artificial intelligence

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The value of embracing roles outside our comfort zone


I recently became the Educational Co-Chair of ILTA‘s (International Legal Technology Association) EVOLVE Conference. I ended up in this role because my ambition for myself and my organization required me to wander outside my comfort zone. Yet, along the way, I’ve enjoyed building a community of fellow travelers—professionals in the legal industry who are climbing into the trenches to help build the first iteration of our cross-functional future. By helping each other, we all benefit.

In the spirit of community building, this post announces the (First Annual) ILTA EVOLVE. Relatedly, I will also share some of the details of my own cross-functional journey, which provide answers to three questions: Continue Reading Cross-functional is our future (351)

Source:Legal Innovation After Reform: Evidence from Regulatory Change,” Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession (Sept 2022) at 18, Figure 1.


In the long run, however, it’s all about the data.  Initial findings from Utah and Arizona reform efforts.


[Editor’s note:  For today’s feature post, we are pleased to welcome Lucy Ricca and Graham Ambrose, two of the authors of the recently published Stanford Law report on the legal regulatory changes taking place in Utah and Arizona. Prior to becoming Director of Policy and Programs at the Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession, Lucy Ricca was the founding Executive Director of the Office of Legal Services Innovation (the regulatory office overseeing the Utah sandbox). In addition, she remains a member of the Office’s Executive Committee.  Graham Ambrose is currently a 2L at Stanford Law and a 2022-23 Civil Justice Fellow at the Rhode Center. wdh]


The year 2020, known to most for global pandemic shutdowns, also heralded leaps and bounds in legal regulatory reforms.  Utah and Arizona approved extraordinary changes to the regulation of legal practice. Both states loosened the bans on nonlawyer ownership of legal practices and the practice of law by nonlawyers.  Further, the Conference of Chief Justices issued a resolution urging states to consider regulatory innovations regarding the delivery of legal services, and the ABA approved a limited resolution encouraging consideration of regulatory innovation.  Even Justice Neil Gorsuch weighed in with his support for regulatory innovation.

This year, on the other hand, has been more challenging. 
Continue Reading The high highs and low lows of legal regulatory reform (333)


Hal, Val, and the lawyer governance problem that’s hindering AI in law


Oscar Reutersvärd is the “father of the impossible figure.”  Some of his impossible figures are captured on the Swedish stamps shown above.  The figures are, of course, quite possible — they’re just ink on paper.  But our brains turn quickly from seeing some shapes to the “realization” that they are “impossible” because the 3-D world our minds are trying to construct cannot exist.

Our powerful, broken minds

The problem is in our brains, of course.  Not only do humans use analogy and inference to build world models, as I discussed in the first two installments of this book review series on AI (Posts 232 and 237), we do it involuntarily.  (Part III of this four-part series is Post 250, which focused on opportunities and challenges of expert systems.)
Continue Reading My mind is just a broken machine: Part IV of book review series on AI in law (263)


Examining the gap between what machines do and what lawyers do.


A shiver of lawyers reading books is, perhaps, like a school of fish swimming: the fish don’t know the water is wet, and likewise, the lawyers, who may deeply consider what they are reading, will rarely stop to consider what reading is. But because reading is so important to the law, and one of the key capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) is its growing ability to work with text, it’s worth a moment to pause and consider: what are we doing when we read?
Continue Reading Did Robbie the Robot really learn to read? (book review) (237)


Lawyers are trained to be good at what machines can’t do.


Will the world still need lawyers once AI gets really good?

The short answer is yes—and I believe it will still be yes no matter how good AI gets.  My view is not universally accepted, so I will need to lay it out, and that will involve some claims about what humans are and whether a machine can ever be like that.  This will shed considerable light on what lawyers essentially do, and help us to see how machines can help us to be better lawyers.
Continue Reading Legal’s AI rocket ship will be manned (book review) (232)