#artificialintelligence

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

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?

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

Every year, Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession come with a report on the State of the Legal Market. I have written about the reports before; I find them enlightening and generally well done. The 2024 Report is based on data from some 179 U.S. law firms developed by Thomson Reuters’ Financial Insights platform. Data came from 48 AmLaw 100 firms, 49 AmLaw second 100 firms, and 82 midsize firms.

The 2024 Report came out in early January this year and, as usual, is chock full of interesting findings. The Report used the historical demise of Pan Am Airlines as an example to drive home a point. Law firms may be facing a tipping point, a point at which they need to refine how they do business to survive. Continue Reading The Thomson Reuters State of the Legal Market Report: Shifting Tides in Legal Practice?

Law schools take a lot of heat for not preparing students for the actual practice of law. They are rightly criticized for ignoring how technology and innovation are changing the profession. This failure is particularly acute when it comes to generative AI. Some law schools have engaged in a lot of handwringing and schemed how to keep students from using Gen AI tools. Others have just put their heads in the sand. But a handful of law schools have been proactive, recognizing how Gen AI may change how lawyers practice and work.

One such school is Vanderbilt University’s Law School. Nestled a short walk from Nashville’s bustling downtown, Vanderbilt’s Law School created its Program of Law and Innovation several years ago. It was the brainchild of Cat Moon and Larry Bridgesmith. The idea was to create a learning space within the law school for innovation and collaboration. Continue Reading Embracing Gen AI in Law: Vanderbilt Law School’s VAILL is Preparing Tomorrow’s Legal Minds

I hate it when people talk about dysfunctional families. That suggests there are functional ones, but I sure haven’t seen one yet.

Smokeball, a cloud-based legal practice management software provider, today released its 2024 State of the Law Report. It reveals some pretty scary findings about smaller law firms and their lack of knowledge of fundamental business principles. The Report also shows a certain lack of consistency between what these firms believe is happening in the market and what they are doing about it. The Smokeball study suggests that many legal professionals in smaller firms are not rushing to adopt technologies, like Generative AI that could help them better serve their clients and be more profitable.Continue Reading Smokeball Report Reveals a Dysfunctional View of Business and Technology by Smaller Law Firms 

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

With all the hype over GenAI, the metaverse, the digital world where people/avatars can mingle, has been largely forgotten. After all, the notion of working in teams of cartoonish avatars seemed unlikely at best. And silly at worst, particularly for any business purposes. No one seemed interested in dealing face to face with an avatar that looked like, say, Donald Duck. So, most of us dismissed the metaverse, putting it in the same class as blockchain. Much ado about nothing. Solutions in search of problems.

But then I happened to come across some groundbreaking work that Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is doing. The program is called Codec Avatars. It focuses on making the avatars closely resemble what we really look like and less abstract. They call these things Codec avatars. The goal is to make the avatars what they call “photo realistic” as opposed to expressive. Ok, you say, big deal, they are still unrealistic avatars with no arms and legs, etc. Why not just keep using Zoom?Continue Reading The Metaverse and Blockchain for Legal: We’re Back

Trellis’ new state court analytics tools provide much needed insights into litigators and their law firms which will lead to better strategic decisions. But the real value of the tools may be to firm management, especially for large firms with offices in multiple locations. 

Lost in the hoopla recently from the announcements of big players in legal tech of their generative AI offerings (as impressive as they were) was an announcement by Trellis of an important new set of analytic tools. 

Trellis is a state court legal research and analytics platform. I have written before about Trellis’ laser focus on state court analytics. While other bigger players focus on federal court—where the data picking is easier—or offer state court analytics as another product line, Trellis understands the state court game better than anyone. Continue Reading Trellis New State Court Analytics Tools: Improved Litigation Decisions and Better Firm Management

“It’s a game changer when the game has changed.”

Richard Tromans.

There has been a lot of speculation lately about the significant impact large language models (LLM) will have on the future of law practice. The theory goes that these models will tremendously reduce the time lawyers spend on many tasks. This reduction, in turn, will force lawyers and law firms to rethink the financial business models upon which the firms have primarily been built. Law firms will be forced to change what they do, especially when clients demand it. And many pundits think this sea change will happen quickly.

Richard Tromans, a thought leader in the industry, writer of the blog artificiallawyer and the force behind the well-known and ground breaking Legal Innovators conferences, reccenlyt weighed in on these theories. 

In a recent podcast interview and an excellent subsequent article, he analyzes change in the legal industry and what has to happen for real change to occur. Tromans concludes that change in legal will not come easily. Or quickly. (Tromans is hosting the U.S. version of Legal Innovators conference in San Francisco on June 7-8, at which the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and LLMs on the legal industry will no doubt be a topic of substantial discussion.)Continue Reading Generative AI and Legal: Its Not a Game Changer Until the Game Has Changed