Whether law firms know it or not…
…they’re at a fork in the road. That’s the conclusion of a significant report on artificial intelligence from ALM Intelligence, Law Firms Need Artificial Intelligence to Stay in the Game. This one is not free, but it is a game-changer and at $299, well worth the price.
An excerpt is available to law.com subscribers (or you can sign-up for limited free access) by author and ALM Legal Intelligence Senior Analyst Erin Hichman. She discusses the five AI building blocks: data, processes, talent, culture and last and maybe least, technology, for which she says:
“While it’s easy to directly jump to technology when thinking of AI, it’s really the last aspect to consider after everything else is flushed out and defined.”
What to Know When Building Artificial Intelligence in the Law Firm
Pulling the blockchain
While you’re at law.com reading the AI article referenced above, check out another article about a joint venture of law firms and technology companies that’s promising to shake up both the way we see blockchain and the way we work in our firms. It’s called the Agreements Network, and it will allow “multiple parties to plug in and create and execute legal agreements, as well as manage and store digital evidence and assets.”
The prospects are starting to sound pretty cool. Following are two perspectives on this new middle layer platform.
First, from law.com:
BakerHostetler, LexPredict and Others Partner to Develop Blockchain ‘Middle Layer’
And from Bob Ambrogi at LawSites:
Law Firms, Tech Companies, Join Forces to Help Launch Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts Platform
Adopt and adapt
Few areas of interest spark such a surge of both excitement and trepidation as new technology like AI and blockchain. From best practices to service comparisons to surveys of use and satisfaction, we talk about tech constantly.
Dean Sonderegger brings up this interesting question: How exactly do we measure the adoption of these new platforms and tools?
“I believe that we are still in the early stages of discovering the depth of opportunity that technology can open to legal professionals, but it’s also clear that we’re beginning to see mainstream adoption of these technologies in practice.”
But how do we quantify what these anecdotes and examples are showing us? Dean shares his thoughts in this great read:
Old rules don’t apply to digital knowledge management
We have an interesting set of observations from Dr. Khalid Al-Kofahi, Vice President of Research at Thomson Reuters. Speaking to the rules of knowledge management, he writes,
“When things go digital, they start following a new set of rules. The rules of the physical world are either not applicable or are severely diminished.”
So what governs then? Most of us may just be starting to figure this out, but Dr. Al-Kofahi has some suggestions to benefit us all.
AI is bringing a new set of rules to knowledge work
Back to the past
Most of my readings are about current and future and technologies, but lately, thanks to University of Maryland Baltimore County Professor Craig Saper’s article, Ode to the Microfilm Reader, I’ve been traveling back in time. Even Information Today traveled to “information yesterday” by referring to Saper’s premise that, Microfilm Lasts Half a Millennium,” which provides a summary of Saper’s Atlantic article. The article traces the origins of microfilm and the subsequent decline due to OCR capabilities. And yet Saper seems to think microfilm has staying power. Do you agree?
Casetext: Mission launch and beyond
Leave it to Bob Ambrogi to inspire me to subscribe to one more podcast. In the latest episode of his LawNext podcast, he interviews Casetext founders Jake Heller and Pablo Arredondo. The two discuss their mission, the evolution of their CARA platform, the current state of the company and where they are going.
Read more and get a link to the episode:
LawNext Episode 3: Casetext’s Founders on their Quest to Make Legal Research Affordable
The power of iteration and danger of cruft
And what is cruft you may be asking? The definition is “the useless crap that builds up in any creative endeavor as you iterate,” and Ryan McClead, whose many roles have included theater composer and College of Law Practice Management Fellow, says that cruft applies to legal technology the same as it applies to music composition:
“Invariably you run into some difficulties early on and have to find kludgy work-arounds to get where you think you’re going.”
Simply put, his article discusses the power of throwing it all out and starting over, saying that starting over isn’t “as daunting as it sounds, you’re not starting from scratch.”
If you are intrigued by just how hitting reset on a project can be useful, take a read and see what you can learn:
That’s it for this month’s curated readings. Let me know your thoughts about topics you’d like to know more about, or what you think of this list.