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COVID-19 has abruptly brought our world to a screeching halt. We can all agree that the post-pandemic world will be different, and the legal practice will not be an exception.   As we continue to be apart and try to overcome the global pandemic, it’s easy to become despondent about what the future waves of the virus will wage upon us as we absorb the sobering fact that a majority of will catch the virus and thousands of people will die. Lawyers – like everyone else dealing with the pandemic – cannot delude themselves into thinking this is a short-term problem. …
This is an unsettling and chaotic period of no longer business-as-usual for every industry, and the legal practice is no exception.  While we are all trying to stay safe and relatively production, a tsunami of change is overwhelming us. Clio, one of the largest law firm management systems, published a survey of law firms to assess the impact of the Pandemic on the practice. Generally, the report confirms what we have been experiencing first hand – that the practice has been significantly affected by social restrictions and we are seeing reduced client demands.  This is notwithstanding the ongoing need for…
Many lawyers have just not taken the time to get training in e-discovery. The rules have changed.  It’s no longer about “documents” in the sense of paper.  It’s about getting information in a digital format, which is why the rules now refer to ESI – which refers to Electronically Stored Information. What is e-discovery?   It has been defined as “the process of identifying, preserving, collecting, processing, searching, reviewing and producing Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”) that may be relevant” in a legal proceeding.  [See, Maura Grossman and Gordan V. Cormack, The Grossman-Cormack Glossary of Technology-Assisted Review, Federal Courts Law Review, 2013 Feds. Cts. L.…
Technology is advancing at a rate that is increasing exponentially.   Other industries are moving faster to adopt tech into their business than the legal industry.   What was once fanciful is becoming real.  Self-driving cars are just one thing that comes to mind, but robotics is invading every industry.   And technology is being developed to take over legal tasks. AI in the Legal Profession Alternative Legal Service Providers (“ALSPs”) are popping up everywhere.   Large accounting firms are using tech to perform traditional legal services  23% of large law firms surveyed in a recent report by Thomson Reuters said that they had…
THIS IS ANOTHER POST IN THE FUTURE OF THE PRACTICE SERIES. We live in an age when lawyers are underemployed and yet many consumers lack access to legal services. Law firms are losing business as companies “in-source” their legal work, while the incomes of some solo practitioners are plummeting. Many lawyers would like to make better use of technology to work more efficiently and have simpler legal processes—but they feel challenged by advances in technology and continue to face difficulties remaining profitable. The Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism sought to square this set of circles with a presentation titled “Legal Innovations:…
Imagine  attorneys had an assistant that could structure data, help firms maintain transparency through more accurate information, keep track of complex legal and regulatory issues, improve efficiency so firms can scale up their services, and help lawyers handle various forms of “disruptive” competition, without breaking a sweat? Some believe that technology like IBM’s Watson will help provide such assistance, providing lawyers with the “permission” to think innovatively, help clarify what attorneys do day-to-day—without replacing them—bring about better organization of data, and in doing so be of particular benefit to tech-savvy younger lawyers. Machine learning might have more of a disruptive…
Call it the rise of the robots.  The legal profession continues to be transformed by the use of artificial intelligence in new and innovative ways. New developments in the past five years alone stagger the mind as what would have sounded like science fiction not along ago continues to become reality, making the lives of lawyers easier but also forcing them to change how they do business if they want to survive and succeed. Rewind to 2013, and you find Jay Leib and Dan Roth—who launched Discovery Cracker way back in 2000 to streamline discovery and make it electronic and…
The term “Legal Intelligence Support Assistant” might sound like a fancy-pants way of referring to your paralegal, law library or perhaps secretary. When you shrink that term to the acronym LISA, you might be tempted to ask about LISA’s professional background or whether she’s a nice woman. But this LISA is no woman, let alone a human.  “She” is an artificial intelligence solution who provides “expertise” in the automation of legal documents, reducing or replacing the need for human lawyers in representing either party to an agreement.    The National Law Journal sounded impressed with LISA, placing the technological innovation…
To survive and thrive in the 21st century, and to continue serving the public adequately, attorneys can no longer muddle through with business as usual. Wide swaths of the public are unable to get their legal needs met. Innovations in technology and other changes in society continue to shift how legal services can be accessed and delivered. Bias, complexity, discrimination and lack of resources undermine the public’s trust and confidence in the justice system. These were the top concerns raised a couple years ago by the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, which also made…
Clio’s “Legal Trends Report” tries to suss out what lawyers are doing, exactly What happens to the nearly six hours per day that lawyers spend on non-billable tasks? Why can’t attorneys dedicate more of their time to billable work? How do they spend their time, anyway? The 2017 “Legal Trends Report” from Clio attempts to answer these questions and others that legal professionals are—or at least should be—asking themselves. The report, based on a survey of nearly 3,000 legal professionals, finds that lawyers only spend 29 percent of an 8-hour work day, or about 2.3 hours, on billable tasks—and when…
Potential legal clients are increasingly turning to online matching services to find attorneys. In some cases, these services charge a fee based on a percentage of the attorney’s costs for their legal help, and the money is paid to and controlled by the third party. A Michigan state bar committee is considering a resolution asserting that such fees constitute an impermissible sharing of fees with a non-lawyer, violating numerous ethical rules in the state codified in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. Attorneys in other states, many of which have similar rules, would do well to be aware of the…
Should I become a lawyer? Or are lawyers themselves becoming extinct? The first question is one that I have been struggling with.  The second question is one that George Bellas asked me when I began working for him this past summer. I first met George a few years ago at a “business” lunch with my father and my grandfather. I usually work with my family during the summers and these one to two hour lunches were common.  There was business discussed but not for that entire time.  At the end of this  particular meal, George paid.  I was astounded.  Usually…
How will emerging technology trends like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, data verification, “frictionless” technology designs and the skills and capabilities required for the “Internet of thinking” reshape the landscape for small businesses – and the practice of law? A report from Accenture titled “Accenture Technology Vision 2018” lays out these trends and delves into how they will disrupt the business landscape generally over the next few years, and a Forbes magazine interview of Michael Biltz, managing director of Accenture Technology Vision and a co-author of the report, provided a nice summary of his insights. The impact of artificial intelligence…
Storing info in the Cloud can be dangerous. Attorneys who do their due diligence need not be overly concerned about the security of storing their firm and client information in the online “cloud,” the network of servers that operate as a single entity, to which users connect through their computer, tablet, phone or other device. That due diligence includes research into the various providers, asking questions about their business practices, choosing one with a track record, and potentially negotiating for certain standards and practices, such as those promulgated by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, a federal government…