lawyers

The History Of The Future Of Law, 2056 AD

The History Of The Future Of Law, 2056 AD 2048 1152 Raymond Blijd
Read time: < 1 min.

“…Son, did you know you needed a license to drive your car!? You needed a license to start a company. Heck, you even needed a license to be a lawyer.”

“Grandpa, What is a lawyer?”

“Well back in my days, we, humans, had some trust issues so we decided to have many rules in order for society to operate properly. This was before the great Computer Devolution*. Now, these rules became so complex that we needed special people to help us explain them. Much like an engineer teaches robots to behave before they can teach themselves, lawyers taught other people to behave with speech and text.”

“But who made these rules?”

“That’s the funny thing: before computers, lawyers use to conceive rules and made them so emotionally complex and conflicting that they were the only ones that were able to explain them. It’s also how they made a living. They called themselves Attorneys and they made a rule that no one else could be one unless you had a license. Just like driving a car”

“Hahaha, who wants to drive a car?!”

“Don’t laugh, cars didn’t use to drive themselves. We bought and drove them manually. It really wasn’t safe. I’m lucky I survived.  Did you know grandpa went to a law school to become a lawyer? I survive that too”

“Huh?!”

“He, Xuber** is here, let’s, go…”

 —

devolution |ˌdevəˈl(y)o͞oSH(ə)n|: 

the transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration. In this case, from humans to computers. 

** In 2036, Uber transitioned from cars to drones for transporting goods and humans. They changed their name to Xuber to become an airline company and compete against Tesla Fleet.

What is Perc? A Way To Outsmart Robots

What is Perc? A Way To Outsmart Robots 1920 800 Raymond Blijd
Read time: 2 min.

This might sound crazy but what if we could outsmart robots?

We depend on them for a majority of our daily tasks and it is increasingly harder to make decisions without the assistance of an algorithm. Meanwhile, machines are learning at a faster pace and making most of our skills obsolete. But robots have weaknesses, and if we want to stay ahead we will need to exploit them.

Premise

One of the good traits of the legal profession is its demand of Continued Legal Education (CLE). Many countries have a similar system in place to assure legal professionals are qualified to perform their duties. While the current CLE requirements are skewed towards traditional skills, the premise is sound: you need to keep training to stay fit. The survival of any professional will ultimately depend on their ability to adapt and learn…continuously.

There are Two parts to training: first is the type of skill and second is the effort involve to acquire it. Once you join the workforce, your freedom to learn evaporates. Simply because your time gets limited. Training resources are growing in abundance and getting cheaper all the time. Some offer clever ways to help you learn complicated stuff by first assessing your level. I believe this is key: Measurement precedes any Improvement.

Basically, there are Three types of skills actively being solicited: Hard skills, Soft skills and Vapor skills. The first 2 are measurable with numerous tests like teasers, IQ, personality etc. I suspect vapor skills are a bit trickier to capture and measure because we so little understand these skills. Yet they are the most valuable skills according to the brightest minds. Albert Einstein called it: the father of new knowledge and Steve Jobs encourage everyone to follow it above all else. I’m talking about Intuition.

Promise

The past 2 years I have been quietly tinkering on this thing called: Perc. Perc started as legal technology but quickly evolved into something else. I started with studying quantitive and qualitative characteristics and designing companion visualizations. While exploring these graphs, I stumbled on something: not only could I measure and display knowledge, experience, and personality based on data, I could also use metrics to capture my intuition. And when I became aware of it, it increased my confidence in trusting my intuition.

While MIT claims it can beat human intuition with big data analysis, some believe humans beat robots by handling big decisions with little data. With Perc I intend to prove it could also boost your intuition.

Project

Perc is a project to create an iOS app with a companion watch app which helps to educate the user and spread acquired knowledge with everyone. I feel I have a few good years left before my skills and my entire profession become obsolete. That’s why I like to put them to some good use and create Perc to help us stay ahead of robots.

Meanwhile, feel free to connect, follow or sign up to be the first to know by clicking the 3 dots.

DESH 3: Smart Legal Tech on your Wrist

DESH 3: Smart Legal Tech on your Wrist 1920 1080 Raymond Blijd
Read time: 2 min.

A while ago I wrote that I did not believe in legal technology on your wrist. I changed my mind shortly thereafter but I was haunted by my wavering because: how would it work?

DESH

DESH debuted on June 17, 2013, in “DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense.” The idea: a robot that ‘reads’ your legal matter and assists in making intelligent decisions. It was inspired by the rise of personal assistants such as Google Now and Mynd. Google Now tells me if I would encounter traffic wherever I am. Mynd calculates my travel time and notifies me when I should leave for my next appointment. Both need little configuration and run invisibly in the background. I envisioned DESH to do the same for your legal activity.

 

 

Loupe (prequel)

DESH actually originated from an earlier concept called Loupe. While DESH is a front-end, Loupe would be the backend. Loupe is a concept whereby the (search) engine would convert any information into a  legal context query. For example, if Loupe recognized an amount or a date it would check the meaning within a specific legal domain. Similar to how Wolfram Alpha calculates data within a certain domain. Loupe rules would be:

“ 10 million” in Competition Law → Cartels = fine

“ 10 million” in Competition Law → Merger = Acquisition Price

DESH (sequel)

In “Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables” I realized why wearables would be especially significant for legal professionals: mobility. I believe legal counsels, like physicians, would travel from client to client with little or no time to pause and do stationary PC work. However, pride prevented me from reducing DESH to a mundane calendar app. I needed it to be this intelligent decision-making machine.

 

desh3

DESH (today)

Compromise: it’s both. Rational: if it were a smartphone app with more screen real estate it would make sense to have it do a lot of fancy #Robolaw. But on your wrist is a different story. While mobile is the starting point, providing simple straightforward data is the max on a ‘watch.’ Apple encourages “light interaction” and describes these as “glances.”

How it works

  1. Launch the app to ‘glance’ your legal activity progress*;
  1. Turn the dial or swipe up to reveal your legal activity in a calendar item.

*News is approx 75% read, Cases read at 30%, Contract drafting is at 15%. That’s it. Does this make any sense?

This article first appeared on Medium.

Five Stages Lawyers Need To Embrace In a World of Robots

Five Stages Lawyers Need To Embrace In a World of Robots 2000 1125 Raymond Blijd

Read time: 3 min.

The Kübler-Ross model describes the five emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Similarly, change is an irreversible and unapologetic event. Here are 5 alternate stages for legal professionals to help navigate change in the legal market.

1. Acceptance
In Suriname, a mourning process is accelerated by having a party during and after the burial. It is believed that one should celebrate death. This is taken literally as coffin bearers joyfully dance with the deceased until they reach the final resting place.

Legal professionals aren’t shy about adopting new technology. Just look at smartphone and tablet adoption rates among lawyers in the past 4 years. I believe the pager, cell phone, and blackberry enjoyed similar successes.

However, adoption is not the acceptance of a new reality. The technology examples above just empowered existing workflows; it did not fundamentally change the dynamics of the marketplace. Technology like smartphones, just enabled lawyers to communicate more efficiently not necessarily differently.

We are now in the midst of a revolution whereby the core value of a legal professional(providing legal counsel) is shifting towards platforms, algorithms and data (Robolaw).

It’s not a faster way of drafting an agreement, it’s accepting the fact that you do not ever need to draft one.

Acceptance of the new reality should be a feast: a celebration of the fact that the tedious & repetitive have died and made way for the joy in legal work.

2. Trust
My faith in technology is derived from a belief that it has saved my life. Yet faith alone may not suffice in winning the hearts and minds of legal professionals. We’ll need evidence that robots can do a better job before we trust them.

Proof is mounting that platforms (crowdsourcing) and algorithms outperform humans in predicting legal outcomes. However it’s not like IBM’s Watson has already passed the multistate bar exam and is now a licensed attorney.

Legal work isn’t a chess match or an equation, but a complex nuanced construct of emotions in text. And herein lies the problem: the sheer amount of ambiguous texts.

5-4Due to data overload, it has become humanly impossible to find justice without the assistance of algorithms.

With Predictive Coding we have effectively conceded that the days of manually reading through stacks of documents have come to pass.

Trust in technology can be derived from either faith or evidence. However, in trusting legal technology, we may have already passed the luxury stage and ventured into necessity. Ultimately, we may not have a choice but to trust robots.

3. Mobility
I read this inspiring story: ‘Barefoot’ Lawyers Teach Ugandans Their Rights.’ It seems 97% of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people within the capital. The remaining 3% are left to serve a population of around 36 million in the rest of Uganda. In order to alleviate the travel burden covering an area of 241,038 square km, Ugandan lawyer, Gerald Abila, uses volunteers and a range of technologies like social media to educate and provide legal advice.

I’ll compliment Gerald on embracing technology to bridge the gap and his story highlights a fundamental principle about legal work: it is most effective if served in person. Mobility is the cornerstone of the legal profession. It is one of the main drivers of technology adoption among legal professionals.

If only the mobile tools were as good on the road as they are at home. I have dedicated most my writing in the last 4 years on this subject. I even went as far as to declare the death of legal research on desktop. I believe the cause of this imbalance has many factors. A root cause may also lie in the very nature of legal professionals (see stage 5).

4. Simplicity
#Robolaw: A World Without Law elaborates on the necessity of simplicity. Driven by the rise of digital currencies, the world is moving towards a frictionless reality – one where simplicity is handsomely rewarded and complexity is not welcome.

Yet, any legal framework is built upon barriers. The law revolves around setting rules and exceptions. Its goal is to avert risk and minimize misunderstandings. It is there to protect us from ourselves.

Nevertheless, legal products, and services need to become as clear and simple as a hand Shake. Actually, it may become invisible, even in the event of disputes. This future is more likely to happen if we let robots do the negotiations and dispute resolutions- just like we will trust them to drive our cars. We may only need a notification or a glance.

5. Adventurous
In the search for simplicity, one characteristic will truly serve us: experimentation. There are penalties for failure in every profession; in some the consequences are far more severe than others. However, I believe this new era is giving us a license to try new stuff. This era of relentless change has set us free from a stigma of dumb and has opened a world of daring.

One time a customer, a jetsetting lawyer, had an extreme request. He wanted me to create a product only he would use, custom made and tailored to his needs. I told him I could not because I couldn’t justify the costs versus return. I stated that if we had more customers like him I may be able to justify it. He said, “No, I hope there aren’t any. I want to be unique and my calling card is using these special tools.”

By now, you may have guessed what he asked for. He was clearly a risk taker and dared to be different.

My best friend and godfather to my youngest is a physician. He’s my reminder: I am allowed to dare & fail. Some really do not have that luxury.

Close Cart
Back to top
Privacy Preferences

We created a unique video to explain our privacy policy. We hope more would follow in our footsteps. Meanwhile, feel free to reject or accept any of the settings below. 

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
Our website uses cookies, mainly from Google. Check our unique privacy policy video to learn more.