• 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 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.

  • I had to post this from Steptoe’s CYBERBLOG, if only for the title: Episode 232: “I’m afraid you can’t say that, Dave.” Will AI save the Internet from Vladimir Putin – and Matt Drudge? “It’s a deep conversation that turns contentious when we come to his prescriptions, which I see as reinstating the lefty elite that ran journalism for decades, this time empowered by even less self-doubt – and AI that can reproduce its prejudices at scale and without transparency.”

 

  • “According to the 2018 LexisNexis Australian Legal Tech Survey, across the board the Aussie legal profession is seeing a significant repositioning in the responsibilities set for junior lawyers when compared to past years, creating a shift in their law firm’s set up.” “The changing nature of work for junior lawyers is clearly a key driver of change within the legal industry, as 44 per cent of the respondents identified the removal of grunt work as a key implication of technologies such as analytics and AI”. More here.

I could not find any description of the survey’s methodology, so caveat emptor.

 

  • From The Law Society GazetteCall for regulation of police prediction algorithms. “A study published by the Royal United Services Institute and the Centre for Information Rights, University of Winchester, says that while machine-learning algorithms in policing are in their infancy, there is potential for the technology to do more: ‘The lack of a regulatory and governance framework for its use is concerning.’”

 

  • Brian McElligott of Mason Hayes & Curran posted this pieceIreland: AI From The Lawyers’ Perspective. “Machine learning, and to a much lesser extent artificial intelligence, has well and truly landed. The challenge for lawyers and their clients is how to navigate a legal and regulatory environment that is playing catch up and how to simultaneously steer innovators on a path to protection that may be paved with gaps.”

 

  • Dean Sonderegger of Wolters Kluwer wrote Building The Case For Innovation Within The Law Firm. I really appreciate this sort of mathematical demonstration of how driving out a bit of cost can translate to a firm’s bottom line.

 

  • I did not see this coming. This post from DLA Piper (Sharpen the nails: 8 ideas for empowering jurors In complex trials) includes, “Beyond simple note-taking tools, lawyers should consider more modern options, such as giving jurors access to interactive tablets to use for note keeping, and finding suitable ways to use artificial intelligence to assist jurors in maintaining and retrieving the evidence they hear and see during trial. … Allowing jurors the use of appropriate AI – for instance, teaching them how to search for trial testimony and admitted exhibits, or allowing them to query the judge – would allow more efficient deliberations.”

 

  • Holly Urban, CEO at EffortlessLegal wrote this piece for Law Technology Today: Five Ways for Law Firms to Become More Efficient. All five make sense for law firms and in-house legal departments.

 

  • John Frank Weaver of McLane Middleton prepared this scholarly piece: Everything Is Not Terminator We Need the California Bot Bill, But We Need It to Be Better. “There are some specific revisions that would make the Bot Bill a constitutional bill, a better bill, and a bill that we need.” He presents in-depth arguments for each suggested revision.

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer: “After a very successful closed Beta programme, covering 161 users from 24 countries, they will be opening Clause to all on September 26th i.e. tomorrow. It will still be called a Beta programme, but in opening to all it will massively scale up the opportunity to use this tech and to give the team feedback to perfect the product.” Details and a demo video here.

 

  • From Sky News: Driverless car makers could face jail if AI causes harm. “Under the Health and Safety Act of 1974, directors found guilty of “consent or connivance” or neglect can face up to two years in prison.” “Companies can also be prosecuted under the Act, with fines relative to the firm’s turnover. If the company has a revenue greater than £50 million, the fines can be unlimited.” Several lawyers are quoted in this story.

 

  • intapp and The Lawyer just released this research report: Navigating a new reality in the client-empowered era. There is a section devoted to “An eye to the future: the emerging applications of artificial intelligence (AI).” “Clearly, firms are already reaping benefits from intelligent automation, whether through time saved or performance of the firm. The advent of artificial intelligence capabilities opens new possibilities above and beyond the ways in which law firms are currently automating workflows.” “In the future, using AI, we’ll be able to enhance the accuracy of the narratives suggested by time capture, so the process becomes even more automatic.” There is also a summary of some findings here. And here.

These survey results are based on the responses of 111 firms out of 300 who were solicited to participate. Not bad. The findings presented as percentages/proportions should generally be considered accurate within about +/- 10 percentage points.

 

  • Also from Artificial Lawyer: ‘Don’t Shoot the AI Puppy!’ – The United eDiscovery Case. “Last week, doubters of legal AI tech had a fleeting moment of validation – or at least they thought so – after a major ediscovery project involving United Airlines appeared to go wrong, leading some to suggest that there had been an ‘AI Snafu‘ after only 17% of the millions of docs analysed turned out to be ‘responsive’ i.e. of any potential use to the case. The problem with pointing the finger at the technology is that experts think (see response below from leading ediscovery consultant, Jonathan Maas) that this had far less to do with the Technology Assisted Review (TAR) itself and more about the way the humans involved ran the matter and used the tech.” Details here.

 

  • Here’s another interesting piece from Artificial Lawyer (It’s Not A Legal Snowflake – AI + Legal Costs Prediction): “To succeed in this environment, law firms must cost out litigation matters more accurately and competitively than they have ever done in the past. In fact, getting this right is mission critical. Fortunately, modern technology can provide an unprecedented degree of transparency and precision in cost estimation. The key is using artificial intelligence to unlock the predictive power of billing data.”

 

  • This (Data Localisation: India’s policy framework) is a thorough look at India’s new data protection policies. “Digital India and building a thriving Digital Economy in India, building strong competencies in artificial intelligence, protecting nation’s security and data of its citizens are very critical and is now becoming mandatory for India.”

 

  • This from Kennedy’s: Legal AI Beyond the Hype: A Duty to Combat Bias. “(T)o what extent have firms considered whether the AI they are licensing, building or selling (if that is what they are doing) has the potential to produce biased results?”

 

  • When asked, “(w)hat do you think is going to be the biggest game changer in the legal industry?” Martin Felli of JDA Software replied “(t)he use and application of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the in-house environment, allowing legal departments to implement solutions to permit their clients to engage in self-help without having to involve the legal department on every item, such as NDA reviews and processing.” Here’s the rest of the interview.

 

  • Press release: “Thomson Reuters and ModuleQ announced today a partnership to assist professionals with time sensitive insights. The companies are integrating their AI technologies to help provide proactive distribution of mission-critical business information to clients’ front-line personnel.”

 

  • In this post, Mike Quartararo of eDPM Advisory Services urges law firms to proactively contact their clients about innovation, before they call another firm or one calls them.

 

  • Here’s another pitch for Westlaw Edge — this one with a government focus. Westlaw Edge: Helping Overburdened Government Attorneys Work Faster And Smarter With The Power Of AI.

 

  • To liven up your Wednesday and broaden your perspective on the range of AI’s impact, here’s a story about AI and the cannabis business and two (here and here) about AI and sex.

 

Blockchain

  • IBM and MIT in consultation with the Congressional Blockchain Caucus prepared this reportThe Impact of Blockchain for Government: Insights on Identity, Payments, and Supply Chain. “How can blockchain benefit government? How can government lead the way to a broad-based blockchain evolution that drives economic vitality? In this report, Thomas Hardjono—Director of the MIT Trust: Data Consortium—addresses these and related challenges by drawing insight from three roundtable discussions in 2017-18 among key leaders and stakeholders, hosted by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.”

 

  • Over 75 New Banks: JPMorgan Expands Blockchain Payments Trial. “(A)ccording to a report from the FT on Tuesday, a large group of major banks – including Societe Generale and Santander – has joined the trial in response to the rising number of rival payments offerings coming to market.” More here.

 

  • From Entrepreneur: Smart Contracts: Here Are the Practical Applications of This Exciting Blockchain Technology. “Ever wanted to leave the lawyers out of your client transactions? Now you can.” “Smart contracts aren’t just the future of business; they are already in play. These agreements save time and money while improving communication and transparency. And you don’t need to be a programmer to get in on the action.”

 

  • Tom Kulik of Dallas’ Scheef & Stone posted Why Blockchain Is No Panacea For The Digital First Sale Doctrine (For Now). “…(T)echnology and the law don’t evolve at the same rate, and the digital first sale doctrine is no exception.  As this technology matures, it will inevitably pull copyright law forward in fits and starts…”

 

  • 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.