Over the past couple of weekends, I attended two conferences, one in Nashville and one in the suburbs of Chicago. One was legal. One was not. Both were small events with less than 200 attendees. And while they were both different substantively, they both had the same informal, sharing type feel where real conversations can and do happen.
Today in the American Lawyer, a frank and insightful open letter from Dentons senior partner Jana Cohen Barbe was published. The message was directed primarily toward the devastating toll the billable hour model is taking on our mental health and our profession.
The pressure to work seven days a week, to miss family events, to forgo vacations, to miss needed doctor’s appointments—can not be overstated
I have been intrigued of late with the potential power of big data and data analytics to disrupt the practice of law and provide insights into areas previously governed by lawyer “gut instinct.” For example, litigation data analytics can provide useful and significant insights into such things as experience and tendencies of opposing counsel, judicial inclinations, and timing. Analytics is revolutionizing the counsel selection process as clients use data to learn the truth about lawyer marketing claims and determine the best fit for matters.
The giant legal services provider, LexisNexis and Knowable, one of the leaders in enterprise contract intelligence, today announced that they have entered into an joint venture agreement. Knowable was spun off from Axiom Global Inc. in February 2019. Mark Harris and Alec Guettel, Axiom’s co-founders, will lead Knowable as CEO and CFO respectively.
Knowable provides machine-learning enabled contract data analytics and related contract intelligence solutions. Knowable’s products allow their corporate clients to peer deeply into the contract relationships and gain greater understandings of their business activities, risks, and values. Knowable essentially converts the massive amount of non-structured data in its clients’ contracts that are often in non searchable PDF format and which frequently contain arcane and non standardized prose. By converting this language into structured data, Knowable helps its clients understand the vast amount of information in their contracts, providing a global view of risks, obligations, entitlements and compliance. It can also enlighten exposures created by contracts as well as businesses opportunities, says Harris.
Want to know what litigation analytic product to use?
Some 27 librarians tested 7 platforms of the most well litigation analytics providers to see which one was the best. They presented their findings at the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) annual meeting this week in Washington D.C.
The platforms evaluated were those offered by Bloomberg Law, Docket Alarm, Docket Navigator, Lex Machina, Lexis Context, Monitor Suite and WestLaw Edge. The test panel consisted of law librarians who asked the platforms sixteen real world questions. The questions were the kind most legal professionals would expect litigation analytics would be able to answer, like how many times a certain lawyer had appeared before a certain judge or how many class action matters a firm had defended. The answers, of course, could only be derived from federal court data.
The short answers: these platforms do slightly different things and work in slightly different ways so there is no real winner. And the platforms work best when they are run by an experienced, well trained people who then manually review and analyze the results. Continue Reading AALL’s Litigation Data Analytics Competition: 5 Take Aways
Thomson Reuters and WestLaw today announced the release of an enhanced legal research platform called Quick Check as part of their WestLaw Edge suite of products. Quick Check uses sophisticated algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning to search and find better and more relevant cites and authorities to use in legal writing.
It works like this: you upload your document securely into the WestLaw Edge cloud and Quick Check then searches for and provides citations and authorities that you did not include. It arranges these by various headings and into a relevancy hierarchy. It also will tell you whether the citations you have used are troublesome or perhaps not totally on the mark, perhaps triggering some more thought about those citations. According to WestLaw, Quick Check will find highly relevant authority, secondary sources and other related briefs and memoranda to ensure that its customers find what they might have otherwise missed. It will also prepare a Table of Authorities, a pain in the ass portion of any brief no matter who does it. Continue Reading WestLaw Announces Quick Check
This week I’m attending the Enterprise World Conference in Toronto put on by OpenText. OpenText is an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) company that works with businesses of all sorts to manage digital information and then use that information to better achieve their goals. If that sounds broad, its because it is. OpenText has its hands in almost every industry.
OpenText recently made a big play to get into the LegalTech space and is trumpeting this entry at the Conference. OpenText’s legal section and programs have been mentioned prominently in the company keynotes and educational sessions and it has devoted significant space on the exhibit floor to its legal related products.
One of my favorite academic LegalTech/innovation thought leaders is Dan Linna. Dan was a practicing litigator for several years before moving over to the academic side and is now with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. Dan brings good humor to every issue and never tires of pushing the needle when it comes to legal tech. He’s also very attuned to what’s going on in the marketplace. To paraphrase an old commercial: When Dan Linna talks, everyone should listen. Continue Reading Linna and Curle: 5 Reasons The Legal Worm May Be Turning
Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Service Officer at Jackson Walker and well-known blogger at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, recently authored a post entitled The Ethics of It All. In it he talked about another article by Fast Company’s Gwen Moran entitled, Is It Unethical to Not Tell My Employer I’ve Automated My Job?. Moran offers the hypothetical of a worker who figures out how to automate a 40 hour a week job into 2 hours and then wonders whether she should tell her the employer knowing that it could cause her to lose her job. Lambert raises a similar ethical question for the legal profession, particularly for those who charge by the hour versus results. Continue Reading Technology, Ethics And The Reasonable Fee
Lots of talk these days for the need for lawyers to be emphatic. To work on practicing empathy. To be more emphatic toward others. Usually, this is couched in terms of being able to better serve and relate to clients, and their needs and concerns, all of which is true enough. But there’s another more practical side to empathy for lawyers that’s also pretty valuable.
I stumbled upon this recently when a good friend said to me, “not sure how you were so successful as a lawyer, you’re such a nice guy.” (She was a little less direct than that, but I got the thrust). Ignoring for the moment that the idea that being a good/successful lawyer requires you to be an asshole, her comment did get me thinking about why I was so successful for so long while still being thought of as a reasonably nice person (well, at least by most). Continue Reading Empathy for Lawyers: It’s Not Just Touchy-Feely