• Legalweek (formerly Legaltech) is just a few days away, so here’sA Beginner’s Guide To The Biggest Week In Legal Technology.

 

  • Data & Analytics: Transforming Law Firms” has just been published by ALM Intelligence and LexisNexis. Here’s an executive summary and link to the report.

 

  • Here’s a fresh essay about law firm innovation from  of Thomson Reuters Legal Managed ServicesGreasing The Gears Of Legal Commerce — Automatic, Systematic, Hydromatic (alt.legal) Innovation. “CLOs indicated that nearly 25 percent of outside counsel fees are “price-insensitive.”

 

  • The Big 4 continue their relentless march into legal. I skip most of these posts, but this one specifically mentions AI: KPMG expands Asia Pacific legal services. “It will also offer technology enabled legal services, using robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies developed globally and in China through the KPMG digital ignition centre.”

 

  • This is an interesting post by Charles P. Edwards of Barnes & Thornburg: The Noisy Business of the Law and Insurance Claims. “…(T)he idea we humans are needed for most decisions is an ‘illusion.'”

 

  • Here’s a good example of a law firm (Amsterdam’s De Brauw) using tech as a differentiating marketing strategyHop on board and experience the value of legal tech and project management.

 

  • Bob Ambrogi posted this 47-minute podcast: LawNext Episode 25: Using AI to Enhance Virtual Receptionists, with Smith.ai.

 

  • From Arup Das of Alphaserve Technologies, here’s an interesting discussion of the age-old build vs. buy conundrum: How to Approach Legal Innovation: Options for Every Firm.

 

  • This is a thought-provoking post: Can Deepfakes Pose a Cybersecurity Threat to Legal? ““Deepfakes are real and emerging as an issue but they, like certain types of technology, could emerge very quickly; we talk about this today and it could be a very big deal in six months or it could be nothing,” Reed Smith’s Stegmaier cautioned. “We simply don’t know.””

 

  • This hour-long podcast is from the Lawyerist: “In this episode with Natalie Worsfold, we talk about her law firm’s approach to law practice, and why more firms aren’t following suit. We start by asking Natalie what problem Counter Tax was trying to solve, then explore how they solved it, what their solution does now, and the plans they have to evolve and grow their solution.”

 

  • This is an idea I have been kicking around for a while. Nick Hilborne gives it the thought I believe it’s due: “Reproduction of the legal profession” at risk from automation. “If junior associates are ‘gradually culled’ from law firms as a result of automation, the entire reproduction of the legal profession could be jeopardised….'” And here’s a US write up of the same issue: Junior Lawyers Are Going Extinct And Nobody Knows What To Do About It.

 

  • AI Goes to Court: A Conversation With Lex Machina and Dorsey & Whitney. Post here.

 

From Artificial Lawyer:

  • The Benefits of the LexisNexis LegalTech Accelerator. Post here.
  • EY and Artificial Lawyer Hold Legal Ops + Technology Event.  Post here.
  • Slaughter and May Names 3rd Fast Forward Cohort, Inc. Blockchain Co. Post here.
  • Meet ATJ Bot – The World’s First Legal Aid Voice Assistant. Post here.
  • How to Build Your Business Case For Contract Management – The Juro Guide. Post here.
  • Oz + NZ Professional Services Startup of the Year Award Launched. Post here.
  • Legal AI Co. CourtQuant Predicts Hard Brexit Impact on British Law. Post here.
  • Christian Lang + Former TR Boss, Tom Glocer, Join Reynen Court. Post here.
  • GCs Keen To Embrace Tech Tools + Legal Ops Skills – Survey. Post here. (Note: This story is based on a survey where n=80. Assuming no other methodological problems [big assumption!], this means that in all of the findings each number is well within the margin of sampling error of the statistics above and below it on the graphs.)
  • Meet Fincap Law: A New Tech-Driven Firm For the New Legal Era. Post here.

 

Posts by Law Firms:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Eric A. Klein and Aytan Dahukey of Sheppard Mullin posted: Day 2 Notes From The 2019 JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. “We are seeing a lot of healthcare entities starting to focus on precision medicine – artificial intelligence suggesting which oncology drug works best for your specific genetic condition and cancer – but that essentially is a transactional function. And the market really wants a partnering function ” Post here.

 

 

 

  • From Reed SmithDraft ethics guidelines for trustworthy artificial intelligence published by the European Commission. Post here.

 

 

  • Akin Gump postedPolicymakers Focused on Artificial Intelligence, Write Akin Gump Lawyers in The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law.

 

  • Hogan Lovells postedLitigating intellectual property issues: The impact of AI and machine learning.

 

Press Releases and sponsored posts:

  • Here’s a thorough explanation of Gavelytics: Want Better Litigation Outcomes? Know Your Judges. “…(W)ith Gavelytics, you finally get the quantifiable and reliable judge information you need to customize your litigation strategy and increase your chances of winning.”

 

 

  • Gibson Dunn launches AI and automated systems group. Post here.

 

  • The world’s first virtual lawyer, built for Amazon’s Alexa, tests whether lawyers will be replaced by robots. “Australian legal-technology company Smarter Drafter have announced a prototype virtual lawyer, built on Amazon’s Alexa, that creates legal.” documents instantly, just like a real human lawyer. Here’s the Smart Drafter release. Hype much?? And then there’s this: “No date has been set for the release of the first working Alexa integration.”

 

  • HaystackID Acquires eDiscovery Managed Services Provider eTERA, Release here.

 

  • Legal IT Newswire New Product News… Alphaserve Technologies launch Execution as a Service. Post here.

 

  • I’m including this because I used to work there! Am Law 200 Firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Selects Litera Desktop, Litera Microsystems Full Document Drafting Suite.

 

Blockchain

 

 

 

 

  • From the Baker & Hostetler Energy BlogNew Blockchain Products, an FBI Raid, the $11 Billion Bitcoin Case, Hackers Strike With a 51 Percent Attack and Crypto Tax Analysis. Post here.

 

 

  • Here’s a deep dive into the legal services offered by Oath ProtocolThe Lay of the Land in Blockchain Dispute Resolution and Governance Designs.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2019) is in full swing in Vegas, and my feeds are swamped with press releases and news coverage of the myriad AI-enabled products (like this one about a laptop with AI built in). I won’t even attempt any coverage here. If you’d like to catch up and have a few hours to spare, search for “CES 2019 Artificial Intelligence”. That said, this coverage of the keynote by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is quite interesting.

Now, the news:

  • Check out this very interesting post from Judge Penalizes Lawyers For Not Using Artificial Intelligence.”It may not be the most significant opinion, but it may be a sign of things to come.”
  • Bob also posted this interview with Judicata Founder Itai Gurari who “believes he has built a better legal research platform. A lawyer and computer scientist, his approach to designing a legal research engine was to first “map the legal genome” — that is, map the law with extreme accuracy and granularity. The result is a research engine that returns the best results the fastest….”
  • This story (Young lawyers “fearful of innovation resistance) from Legal Futures is based on a survey by the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA). I could not find the survey methodology, but there were 180 respondents.
  • “Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio said on Tuesday it filed a lawsuit against electric carmaker Tesla Inc alleging that its 2014 Model S sedan had a defective battery pack that caused the death of an 18-year old passenger in an accident last year.” Story here.
  • From Lawyers Weekly comes this storyHow to fight push back when accessing big data. “…Jay Carle … and Kathleen McConnell… of Seyfarth Shaw shared the benefits of using big data and analytics to both a firm and a client’s advantage.”
  • Mark Medice posted this interesting thought piece: Why a Digital Strategy is Important for Your Firm – Priorities for 2019. Good stuff.
  • Philip Scorgie, technical advisor for AdvoLogix made this post (Late for the Sky: Legal Tech and the Cloud) on ALPMA’s A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers.
  • “Forbes publishes 300 stories a day, and is developing AI software that writes first drafts of articles.” Story here.

 

Law Firm AI Posts:

  • Andrew J. Sherman of Seyfarth Shaw postedNow Is The Time To Figure Out The Ethical Rights Of Robots In The Workplace.
  • Peter Vogel of Foley & Lardner wrote this postGood News About The Future Of Humans With AI.
  • From the very prolific Giangiacomo Olivi of Dentons comes this postSmart farming: the rise of AgriTech and its legal issues.
  • From Epstein Becker: Employment Law This Week: January 7th, 2019: A Look Back and the Year Ahead. “In 2018, many employers put the potential of artificial intelligence (“AI”) into practice. AI is being adopted at a rapid pace across the country, and the changing landscape is creating complex concerns around workforce management.”

 

From Artificial Lawyer:

  • Legal AI Litigation Co. LegalMation Partners With Ogletree Deakins + Interview with Patrick DiDomenico, CKO. Post here.
  • The Innovation Paradox: Lawyers Want Innovation, But Fear Market Change. Post here.
  • Elevate Buys Halebury Lawyers on Demand Service, Plus Interview With Denise Nurse. Post here. More coverage here.
  • Welcome to GROWL – The Global Rise of Women in LegalTech Initiative. Post here.
  • Smart Contracts: The Big Questions – Charles Kerrigan, CMS. Post here.
  • MDR LAB Legal Tech Incubator Opens for 2019, Partners with Microsoft + AWS. Post here.
  • Kennedys KLAIM Automation Platform Goes Global, Now in US, Oz + More. Post here.

 

News Releases and Sponsored Posts:

  • Pillsbury sign up for OpenText Magellan AI system. Release here. And a different version here.
  • iManage postedShort-termist approach to AI tech buying will give way to strategic and rational adoption in 2019.
  • Also from iManage, this post from Legal Support NetworkiManage – Unravelling the Labyrinth of AI Myths: AI does not learn by itself.
  • Exterro’s Winter 2019 Product Release Delivers Significant Innovations in the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Integration with Microsoft Office 365. Release here.
  • Claim Technology announce collaboration with Plexus Law, offering innovative outsourced claims solutions. Release here.
  • This is from HighQ: Leveraging technology as a driver for improved client experience.
  • And from Sysero, this piece: A New Way to Deliver Legal Service: The Scandinavian Approach.
  • Here in Nashville: Cicayda Announces Partnership with NAEGELI Deposition & Trial to Combine its eDiscovery Software and Professional Services with NAEGELI’s Court Reporting and Trial Support Services. Release here.

 

BLOCKCHAIN:

  • From Argentina: NEM Foundation to Develop Blockchain-Powered Copyright System for Journalists. Post here.
  • How cool is this?! The First Program To Train High School Girls With Blockchain Skills.
  • Here’s an interesting background piece: A No-BS Guide to the Blockchain as a Service Space Part I.
  • From Deal Street Asia we have this post: From AI to blockchain, Indian law firms add new practice areas to stay ahead of peers.
  • Press releaseOntology blockchain to create private smart contracts through collab with TEEX.

 

Law Firm Blockchain Posts:

 

 

The biggest story in AI this week is the launch in China of an AI (“Digital Human”) news reader/anchor person. It’s certainly not Uncle Walter, but at first glance it’s pretty convincing. “The Chinese AI anchor man looks very much like the average Chinese citizen, a typical Chinese guy with that oddly intellectual look. He looks reassuring, made for his market like most news readers’ images are supposed to be.” Coverage here, here, here and video here. “There’s fake news, and then there’s fake people doing the news.”

In related news, Microsoft has developed AI that goes beyond the now well-established systems that write news articles. “Condensing paragraphs into sentences isn’t easy for artificial intelligence (AI). That’s because it requires a semantic understanding of the text that’s beyond the capabilities of most off-the-shelf natural language processing models. But it’s not impossible, as researchers at Microsoft recently demonstrated.”

 

  • Read this post from Artificial Lawyer. It provides some excellent insights from the heads of legal departments in some major corporations as to where the industry is headed and why. Legal Is Not ‘Special’ – Key Message of TR Legal Tech Procurement Event.

 

  • Artificial Lawyer (AL) has begun to do product reviews. The first company to be reviewed is Kira Systems, and here is the link. It’s not actually a link to a review, but rather a call for users to review the product according to specified criteria which will then be reported. Cool.

 

More posts from Artificial Lawyer:

– BCLP Launches ML Early Dispute Evaluation Service. “Clear/Cut harnesses the firm’s award-winning in-house forensic technology capability.” More here.

– Big Data Startup Concirrus Wins Norton Rose InsurTech Prize. Details here.

– Using AI Contract Analysis to Prepare for Brexit – Seal Software. More of this sponsored post here.

 

  • Blank Rome publishedWill “Leaky” Machine Learning Usher in a New Wave of Lawsuits? in RAIL: The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law. “…(I)t seems all but inevitable that some of those (AI) systems will create unintended and unforeseen consequences, including harm to individuals and society at large.”

 

  • Law.com posted this news from Byran Cave: New Data Analysis Service Could Help In-House Clients See the Future. “…Clear/Cut leverages predictive coding and machine learning to comb through massive amounts of data and pluck out key information for legal analysts, who use the data to recommend whether clients should settle or forge ahead with litigation.” More here.

 

 

  • From Laura H. Phillips of DrinkerThe FCC Wades into the Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning Pool. ” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai issued a Public Notice announcing a first ever FCC Forum focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This Forum will convene at FCC headquarters on November 30.”

 

  • This, from Jonathan BockmanRudy Y. Kim, and Anna Yuan of MoFo: Patenting Artificial Intelligence in the U.S. – Considerations for AI Companies. “…(C)ertain AI technologies can face increased scrutiny at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with respect to whether the invention is directed to patent-eligible subject matter.”

 

  • James M. Beck of ReedSmith publishedThe Diagnostic Artificial Intelligence Speedbump Nobody’s Mentioning. This is a very interesting and thorough treatment of the FDA’s regulations and the need for more.

 

  • Canada’s Torys published: Software As Medical Devices And Digital Health In Canada: What’s Next? Link here.

 

  • From Pillsbury’s Ashley E. CowgillArtificial Intelligence: A Grayish Area for Insurance Coverage. Download here from The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law Vol. 2, No. 1.

 

  • Here’s an interesting post by Ian Connett of QuantumJuristA Future of J.D. Advantage Jobs? (“J.D. Advantage” jobs are those for which a law degree is strongly preferred, but not necessarily required.) As you might expect, the answer is “yes”, and the specific examples he presents are interesting.

 

  • “Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s on-demand cloud computing subsidiary, was partially HIPAA eligible — AWS customers could use Polly, SageMaker, Rekognition, and dozens of the platform’s other offerings to process health information. But Translate, Comprehend, and Transcribe remained notable holdouts — until now, that is. As of this week, all three comply with HIPAA.” Story from Venture Beat here.

 

  • Dentons has published this Market Insights volume titled: Digital Transformation and the Digital Consumer. There’s a chapter on AI and much of the content is AI-related. There’s a video excerpt here.

 

  • LeClairRyan has published Airplanes and Artificial Intelligence Parts I and II. “…(A)pplications for AI in aviation and its effect on the legal liability and regulation of those who use it.”

 

  • From Hogan Lovells, here’s a link to download Artificial Intelligence and your business: A guide for navigating the legal, policy, commercial, and strategic challenges ahead.

 

  • Milena Higgins of Black Hills is the guest on this episode of Legal Talk Network’s “Legal Toolkit”: Robot Takeover: How Automation Makes Law Practice Easier.

 

  • Here’s Part 4 of Mintz’ Strategies To Unlock AI’s Potential In Health Care, Part 4: How And When Will Congress Act?

 

  • At two events in the past 30 days I’ve been part of discussions about law firms acquiring tech companies. Here’s an example: Singapore law firm Rajah & Tann acquires e-discovery startup LegalComet.

 

  • “Nalytics, is working with Strathclyde University’s Law School post-graduate students on a new project dedicated to promoting digital transformation in legal education. By providing free access to the Nalytics search and discovery platform to students on the Diploma in Professional Legal Studies, the project aims to help students develop a greater understanding of legal technology and more importantly, its applications in tackling a range of big data problems.” Story here.

 

  • This article from S&P Global Platts (Commodity market AI applications are emerging along with new risks) cites partners at several prominent law firms among others. “Artificial intelligence and smart contract technology like blockchain are slowly being adopted by commodity markets, creating opportunities to streamline trading and other functions, but not without introducing challenges and risks experts said Thursday.”

 

  • Exterro has issued the results of another survey. (2018 In-house Legal Benchmarking Report. There’s a link here.) All that is presented regarding the methodology is “…with over 100 respondents (more than ever before), this year’s report surveys a wider distribution of companies, including more from organizations of fewer than 25,000 people than in the past.” So, I’m assuming there are 101 respondents, making the typical margin of error error about +/-10%. Given the wide range of company sizes (1 to 250,000+ employees) and the fact most fall into one size category (1,000-25,000 employees), I don’t see how there can be much useful information anywhere in the report. Law.com talks about it (without regard to the methodology) here.

 

  • Here’s another industry survey. (The Blickstein Group’s 10th Annual Law Department Operations Survey.) This one has 128 respondents this year, but reports data back to 2008 when they had only 34 respondents. This year’s stats are probably accurate +/-9% which means that many of the differences reported are actually in a statistical tie, and the prior year data with very small samples should be ignored. Above the Law includes a summary by Brad Blickstein here without comment on its methodology. When combined with the included content by vendors and law firms, I see this study as the equivalent of an interesting focus group — just don’t take the statistics seriously.

 

  • I find it interesting that this post from Kyocera BRANDVOICE in Forbes (Can The Right Office Equipment Improve Our Legal Culture?) has a section on AI. They include AI as “equipment-related”.

 

  • Here, from the New York Times DealBook is a thorough examination of the bias present in today’s artificial intelligence:  AI: The Commonality of A.I. and Diversity. (It’s written by Alina Tugend)

 

Blockchain

  • This, from ContractWorks: Are Your Contracts in Chaos? Get Organized with These 4 Tips.

 

 

Also from Artificial Lawyer:

Smart Contract Pioneer OpenLaw Goes Open Source. Story here.

  • 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).”

 

  • From Information AgeArtificial intelligence in the legal industry: Adoption and strategy – Part 1, an insightful discussion with Geoffrey Vance, the chair of Perkins Coie’s E-Discovery Services and Strategy Practice, and Alvin Lindsay, partner at Hogan Lovells. The discussion of the future role of associates is especially interesting, and several useful links are included.

 

  • Investment money pouring into legal AI. “Legal tech blogger Bob (“God”) Ambrogi just posted that $200 million in new investment capital has found its way to legal tech companies in just May and June of this year. The money went into companies that are either based in machine learning (sometimes called “artificial intelligence”), an increasingly important sector of legal technology.” The post from the Akron Legal News lists some of the specific investments.

 

  • According to Bloomberg’s Big Law BusinessAnalytics Give Law Firms the Competitive Edge. “Bob Ambrogi’s Law Sites Blog lists more than 690 legal tech start-ups that are either currently active or have closed or been acquired. He only began keeping count in 2016.” The article goes on to report to report the results of a 2017 survey of 1117 respondents, including findings such as, “(b)y providing structure and visualization to information, technology is enabling attorneys to understand past results and forecast costs, time to resolution and outcomes — and thereby better serve their clients and operate their organizations more successfully.” The article includes a lot of interesting data, showing the success to-date of AI. Here’s a link to the full report by Above the Law. The survey was conducted back in October 2017, and results are reported with some care regarding statistical integrity. All that’s missing to have high confidence in the findings is an idea of the response rate; that is, how many were asked to participate in order to achieve the 1117 responses.

 

  • This post by Ron Friedmann (Legal Transformation or Disruption? A New Rule for Talking About It) is a suggestion for mitigating the extreme hype now plaguing discussions of legal AI and tech in general. It’s a step in the right direction, but is still subject to personal judgement (and hyperbole). I do not have a better idea.

 

  • This post (Baker McKenzie’s Growth Shows Value of One-Stop Legal Shopping from Bloomberg Big Law Business) includes: “(t)he firm also recently adopted artificial intelligence tools in 11 offices in three continents as the first step in a worldwide rollout. This will allow faster, more comprehensive review of merger and acquisition work, and other work involving contracts, the firm said.”

 

  • As I visit law firms, I am asked more and more about the Big 4 accounting firms’ encroachment into the legal space. This threat has been popping up since the days of the Big 8, but has more substance today than ever before. For instance:

Breaking: Big Four firm buys services ‘disruptor’ Riverview. “Global accountancy giant EY today laid down a significant marker in its expansion into legal services with the capture of forward-thinking firm Riverview Law.” … “The deal marks another step in what has long been predicted would be the rise of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms to rival – and possibly overtake – the biggest existing law firms. Each of those four, EY, KMPG, PwC and Deloitte, now provide reserved legal services.” Coverage here and here. “EY said the acquisition underlines its position “as a leading disruptor of legal services” and will “help clients to increase efficiency, manage risk, improve service transparency and reduce costs of routine legal activities.”

And the same day, KMPG published, “In the legal sector, this disruption presents vast challenges as firms struggle to move from traditional hierarchies, manual research requirements, time-based billing models, and other traditional ways of operating, into tech-empowered models fit for the future.” “Adapt or fall behind. Now is the perfect time to reimagine every layer of the workplace to future proof the legal profession.”

 

  • Here’s an interesting application of AI from Seyfarth Shaw: Australia: New Transparency: Using Collaboration And Technology To Address Modern Slavery. “Mining data (for example, from mobile phones, media reports and surveillance cameras) which can be analysed using artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract meaningful information and identify risks in the supply chain.”

 

  • From The Atlantic, this interesting application of sentiment analysis. The AI That Reads All a Company’s Emails to Gauge Morale. The very interesting article discusses text analysis generally and is definitely worth reading.

 

  • Canada’s Miller Thomson postedArtificial Intelligence Revolution and the Insurance Industry. “AI may soon be heavily used in all aspects of the insurance industry, including sales, customer service, underwriting, claims assessment and fraud detection and prevention. AI has and will continue to be used in the area of insurance marketing.”

 

Blockchain

  • From ForbesTrust, Security And Efficiency – How Blockchain Really Intersects With Artificial Intelligence. “Blockchain, though powerful on it’s own, becomes enhanced to a whole new level when coupled with AI technology. New features and capabilities become unlocked, enhanced, and more secure through the convergence.” Several instances of this synergy are discussed, but there’s no real insight as to how they will actually work together.

 

  • Get smart: blockchain will liberate lawyers. Sounds good, no? This post from the UK’s Law Society Gazette, focuses on smart contracts and details several concerns and limitations thereof, including use of imprecise terms such as “reasonable.”

 

  • This piece from ComputerWorld (By 2020, 1-in-5 healthcare orgs will adopt blockchain; here’s why) reviews several applications of blockchain in healthcare. It’s a deep dive into the pros and cons, and describes several applications, including smart contracts. “Blockchain lets the healthcare industry exchange data in a standard format, automate complex processes and apply AI against large silos of medical data. It might even allow patients to sell their data for rewards.”

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.

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.”
  • Brave New World of (Robot) Law. “In a new report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contemplates not-so-distant questions about robot law.”

 

  • From Shearman & Sterling: Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms in Cartel Cases: Risks in Potential Broad Theories of Harm.

 

 

  • From Wired: From Fitbits to PlayStations, the justice system is drowning in digital evidence. The article cites experience in Germany, the UK, Australia and Ohio.

 

  • How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact Corporate Communications. “I have seen a glimpse of the future impact of artificial intelligence on corporate communications – and it is good. AI will bring a new level of trust to information, improve the way information is delivered (i.e., via augmented reality and virtual reality apps) and provide better insights and predictive analytics for decision making by corporate communications professionals.” The post is here.

 

  • Here’s more on AI in sentiment analysis. This time from China. China’s largest smartphone maker is working on an A.I. that can read human emotions. According to Felix Zhang, vice president of software engineering, “We want to provide emotional interactions.”

 

  • For your weekend enjoyment, here are posts about AI in the fields of sports, music and weed:

– Xs & Os, 0s & 1s: How Atlanta tech is embedding itself in sports

– From BillboardMusiio uses AI to help the music industry curate tracks more efficiently. “A former streaming industry exec and an AI specialist walk into a bar, they leave starting an AI company for the music industry.”

– How Music Generated by Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping — Not Destroying — The Industry. “…(I)f we take the long view on how technological innovation has made it progressively easier for artists to realize their creative visions, we can see AI’s genuine potential as a powerful tool and partner, rather than as a threat.”

VantagePoint Software’s Artificial Intelligence Now Forecasts Cannabis Stocks. “Traders can now use the platform’s artificial intelligence-based indicators to profitably trade cannabis stocks.” Story here.

  • Joanna Goodman (author of “Robots in Law: How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Legal Services”) is an astute observer of AI and related technologies in legal, and her 2018 predictions seem sound. Among them, and certainly not uniquely hers: “(a)n essential development for 2018 and beyond is that regulation will need to catch up with technology developments in terms of intelligent and connected devices.”

 

  • Speaking of regulation, in this post, Matthew Carroll urges a more measured approach than many, and suggests more focus on the data than AI per se. (It’s all about the data, right?) He suggests we look to the upcoming GDPR for guidance.

 

  • This piece from Wired isn’t so much predictions for 2018 as a list of the five greatest challenges facing AI in the next year or so. It’s good, thought-provoking stuff. A deeper dive into AI’s ethical challenges is presented in this essay from Forbes.

 

 

 

 

 

  • In this post, Norton Rose partners Adriaan Louw and Patrick Bracher speculate about the possibility of AI entities serving on boards of directors.

 

  • Artificial Lawyer reports that: “Top US law firm, Latham & Watkins, has announced today that it is tapping Kira Systems’ legal AI technology for its review of documents for M&A and other transactions….” And so has Davis Polk.

 

  • Legal IT Professionals reports that: Luminance, the leading artificial intelligence platform for the legal profession, has closed a $10m Series A funding round that values the company at $50 million. The investment was led by Talis Capital, and also included Invoke Capital and Slaughter and May.

 

  • What’s hot? Each year, Bob Denny reports on what’s hot and what’s not in the legal profession. Here’s his latest. He mentions AI as coming into its own regarding: planning, business decisions, the practice of law, and marketing. I am very sad to report that this 29th installment will be Bob’s last.

Here are the results of Inc.’s interviews with 21 executives asking what they believe was hot in 2017. Most of their responses touch on some aspect of AI.

And from Forbes contributor Gil Press, here are “51 AI Predictions for 2018.” (Included is AI explaining why it has made the decisions it has made.) There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it’s an interesting inventory.

 

  • Wow. Google is using its front-facing camera to spot people (who are not you) looking at your phone over your shoulder. “It takes two milliseconds to detect each person’s gaze, 47 milliseconds for each face recognition operation, and an average of 115 milliseconds per frame for face detection — not enough time for a human to steal much of a glance, let alone to read private messages, the report said.” Your phone display can then switch to that front camera view, showing the eavesdropper that you know what they’re doing. They haven’t announced when/whether the feature will become available.

 

  • I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Waymo now has self-driving cars on America’s roads with no one in the driver’s seat. They’ve just passed another milestone — 4 million miles driven. (This curve shape is starting to look familiar in AI.)

 

  • Boy, could this start a debate. Here are one team of critics’ “10 Essential Movies About Artificial Intelligence.”