Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

196 Good People

About georgecostanzajr

  • Rank

Recent Profile Visitors

2226 profile views
  1. It appears you didn't read my statement correctly, because I said some of those mechanical and tedious tasks. My statement did not relate to all tasks that he may have found "annoying", but only those that were mechanical and tedious. I'm not sure where you work, but students are encouraged to give mechanical tasks to their assistants (where I work). That's what they're there for. In almost every assignment there are mechanical components. Otherwise you're wasting the clients money billing them $200-300/hr doing menial non-legal tasks such as formatting, copy/pasting info, etc. Also, thanks for the great insight stranger, but I'll take my principal's advice, an experienced lawyer who has practiced in my area of interest, over a random lawstudents.ca member's unsolicited advice.
  2. Don't know where you work, but you should be able to offload some of those mechanical and tedious tasks to your assistant, assuming you have one.
  3. See the requirements for getting licensed in each jurisdiction you want to practice. In NY you can write the bar and assuming you pass (it's a difficult exam), you can get licensed there. In California my understanding is that it is a little more tricky, but don't take my word for it, check the specific requirements. Generally, lawyers that are licensed in multiple jurisdictions will not practice in both jurisdictions at the same time. However, they do use their experience of practicing in another jurisdiction as an asset to bolster their value in certain practice areas (e.g. cross-border transactions). Is your intention to go to the states and practice there? If so, it would be far better to attend a school in the states. If your intention is to practice in both jurisdictions at the same time, know that it is likely not prudent or realistic.
  4. Yeah that's a load of horseshit to make it seem like they are doing you a favour. Most articling students I know at big firms have docketed at least 1,800 billable hours in their 10-month articling term. I'm sure that all those hours aren't actually billed to clients, and the firm does spend a considerable amount of time/money on recruitment, mentorship, oversight, etc., but even factoring for this, the firm still makes a good chunk of money from their students. Of course, though, the firms prefer a trained third or fourth year associate to turn out money for them, but the deal they're getting with students isn't that bad!
  5. I've heard this happen to others as well, so you're not alone. This is why whenever a test includes "not", I always put it in caps, underlined, red, and in a slightly larger font. Might be overkill, but I haven't missed one luckily!
  6. So many people fantasize about retirement. The issue is, when they do eventually retire, after a while, they realize it's really not that great. Your age and health prevent you from doing many meaningful things that you want. I suggest everyone who is interested to read about taking "mini-retirements" throughout your career. It is quite eye-opening. In my experience, the people who take these are much more fulfilled, even though they "retire" later in life. And before I get comments about how impractical it is in the legal industry, the truth is that while it's difficult, but not impossible. I know of many lawyers who have taken these "mini-retirements" in one form or another and been just fine career-wise.
  7. True, though that won't necessarily stop you from practicing. E.g. I know of several partners who moved from a large firm to another firm and took their book of business because the firm wouldn't change their policies.
  8. People get bored of retirement. Sure, it's fun for half a year. Then many people go insane. They go from working 40-60 hours a week and framing their life around the law to doing no law. It's a strange feeling with no sense of fulfilment for many people. The lawyer I was working with at my school clinic was retired for a few years and came back because of boredom. He enjoys what he does not far more than when he was retired.
  9. You're right, it's changed more for junior/mid-level lawyers (which is a huge portion of lawyers working on a deal). But it still has changed for senior M&A lawyers, though to a lesser extent as you correctly pointed out. Either way, this doesn't invalidate my point.
  10. Again, another complete strawman argument that ignores what I have said. My proof that change is obvious is because how the legal practice has already changed and continues to change. It is not about what people are trying to sell. It is already being sold. Westlaw. Clio. Luminance. Kira. Closing Folders. Etc. This list goes on and on. Also, I never said that they are selling "the solution to everything" or that the "whole world is too stupid to want to buy it". I never claimed anything remotely close to that. I said that there are solutions to make a lawyer's practice more efficient (which by no means means that it is a "solution to everything"). As I said, these technologies face barriers to entry, at least in part because of lawyers' general resistance to technological change. That is why we're behind. But don't get me wrong. These technologies are selling, and they are selling well. And there are still plenty to be sold. That's why VCs are pouring millions of dollars into these startups. The aforementioned technologies are already incorporated into lawyers' practices and have cumulatively made the nature of their practice much different than it was a couple decades ago. If you look at the nature of the work that an M&A lawyer was doing two decades ago, it is very different from the work they do now. Yes, the "bare bones" are still the same, but due to these technological changes, the day-to-day life of an M&A lawyer is very different. That is just one practice area that has changed tremendously and will continue to change in the future. Secondly, for some reason you think that my claim is that it there will be one thing that will transform legal practice entirely. That is not at all what I said. If you read my very first post, I said that it is not a "movie-like AI" that will change things one year. Rather, these "micro-innovations", as some in this thread have called them, cumulatively change the nature of legal practice. You won't wake up to a machine one day that takes over your job. But if you think that in 30 years the nature of legal practice won't change much cumulatively, you're very wrong. This is the end of my input in this debate. If you want to learn more about this, I would encourage you speak to the people behind these tech startups that are targeting the legal industry. Most of them, as I've mentioned, are former lawyers. If you come with an open mind, I think you'll learn a lot.
  11. I'm just going to leave this quote up here to demonstrate your hypocrisy. The discussion clearly progressed from technology to change the experience of consuming legal services to technology automating or assisting in the delivery of legal services, per your earlier comment. For the record, it's not just me who is saying this. There are plenty of 5-10+ year calls who share these views, many of them current or former Bay St partners, and many of whom have left the practice of law to create technology startups to address shortcomings in the practice of law. Your comments about my supposed "arrogance" in stating that the legal industry has and continues to face resistance to technological change are a slap in the face to these lawyers, who consistently mention how difficult it is to adopt new technologies in their firms despite their beneficial value, due to in part the barriers that @whoknows has mentioned. Additionally, I never stated that all lawyers are resistant to change. You've clearly gone beyond my argument and built a strawman. I said that the industry, as a whole, is more suspect of and less susceptible to technological change. This is why the legal industry, as a whole, is "behind" many other industries when it comes to technological change. Again, I remind you that there are studies that support this hypothesis -- studies conducted by individuals who far more competent to comment on this matter than you or I. When I worked with these legal tech startups, the largest barrier to sales was resistance to change. The largest hurdle they had to get over was "the status quo is fine, why change it"? This was the single biggest objection that these sales teams have to work with. It is common across many sectors, not just law, but is more pronounced in the legal industry. By the way, calling the technologies I have mentioned "glorified search engine technology, or find-and-replace functions" is very ignorant and quite frankly displays your arrogance when it comes to this discussion. It doesn't seem like you understand these technologies very well. Perhaps you don't practice in an area where this technology is more pronounced, such as corporate/commercial practice areas. Finally, I would encourage you to re-read this recent chain of comments before responding. You clearly built a strawman and did not address my points head-on. Resistance to change does not exist in a vacuum. It, in combination to other barriers, affects how lawyers and firms adopt technologies in their practice. But, it is a strong force that slows the pace of technological adoption in the legal system. @whoknows rightfully mentioned that hourly billing plays a huge factor as well. Do you think senior partners at firms were particularly happy with Closing Folders or a similar software was released? It meant that they would bill significantly less on a file. In the past, this extra "mundane" work would be billed at an associate's regular rate. But they were forced to adopt these technologies, as their clients demanded that of them -- otherwise they would be left behind. Once one firm picked it up, the rest of the firms quickly did. As flat fee billing is becoming more common in the legal industry, it's interesting to see that there is a shift in more lawyers being more open to incorporate technology in their practice to increase efficiency. @whoknows put it better than I could have. There you go, now you have a lawyer who has stated support for some of the things I have mentioned, since that clearly means a lot to you. I completely agree with this entire post. Quite frankly, one of the benefits of this pandemic is that it forced the legal industry to adapt technologically. Zoom court would have never been a thing without the pandemic. Working from home and technology related to remote working would have never moved as quickly in the legal industry.
  12. I think you misread my entire post replying to you. I never said that the entire dynamic of legal work would change. Rather, that there are components of legal work, and lots of them, that can be automated or made more efficient in order to provide more value to clients (whether that be in reduced time and thus reduced legal costs, or a better work product). If you re-read my post, you'll see plenty of real-world examples of legal work that can be automated or made substantially more efficient. Yes, I do have a students perspective and by no means did I claim to be an expert. However, my opinions are formed on the basis of my conversations with many successful senior lawyers and in-house counsel. They're not confined to what I think of the legal industry. At the firm I worked at, nearly every senior lawyer who provided instruction to the students said something to the effect of "oh boy... you guys have it so easy now... [insert example of inefficient, mundane work that consumed nights/weekends] is how we used to do it back in the day". These innovations are how technology improved the efficiency of certain processes that lawyers used to do. The fact is that the nature of legal work is changing. This is evident by how we practice now compared to two decades ago. The nature of your job will change. That doesn't mean you'll be out of a job. But, technology will change the way you practice in your professional life (unless you're close to retirement already). Oh, and the particular "resistance by lawyers" to technology change is not a phenomenon I made up overnight. Compared to other regulated industries (e.g. accountants, financial analysts, etc.), there have been documented accounts of lawyers being more resistant to change (e.g. conclusions drawn from Altman Weil’s 2018 survey of managing partners and chairs at 801 American law firms of 50 or more lawyers).
  13. I agree, I think this particular idea does raise ethical and other valid concerns. I was replying to a more general sentiment that the legal industry isn't capable of being transformed through technology. Quite frankly, I think we're a little behind the times. The legal industry was quite late to start innovating in comparison to other industries (and is still on the later end, which is why there's so many opportunities) due to traditional resistance from lawyers.
  14. The legal tech industry is growing at an alarming rate. There are plenty of former lawyers who have built startups to improve the manner in which lawyers deliver legal services, how efficient they are, etc. I think where people go wrong is they believe that some movie-like AI will be established one year that takes over a lawyer's entire job. That won't happen. But, there is certainly room for innovation. There are processes and chunks of work that can be automated or made more efficient. There are plenty of things that humans shouldn't be doing because they're repetitive and mechanical. Legal tech has already transformed the legal industry. Here are some examples. Westlaw. Just a few decades ago, you had students and young lawyers researching all day in a library that can now be done in a fraction of the time. Closing Folders. Years prior, Bay St firms would rent out entire floors of buildings and have thousands of pieces of paper being chunked around during closing. Now it's all capable of being done online, seamlessly, at a fraction of the time. Clio. For practice management. Luminance. Rapidly transforming the due diligence process in M&A (and otherwise). Kira. For assistance with drafting contracts and other purposes. I can go on. The nature of providing legal services has changed immensely in the past few decades. You can expect that it will change tremendously in the upcoming decades. There are plenty of up-and-coming startups that are going to change legal drafting, research, pleadings, etc. They're not going to remove the lawyer role's completely, but they're going to make it more efficient and help you deliver a better service in less time. I worked with a legal tech company for a summer who changed the role of contract drafting, particularly for junior lawyers who draft many very similar agreements. Their technology was adopted by a large portion of the country's lawyers (specifically, large firms) and they're now expanding into other jurisdictions (albeit, slowly). There's a very similar startup that in the US market that is doing very well. It's only a matter of time before a similar startup hits Canada. Let me give you an example to demonstrate that there is still room for innovation. Nearly everyone I spoke with that summered/articled at a Bay St firm had to do this one thing: changing dates on closing documents. A transaction got pushed a day, common occurrence. Now all the documents need the date changed (sometimes it's 15, other times it can be 100+). This is just a time sink of up to a few hours that really shouldn't occur. A program can easily be built to detect the dates on these documents and update them in the corresponding format to the updated date. In this particular scenario, there's just not enough incentive because it doesn't take that long to change the dates (besides, a student is "always" available to do it) and it's quite niche so employers probably won't want to pay for it. But it can be automated. And it can help save valuable time from having to do meaningless tasks.
  15. That's your opinion, but the grand majority of people in my social network would grandly disagree with you, so I don't think this "net negative to society" is a widely held opinion. Uber has its problems, but it has also changed the ride sharing industry in so many great ways. As others have mentioned, the experience with cab drivers, especially pre-Uber, is generally terrible. It's incredibly difficult to get a cab many times. When you call them, sometimes they show up, sometimes they don't. You don't know when and you can't track where they are. With an Uber, you know with certainty that they'll show up and exactly where they are. Secondly, there's no accountability. As someone mentioned it's true - they treat you like you owe them something. Some cab drivers are nice and good people, I don't mean to stereotype them all, but there's a great deal of them that are rude (far too many) and they have no incentive not to be. They're not client-centered. In my Uber rides, the customer is almost always treated well. In Toronto, cab drivers have been known to not take people on "shorter rides" or charge fixed rates above the metered price during peak hours. Let's not forget that this practice got a person killed. And, shall we remember when taxis deliberately blocked an ambulance from going through during a protest? Again, this doesn't speak to all taxi drivers, but there's enough of them to cause discomfort and concern for the consumer (and society generally). I don't know how well-travelled you are, but taxi drivers are generally known for ripping people off, especially abroad. I've gotten ripped off numerous times in cities I don't know - taxi drivers taking the long way and driving in circles, rigged meters, etc. When I take an Uber, I know I'm not getting ripped off because I'm foreign. The system calculates a fair rate - that same rate that is charged whether you're from the country or not. I don't need to haggle with a cab driver to get a fair rate. If the Uber driver goes in circles, you know from the "map" they give you and can request a refund (which has never happened to me, precisely because of this reason). When you say Uber isn't a cheaper option, that is completely bogus. In most cases, in Toronto, it is still cheaper. A cab will cost me $70-90 (non-peak hours) to get from Toronto to Vaughan whereas an Uber is $45-55. But you really see the difference when you go to other countries. Uber is substantially cheaper in many of those countries. Finally, you can really see Uber's advantages when someone from a city without Uber travels to a city with Uber. I have family in a city where Uber is banned and doesn't operate in the city, and they are always so surprised at how convenient Uber is when they visit. They always rave about it and complain that they don't have Uber in their city. By the way, this is just consumer-side. I won't even discuss the advantages to drivers. There are plenty of people now who rely on Uber to receive a side income. They are now able to supplement their income in a way they could not before. Having financial difficulties? Do Uber for the weekend and you'll have an extra couple hundred dollars. Sure, as a lawyer it's not a great deal of money, but having the flexibility to earn a side-income for the average working joe is incredible.
  • Create New...