  • Tracy Molino of Dentons has these thoughts about: The practical uses of distributed ledger technology, beyond cryptocurrencies. She breaks down the applications by industry. “Dentons is proud to be the first Canadian law firm to join the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC).”


  • This piece from The Economist, Law firms climb aboard the AI wagon, doesn’t break any new ground, but provides an overview of law firm applications of AI and the possible ramifications thereof. “Will legal employment eventually shrink? The jury is still out. Some firms expect to employ fewer graduates. But others argue that cheaper services could encourage clients to consult their lawyers more. And although some tasks are automatable, many others rely on human judgment. AI might pinpoint atypical clauses in contracts, for example, but it cannot decide if the anomaly is a deal-breaker. In any event, lawyers should start to find their work more interesting.”


  • Here’s a new A2J tool! “An artificial intelligence (AI) platform designed for businesses is to help staff at food banks and MPs’ surgeries refer legal enquiries from members of the public to lawyers….” “What we will be offering is a tool to connect advice givers and lawyers, rather than a replacement for initiatives already taking place.”


  • From Artificial Lawyer, “US law firm Fenwick & West has taken the unusual step of making a public announcement about the positive impact its use of legal AI technology, in this case mainly Kira Systems, is having on the firm, stating that use of automated review technology has cut the time needed for such work ‘by half’.


  • Press release: “Seal Software, the leading provider of content discovery and analytics solutions, today announced the acquisition of Apogee Legal, a global leader in advanced contract analytics for the enterprise, in a move that will bolster Seal’s award-winning suite of market leading Intelligent Content Analytics (ICA) AI solutions and its global management team.”


  • I’ve posted several times about the burgeoning field of AI-based sentiment analysis and it’s use in applications from police departments to job interviews to advertisers. Now there’s an app for that, so you can try it yourself. “The app uses the latest emotional artificial intelligence (Emotion AI) to read 43 facial muscles 14 times a second, using the front camera of a smartphone. The app gives you seven emotional states – fear, anger, disgust, happiness, contempt, sadness, and surprise. It works while you’re watching a video from a friend, recording your reaction at the same time using the front camera. The recipient and the sender both can see the emotion results in real-time, with the top two emotions given priority. These top two emotions are shows with percentages, indicating which emotion is felt the most by individuals concerned.”


  • And finally, here’s a weekend thought piece for you: The New Intelligence: Modern AI and the fundamental undoing of the scientific method. “The days of traditional, human-driven problem solving — developing a hypothesis, uncovering principles, and testing that hypothesis through deduction, logic, and experimentation — may be coming to an end. A confluence of factors (large data sets, step-change infrastructure, algorithms, and computational resources) are moving us toward an entirely new type of discovery, one that sits far beyond the constraints of human-like logic or decision-making: driven solely by AI, rooted in radical empiricism. The implications — from how we celebrate scientific discovery to assigning moral responsibility to those discoveries — are far-reaching.” It’s thought provoking, to say the least.

  • From Mayer Brown, this 24-minute video presentation: Staying Ahead of AI with Rebecca Eisner. It’s a discussion of AI generally, followed by the implications for “technology lawyers.”


  • Ed White of Clarivate Analytics prepared this piece: Artificial intelligence and the future of the patent system. He outlines three major changes to the patent world and concludes: “These issues taken together challenge the utility of the patent system. If not addressed, they could potentially devalue it and lead to decline in its use.  There is simply way too much data for a human to read, analyse and understand.  It is clear we need help.  Step up artificial intelligence (AI).” He then gives a basic explanation AI and how it can help address these issues.



  • This post (AI crucial to value-based care, but security challenges and time constraints remain) from Healthcare IT News includes an interview with Buchanan Ingersoll’s Pam Hepp. “AI can be beneficial because it incorporates predictive outcomes coupled with decision-making tools, but providers need to be willing to adopt and use such technology, and that is often a difficult ‘sell’ for many practitioners….” She goes on to discuss some of the issues inherent in these applications of AI and big data generally.


  • Naughty lawyers: “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has obtained final judgments against attorney T.J. Jesky and his law firm’s business affairs manager, Mark F. DeStefano pertaining to the illegal sales of UBI Blockchain stock. Both Jesky and DeStefano profited.” …”the SEC says the pair made approximately $1.4 million by selling shares in UBI Blockchain Internet during a 10-day period from Dec. 26, 2017 to Jan. 5, 2018. The sales halted when the SEC stepped in and temporarily suspended trading in UBI Blockchain.” Coverage here.


  • From Artificial Lawyer, the second best news for Kira this week (the first, of course, being the addition of Allison Nussbaum to their team!): Allen & Overy Formally Adopts Kira Systems for AI Doc Review.


  • Also from Artificial Lawyer, this post by Victoria Duxbury, Associate Director, Knowledge Development Lawyer at Bryan Cave: AI Contract Review is for Life Not Just for (the Pre-) Christmas (Rush). It’s an interesting discussion of moving from the fundamentals of contracts with systems such as those from iManage/RAVN and Kira Systems to a “move away from traditional, static Word-based products to live reporting will offer us all greater visibility, more fluidity and an opportunity to truly collaborate: what’s not to like about that all year round?”


  • Here (audio and transcript), Ari Kaplan interviews Emily Foges, the CEO of Luminance, re AI and the law firm of 2030. She discusses Luminance’s offerings, obstacles to adoption and then moves on to her predictions for 2030. “I think it is going to be a really exciting place full of bright, enthusiastic, interesting lawyers who have been freed up from the shackles of all of this tedious, repetitive work that increasingly young lawyers have to deal with now and are really applying their minds to really creatively solving problems on behalf of their clients and adding huge amounts of value to their clients.”


  • Fasken will elaborate in an extended version of this, and next month’s bulletins will be published in the August 2018 issue of DRI’s For The Defense. For now, here’sPart 1: Could Artificial Intelligence be Considered an Inventor? (Spoiler alert! Short answer: “maybe.”)


  • This, by Kayla Matthews, is a fascinating read with several legal implications: How Blockchain Technology Could Help Prevent Medical Fraud. “Health-related fraud affects people at every level of the industry, whether they are the people receiving care or those giving it. Even though some of the possible solutions outlined here haven’t been widely used yet, they demonstrate why blockchain technology could turn into such a reliable tool for making medical fraud cases less abundant and costly.”


  • Thomson Reuters just posted this fun and informative infographic. 7 Things Legal Professionals Need to Know About AI. (There’s a link to a white paper on the subject.)