Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #107
By Gabe Teninbaum
My name is Gabe Teninbaum (on Twitter at @GTeninbaum). I'm a professor, as well as the Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education, at Suffolk Law in Boston. I'm also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. My work focuses on legal innovation, technology, and the changing business of law. Every day, I digest tons of content on these topics. The goal of this newsletter is to curate the most interesting, valuable, and thought-provoking of these ideas and share them with you.
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The Appetizer: Sponsors
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The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week
CEO of Rocket Lawyer Interviewed on LawNext Podcast: now that Utah has approved experimenting with alternative legal service providers, they actually need some of those companies to show up and be willing to give it a go. Enter Rocket Lawyer, which is the first national company approved to participate. This LawNext podcast interview with the company CEO, Charley Moore, is terrific. My favorite part is when they discuss the company's original vision when it was founded in 2008, and how they have adapted over time.
2020 Legal Trends Report: every year, Clio releases a report using anonymized and aggregated information from their tens of thousands of its users to show how things are well, trending, in law. For 2020, it should come as no surprise that more firms than ever are adopting new technologies to help manage their work...and that the firms that are using things like online payments are significantly more profitable. Most interesting was that firms using a combo of 3 Clio tools - online payments, online intake, and online relationship managements - were far more successful than others (40% more revenue per lawyer in August). Download the report for free, here. More coverage in the ABA Journal here.
LegalTechHub: this week, a new site launched that looks very much like an "everything store" for legal tech. Per Legal IT Insider's analysis, visitors can search for specific tools or functionality such as ‘contract automation’ and ‘data analytics,’ as well as by sector such as ‘eDiscovery’ and ‘practice management.' I'm excited by this because it will let buyers compare apples to apples more effectively and is a major step toward a Consumer Reports for Law, where buyers get a wide view of what is available and an objective understanding of what best fits their needs. The project is run by legal tech veteran Nicola Shaver and legal marketer Chris Ford, so it's also promising that folks who understand this area are the ones pulling the levers.
Poverty Lawgorithm: this report by Michele Gilman and published by Data & Society, explains how the various technologies used to track things like credit reports, eviction records, and unpaid fines have long-term or even permanent implications for people (particularly low-income people). It describes it in a way that even non-techy lawyers will understand, and should allow them to better advocate for clients to avoid or limit the harm. The full report is only 63 pages and a quick read, but if you'd like the short form, the author also put together a blog post that summarizes it.
Justice as a Service: I was recently reminded of this blog post by Henrik Zillmer from 2016, so re-read it this week. In it, he predicts a wave of apps and other tools that will level the playing field for consumers against big companies that treat them unfairly. Given the many tools out there that now seek to do this, I'd say Zillmer was correct...and that there's still much more to come. From my own experience, I'd say roughly a third of final projects my students do (which typically involve creating a document automation or expert system app) would fit into the Justice as a Service category.
The Madman's Library: as an avid reader, I'm always up for learning about unique books, so I enjoyed this write-up of the world's strangest books, including one with pages made of cheese, a Koran with ink made of a despot's blood, and memoirs of a career criminal bound in his own skin. Creepy. On the book theme, this week I also watched The Booksellers documentary, which chronicles the world of NYC antiquarian bookdealers, and is free on Amazon Prime. It was terrific. Anyway, if you're reading anything good nowadays, drop me a line and tell me about it!
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