5 things in LegalTech: AI and the Law and Love your Lawyer Day

Your time is short. This quick read  gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.


Conferences: AI & Law

There was reflection on the state of AI in Law at two conferences. At the College of Law Practice Management’s (COLPM) Futures Conference, “Running With the Machines, Mark Tamminga, Gowling Partner and leader of the firm’s innovation, says: “While a number of use cases are apparent (e-discovery, due diligence, research, advice bots), we have barely scratched the surface.” The advice from the conference boiled down to having someone internal to “know this stuff”; talk to vendors; read and keep up to date.

Also attending the event was legal technology journalist Bob Ambrogi. He says that there has been resistance to AI solutions and over-hype of their capabilities. But “in fact, the dirty little secret of AI is that it can make us even better lawyers than we are without it.”

These sentiments were reflected in London at the Legal AI Forum. The conference heard that AI is crucial to the “very survival” of law firms. Law firms themselves argued that the main challenge is “not a tech” one but a need to change lawyer mindset, and agreed that AI will bring further commoditization of law, reducing prices.


Machines Took on the law…

Credit to the bright young team at Case Crunch as their predictive algorithms and modelling of legal issues came out on top in a test against lawyers, scoring almost 87% accuracy when predicting the success or failure of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)  claims. This compared to 62% for lawyers in the challenge. The 112 lawyers who participated were presented with factual scenarios of PPI mis-selling claims, and asked to predict “yes or no” as to whether the Financial Ombudsman would succeed in the claim. BBC journalist Rory Cellan-Jones called it “a triumph then for a tiny start-up business. For Case Cruncher is not the product of a tech giant but the brainchild of four Cambridge law students.”

Lawyer, Brian Inkster of the TimeBlawg, says the fact the lawyers were not PPI specialists means the experiment is not “like Deep Blue beating Garry Kasparov at chess”. Nevertheless, Ian Dodd, managing director of legal analytics platform, Premonition, predicted that the experiment points to a future with more strategic work for lawyers: “The knowledge jobs will go; the wisdom jobs will stay.”


Funding for Donotpay founder

The Times reports that 21-year-old British creator of a robot lawyer has raised $1.1m (£840,000) from Silicon Valley.

“Joshua Browder developed, a bot that automatically challenges parking tickets, while still at school in London. Now a student at Stanford University in California, he last week secured the cash in a funding round led by the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other participants included Greylock Partners, where the LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman is among the investors, and partners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, one of the tech industry’s top law firms.” Browder also developed a chatbot that can now help you sue Equifax in small claims court, potentially letting you avoid hiring a lawyer for advice.


Love your Lawyer Day

In case you missed it, 3 November was Love Your Lawyer Day and lawyers got shout-outs across social media. Legal marketer Nader Anise founded the day (the first Friday each November) to highlight the good things that lawyers do.

Many got in on the day,  praising the work of lawyers.


Law School Innovation – no hiding place

A new Law School Innovation Index begun by attorney and Law Professor, Daniel W. Linna Jr, aims to provide a measure of law school innovation. He found  that Chicago-Kent College of Law and Michigan State University College of Law are at the top of the list. Meanwhile in the same week, Suffollk Law School launched an online certificate in Legal Innovation and Technology. One of the instructors, Lucy Bassli, assistant general counsel of Microsoft, will teach Legal Operations. She says: “Our jobs will not look the same ten years from now. Technology advancements for legal services are ripe, and attorneys need to pay attention.”

Meanwhile Northwestern Law and ROSS Intelligence partnered to address access to justice through AI.

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The Blurb: A curated mix of articles worth sharing in the past week.

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