Ok, Google, Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Lawyering?

Abstract

Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) replace human lawyering? The answer is no. Despite worries that AI is getting so sophisticated that it could take over the profession, there is little cause for concern. Indeed, the surge of AI in the legal field has crystalized the real essence of effective lawyering. The lawyer’s craft goes beyond what AI can do because we listen with empathy to clients’ stories, strategize to find that story that might not be obvious, thoughtfully use our imagination and judgment to decide which story will appeal to an audience, and creatively tell those winning stories.

This article reviews the current state of AI in legal practice and contrasts that with the essence of exclusively human lawyering skills—empathy, imagination, and creativity. As examples, we use three Supreme Court cases to illustrate these skills.

Citation

Oseid, Julie A. and Vorenberg, Amy and Koenig, Melissa Love, Ok, Google, Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Lawyering? (2019). 102 Marquette Law Review 1269 (2019); U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-13; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 19-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3449500

Automated Decision Support Technologies and the Legal Profession

Abstract

A quiet revolution is afoot in the field of law. Technical systems employing algorithms are shaping and displacing professional decision making, and they are disrupting and restructuring relationships between law firms, lawyers, and clients. Decision-support systems marketed to legal professionals to support e-discovery—generally referred to as “technology-assisted review” (TAR)—increasingly rely on “predictive coding,” machine-learning techniques to classify and predict which of the voluminous electronic documents subject to litigation should be withheld or produced to the opposing side. These systems and the companies offering them are reshaping relationships between lawyers and clients, introducing new kinds of professionals into legal practice, altering the discovery process, and shaping how lawyers construct knowledge about their cases and professional obligations. In the midst of these shifting relationships—and the ways in which these systems are shaping the construction and presentation of knowledge—lawyers are grappling with their professional obligations, ethical duties, and what it means for the future of legal practice.

Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews of experts in this space—the technology company representatives who develop and sell such systems to law firms and the legal professionals who decide whether and how to use them in practice—we shed light on the organizational structures, professional rules and norms, and technical system properties that are shaping and being reshaped by predictive coding systems. Our findings show that AI-supported decision systems such as these are reconfiguring professional work practices. In particular, they highlight concerns about potential loss of professional agency and skill, limited understanding and thereby both over- and under-reliance on decision-support systems, and confusion about responsibility and accountability as new kinds of technical professionals and technologies are brought into legal practice. The introduction of predictive coding systems and the new professional and organizational arrangements they are ushering into legal practice compound general concerns over the opacity of technical systems with specific concerns about encroachments on the construction of expert knowledge, liability frameworks, and the potential (mis-)alignment of machine reasoning with professional logics and ethics.

Based on our findings, we conclude that predictive coding tools—and likely other algorithmic systems lawyers use to construct knowledge and reason about legal practice—challenge the current model for evaluating whether and how tools are appropriate for legal practice. As tools become both more complex, and more consequential, it is unreasonable to rely solely on legal professionals—judges, law firms, and lawyers—to determine which technologies are appropriate for use. The legal professionals we interviewed report relying on the evaluation and judgement of a range of new technical experts within law firms and, increasingly, third-party vendors and their technical experts. This system for choosing technical systems upon which lawyers rely to make professional decisions—e.g., whether documents are responsive, whether the standard of proportionality has been met—is no longer sufficient. As the tools of medicine are reviewed by appropriate experts before they are put out for consideration and adoption by medical professionals, we argue that the legal profession must develop new processes for determining which algorithmic tools are fit to support lawyers’ decision making. Relatedly, because predictive coding systems are used to produce lawyers’ professional judgment, we argue they must be designed for contestability—providing greater transparency, interaction, and configurability around embedded choices to ensure decisions about how to embed core professional judgments, such as relevance and proportionality remain salient and demand engagement from lawyers, not just their technical experts.

Citation
Kluttz, Daniel and Mulligan, Deirdre K., Automated Decision Support Technologies and the Legal Profession (July 15, 2019). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3443063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3443063

Legal Market Landscape Report (July 2018)

Commissioned by the State Bar of California, July 2018, Professor William D. Henderson

The Bar contracted with Professor William D. Henderson to conduct a landscape analysis of the current state of the legal services market, including new technologies and business models used in the delivery of legal services, with a special focus on enhancing access to justice.  The report is the first step in the
Bar’s study of delivery of legal services through the use of technology.

Read the report…

SRA resources to help solicitors prepare for new standards and regulations

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), has produced a dedicated webpage of resources for solicitors to help them prepare for the introduction of their new Standards and Regulation on 25 November.  The new Standards and Regulations aim to reduce bureaucracy, simplify rules and provide greater flexibility.  One of the key new requirements is for all law firm websites to use the SRA clickable logo, which uses smart technology to confirm to website visitors that a specific firm is regulated and what this means for clients.

Read more…

ICLR 2019: Encouraging Innovation in Legal Services Provision via Tech

The following content has been provided by the panel presenting on this topic during the morning on day 2 of ICLR 2019.

Synopsis

In a rapidly evolving legal landscape and digital world, legal practitioners are engaging an increasingly sophisticated clientele requiring solutions that lie at the intersection of different industry sectors. The panellists will be sharing perspectives and observations from efforts by Singapore, Canada, and Scotland to encourage innovative use of legal technology, artificial intelligence, and the related regulatory considerations.

This session will focus on the recent efforts to encourage innovation in and the use of technology in the provision of legal services, with discussion including the following:

  • Perspectives on the creation and adoption of open-source legal research databases and legal technologies;
  • The business, legal, and regulatory challenges posed by the use of artificial intelligence; and
  • The successes and lessons learnt from existing efforts to overcome resistance to change and the use of legal technology.

Speakers

ModeratorJoan Janssen, Director of Legal Services, Ministry of Law, Singapore

Panellist: Sarah Sutherland, Director Programmes and Partnerships, Canadian Legal Information Institute

Panellist: Ivan Mokanov, President, Lexum Inc.;

Panellist: John McKinlay, Convenor Technology Law and Practice Committee, Law Society of Scotland

What particularly do you hope to explore in this session?  Any specific questions you hope to answer?

  • Encouraging innovation through tech to ensure the flourishing of the legal industry could lead to potential under-regulation, while a focus on consumer protection may result in overregulation and stifling of development. How are these considerations balanced in the regulation of legal service providers?
  • What are some key guiding principles from your respective jurisdictions that can guide the future of legal regulation in relation to the use of tech?
  • How do the existing legal frameworks (or other features) of your jurisdictions encourage innovation in legal services?
  • What are some examples of resistance to innovation through tech in the provision of legal services? What has worked (and what has not) to help overcome such resistance?

 

What do you hope to achieve with this session?

This workshop aims to engage participants in a rich discussion and sharing of experiences from various jurisdictions and regulators with regard to encouraging innovation in the provision of legal services via technology. Discussion topics include:

  • Lessons learnt from efforts to overcome resistance to change and legal technology in Singapore;
  • The business, legal, and regulatory challenges posed by the use of artificial intelligence in Scotland; and
  • Experiences from the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and its technology and publishing partner, Lexum Inc on open-source online legal research and legal technology.

 

See the full conference programme

AI-Enabled Business Models in Legal Services: From Traditional Law Firms to Next-Generation Law Companies?

What will happen to law firms and the legal profession when the use of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes prevalent in legal services? This paper addresses this question by considering specific AI use cases in legal services, and by identifying four AI-enabled business models (AIBM) which are relatively new to legal services (if not new to the world). These AIBMs are different from the traditional professional service firm (PSF) business model at law firms, and require complementary investments in human resources, intra-firm governance and inter-firm governance. Law firms are experimenting with combinations of business models. We identify three patterns in law firm experimentation: first, combining the traditional PSF business model with the legal process and/or consulting business models; second, vertically integrating the software vendor business models; and third, accessing AIBMs from third-party vendors to take advantage of contracting for innovation. While predicting the future is not possible, we conclude that how today’s law firms transform themselves into tomorrow’s next generation law companies depends on their willingness and ability to invest in necessary complements.

Citation

Armour, John and Sako, Mari, AI-Enabled Business Models in Legal Services: From Traditional Law Firms to Next-Generation Law Companies? (July 12, 2019). Available at SSRN.

Regulation of legal tech companies in Germany?

Politicians in Germany are seeking to bring in legislation which will bridge the gap between advice provided via legal tech companies and by lawyers.  German laws governing the profession currently only recognise legal advice provided by lawyers, with only a few exceptions.  The FDP political party is proposing the adoption of a tiered regulation model that would introduce Legal Tech companies to the liability model of lawyers and subject them to the judicial oversight of the German federal states.  In particular they are targeting automated platforms that guide people through a legal claim process, such as flight compensation sites.

BRAK – the German Federal Bar Association has been critical of the proposed law, however, as it maintains the position that only lawyers can provide regulated legal advice.  If this legislation is ultimately adopted it could lead to other European jurisdictions adopting a similar approach, and possibly even legislation at an EU-level.

Read more on this story…

Event: Challenges of Global Digitalisation for Governance and Justice

16-17 September 2019, Luxembourg
European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)

About this course

Digitalisation is rapidly transforming our world and affects governance, businesses and justice. In light of this, there is an urgent need to adopt solutions to the global digital changes in automatisation, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, digitalisation of legal practices and services, as well as electronic evidence.

The seminar will address the main issues at play in terms of overcoming the challenges of the rapid scientific and technological changes faced by governments, economies and markets, as well as justice. Centred around global cooperation and technological convergences, the seminar will explore following solutions in governance innovation and technological distribution, taxation of the digital market economy, digital justice, protection of people’s fundamental rights and the generation of new digital ones.

Who is this course for

Public administration officials, legal officers and technical staff of national public administration and ministries, justice professionals, legal counsellors, practicing lawyers, EU staff.

Read more and book…

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SRA launches legal access challenge

Legal Access Challenge launched to encourage innovation

  • Six in 10 don’t think the legal system in England and Wales is set up for ordinary people
  • Many who experience a legal problem don’t take professional advice, citing cost and trust as key barriers
  • Eight in 10 say it needs to be easier for people to access legal guidance and advice
  • We are partnering with Nesta Challenges to launch a prize to make legal support more accessible and affordable through new technology

New research from Nesta Challenges reveals six in ten (58%) people in England and Wales think the legal system is not set up for ordinary people, with the vast majority wanting it to be easier for people to access legal support.

The research was conducted to mark the launch of the Legal Access Challenge – a new prize we are running in partnership with Nesta Challenges – which aims to help more people access legal services through new technology.

The survey also found one in seven (15%) people in England and Wales have experienced a legal issue in the last 10 years; although with only half (51%) of all respondents confident they can identify whether a problem is a legal matter, this is likely to be far higher. We know from existing data that very few people seek professional advice from a solicitor or barrister when they have a problem1, and the research showed people are instead turning to friends and family (20%) or Google (16%) for legal advice.

When asked about barriers to accessing legal advice, seven in ten (68%) say the high cost, followed by the uncertainty of the cost (56%) and knowing who to trust (37%). The vast majority (79%) believe it needs to be easier for people to access legal guidance and advice for themselves.

There is a widespread belief that technology could be the solution to this, with six in 10 (59%) saying they think technology could lead to better services to help people resolve their legal problems. People believe that the biggest benefits to using a digital service for legal advice would be having a fixed price upfront for legal fees (38%), being able to understand their rights (26%) and having access to cheaper legal advice and information (23%).

Part of our wider programme to drive innovation in the sector, the Legal Access Challenge will offer £250,000 in grants to help innovators develop new technology solutions to help make legal advice more affordable and accessible for the majority.

Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets, Nesta Challenges, said: “For too many people, legal support and advice seems out of reach and reserved for those with the time and money to navigate a complex legal system.

“Technology is not a panacea, but in many areas of our lives it has transformed the choice, convenience and quality available to us and this could be true in legal services too. The UK is a world leader in both technology and legal services, and there is a huge economic and social opportunity in bringing these together.

“We are launching the Legal Access Challenge to help demonstrate what technology can do and to bring these new solutions to market. We want to see digital solutions that directly support individuals and small businesses to access legal services conveniently and affordably, and which can help close the ‘legal gap’ we currently face.”

Nesta Challenges is part of Nesta, the innovation charity, and offers financial prizes to stimulate innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges society faces. The team works with regulators, policymakers and others to help make markets more competitive and open, advising on how regulatory reforms and targeted public investment programmes can work together to achieve greater impact.

Anna Bradley, Chair of the SRA Board, said: “Whether they are dealing with a personal legal matter , or running a business, people need to be able to get legal support when it really matters.

“Having access to professional advice is important at those life changing moments. And for small businesses, it can make the difference between success and failure.

“There are real barriers for people looking for help and the innovative use of technology is one way of tackling those barriers.

“We want our regulation to support new ideas. The Legal Access Challenge can help to drive the development of new approaches which will deliver tangible benefits to the public, opening up access to legal services for as many people as possible.”

The Legal Access Challenge is open to entrants until 11 August 2019. More information can be found at www.legalaccesschallenge.org