Yesterday (July 21), Thomson Reuters announced that it added another generative AI  tool to Westlaw Precision with CoCounsel. The new tool, called Claims Explorer, will enable legal professionals to enter the facts of their case into the platform. Claims Explorer will then identify potential applicable claims or counterclaims. 

From experience, making sure you have know of and plead all applicable claims takes time and carries the risk of missing failing to plead good claims. While failing to plead one or more claims will not be fatal early in the lawsuit, it can lead to embarrassing requests to amend. These requests don’t make the lawyer look good to their client or even their adversary. Later in the litigation, it can be fatal if the claims become time-barred or leave to amend is denied. So this tool if it does what Thomson Reuters says, it can be quite valuable.

Finding claims with traditional research methods can be difficult and time-consuming

Continue Reading Streamlining Claims Analysis: Thomson Reuters Introduces AI Based Claims Explorer

The annual AALL (Association of Law Librarians) Conference kicked off today in Chicago. I’m a regular attendee since I find the attendees knowledgeable and savvy about tech products. Similar to the ABA TechShow whose attendees are mainly lawyers that use the products, AALL attracts law librarians who are also actual users. Users generally have a much lower tolerance for bullshit. Vendors tell me that the attendees at the AALL conference frequently ask some of the toughest questions.

Continue Reading AALL 2024 Conference Day One: 117 Years of Law Librarian Evolution and A Warning for the Future of Legal Tech

Earlier this week, the well-known commentator Seth Godin observed,  

“One of the valid complaints about some AI systems is that they make stuff up, with confidence, and without sourcing, and then argue when challenged.

Unsurprisingly, this sounds a lot like people.”

In evaluating whether lawyers should use Gen AI tools, lawyers (and legal commentators, for that matter), often forget that humans (lawyers) make mistakes. They make shit up. As one of my former partners once observed, “So and so may be wrong, but he is never unsure.” And even when wrong, boy, can lawyers argue they are nevertheless right.

Continue Reading Gen AI and Law: Perfection Is Not the Point

Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses. Tracy Morgan

As I have discussed before, Law360 often releases Surveys that focus on the legal profession. Law360 is pretty reliable because of the number of subscribers and customers to which it has access and the methodology it typically uses.

A recent one, entitled the Law360 Pulse Lawyer Satisfaction Survey, was eye-catching. The Survey was interesting mainly because it suggests that, despite all the negative talk about lawyers’ dissatisfaction with the profession, the opposite may be true. It’s sort of like good news: you don’t hear much about it. Indeed, the Survey got little press, as best I can tell.

Continue Reading In Defense of Law: The Surprising Career Satisfaction Rates Among Lawyers

Dan Roe of law.com recently reported on a study by Edge International on the problem of underperforming partners. I have written on this issue before.

Identifying and defining underperforming and underproductive partners will prove more and more challenging given the changing dynamics in the profession. Those firms that evaluate partners’ performance and productivity only on current financial metrics may face problems in the future.

The Survey

According to the Survey, more than half of the responding firms believe underproductive partners hurt firm profitability. And two-thirds say they intend to act on the problem within the next two years.

Continue Reading Beyond the Billable Hour: Rethinking Partner Evaluation to Enhance Long-Term Financial Health

Several state bar associations and courts have leaped into the tar pit of issues that Gen AI seems to have raised. Many of these, at least early on, were little more than knee-jerk reactions. Most were brought about by a lack of understanding of the tools available and what they could do.

Recently, Kentucky’s Bar Association made a more studied and nuanced examination of the issues. The result was Ethical Opinion E-457 on: “The Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Practice of Law.” (By way of disclosure, I am a member of the KBA’s Artificial Task Force which is referenced in the Opinion. The opinions expressed here are my views and not necessarily those of the Task Force or other members. It should also be noted that the Opinion was published to the entire KBA membership in the May/June edition of the Bench & Bar Magazine. There is a 30 day period for comment before the Opinion becomes final.)

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Continue Reading Beyond Simple Answers: Kentucky’s Nuanced Ethical Roadmap for Lawyers Using Gen AI and Technology

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” 

The Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’sAlice in Wonderland

I have written before about the uncertainty many lawyers and legal professionals in small and mid-size law firms have when it comes to Gen AI . When I looked at this issue a couple of months ago, I said, “Most of the lawyers I talked to…had not adopted Gen AI tools. Most had little familiarity with what it could do, how it works, and how they could be affected by it. Most of them were genuinely frightened about using Gen AI, a fear fed by the publicity of hallucinations and lawyers being sanctioned for citing cases that didn’t exist that Chat GPT provided.”

But like so many things associated with Gen AI, this reluctance may be about to change for a couple of reasons.

Apple Intelligence: AI For The Rest of Us

Apple held its annual World Wide Development Conference (WWDC) this past week. One of the big things announced was the concept of Apple Intelligence. I have to admit, when I first heard the term, I thought it was a little hokey. AI for Apple doesn’t mean artificial intelligence. It means Apple intelligence. But like my good friend Brett Burney mentioned in his weekly In The News podcast with Jeff Richardson, the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that there was really something to what Apple was doing.

Continue Reading Mid-Size Law Firms and Gen AI: Is a Paradigm Shift On the Horizon?

There’s gold in them thar hills. Mark Twain in 1892 novel The American Claimant

Almost every law firm has a great wealth of documents and knowledge locked up in work they have previously done in cases and matters. If only they could find it. The problem, as I have discussed before, is that lawyers don’t want to spend nonbillable time getting the information into a system where it could be searched and accessed. But a recent partnership between the major legal research player, vLex, and a leading document management vendor, iManage, is attempting to solve that problem.

Continue Reading vLex and iManage Partner to Maximize Customer Past Efforts: But User Process is Key

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
– Martin Luther King

For some time, we (the legal profession) have collectively wrung our hands over the access to justice (A2J) problem in the US and elsewhere. But that’s about all we have done: despite all our consternation, there has been little real progress. And now that gap may be about to significantly widen.

Fundamentally, there simply can’t be much access to justice without access to the Internet. Indeed, there can’t be much access to the American dream at all without reliable internet access. Yet that access for millions of people who without assistance could not afford it is about to be cut off.

Continue Reading Terminating the Affordable Connectivity Program: A Huge Step Backward for Access to Justice

Lawyers need to advise clients of risks of Gen AI.

Another week, and I find myself at yet another legal conference focusing on AI and Gen AI. Lots of the now standard discussions about whether and how Gen AI will impact lawyers and the legal profession. Presenters droning on about the risks and benefits to lawyers of using Gen AI. But like so many things lawyers stew over, the focus of these discussions is almost always on the lawyer’s professional navels and not on the interests of their clients.

When lawyers do focus on their clients in this area, it’s mostly all about worrying about what Gen AI will do to the all-powerful billable hour, what it will do to their revenue, and whether lawyers will be replaced by a Gen AI version of Her (or Him). 

Lawyers worry mainly not about their client’s use and potential liability but about themselves.

But as usual, lawyers are collectively missing something. Their clients, who are businesses, and even individuals are using AI and Gen AI every day. They are using it to develop products. To manufacture products. To assist in making business and individual decisions. To assess risks. To create contracts. All the while, lawyers worry mainly not about their client’s use and potential liability but about themselves.

Continue Reading Gen AI in Legal Practice: It’s Not About Us Lawyers, It’s About Our Clients