What is legal technology?

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  • What is legal technology Helsinki Legal Tech Meetup 2016-03-17 Anna Ronkainen Chief Scientist, TrademarkNow @ronkaine

  • Which technology has had the biggest impact on law?

  • Writing!

    Code of Hammurabi, Mesopotamia 1754 BCE (Wikimedia: Rama CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • What is technology? - art,skill,cra,+- studyof- Technologyissocietymadedurable(BrunoLatour)

    - technologiesofpower(MichelFoucault)- thepracEcalapplicaEonofknowledgetoaparEculararea

    - the collection of tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures used by humans (yay Wikipedia!)

  • What is legal technology? - technology (mainly ICT) used

    - in courts - in legal practice - for doing things which conventionally have

    required the assistance of a lawyer - ...

  • The beginnings of data processing in law

  • The first search-and-replace ever: s/retarded child/exceptional child/g - terminology change in the Pennsylvania health

    code in the late 1950s - legislative technique required all instances of

    textual changes to be enumerated individually - the legislature turned to prof Horty at Penn - first tried to solve this manually, too unreliable - solution: input text into computer, index the

    position of each word to find all occurrences of the word in question

    - obviously generalizable into textual information retrieval in general

  • Next steps - M.U.L.L. (later Jurimetrics) journal 1959 - case law retrieval experiments by Colin Tapper

    (Oxford) through the 1960s - Centre dtudes pour le traitement de

    l'information juridique (IRETIJ, Montpellier) 1965

    - CREDOC (Belgium) 1967 - OBAR (Ohio) 1964 -> LEXIS 1970 - NORIS (Norway) 1970 - Westlaw 1975

  • First expert systems: mid-1980s - inspired by systems from other fields (e.g.

    MYCIN) - Latent Damage Law (Susskind and Capper) - British Nationality Act (Bench-Capon and

    Sergot) - SHYSTER (Popple)

  • Where did all the lawyers go? - the PC revolution (1980s) and the launch of

    the commercial Internet (1993) -> computer-related legal problems everywhere!

    - expert systems were considered a failure not just in law for good reason -> the AI winter of late 1980s

    - leaving the field to computer scientists and legal theorists made AI & law decreasingly relevant for legal practitioners

  • Major threads of AI & law research (non-exhaustive)

  • Information retrieval (1-st gen) - normal database search (exact match or

    wildcard characters) - Boolean search operators - modest practical advances since the 1980s

    (with some recent exceptions) - legal AI contributions negligible

  • Administrative automation - has been with us since the 1960s (or 1890s if you count

    the use of Hollerith machines for the US census...) - an absolute must for effective administration on a large

    scale - works well if the rules to be applied are straightforward

    enough (rather hopeless with discretionary rules) - seems that implementing new rules in these kinds of

    systems is still a major PITA - (also an occasional subject of doctrinal work in

    administrative law, rule-of-law issues etc., e.g. Kuopus 1988)

  • Expert systems - a big thing in AI in the 1980s - basic idea pretty straightforward:

    - you take an expert in some domain (e.g. some area of law)

    - make them turn their domain expertise into computable rules

    - add a reasoning engine - and voil, you have a computer giving

    expert advice or making expert decisions

  • Case-based reasoning - one possible approach: analyze legal cases in

    terms of factors (very common in US doctrine)

    - use factors to find best match for case at hand

    - map factors into a network to find

  • Soft computing: Fuzzy logic and neutral networks - both highly fashionable in AI in the 1980s - also some experiments within legal AI in the

    early 1990s - fuzzy logic was also popular among legal

    theorists (mostly on a metaphorical level) since Reisinger 1972

    We suggest that fuzzy logic is no more than (over)sophistication of the approximation approach, that it may give good results in some very special applications, but its philosophical basis is uncertain generally and very uncertain when applied to open-textured legal concepts. Both the appearance of precision and the appearance of generality are spurious. (Bench-Capon and Sergot 1985/1988)

  • Ontologies in law - Valentes functional ontology (1995):

    - norms (normative knowledge) - things, events, etc. (world knowledge) - obligations (responsibility knowledge) - legal remedies (reactive knowledge: penalties,

    compensation) - rules of legal reasoning (meta-legal knowledge,

    e.g. lex specialis) - legal powers (creative knowledge)

    - (and several others)

  • Argumentation frameworks (Dung 1995) - a set of arguments, and attack relations

    between pairs of arguments (A attacks B) - general semantics for argument trees - plus specific rules for finding which attack

    relation dominates (in case of conflict)

  • Whats happening to the legal industry?

  • Susskind: The evolution of legal service 1. bespoke 2. standardized 3. systematized 4. packaged 5. commoditized

  • 1. Bespoke lawyering - the traditional model: everything done

    individually for each client - not going to disappear, high-profile litigation

    will certainly always have a lot of this - however, its role is diminishing - hourly billing offers no incentives for greater

    efficiency to the service provider...

  • 2. Standardized lawyering - ... but who wants to pay for each contract to

    be written from scratch (heck, who even wants to actually do that)

    - standard document templates - checklists - the bulk of work still done manually

  • 3. Systematized lawyering - same as standardized, only with better tech - e.g. computerized checklists or process

    manuals for compliance (workflow systems) - automated document generation, with a

    decision tree logic to select the right type of document, using just the necessary inputs

  • 4. Packaged lawyering - systematized lawyering offered so the clients

    can use it themselves - tools and information offered online in

    ready-made chunks, backed by individual (manual) service

    - pricing model innovation by this stage, e.g. based on fees for specific transactions or monthly/annual subscription fees

  • 5. Commoditized lawyering - packaged lawyering minus people, and with

    even better tech - offered strictly as a computerized service e.g.

    as a web or mobile app - scalable (the same number of people can

    provide the service to 1 or 100000 people), can be provided at a radically lower cost

    - this is what many (but far from all) legal startups are doing

  • ...and thats why were here - the role of tech grows at each stage and its

    importance for legal innovation is unquestionable

    - but its not everything - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of

    cure! - design thinking now emerging in law - alternative dispute resolution - legal project management

  • (Some) types of legal technology

  • Legal information retrieval - access to legal sources (cases, statutes,

    doctrine) - initially basic database functions, now

    increasingly sophisticated - NLP-powered interfaces, recommendations,

    better UX - new open data based solutions coming

    (where data available!)

  • Legal practice technology - communication: e-mail and all its killers - case/docket management and workflow - timekeeping - document management - document automation - knowledge management - ...

  • Court technology - case management - online dispute resolution - decision support

  • Attorney/client interfaces - legal services platforms - lawyer matching - lawyer/referral networks

  • Task- and issue-specific solutions - e-discovery - due diligence - contract analysis - immigration - family law: divorce, prenups, estates - mergers and acquisitions - bankruptcy - construction - end-of-life - patents - trademarks - DRM - ...

  • A couple of interesting concrete examples

  • Online dispute resolution - alternative dispute resolution + tech - minimal level: keep existing procedures, add

    teh internets (e-mail, videoconferencing) - better: rethink the entire process

  • Tech in access to justice - information and advice: do I have a case, is

    it worth pursuing? - communications - process standardization - reaches a broader population - savings in time and money

  • Example: Assisted negotiation: Modria - spin-off from ODR departments of eBay and

    PayPal - cloud-based platform for building ODR

    services

  • hFps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4XtV2Pr5qM

  • Modria platform features - modules: diagnosis, negotiation, mediation,

    arbitration - features

    - filing - communication - case management - decisions and appeals - integration - security

  • ODR proposal for England and Wales - proposes a new HM Online Court (HMOC)

    for small-claims cases (

  • HMOC tier 1: Online evaluation - informational and diagnostic services made

    available at no cost, fully automated - tools proposed to be developed by non-

    profits or by law firms as pro bono work - offering advice to those who think they

    might have a case - alternative courses of action - emphasis on prevention

  • HMOC tier 2: Onlin