The American Association of Law Librarians (AALL or double a double l as it is commonly referred to) conference started last Thursday in Baltimore. This is the annual gathering of knowledge management and information services types—still often referred to librarians in some firms– for law firms, universities, and some companies.

 

According to a recent ALM survey, librarians in today’s world do all sorts of things that are nothing like what you traditionally may think they do. Things such as legal research, business research, training, knowledge management, data analytics, project management, and process improvement. The depth of knowledge and skills of today’s law librarian is rather staggering when you think about it. Maybe that’s why so many smart people are here.

 

One of the more interesting things about the conference is the demographics: it’s much younger than some but more female than any other tech show I’ve been. It’s refreshing to see a show focused on tech with so many women present. And just to demonstrate the stable nature of the group and the historical strength of law librarians, this is the 111th Law Librarian conference. By my calculation, this means the group started meeting 1906. Wow.

 

One of the things I like to do at conferences is to walk the exhibit floor. I think you get a real indication about what’s going on in the legal marketplace by the nature and type of exhibitors. After all, they wouldn’t spend the time and money to come if they didn’t their products would have an impact.

 

What’s the buzz?

 

Data, data, and more data. Based on the number of exhibitors and products in the data analytics space at the conference, it looks like the idea of using actual data to make decisions in the legal profession as opposed to wild ass guess and intuition is finally catching on. And the players are also delivering more and more sophisticated products in the legal research arena.

 

Best I can tell, several heavyweights and some upstarts are gearing up for an all-out war in the litigation analytics and AI assisted legal research space. Coming on the heels of Thompson Reuters/Westlaw Edge announcement last week which I previously discussed, LexisNexis was left scrambling and immediately and unexpectedly made their own product announcement in the space. While there is some speculation that LexisNexis really didn’t offer anything new, the fact that it needed to offer some response is telling: the competition in the space is real and in earnest.

 

Both launches also follow on the heels of the announcement earlier this year by the “young, scrappy and hungry” FastCase which acquired DocketAlarm to strengthen their own foothold in the market.  And last fall, LexisNexis purchase Lex Machina to enhance their analytics platform. Still, other players like Justly offers more niche products. Justly provides in-depth looks at internal firm data and sophisticated timelines based on actual litigation data.

 

All these the products let you do a deep dive into litigation analytics, a field that until recently was flown almost entirely by a lawyer’s seat of the pants. Westlaw trumpets the depth and historical gathering of their data which admittedly is vast. FastCase is gambling that firms will gravitate to their system which allows you to customize what analytics you are looking for and use machine learning to try to get there. Fastcase also hopes that it’s ability to let input their own data and then compare it to a generalized dataset will offer an attractive option. LexisNexis points to its Lexis Analytics product which they say combines a number of analytic tools from companies it has acquired.

 

On the legal research, you have FastCase, Casemaker and Westlaw and both with more and more sophisticated tools that will allow you to get better results with machine learning to get over many of the practical language problems that vex AI assisted legal research. And again, other niche players have entered the market like Casetext whose product will look for and find precedents that you may have missed in your brief.

Methinks they dost protest too much.

So where is this headed? Hard to say although it’s interesting that all of the players say they really don’t compete with each. Methinks they dost protest too much. They are all here with booths, parties, and materials. They are all looking over their shoulders at the other guy. They are all quick to tell you what the other guys’ product won’t do.

 

Frankly, Thompson Reuters may have the edge right now not because it’s product is necessarily better (I don’t know one way or the other yet) but because the Westlaw product is already pretty ubiquitous. Lawyers are notorious for not wanting to try new things. Why? Because as Catherine MacDonagh succinctly put it her presentation: we don’t like risk. Trying new products from someone you don’t have a track record with is risky from so many fronts: clients (also lawyers) may raise their eyebrows, partners may balk, the product from the new vendor may not work as well as promised leading to finger pointing and recriminations. But upgrading to a new product from a mostly historical and generally reliable source –even if it may not do all the things another perhaps better product would do –is easier and less risky. Has worked for Microsoft for years.

But a rising tide raises all ships.

 

But a rising tide raises all ships. As lawyers get familiar with the value AI assisted research, and litigation analytics brings, it will become mainstream. That opens the door down the road for the less well-known players; you are now selling something law firms are familiar with and see the value of which gets your foot in the door.

 

Outsourcing. There also seems to be a lot of products on the exhibit floor that look to facilitate outsourcing for many things law firms do. (Which when you think about it, is a bit ironic. Law departments are outsourcing legal work much less. But law firms, hounded by price pressures, appear to be outsourcing more).

 

One outsourcing product I thought was pretty impressive was eDiscovery Assistant Rather than being a source for actually doing the ediscovery cataloging and review, eDiscovery Assistant actual supplies the tools to help lawyer find and understand the law, provides forms and advice on process and other tools to navigate through the thicket.

One outsourcing product I thought was pretty impressive was eDiscovery Assistant

I have heard so many lawyers say they cant get their heads around ediscovery issues and jargon, clearly don’t know the law and what to do and, frankly, are scared to death of it. Firms struggle with this as well, often assigning a group of lawyers to teach the rest of the firm and provide forms and checklists. Of course, that rarely works since most of these people are lawyers who have to bill 2000 plus hours per year. Who has time for creating and doing ediscovery non-billable projects? And even if they did have the time, by the time they finished the project months if not years later, the law would have all changed. So what happens? Most firms have a few lawyers expert in the field whom everyone else relies on. But these lawyers don’t have the time to babysit their partners either. And of course, they don’t know the case very well either.

eDiscovery Assistant offers to fill that gap. Interesting concept particular for mid-size and smaller law firms. I do wonder about conflict issues though since eDiscovery Assistant does provide what it considers legal and strategic advice on occasion. I did ask its founder, Kelly T about it but she did not seem to think that would be a problem.

Another interesting outsourcing exhibitor was LibSource which basically offers research on demand, reducing the need for such work done in-house. The follows the lead of LawClerk and some others who are offering outsource capabilities for various functions. Another similar service was which mainly collects filings in cases and proceedings you might be interested in, and alerts you to them, reducing staff and even lawyer time to perform that function. Finally, PacerPro provides a service that digs out materials from the Pacer system and puts them in a more user-friendly format.

There’s a definite emphasis on providing tools for law firms to outsource more and more work.

 

The new product with the most potential?

 

A really cool product with a lot of upside potential is that offered by Dispute Resolution Data. This product attempts to collect the data from arbitration and mediations and then provides analytics in a way similar to that done by Fastcase, Westlaw and others with litigation. It does this by contracting with mediation and arbitration providers to collect data. It then maintains the data anonymously so that no confidences are revealed. Similar to litigation analytics, this data can be used to provide information about arbitrators, their experience, how they find and the like. And information about lawyers in arbitration as well.

All we have right now to rely on for relevant information about a mediator is what our partners or other lawyers may know about the mediator and arbitrator and his or her reputation. Data would be better.

 

Why am I excited about this product? 70-80% of all cases settle at mediation. The abilities and experience of the mediator are always an issue. All we have right now to rely on for relevant information about a mediator is what our partners or other lawyers may know about the mediator and arbitrator and his or her reputation. Data would be better.

 

And if Dispute Resolution Data could somehow start collecting and maintaining data on settlement numbers in mediations, we could then have analytics to give us much better settlement values. Hope they are working on it.

 

Finally, as far as arbitrations go, there is an assumption outside lawyers often make and trumpet that arbitration can be worse than litigation in terms of expense and problem outcomes. However, the data for this is all anecdotal and maybe is used to justify not insisting on arbitration when that right is available.  Let’s find out using real data.

 

The Experience

 

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Law Librarians’ keynote speaker was none other than John Waters. If you don’t know who he is, look him up. I think you might be a bit surprised that librarians, (yes, those people some sadly still picture as reserved, conservative, humorless and a downright dowdy group of folks who hang out in the dusty libraries) would invite such a funny, profane and edgy person to give the keynote.  He managed to fling humorous and prickly barbs at just about every group and everyone including himself.

And they are pissed off with the state of the profession and determined to drive change.

 

That set the tone for the conference. My conclusion: librarians are not the conservative, dowdy group of yesterday. They are, as Waters put it “pissed off” and often take up for people no one else does. And they are pissed off with the state of the profession and determined to drive change.

 

These are smart, funny, innovative and open people.  And unlike many tech conferences, most people have left their egos at the door.  Bravo Librarians and AALL.

 

Photo Attribution

Alexandra Kirr via Unsplash

 

 

 

 

The other day I came across an article by one of my favorite writers, Lee Rosen. Lee was a successful lawyer who decided he didn’t want to spend his life sitting in an office in North Carolina but instead wanted to see the world AND practice law. How he did that, and the lessons it holds for all of us is for another day and time.

The essence of Lee’s recent article that caught my eye was his conclusion about the need to have a vision first and then act. And about how formulating a vision is not easy.

The article resonated with me for two reasons.

First, I recently made a transition from the full-time practice of law with a large firm to a full-time blogger, writer and consultant and solo lawyer/strategist. As I wrote in my recent story of my journey, the actual change for me was pretty easy. (And yes, I’m enjoying it immensely). But it was only easy because I put in the hard, painstaking work of formulating and creating the vision of what I wanted to do and now trying to live that vision (the best I can) all the time. That’s what I have found so hard, and I think that’s what Lee is driving at. Without hard work to formulate a vision and then more hard work trying to always and everywhere achieve that vision, you will just keep running in place, always wishing for something more or different.

Without hard work to formulate a vision and then more hard work trying to always and everywhere achieve that vision, you will just keep running in place, always wishing for something more or different.

The second reason Lee’s post hit me was that it reminded me of a lesson I learned from one of my mentors. When I was a younger mass tort defense lawyer, my mentor in the business was Carl Henlein, who was famous for pioneering joint defense in the mass tort context and in successfully defending cases involving multi death fires, medical devices like breast implants and even the Oklahoma City bombing case.

Carl didn’t get where he was by waiting for luck. (Let’s face it, Louisville Kentucky isn’t exactly the first place corporate America would think of when it needed a lawyer for a bet the company case). Carl got there by having a vision, a clear goal where he wanted to go. And by always working it. I remember many a night sitting in Carl’s office overlooking the Ohio River (an office I inherited after Carl retired by the way), listening in awe as he formulated solutions for seemingly intractable litigation problems.

I remember one night after a hard day in the courtroom our team all retired to the local bar with Carl to unwind. As the evening and beer flowed, Carl at some point asked us all what we thought the most important thing to do right off the bat, if, by some stretch of the imagination, we were ever contacted about handling a mass tort case. The answers were pretty much what you might expect from a bunch of young lawyers. One said research the law. Another said dig up and read as many facts as possible. Yet another said, formulate a team. One enterprising and slightly more experienced/inebriated (not sure which, lol) fellow said, think how much money it’s going to bring in.

The first thing you do is stare out the window and think.

Carl looked at us and said something along the lines, “as usual you all disappoint me with your sophomoric responses.” (Carl did not suffer fools or the ignorant well). No, he said, the first thing you do is stare out the window and think. For as long as it takes until you have a vision for the case, what the best end goal for the client should be and how to get there. All the rest will always flow from that vision.

That advice stuck with me all these years. It stuck with me when I was handling mass tort cases on my own. And when I have made good life changing type decisions like the one I recently made, it was usually because I spent as much time as necessary “looking out the window.”

Forget luck. Try the vision thing: it’s as easy–and as hard– as looking out the window.

Want to know how Carl built a multi-million mass tort defense practice from Louisville Kentucky? Want to know how Lee Rosen was able to travel the world and still practice law all the while becoming one of the most respected legal practice pundits? Forget luck. Try the vision thing: it’s as easy–and as hard– as looking out the window.

And oh yeah, don’t forget to throw in a measure of hard work.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

The second photo is of the view from Carl’s and, later, my office.

 

 


Standard innovation theory tells us that we move from an early adoption phase to mainstream very quickly. This is in part true because our  behaviors are influenced by our peers, how widespread we think the use of a particular product is and how well known the provider of the product is to us. This is particularly the case where the product saves time, is easy to use and produces a better result. And all this is especially true in the legal profession.

If true, then Thomson Reuters’ new Westlaw products announced today may be the event that takes AI and data analytics into the mainstream for the legal profession.

One reason for the slowness of lawyers to adopt technology is that the technology  being offered is not intuitive and takes valuable (billable) time away from the lawyer to learn and use the technology

Some background: lawyers are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. While books could be and have been written analyzing all the reasons for this-from the law firm structure and the billable hour model to lawyers’ personalities-one key component for this slowness is the fact that the technology being offered is not intuitive and takes valuable (billable) time away from the lawyer to learn and use it. Plus, lawyers aren’t technologists so when it comes to evaluating technology, they look, a) to whether it’s being offered by an entity with which they are familiar and b) who among their peers is using the product.

Westlaw is one of the most familiar names in the lawyer industry. For years, it has been the preeminent publisher of legal materials, case books and statutory digests. It developed the keynote model where important points of a case are summarized and grouped with similar points in other cases for research purposes. Lawyers have relied for years on the Westlaw for legal research. I dare say there are probably few, if any, lawyers in the U.S. who have not used and relied on the Westlaw keynotes in doing research. So, to paraphrase the old E.F. Hutton commercial: When Westlaw talks, lawyers listen.

To paraphrase the old E.F. Hutton commercial: When Westlaw talks, lawyers listen.

This plus the fact that Thomson Reuters/Westlaw has tons of data about cases, lawyers and the legal field from its collection over the years of cases and its keynote system. It has 100s of researchers and editors on staff to provide the muscle to harness the data it has.

Today, WestLaw announced Westlaw Edge. Westlaw Edge has two main components: an enhanced legal research prong which basically better harnesses machine learning and natural language processing-AI-to the legal research field.

AI legal research has been trumpeted for years by start ups and technolgy companies as a more efficient and better way to do research. But other than a few early adopters, AI has not caught on in the mainstream legal community.

 

AI legal research has been trumpeted for years by start ups and technolgy companies as a more efficient and better way to do research. But other than a few early adopters, AI has not caught on in the mainstream legal community.

 

Part of the problem with legal research is that different courts may use different terms to describe the same legal concept and terms can mean different things to different courts. This makes research time consuming and often inaccurate. ( A recent study found lawyers frequently miss cite cases or fail to cite cases that are on point). Westlaw Edge uses AI to not only address the issue the researcher has specifically asked it to address, but then to spot similar wording and issues in other cases. The researcher can then click through the cases that are discovered and get more detail. Westlaw Edge is trumpeted as having improved search capabilities providing not only simple term matching but a better understanding of text and context in which legal concepts are discussed and weeding out that’s which is non responsive. Westlaw Edge reportedly does this by using machine learning with the help of its with editors and researchers.

But its in the field of data analytics the Westlaw Edge really shines. Westlaw has been quietly compiling a database that houses all filings from federal dockets and many from state dockets. And using enhanced search capabilities, Westlaw Edge can harness this data to tell you many things that in the past, lawyers had used their experience and word of mouth to try to capture, often providing little more than the proverbial wild ass guess.

Things like how long it takes a particular judge to rule on various motions, how often a judge grants or denies certain motions (like, for example, summary judgment motions), who are the parties and lawyers that most often appear before that judge, how often a particular lawyer or law firm takes a case to verdict, how a judge deals with expert challenges, what’s the track record of the judge in dealing with discovery disputes, how often a particular lawyer or law firm has cases against another lawyer or law firm. And WestLaw Edge packages this data in easy to read and understand graphics.

In short, this product can provide invaluable information that will allow businesses to make key decisions about how to deal with litigation and even budgets. And it allows businesses to have realistic expectations about what will happen in a case and measure its attorney’s performance against those expectations.

Not only can Westlaw Edge improve quality and efficiencies, it could also revolutionize the way businesses hire lawyers. For years, I had to hire local counsel in cases. Like generally counsel, I certainly cared about price. But often the most important questions I had were such things as how well do you know the judge and how often have you appeared before him or her, how well do you know opposing counsel, how often have you handled cases like this and how often have you taken cases to verdict (i.e., are you a trial lawyer). In the past, we generally relied on what the candidate told us, what we learned from word of mouth and of course, our proverbial gut instinct. I have to say that I was right about my choice about half the time. With a tool like Westlaw Edge, the answers to these questions are pretty clear.

In the past, we generally relied on what an potential attorney  told us, what we learned from word of mouth and of course, our proverbial gut instinct. I have to say that I was right about my choice about half the time. With a tool like Westlaw Edge, the answers to these questions are pretty clear.

Ok, great. Legal tech has offered lots of opportunities for lawyers to save time, money and get a better result and the legal community has collectively yawned. What’s different about Westlaw Edge? Plenty.

First, Westlaw is a known commodity to lawyers. IT folks don’t have to do a lot of convincing to their managing partners to get an upgrade to a new Westlaw product. And lawyers will have less reluctance to use a product from a company they have known and relied on since being a first year law student. It’s a bit like Microsoft when it introduced Word: most businesses were already using and relying on Microsoft, so getting the next product was not a hard sell and WordPerfect was doomed. More recently, few business and law firms batted an eye at paying more for a new product like Office 365. Plus implementation is simple: push a button and its added. No wholesale changes, known quantity. Save, secure and easy choice.

Also, clients that might have been hesitant to demand its lawyers use a new software to be more efficient, particular one developed by an unknown and unproven provider will have much less trouble demanding and expecting a product like Westlaw Edge be used.

But the second reason Westlaw Edge could be a game changer is what powers it. Data. Tons and tons of date from years and years. And people to tame that data. AI is only as good as the data off which it runs; if data is the new oil, then Westlaw is the new Exxon. Few can match what Westlaw Edge brings.

 

Westlaw Edge could push AI for lawyers into the mainstream.

So expect to see legal departments, law firms and lawyers gravitate finally to a more data driven practice. Westlaw Edge could push AI for lawyers into the mainstream. And once the dam is breached, we could see more and more innovative technology flow into the profession.

Of course, all this presupposes that Westlaw Edge is what it’s claimed to be: a data driven intuitive product that performs. Certainly Westlaw Edge could turn into a disappointing bust if it doesn’t. As Bob Ambrogi, dean of law technology commenters rightfully observed when we were recently discussing this: “it’s easy for a provider to demo a product and make it look good. To really know whether it will do what they say you have to play with it and start pushing buttons.”

But even if Westlaw Edge is not as good as it’s cracked up to be (and time will tell), it’s still an entry in the AI marketplace by a well known, widely used provider. In that regard, it’s a stamp of approval on a technology that will over time be a game changer for what technology lawyers use and how they use it.

 

 

As one generally counsel observed: its “borderline malpractice not to have and use this tool”. That pretty much says it all

Last January, I wrote an article about the possible impact of the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on state bar associations.

As has been widely reported, last week, the Supreme Court actually issued its Opinion. And while the Opinion received much attention from the press with respect to its potential impact on unions, political contributions, free speech and the like, what has been missing from the analysis is the potential impact albeit indirectly that Janus could have on such entities as bar associations.

Background

In my January article, I discussed the background of the case and the precedents. For years, the rule was that because non members of a public union enjoyed its benefits, even if they disagreed with some of the positions with respect to “matters of substantial public concern” taken by the Union, they could be forced to pay dues.

Under Janus, those benefiting from a union’s activities can not be forced to pay dues to it where the Union takes public positions which could be the subject of disagreement, leaving one to wonder why anyone would join a union or pay dues to it

As expected, the Janus opinion ended that. Under Janus, those benefiting from a union’s activities can not be forced to pay dues to it where the Union takes public positions which could be the subject of disagreement, leaving one to wonder why anyone would join a union or pay dues to it. It was this likelihood and the resulting decline in union membership and clout that many commentators focused on.

But What Does This Mean For Bar Associations?

The Supreme Court did not discuss or mention bar associations in its ruling. So on its face, it might be safe to conclude that Janus will have little impact on the practice of law or on the gatekeeper and regularity enfocers, the Bar associations. After all, unlike unions, bar associations ostensibly exist not to serve their members but to police them, and to insure that the public is protected from unscrupulous and dangerous practices.

(These associations, commonly called integrated or unified bars, are charged by the courts or the legislatures with responsibilities for regulating lawyers licensed to practice in their states. So, in some 36 states, you have to join the state bar and pay the fees if you want to practice. This also means that the bar association can effectively govern how and what you can and can’t do.)

Based on Janus, there there remain several reasons why state bar associations may need to be concerned:

  • First, Judge Posner, writing for the 7th Circuit in the lower Court opinion, placed the bar association issue front and center: “ lots of organizations-such as many state bar associations-impose and depend on these kinds of fees, requiring people to pay them if they want to engage in certain work.”  By not referencing state bars in its holding in Janus, it could be argued that the Court impliciedly agreed with the idea that Janus applies to bar and other professional associations.

“ lots of organizations-such as many state bar associations-impose and depend on these kinds of fees, requiring people to pay them if they want to engage in certain work.”

 

  • Second, while much of the Opinion dealt with labor concepts and specific labor related statutes, the Opinion in fact hinged more on constitutional concepts than labor law. SCOTUS focused on the free speech right of an individual to not be compelled via fees to implicitedly speak for or vouch for the political, or public activities or positions of the association. Citing the lack of any “compelling need” for the public employee union to be protected by interfering with the free speech rights of non members, SCOTUS focused on the notion that free speech trumps organizational interests.

 

  • The Court’s conclusion rested on fundamental first amendment protections: as the Court saw it, freedom of speech includes both the right to speak and to refrain from speaking;  the right to not be part of an association is likewise protected, forced associations that burden protected speech are simply not permissible. The Court pointedly said, “compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectional violates [a] cardinal constitutional command and, in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned.” Pretty strong language the Court did not limit to just unions.

 

  • Next, the court reiterated its previous articualted standard that the viability of mandatory fees was one of exacting scrutiny, i.e., the fees 1) must serve a compelling state interest that 2) couldn’t be served in any other less restrictive way. The Court held that the concept of labor peace, the problem of the free riders (those who get the benefit of union activities without paying dues) nor the role of unions in representing members in grievances proceeding wer sufficient to satisfy the exacting test. In one perhaps telling comment, the Court specifically pointed out that it would clearly be impermissible for a group of physicians who might lobby or speak out for its members to compel all doctors to pay fees to practice medicine. As the Court put it: the first amendment does not allow the government to make a person pay for another’s speech just because the government might agree with it. “We simply draw the line at allowing the government…require all employees to support the union irrespective of whether they share its views’. Pretty clear.

 

  • The further test that the purpose served by mandatory fees could not be accomplished by less restive means  also will prove to be a big issue for bar associations. The fact that many bar associations do not require membership is itself evidence of the less restrictive ways of serving public needs contemplated by the Court

 

  • And its also of little comfort that bar associations are primairly perform a policing function. That fact doesn’t mean that bar associations don’t take position on matters of public interest—matters the Janus Court describe as being of “profound ‘value and concern to the public’” that its compelled members might feel strongly and differently about. The Court noted some examples in Janus of such public issue: budgetary issues, education, health care, and minority rights. That’s not much different than taking positions say with respect to access to justice issues and policies or, for that matter, law school training, certification of lawyers, fee splitting, unauthorized practice of law etc. Certainly lawyers could argue they do not support bar positions on any number of things that are vital to the public interest.

 

But a Bar Association Is Not a Union

Maybe so, maybe not. But I’m not sure it’s a distinction that matters. In many states, its an association you must belong to and pay dues to do practice law. It’s not like you have any other choice. And if you don’t comply, you are subject to fine, cease and desist and disbarment.

Clearly it could be argued that there is a compelling need for the state to insure that those who practice their professions-like law and medicine—meet certain standards. And its even possible to argue that the disciplinary rules and functions governing those professions serve the compelling need of protecting the public. But that’s different perhaps than requiring its members to pay dues and fees where they may not agree with what the bar is doing and the positions it is taking on many matters. Indeed,  once your say the rules are in place to for the compelling interest of protecting the public, by definition, the matters that association deals with are of “profound value and concern to the public.”

Janus is not the only assault on state bar associations presently before SCOTUS. In another case pending before the supreme Court, Fleck v. Wetch, Fleck, a North Dakota lawyer, is specifically asking the U.S. Supreme Court to free him from his forced association with the State Bar Association of North Dakota. The Court very well good use Fleck as the vehicle to apply Janus’ concepts to bar associations.

Will the application of Janus finally force state bar associations to take a good hard look at what’s really important to the public?

What’s At Stake

Remember what’s at stake is not necessarily the bar associations themselves or even their policing functions. Its finances.

As I previously stated, bar associations depend on required fees to regulate the profession, to write ethics opinions, to investigate violations of the rules. If lawyers can opt out of paying the fees, bar associations would be forced to look to state legislatures, many of which are already strapped, for funding.  Will state legislature be willing for fund enforcement of what many consider arcane rules that result in less access to justice not more? Will state judiciaries want to take over the function of bar associations in enforcing the rules? Do they have the resources?

Or will the application of Janus finally force state bar associations to take a good hard look at what’s really important to the public?

Stay tuned.

Photo credit:

 

Clare Anderson @clareandy via Unsplash

Walter Lim via Flickr

Microsoft Build 2018, Microsoft’s developer conference, kicked off today in Seattle with a keynote from its CEO, Satya Nadella. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Nadella’s keynote was that he didn’t mention Microsoft Windows, Office or Outlook until he was over an hour into the almost 2 hour speech.

Instead, Nadella talked mainly about how Microsoft is going more online and offering all sorts of different application and operating system integrations. Continue Reading Microsoft: Its Not Just About Windows Anymore

Over the past couple of weeks, I was fortunate enough to attend two well-run conferences directed toward change in the legal profession. The first was put on by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) and was held over four days in Las Vegas. Here’s a couple of articles I wrote on it. Continue Reading Legal Innovation: What No One Talks About

It’s fascinating to me how something designed to do one thing ends up solving an unrelated problem. Its well known that technology developed for one purpose frequently and ultimately serves different and altogether unexpected purposes and benefits: text-to-voice services come immediately to mind. These technologies were developed with those who are partially sighted in mind, but now have far broader applications, such as voice recognition technology like Siri and Amazon. Continue Reading CLOC, A2J and Mediation For All

“I am well traveled but sometimes I think I’ve landed on Mars”.

Connie Brenton, CLOC President.

The CLOC 2018 Institute kicked off yesterday in appropriately enough in Las Vegas, home of the big, the sprawling, the decadent, the atypical in the land of straight laced morals and tradition. For just as Las Vegas flaunts the traditional and the staid in the legal world, so does CLOC .

For those who don’t know, CLOC stands for Corporate Legal Operations Consortium. Continue Reading CLOC: Change Agent In a Change Resistant Business

Litera Microsystems recently announced a new publication called The Changing Lawyer. So, yawn, what’s so new about that?

Turns out there is something new. Like most vendors, Litera Microsystems (which it insists it be referred to as instead of any shortened version of its name), one of the larger document management service and technology providers with a complete range of products in this space, already has a product blog devoted to providing standard information about the products and services it offers. Continue Reading The Changing Lawyer: Litera Microsystems to Offer Its Own Content