We need technology to adapt and grow our existing legal institutions and the very fabric of law. Technology extends our reach; it can also change the way we understand the world, and a different world view can itself be a precursor to discovery, including of new laws.
The recent CBA Conference in Calgary, AB explicitly invited lawyers to consider the future of law and of legal practice. As always, this year’s Conference offered the opportunity to network with peers, but also time and space to think about the future and what it holds. Keynote speakers, including Chief Justice McLachlin, asked lawyers to embrace new technology. Conference sessions explored topics such as innovative legal practices, work life balance, and protecting confidential client information in the digital age. Vendors in attendance demonstrated a range of technology to assist in the delivery of legal services and the identification of legal resources and precedent.
I had the privilege of participating on a panel about artificial intelligence and the law with Ian Kerr, professor of law at the University of Ottawa and Noah Waisberg, CEO of Kira systems (a technology that automates elements of contract review). These men are innovators in legal thinking and practice and our panel’s discussion ranged from the abstract to the practical, but consistent themes of our discussion were that technology could help lawyers accomplish more with less, but would require us to work, and possibly think, differently.