Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy November 2, 20182 November 2018

Legal futures round-up


Time for a quick round-up of notable trends and developments and views that highlight innovation in the legal industry.

Bloomberg Law has an analytics platform for users who want detailed information about some 100,000 lawyers at over 775 law firms and their experience in litigation. It’s not a predictive tool by any means, but helps clients get a better picture of a lawyer’s true professional experience.

Law firms could certainly learn some lessons in their approach to self-management, project management and building a corporate brand from the accountancies.  But they shouldn’t completely emulate them either, Professor Laura Empson, director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School in London, told Thomson Reuters. “One of the things that’s been a problem among the Big Four is that they’ve become so effective at professionalizing management that somewhere along the way the partners as individuals have felt disenfranchised and disempowered to such an extent they haven’t necessarily retained a sense of responsibility for the leadership of the firm.

Here’s a fascinating initiative coming out of Chicago, where social entrepreneur Lam Nguyen Ho is proposing a new twist on legal aid to make it more accessible and responsive to community needs. He’s building a network of local lawyers and community groups.  He explains that “deciding who gets legal services, what types of cases we handle, what hours, what location — is co-created with and ultimately directed by the community partner.”

On the regulatory front, British Columbia Attorney General David Eby is throwing his weight behind a Law Society of B.C. initiative to have the Legal Profession Act changed to allow alternate legal service providers. He is asking law society members to vote against a resolution to get benchers to stop the effort.

Mark A. Cohen has an interesting post up that details how Singapore is driving legal innovation, democratizing legal services and positioning itself as a regional and global legal hub.

“When a regulator starts using new technology it is important to take heed,” write Richard Jeens and Natalie Osafo, of Slaughter and May, commenting on the use of AI by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in conducting investigations. “AI can be a fast, precise and cost effective way to plan investigations, but it is not a panacea,” the authors conclude. “At the moment, significant resource can be required to compensate for AI’s limitations, which are amplified by the unpredictable nature of investigations, and the evolving data protection position.

Also worth noting, in Canada, is the Justice Department’s use of the software program Tax Foresight, developed by Toronto-based tech start-up, Blue J Legal, as part of a pilot program using an AI system to assist its practitioners in tax litigation.

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