A futuristic picture of how technology, artificial intelligence and big data might impact law firms in the future
Good morning Mr. Phelps and welcome back to the global law firm of DLA, Watson, Siri & Wal-Mart. I see from your expression that you have noticed the change in my voice. I am Stevie, a Mark 8 assistant. After the Apple-Microsoft merger on Tuesday, all the firm's assistants have been upgraded to the Siri/Cortana hybrid. I am sure you'll find the upgrades useful.
It looks like you have a very full schedule today. Your calendar and associated information have been transferred to cubical 45-38-7, which is your assigned office for your stay here today. Office lighting, temperature and virtual artwork have been updated with your stored preferences. Your personal assistant, Jordan 7188 has updated your iSlate II with a firm map and will guide you to your office.
My profession is in trouble. As a whole, the legal field has failed, and continues to fail, to adapt to unprecedented technological change. In less than a decade, the world as we know it has been turned on its head, beginning in approximately 2006, when cloud and mobile technologies re-shaped every aspect of our lives. In the span of just a few years, technologies that were once only envisioned in Star Trek episodes became readily available, changing the way that we communicate, interact, obtain information, and conduct business. And yet the vast majority of the legal profession continues to practice law as if it were 1995.
ReinventLaw London was well attended as ever and the list of attendees and presenters from all over the world demonstrated how the ReinventLaw concept has matured. I have attended all three London events.
Last Friday’s event represented an opportunity to catch up with numerous contacts and friends across the legal and legal IT world, many of whom had travelled to London to be there.
If you haven't yet heard the news, the Texas State Bar's Professional Ethics Committee now forbids non-lawyer processionals to have titles containing the word 'principal' or 'officer.' Lest you think this is some sort of new routine from Monty Python, sadly it is not. It is very real. The first question presented in Opinion 642 is "May a Texas law firm include the terms 'officer' or 'principal' in the job titles of the firm’s non-lawyer employees?"
Five self-assessment criteria for deciding if it’s time to move to the cloud
There is always a critical tipping point when it comes to technology—a point when you have to forget about that large investment your firm made several years ago and face the reality that it has outlived its usefulness. Since attorneys are now practicing wherever and whenever they choose, the traditional fax machine is an example of a diminishing asset worthy of retirement consideration: They are expensive, require energy, maintenance fees and constant support. Yet faxing hasn’t gone away…not by a long shot.
Corporations are serial litigators. That is a fact of life for major enterprises these days. Whether defending or initiating a lawsuit or responding to a government investigation, a corporation is likely to be involved in multiple legal matters within any given period of time.
A further fact of life for corporations is that multiple legal matters are likely to implicate many of the same documents and custodians. This is particularly true where a corporation has core products or technologies that are frequent subjects of intellectual property or trade disputes.
Legal IT Today editor Joanna Goodman attended KM Legal, Ark Group’s annual two-day knowledge management event
This is the fourteenth year of KM Legal and it is still going strong. Chaired by Simone Pearlman Head of Legal Knowledge, UK, EMEA & Asia, Herbert Smith Freehills, it attracted a strong UK and international contingent and included presentations and discussions from law firms, clients, consultants and vendors covering a wide range of topics.
Obtaining ISO 27001 certification provides your law firm’s clients with the reassurance you are dealing with their information securely. A law firms “product” is the information it provides to their client. You need to protect your product to protect your client. Most stores these days have detectors fitted at their entrances to sound an alarm in the event of theft. If stores put controls in place to mitigate the risk of their products being stolen, then law firms should do the same; ISO 27001 is like the detector at the entrance of a store, it is a way a law firm can protect their information, or their product.
In recent months, because of a number of professional endeavors, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with members of legal academia along with current law students and recent graduates. My overarching impression of these encounters is that law schools aren’t sufficiently preparing law students for 21st century law practice. This is especially so when it comes to technology. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of law schools are educating their students in a technology vacuum.
Everyone knows the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." But few people know that little Goldilocks grew up to have a career in law firm IT management. Goldilocks worked her way up the ranks, consulting and working for law firms and then found herself as the newly minted Director of IT at the firm of Andersen & Grimm. She'd been there for a year when she uncovered a very similar problem to one she ran into as a little girl so many years ago in the forest - settling in on "just right."
Last Wednesday saw the closing awards ceremony for the Workshare Raspberry Pi volunteer project. For the past five weeks, Workshare has been working with Tower Hamlets Integrated Youth and Community Services to teach young people from the local community how to code using credit card sized computer Raspberry Pi. The course culminated in a competition whereby the top three applications won a paid summer internship with Workshare. All the young people who completed the course were also invited for at least a day's work experience.
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