5 things in LegalTech: The Elon Musk of Legal & Must-read thoughts from a top legal department

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

1.

LegalTech Interview of the week: The Elon Musk of Legal

Since making headlines with his DoNotPay chatbot (contesting more than $9.6 million in parking tickets), tech entrepreneur, 21-year-old, Joshua Browder has been busy. Originally from London, and now studying at Stanford University, Browder – who designed apps from a young age – is not letting up on a mission to end the access to justice gap through the use of technology. His next causes, he reveals, are immigration, divorce, and consumer rights.

On a break from Stanford, he met fellow North London boy, Artificial Lawyer’s Richard Tromans. The interview comes after Browder secured $1.1 in funding from top VCs Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and lawyers from Wilson Sonsini. Browder says: “Elon Musk has driverless cars and is sending rockets to mars. It seems possible that we can solve a few legal problems that are really just decision trees, and quite easy to solve.”

See also Legal Futures: Chatbot entrepreneur predicts automated legal future (Dan Bindman) interviews Browder, who says that up to 70% of the law can be carried out by robots, and all legal documents will be automated within a decade.

See also Meet Larissa, the Divorce Bot You Can Talk To

2.

Must-read LegalTech thoughts from a top legal department

Nitin Batra, global chief operating officer in Citigroup’s Office of the General Counsel, talks about the future of LegalTech in a wide-ranging video interview with Bloomberg Law. Batra runs one of the largest legal departments in the world. He talks about four “buckets” in the world of LegalTech. These are 1) contract lifecycle management-now pretty sophisticated 2) “dealtech” (including “blockchain” and currently at the “promise” stage) 3) “big data and AI” and 4) rapid changes in legal operations.

Speaking of his company’s adoption of LegalTech, Batra says: “If you look at the financial services institutions that have been doing eBilling for a decade, with hundreds of millions of transactions having gone through it, that is a wealth of data that if we can put some intelligence around we can gain valuable insights and better decision-making capabilities.”

 

3

Law Schools must innovate, says the FT

Jonathan Moules in the Financial Times writes that Law schools must innovate to stay competitive. The piece says student admissions have been dropping in the US since 2010 at a rate not seen since the early 1970s, and law schools have been forced to innovate to attract applications. Daniel Rodriguez, dean of the Northwestern School of Law, quoted in the piece, says: “Clients increasingly expect their lawyers to be fully conversant with modern business practices.”

One solution to ensuring greater benchmarking of law school success on this front, comes from Daniel W. Linna Jr. who has created an “innovation” index for law schools. Linna spoke to Ed Sohn at Above the Law about the challenge and outlined his vision.

Read also Legal IT Insider: Where are all the LegalTech incubators Mitchell Kowalski, Professor in Legal Innovation at the University of Calgary Law School,

Read also: WSJ The Rise and Fall of a Law School Empire Fueled by Federal Loans

 

4.

The world’s first law firm “without lawyers”

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported  that the people of Darwin can just about take the law into their own hands, with a new legal firm going “lawyer-free”.Cartland Law announced its launch of  Ailira (Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Resource Assistant)   located in Coolalinga Shopping Centre, south of Darwin. The company explains the office is set up in the style of a traditional legal office. “However when clients sit down, instead of having a lawyer opposite them, there is a screen, upon which is Ailira. The clients can then chat with Ailira about the legal information that they would like help with.”

The hybrid model also sees (human)lawyers on hand for when clients require legal advice.

The robots developer, tax lawyer Adrian Cartland says Ailira, is helping rural communities who need it most, providing everything from wills (around $115 per will) to business structuring, and asset protection. Cartland describes his motivation for providing automated and cheaper services, saying “people who really need access to justice are the people who can least afford it.”  Legal Technology News reported that Ailira  has also been granted funding from the Australian government to develop a prototype to help domestic violence victims with legal advice, which is in development. 

5.

Legaltech due diligence for investors

Zirra, a financial platform providing investors with detailed information, now includes legal intelligence as part of its offering.  In “Think Again Before Investing in This Company: How to Detect Legal Issues with NLP”, Assaf Gilad, marketing manager at Zirra says: “Investors shouldn’t be afraid of legal issues before jumping into a new investment. However, it’s important they’re aware of these issues as early as possible, much earlier than the due diligence process. This is where AI and NLP technology can help with insights based on continuous monitoring of companies’ behavior and performance on the web.” The platform now provides “Instant Legal Alerts for entrepreneurs and investors to learn about a possible legal quarrel from the world wide web”, using examples from Magic Leap, SpaceX, Stitch Fix, and SoFi to show this analysis in practice.

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LegalTech Diary upcoming events

29 November: Webinar: 5 Steps to Implement a Contract Triage Process (LawGeex)

29-30 November: Legal Week Connect, London (Legal Week)

21 December: Save The Date! Christmas Drinks for Legal & Tech Professionals (London)

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

Artificial Lawyer: Start-Up PartnerVine + PwC to Sell Automated Legal Contracts

John Fallon: CEO Pearson: You’re Not Alone if You Think We Can Work with the Robots

Above the Law: From Biglaw To Legal Tech Startup: A Conversation With Logikcull’s Alexander Su

Above the Law: Biglaw Firm Brings On Technology Development Ninjas

Jake Heller (CaseText) Above the Law: Push Research: How AI Is Fundamentally Changing The Way We Research The Law

IP Leaders: Five Leaders of Silicon Valley Who Excelled at Contract Negotiation