Monday, November 23, 2015
Coinciding with the publication of Richard Susskind's new book, The Future of the Professions, which makes predictions about the way technology will change many of the "thinking" professions like lawyering, a U.K. blog called Legal Week notes that a few artificial intelligence applications are already being used by some firms to provide more cost efficient legal services. In a post called Is Artificial Intelligence the Key to Unlocking Innovation in Your Law Firm? legal technology expert Greg Wildisen notes that Foley & Lardner is using technology to offer its clients "an outsourced, turnkey compliance solution" to help them navigate legal issues arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Foley partner David Simon describes in a short YouTube video how this new technology-based compliance service works). Mr. Wildisen also describes how a company called Neota Logic (where he is a managing director) developed a series of employment law apps called ComplianceHR in cooperation with the firm of Littler Mendelson to provide legal assistance to human resource departments. One of the apps helps users assess whether an individual qualifies as an employee or independent contractor under the laws of 51 separate jurisdictions by accessing some 1,400 cases and considering 80 different factors. And way back in 2011, a Boston, Massachusetts company called Fair Outcomes had already developed software to help resolve legal disputes with optimum efficiency while eliminating the transactional costs associated with hiring lawyers to negotiate a settlement. Mr. Wildisen also notes that the seminar created a few years ago at Georgetown Law School in which students learn to develop legal apps (and here) to help dispense legal advice is an idea that has spread to other law schools which will accelerate the use of AI-type solutions to the practice of law. Though many lawyers may be nervous about the potential for AI to replace the need to hire lawyers for certain tasks, Mr. Wildisen reminds us that so many legal questions go "un-lawyered" these days that rather than fear the inevitable spread of technology, lawyers should instead look for ways to leverage it to address some of these unmet needs for cost efficient legal services. You can read Mr. Wildisen's full post at Legal Week right here.