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

The International Legal Technology Association, or ILTA as it is commonly referred to, is no stranger to holding giant technology conferences. Each August, it puts on an annual four-day show that draws over 3400 attendees and some 150 exhibitors and sponsors. This summer’s Show will be in Nashville from August 11-15. The Show offers a wide range of content for every legal tech issue as well as a widely diverse group of sponsors and exhibitors.Continue Reading ILTA’s Evolve Conference: Smaller, Smarter and Focused

On May 8, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics issued its formal Opinion 511 entitled Confidentiality Obligations of Lawyers Posting to Listservs. As Bob Ambrogi rightly pointed out in his recent post on the Opinion, it seems odd that the ABA would issue an opinion now about a technology that has been around since the late 90s. For Bob, it brought to mind Rip Van Winkle, who slept for 20 years only to wake up in a unrecognizable world.

I agree that the timing seemed strange. However, the substance of the Opinion could relate to and reveal the Committee’s thinking about the use by lawyers of large language models (LLMs).

The Opinion deals with when a lawyer can post questions or comments on a ListServ without their client’’s “informed consent.” According to the Opinion (and clearly, under the Rules), a lawyer can only do so if there is not a reasonable likelihood that a reader could determine either the identity of the client or the matter. The Opinion also discusses what “informed consent” entails.Continue Reading ABA’s Opinion 511 and Its Impact on Legal Ethics in the AI Era: A Wake Up Call?

Don’t tell me about your effort. Show me your results. Tim Fargo

 I have recently attended several legal tech conferences and other lawyer meetings, which were dominated by Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) discussions and presentations.

Despite the rapid advancement of GenAI and AI technologies, the content at these events is pretty repetitive. Most of the presentations center on the dangers of lawyers using GenAi, and how the GenAi systems work. The presenters drone on about the “black box”. They pontificate endlessly about how the systems will revolutionize the practice of law in short order. How they will drag the moribund legal profession kicking and screaming into the 21st century. In many of these conferences, IT professionals and vendors outnumber bewildered lawyers and legal professionals. In most of these conferences, the event planners and speakers are not lawyers; if they are, they have advanced pretty far up the GenAI legal curve and speak geek more than legal.Continue Reading From Theory to Practice: The Need for Real-World GenAI Demonstrations For Lawyers and Legal Professionals

It goes without saying that one of the most critical functions of a law firm is to train its associates adequately. But time constraints and a lack of consistency, as I have previously discussed, make good, sound training of associates problematic in many firms. However, large language models and GenAI, even open models, may offer potential solutions. Provided, of course, that the firm and its partners understand the risks and benefits of these models and how to use them.Continue Reading Revolutionizing Law Firm Training with AI: The Power of Large Language Models

It seems like every day, there is a new vendor survey about what’s happening in the legal marketplace. Sometimes, these are designed to reveal a result that the vendor thinks will help sell its products. Sometimes, they offer beneficial and, in some cases, remarkably candid insights.

Thomson Reuters’ GenAI Study

Thomson Reuters released its 2024 Generative AI in Professional Services Survey Report earlier this week. The release coincided with a couple of new release announcements by Thomson Reuters in the GenAI space. TR has invested a lot of money in this area and obviously believes in its future in the legal ecosystem (I know. The term “legal ecosystem” is a grating cliché).

What’s interesting about the Survey Report is that, unlike surveys that confirm what the vendor wants, this one goes a little against the grain. It also seems to confirm what I am noticing and previously wrote: Lawyers just aren’t rushing—yet—to embrace GenAI.

As the TR Survey notes: “GenAI usage is not widespread among professional services…The most common emotion surrounding GenAI is one of caution and hesistance”. (To be fair, the TR Report does conclude that the industry may be on the cusp of changing its view of GenAI. According to the Report, there is a feeling of “optimism and excitement” in the legal community).Continue Reading Lawyers’ GenAI Hesitancy: Insights from the 2024 GenAI Professional Services Survey

Working with outside counsel is like getting thrown in a pit of rattlesnakes and hoping one won’t bite you. Anonymous

Axiom, the 14,000-person alternative legal service provider, launched in 2000, together with Wakefield Research, recently conducted and published a Study of U.S. in-house counsel. They conducted a 15-minute Survey online in January and February of this year. Some 300 general counsels of small, mid-size, and large businesses responded.Continue Reading Law Firms on Notice: Adapt to In-House Counsel’s Concerns in the Wake of Axiom’s 2023 Findings. Or Else