Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy November 14, 201714 November 2017

Legal futures round-up

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our regular round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

The CBA has teamed up with Law Made to bring back The Pitch – and this time the competition is open to legaltech startups from around the world. The event will cap off the CCCA National Conference and In-House Counsel Worldwide Summit on May 1 in Toronto.

Asma Khalid at NPR reports on research that shows “that current technology is replacing roughly 2 percent of a lawyer's total workload each year.”  But that’s not the only reason law firms are hiring fewer graduates. Outsourcing and an increasing reliance on contract lawyers are also contributing factors.

Another reason could be that corporate clients have figured out they don’t need external lawyers as much as they used to.  Joe Patrice at Above the Law reports that roughly half of in-house legal departments handle “more than half of their legal activities” internally.

If Yahoo and Equifax can get hacked, so can your company or law firm. Olga V. Mack has useful some advice on how your in-house legal team should manage the risk. Equifax was recently served with a "50-state" complaint related to the breach, to combine the many different suits filed against it.

International law firm Perkins Coie has been named a “founding steward” by the Sorvin Foundation, a global non-profit whose mission it is to build the world’s first “self-sovereign identity (SSI) network”. Perkins Coie is onboard to help it set up a new blockchain protocol that will store individual identifying information.

In the UK, there are plans to have married couples apply for a divorce online, as part of a major effort to change the legal system and save couples a fortune

Ross Intelligence’s Andrew Arruda gathers some thoughts on the definition of artificial intelligence. Less scary than what one might think.

On the regulatory front, alternative business structures (ABS) has become a key issue in this week’s Bencher election in Alberta.

Meanwhile’ Malcolm Mercer has a thoughtful post in which he explores the idea of “cost disease“ within the practice of law and wonders how an unproductive sector like the legal industry continues to become more costly even as other sectors become more productive.

Mark A. Cohen notes that in an increasingly “global legal community more diverse, customer-focused, socially committed, inter-generational, multidisciplinary, and innovative,” it’s important to recognize that law is both a profession and an industry. And that means acknowledging and perhaps even embracing the notion that some of the legal industry’s “most impactful innovators are not lawyers.”

The must-read of the month comes from the Economist, which digs into the troubling and an extensive use of plea-bargaining worldwide.

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