The blockchain continues to be a popular topic for entrepreneurs, journalists and technology lawyers. Also, in the United States, for legislators. Several states have enacted legislation about the blockchain in some manner. This note reviews what they do and why. To the best of my knowledge, Canadian legislators have not ventured into the blockchain universe. Feel free to note if and how they have, or if you think they should, in Comments.
Archive for the ‘Legal Technology’ Columns
There appears to be a sentiment pervasive in the legal blogosphere that lawyers are “behind”:
- “The pace of change in legal services is not slowing down while lawyers’ day-to-day practice of law continues to lag far behind” (Remaking Law Firms)
- “Law Is Lagging Digital Transformation” (sic.) (Forbes)
- “’Change’ Is a Mantra for Law Firms, But Will They Tune In?” (com)
- “When It Comes to Innovation, Lawyers Are Being Left Behind” (com)
Given that “behind” is a relative term, you would think that every other industry has totally reinvented itself. Yet that is . . . [more]
The title of this post stands for Artificial Intelligence for Access to Justice. It sounds a little like buzzword festival. Rest assured however – there is no mention whatsoever of block chain or design thinking further down in the text.
A few months ago we sent out an invitation to industry partners to join Lexum Lab (Lexum’s R&D team) to test a few AI / Deep Learning applications that are in the making. More specifically, Lexum Lab and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) are collaborating on the development of a link prediction algorithm for law. . . . [more]
As we write this, we are a week out from ABA TECHSHOW 2019, which author Simek had the honor of co-chairing along with our longtime friend Lincoln Mead.
There was a lot of conversation before, during and after TECHSHOW about the future of legal tech conferences, especially ABA TECHSHOW itself. Before the conference began, our friends Tom Mighell and Dennis Kennedy recorded a Legal Talk Network podcast on-site on the TECHSHOW EXPO floor discussing the future of legal tech conferences. You may listen to the podcast here.
During the conference, we talked at length with other members of the . . . [more]
A few years ago, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was reported here to be considering a project on identity management and trust services. That report outlined some of the legal and practical issues that these matters raise, and some of the options for going forward.
To nobody’s surprise, UNCITRAL did adopt a project on this topic, and its Working Group on Electronic Commerce has been considering it since 2017. A list of the principal policy documents and records of the Working Group’s discussions is here.
Recently the UNCITRAL Secretariat has released two Working Papers in . . . [more]
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have set the basic framework for the right to be forgotten. Recent case law from Germany offers an insight into its application on the ground.
The right to be forgotten as initially created in the Google Spain case (C-131/12) and now further developed in art. 17 GDPR provides data subjects with the right to have their personal data erased by a data processing controller (most prominently search engines) under specific circumstances. For search engines, though, balancing the diverging rights and interests of publishers and . . . [more]
It doesn’t take too much reading to understand that technology is crucial to the success of any modern law firm. With the mergers and investments in LegalTech continuing to rise, law firms truly cannot invest too much in tech and innovation. I think we can expect to see the below example more often:
A law firm that does everything starts from scratch with founders having both deep business and legal expertise. They commit to being early adopters of technology. It takes spent three years and $5M in custom technology, but they are able to deliver on the vaunted promise of . . . [more]
Every year the American Bar Association sends out a survey to tens of thousands of attorneys requesting information about several area. The 2018 survey contained six questionnaires covering the following:
- Technology Basics & Security
- Law Office Technology
- Online Research
- Marketing & Communication Technology
- Litigation Technology & E-Discovery
- Mobile Lawyers
The complete survey is available for purchase from the ABA at https://www.americanbar.org/products/ecd/ebk/350226911/. It’s not cheap, but packed with useful information. We’ll cover a few of the highlights here. Each volume is available separately, but you’ll need the complete publication to appreciate all the technology that lawyers use and the trends . . . [more]
Is an electronic signature valid in law? Twenty-five years after the Internet was opened to commercial use, that may seem to be a surprising question. An off-the-cuff response might be, “why shouldn’t it be?” The law does not prescribe a form or medium for a signature. Any method of associating a legal entity (human being, corporation, government) with a piece of information (document, text, inscription) will do the job, if the legal entity had the intention that the association should be for the purpose of signing it.
A signature may have many purposes, of course: to indicate consent, to show . . . [more]
Most of what you are being told about the future of blockchain in the legal profession is nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong. Blockchain is very cool. And I am the furthest thing from a luddite you will find in the legal profession. I’m a part-time LLM student at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and Department of Computing Science studying the automation of legal reasoning. I’m an ABA Innovation Fellow for 2018/2019, writing open-source software to automate analogy to prior cases. I am an advocate for the adoption of technology in law.
So I’m enthusiastic about blockchain being adopted . . . [more]
In 2009, Dr. Atul Gawande published The Checklist Manifesto, to general acclaim. Even Malcolm Gladwell and The New York Times loved it. And it sent many legal knowledge managers into paroxysms of delight. The book helped many of us move from the drudgery of drafting templates and precedents to simplifying processes and managing matters by checklists. This dovetailed nicely with a then-emerging focus on legal project management and process improvement.
Once again, Dr. Atul Gawande is a step ahead of most of us in the legal technology community, by writing about doctors’ pure, burning hatred of the software . . . [more]
For the last year or so, our Lexum Lab team has been playing around with machine learning algorithms. ”Telling the fortune” of users based on their search history was one option, but this example showed us that it may not turned out according to plan. Instead our team came up with two applications promising to considerably enhance legal information retrieval. And we are currently looking for partner organizations who are interested in trying them out.
The first one is called Facts2Law. Using the latest deep learning techniques, it predicts the most relevant Canadian case law (and eventually legislation) when presented . . . [more]