Jump to content
Ilinizas

Thoughts on DIY legal.

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, lawstudent20202020 said:

@palmsa well hold on there there is a massive difference between machine learning and a DIY will kit. Also machine learning is not nearly that fair along to say it can currently replace a lawyers reasoning in all Situations. There is also a huge difference between giving legal tools into the hands of trained professionals vs the layman.

 

I was strictly comparing a lawyers errors vs a person's errors using a DIY kit, you are arguing against something that wasnt my argument

If you go into my post history you will find that I actually agree with you that machine learning will drastically alter the legal landscape without killing off the legal profession.

On your first point, agreed, I agree that there is a difference but the gap is going to close quickly. I work with numerous “tech” companies and I’m floored at how UX is accelerating to help people understand complex scenarios and decisions. 

On your second point, apologies if I misunderstood, but what I’m saying is that there are consumer legaltech companies that are re-thinking the user experience to the point that legacy issues with DIY kits are being eliminated and almost preferable to speaking to a person. I didn’t go through your post history, but IMHO the impacts of ML are being underestimated in the legal progression 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I feel like I just watched an infomercial on legal technology.

 

Future is here! For just the low price of 19.99 all your problems can go away! Forget your old and expensive vacuum cleaner - this one is lean, cheap, and mean. Embrace your new cleaner and easier future!

Haha, pretty funny! Enjoy the DVD you rent at Blockbuster :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

@palmsa, which companies are “codifying” precedents and what does that look like, practically speaking. 

Most are starting with a narrow scope, first one that comes to mind is a Toronto company actually, Blue J legal. I want to say they were part of the Legal Innovation Zone which houses some strong legatech startups, including the startup posted on this thread (Om)

IBM and Cloudera are engaged with data lakes at all the top firms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@palmsa - I have no idea who you are, but I am endlessly amused by people with no idea what legal work actually entails who come here on a reliable, semi-annual basis, and routinely proclaim the end of the legal profession. It's embarrassing to admit this, but I've been participating in this forum off-and-on for over ten years. And during that entire time, there's always been someone coming here telling us that artificial intelligence is right on the cusp of displacing some huge portion of the legal marketplace. And then they point to absurd, fill-in-the-blanks legal forms, or glorified search engines, as evidence of their point. It is literally more than ten years since I first heard this claim (which I'm sure was also made long before, only I wasn't paying attention) and it's no more true today than it was then.

The thing is, your general point is so obviously true that it's impossible to argue with. Technology will disrupt the legal industry. It disrupts every industry. And this is nothing new. As I've pointed out before, there was a time when a huge source of legal work was simply hand-copying contracts and other documents, which needed identical copies at a time when no technology existed to print anything automatically. The photo copier was a huge technological disruption. So was the word processor. Etc. etc. You are making absurd and outlandish claims about what artificial intelligence will do any time soon, but when you wrap up those claims with disruption as a general topic it's very easy to walk anyone who disagrees into a terrible corner, and trick them into basically straw-manning themselves. I'm not saying it won't happen at all, and even that AI won't occur eventually. But your predictions that the entire industry is going to upend itself, and that only professionals who are down with the revolution will have work at all ... that's just stupid. And it's exactly the stupidity I only hear from students and wannabe tech start-ups, who know everything about buzz words and nothing about the practice of law.

So to recap. There will be disruption because there always is. Using tools intelligently, as they come along, will provide some opportunities. That's true in law and in every other field too.

AI is a pipe dream and a myth, still, and by the time any kind of true AI is solving legal problems it will have displaced just about every other traditional field of work also. I'm not saying it will never happen. I'm saying that law is as well-insulated against this as almost any field can be.

Every lawyer I know still has a fax number. Maybe not a physical fax machine. Hell, I don't have one. My faxes are sent from and received to an email account. But it's still a fax number. Many of the busy criminal defence lawyers that I know still don't have websites. We often but not always receive disclosure in digital form. Sometimes it's still on paper. The Crown's office is just getting around to the idea of delivering downloads online. Mainly, we still pick up discs.

The idea that any kind of computer program is going to review my disclosure, associate it meaningfully with case law, and spit out anything useful to a client in my area of practice is utterly laughable. I repeat. The only people who can possibly imagine that's going to happen know nothing about legal practice. I'll let tax lawyers, family lawyers, etc. speak for themselves. But I don't think what I do is more complex than what they do. So I'm pretty confident that if it's true of my practice, it's true of theirs also.

I'm not exactly sure what fuels these outlandish claims, which occur here so regularly that it really demands a theory to explain it. My one idea is this. Trying to break into the legal market can feel immensely frustrating for a young person. You look at established lawyers with their firms and their client lists and their gray hair and you think "how am I going to compete with them? What have I got that they haven't got?" Comfort with technology is an easy answer to that question. Every new generation wants to imagine that the older generations will be swept away like dinosaurs to make way for their youthful dreams and ambitions. And you know what? It does happen eventually. But your outlandish expectation that somehow it'll happen all at once, and your skills will be all anyone wants while all the grayhairs slink off into the shadows and quit the field ... that's not going to happen.

I won't argue with you further. There is no argument to be made, because I've seen it too make times before. I can't even swear you're wrong, because with technology, who the hell really knows? If I knew for sure what technology would do tomorrow, I'd already be BitCoin millionaire. But then, if you knew for sure, you would be too. So let's agree there's a degree of unpredictability. But I do know it's pointless to argue with someone who has all the answers about the future and yet knows nothing about the present. If you want me to take you seriously as an authority on what's happening to the profession I'm currently in, you'll want to tell me where that authority comes from first.

This I know for sure. I'll be citing this long-ass rant I just posted in the future. Because five years, ten years, and hell probably twenty years from now, smart ass know-it-alls who just finished undergrad will be coming here to tell us how our professional is about to be swept away in the great digital tide. And one day it'll eventually be true that the practice of law looks so different that it's almost unrecognizable to what came before. But by the time that happens, I'll be long dead.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Diplock said:

@palmsa - I have no idea who you are, but I am endlessly amused by people with no idea what legal work actually entails who come here on a reliable, semi-annual basis, and routinely proclaim the end of the legal profession. It's embarrassing to admit this, but I've been participating in this forum off-and-on for over ten years. And during that entire time, there's always been someone coming here telling us that artificial intelligence is right on the cusp of displacing some huge portion of the legal marketplace. And then they point to absurd, fill-in-the-blanks legal forms, or glorified search engines, as evidence of their point. It is literally more than ten years since I first heard this claim (which I'm sure was also made long before, only I wasn't paying attention) and it's no more true today than it was then.

The thing is, your general point is so obviously true that it's impossible to argue with. Technology will disrupt the legal industry. It disrupts every industry. And this is nothing new. As I've pointed out before, there was a time when a huge source of legal work was simply hand-copying contracts and other documents, which needed identical copies at a time when no technology existed to print anything automatically. The photo copier was a huge technological disruption. So was the word processor. Etc. etc. You are making absurd and outlandish claims about what artificial intelligence will do any time soon, but when you wrap up those claims with disruption as a general topic it's very easy to walk anyone who disagrees into a terrible corner, and trick them into basically straw-manning themselves. I'm not saying it won't happen at all, and even that AI won't occur eventually. But your predictions that the entire industry is going to upend itself, and that only professionals who are down with the revolution will have work at all ... that's just stupid. And it's exactly the stupidity I only hear from students and wannabe tech start-ups, who know everything about buzz words and nothing about the practice of law.

So to recap. There will be disruption because there always is. Using tools intelligently, as they come along, will provide some opportunities. That's true in law and in every other field too.

AI is a pipe dream and a myth, still, and by the time any kind of true AI is solving legal problems it will have displaced just about every other traditional field of work also. I'm not saying it will never happen. I'm saying that law is as well-insulated against this as almost any field can be.

Every lawyer I know still has a fax number. Maybe not a physical fax machine. Hell, I don't have one. My faxes are sent from and received to an email account. But it's still a fax number. Many of the busy criminal defence lawyers that I know still don't have websites. We often but not always receive disclosure in digital form. Sometimes it's still on paper. The Crown's office is just getting around to the idea of delivering downloads online. Mainly, we still pick up discs.

The idea that any kind of computer program is going to review my disclosure, associate it meaningfully with case law, and spit out anything useful to a client in my area of practice is utterly laughable. I repeat. The only people who can possibly imagine that's going to happen know nothing about legal practice. I'll let tax lawyers, family lawyers, etc. speak for themselves. But I don't think what I do is more complex than what they do. So I'm pretty confident that if it's true of my practice, it's true of theirs also.

I'm not exactly sure what fuels these outlandish claims, which occur here so regularly that it really demands a theory to explain it. My one idea is this. Trying to break into the legal market can feel immensely frustrating for a young person. You look at established lawyers with their firms and their client lists and their gray hair and you think "how am I going to compete with them? What have I got that they haven't got?" Comfort with technology is an easy answer to that question. Every new generation wants to imagine that the older generations will be swept away like dinosaurs to make way for their youthful dreams and ambitions. And you know what? It does happen eventually. But your outlandish expectation that somehow it'll happen all at once, and your skills will be all anyone wants while all the grayhairs slink off into the shadows and quit the field ... that's not going to happen.

I won't argue with you further. There is no argument to be made, because I've seen it too make times before. I can't even swear you're wrong, because with technology, who the hell really knows? If I knew for sure what technology would do tomorrow, I'd already be BitCoin millionaire. But then, if you knew for sure, you would be too. So let's agree there's a degree of unpredictability. But I do know it's pointless to argue with someone who has all the answers about the future and yet knows nothing about the present. If you want me to take you seriously as an authority on what's happening to the profession I'm currently in, you'll want to tell me where that authority comes from first.

This I know for sure. I'll be citing this long-ass rant I just posted in the future. Because five years, ten years, and hell probably twenty years from now, smart ass know-it-alls who just finished undergrad will be coming here to tell us how our professional is about to be swept away in the great digital tide. And one day it'll eventually be true that the practice of law looks so different that it's almost unrecognizable to what came before. But by the time that happens, I'll be long dead.

I appreciate you taking time to respond. I think one thing is clear from my posts, I’m not saying that technology will displace all lawyers, rather I focus on the benefits from letting it augment our decisions with better information, to start. We already do this, think about all the different document management, discovery and crm tools you use today. 

Young professionals owe it to themselves to be the tip of the spear for new technology, and to be open to further letting it augment their decision making and advisory. AI may be a “pipe dream” but “lower value” tasks are already being augmented with better search, contextual tagging and data science in every industry and the legal industry is not protected. In fact, accounting is the closest industry of professionals that have felt their industry was relatively guarded. You’re actually foreshadowing exactly how this transformation is going to happen, young professionals with clean slates.

Tech is exposing the true value of legal work, can we agree on that? You may be an exception, and I hope you are until you retire, but many others aren’t. If I were to borrow the analogy of a market correction from finance, technology leads to value correction, allowing the buyer to better reconcile the true effort for their requirements. It already happening, as you pointed out with all the different incremental innovations. Thankfully, if I may borrow from a finance analogy again, this compounds. 

Another thing I’ll caution is taking a micro view versus a macro view. Day to day things may feel the same, but if you reflect on your 10 years, you have to agree margins between a firms cost and top-line are shrinking. If you say no, then you’re missing something else. Over those 10 years the biggest cost to firms, wages, has been depressed across many markets. When the top line has a pressure downwards and the bottom line has upward pressure, which is the case right now, technology becomes the safe haven for profit seekers. You will be the decision maker on technology that will change the game for you yet :)

I won’t debate this further either. I wanted to chime in only to ensure we were able to have a constructive conversation, which Ive accomplished. I do appreciate the spirited conversation.

Edited by palmsa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/25/2018 at 11:59 AM, palmsa said:

This is a bullshit post

This is one reason a usually avoid this community. There is far too much nonsense like this. We can disagree without calling each others' posts "bullshit", and further, you didn't even try to provide a useful counter-argument, and even further, I didn't say that was my position - I asked a question to get opinions on a position I've heard. 

 

On 12/25/2018 at 11:59 AM, palmsa said:

Come on, another shitty post

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's odd that this comes up so often on these forums (and even in some classes in law school) but never on any of the medicine forums I frequent. Odd in the sense that diagnostic and differential diagnostic medicine is the perfect platform for machine learning. It's basically all about picking the most-probable diagnosis based on symptom and sign input. In comparison to the law, there is practically no element of negotiation or persuasion. In fact, it's one of the reasons why I had a bit of difficulty when I started law school and came from a science background - I was looking for black and white answers when, in reality, a lot of law is about floating around in the grey area.

As for the tech aspect of law - I swear, this is the only profession I've ever encountered where my (albeit elementary level) programming skills are useless. I'm looking forward to technological advances in law. Lawyers aren't afraid of these advances and like @Diplock said, they will be gradual. Do you have any idea how many search engine optimizations occur in the Westlaw database on a weekly basis? I don't see too many lawyers running around yelling the sky is falling when they are able to find case law that is on point in half the time it used to take them.

What many people fail to see, my friends and family included when they send me articles about how some robot performed research faster than some random benchmark or was able to draft a contract faster than XYZ, is that lawyers want these changes. I'm only and articling student, but I would love to devote my time to critical analysis and negotiating the intricacies of a contract. Automating these processes is akin to a 3d printer. The vast majority of the work (and fun. and intellectual stimulation) is in the design and function of the product, not printing and assembling the parts.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/05/17/528807590/episode-606-spreadsheets

Not sure if this has been shared here before, but I think it's relevant (and comforting).

When electronic spreadsheets were invented, some argued it would be the "death of accounting". But the episode makes an argument that by making accounting services cheaper, people bought more accounting. 

I doubt DIY legal kits are the solution to access to justice issues, but if lawyers can solve client problems quicker and cheaper, maybe proper legal help will be worth it to more people, and everyone will win. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an articling student, I work on the majority of my firm's small claims matters - I can think of various instances where there has been a very routine task that a client could easily do themselves (and avoid racking up costs). For example, in one instance  a client was ordered to request a certain document from a third party that the client interacted with regularly. The client refused to make the request themselves; instead, they paid our office to draft and send the request. 

There is certainly a large chunk of legal work that should be left to professionals, but there are certain tasks that can be done by individuals with no legal training - I suppose the real challenge is trying to delineate between the two. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, ghoulzrulez said:

As an articling student, I work on the majority of my firm's small claims matters - I can think of various instances where there has been a very routine task that a client could easily do themselves (and avoid racking up costs). For example, in one instance  a client was ordered to request a certain document from a third party that the client interacted with regularly. The client refused to make the request themselves; instead, they paid our office to draft and send the request. 

There is certainly a large chunk of legal work that should be left to professionals, but there are certain tasks that can be done by individuals with no legal training - I suppose the real challenge is trying to delineate between the two. 

 

Not sure I agree. If a client wants you to do work that he or she can do, then there's nothing wrong with that, on it's own, if he or she is willing to pay. The DIY issue arises where the client doesn't want you to do any work for him or her at all.

Also, just because a client can do something doesn't mean they should. I have a couple litigation files where I not sure I can trust the client to make those requests to third-parties without harming the case in the process by his or her words and/or behaviour. There is value in controlling the ongoing developing narrative by having all correspondence go through me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Mountebank said:

Not sure I agree. If a client wants you to do work that he or she can do, then there's nothing wrong with that, on it's own, if he or she is willing to pay. The DIY issue arises where the client doesn't want you to do any work for him or her at all.

Also, just because a client can do something doesn't mean they should. I have a couple litigation files where I not sure I can trust the client to make those requests to third-parties without harming the case in the process by his or her words and/or behaviour. There is value in controlling the ongoing developing narrative by having all correspondence go through me.

Yeah. A client letter can quickly turn into a representation, a misrepresentation, or even extortion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, setto said:

It's odd that this comes up so often on these forums (and even in some classes in law school) but never on any of the medicine forums I frequent. Odd in the sense that diagnostic and differential diagnostic medicine is the perfect platform for machine learning. It's basically all about picking the most-probable diagnosis based on symptom and sign input. In comparison to the law, there is practically no element of negotiation or persuasion. In fact, it's one of the reasons why I had a bit of difficulty when I started law school and came from a science background - I was looking for black and white answers when, in reality, a lot of law is about floating around in the grey area.

As for the tech aspect of law - I swear, this is the only profession I've ever encountered where my (albeit elementary level) programming skills are useless. I'm looking forward to technological advances in law. Lawyers aren't afraid of these advances and like @Diplock said, they will be gradual. Do you have any idea how many search engine optimizations occur in the Westlaw database on a weekly basis? I don't see too many lawyers running around yelling the sky is falling when they are able to find case law that is on point in half the time it used to take them.

What many people fail to see, my friends and family included when they send me articles about how some robot performed research faster than some random benchmark or was able to draft a contract faster than XYZ, is that lawyers want these changes. I'm only and articling student, but I would love to devote my time to critical analysis and negotiating the intricacies of a contract. Automating these processes is akin to a 3d printer. The vast majority of the work (and fun. and intellectual stimulation) is in the design and function of the product, not printing and assembling the parts.

I like your overall views, with some quibbles or additional thoughts.

Medicine at least in Canada, it's paid for, people have far less incentive to do anything themselves even to figure out, hey, maybe this is/isn't an emergency room matter (I'm thinking what I recall having read of ER visits instead of family physician visits?). In the US, I think (you would be much better informed) that with deductibles and coverage etc. issues, it's somewhat more common for people to do research to try and figure out what's going on with them, do they need to seek treatment, can it wait, etc. Which is unfortunate if/when wrong, etc.

I'm glad search engines are improving, but sometimes the way a case describes something, or uses different words, especially for a rare issue, there's still a need for the searcher to try different searches and variants. Especially for older cases that may have used archaic expressions for something. Or I've seen sometimes a case dealing with an archaic technology was by analogy relevant to more modern technology in a patent situation, and the case was found only by either multiple searches, or referring to a text or digest that mentioned it.

As for automated relevance and privilege searches of documents, I agree it's necessary, and that parties can/should be able to agree, but they should become better-informed or hire experts (I mean lawyers with expertise, not just SEO experts) and conduct random checks of batches of excluded documents as well as included to double-check to refine the automated search, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As someone who practices criminal defence, I have to laugh at these posts.

We are still getting disclosure on beat up DVDs. Fax is the preferred method of communication. Informations are filled out by hand. Getting wifi in courtrooms is a pipe dream that may or may not happen in my lifetime.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, thegoodlaw said:

As someone who practices criminal defence, I have to laugh at these posts.

We are still getting disclosure on beat up DVDs. Fax is the preferred method of communication. Informations are filled out by hand. Getting wifi in courtrooms is a pipe dream that may or may not happen in my lifetime.

My favourite (civil, not criminal) is getting PDF scans of printed black-and-white photocopies of photos. Then after protest and request and argument, you get PDFs of colour printouts of photos that are kind of blurry or multiple per page or whatever. Then eventually, possibly after a motion or threat of a motion, you finally get the original image files (this is not a specific example but an exaggerated analogous example). Not that it's always their conscious fault - one lawyer found out that their system automatically converted JPEGs to PDFs for network security reasons or something, they had to get IT involved.

As for faxes, because of some provisions in the rules, I keep an efax account/number, because sometimes unfortunately it's arguably the best way to communicate for rules reasons, not technology reasons.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, epeeist said:

I like your overall views, with some quibbles or additional thoughts.

Medicine at least in Canada, it's paid for, people have far less incentive to do anything themselves even to figure out, hey, maybe this is/isn't an emergency room matter (I'm thinking what I recall having read of ER visits instead of family physician visits?). In the US, I think (you would be much better informed) that with deductibles and coverage etc. issues, it's somewhat more common for people to do research to try and figure out what's going on with them, do they need to seek treatment, can it wait, etc. Which is unfortunate if/when wrong, etc.

I'm glad search engines are improving, but sometimes the way a case describes something, or uses different words, especially for a rare issue, there's still a need for the searcher to try different searches and variants. Especially for older cases that may have used archaic expressions for something. Or I've seen sometimes a case dealing with an archaic technology was by analogy relevant to more modern technology in a patent situation, and the case was found only by either multiple searches, or referring to a text or digest that mentioned it

Great point. I’m much more likely to do my own divorce than give myself a colonoscopy (and yes, I did puposefully pick two equivalent procedures). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, setto said:

Yeah. A client letter can quickly turn into a representation, a misrepresentation, or even extortion.

Best clients, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, epeeist said:

My favourite (civil, not criminal) is getting PDF scans of printed black-and-white photocopies of photos. Then after protest and request and argument, you get PDFs of colour printouts of photos that are kind of blurry or multiple per page or whatever. Then eventually, possibly after a motion or threat of a motion, you finally get the original image files (this is not a specific example but an exaggerated analogous example). Not that it's always their conscious fault - one lawyer found out that their system automatically converted JPEGs to PDFs for network security reasons or something, they had to get IT involved.

As for faxes, because of some provisions in the rules, I keep an efax account/number, because sometimes unfortunately it's arguably the best way to communicate for rules reasons, not technology reasons.

 

Faxes will always exist until they are no longer classified as a manner of service. I'd love for firms to have a "[email protected]" general email, rather than a generic fax that then gets emailed to me in poor quality. But as it is I have to opt in to e-service for each and every file. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently had a legal assistant at some small firm call me and ask for a fax number to serve something on me. I laughed and told her that although my business card does list a fax number, I actually have no idea what would happen if someone actually sent a fax to that number. I suggested she email it to me and I would happily confirm service.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

I recently had a legal assistant at some small firm call me and ask for a fax number to serve something on me. I laughed and told her that although my business card does list a fax number, I actually have no idea what would happen if someone actually sent a fax to that number. I suggested she email it to me and I would happily confirm service.

You can set it up so it just goes to your email.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could, except that I work for one of Canada’s biggest companies, so I can’t exactly change anything without involving 40 people and at least 2 SVPs. I’d rather live in in ignorance than tackle this particular issue. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...