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.
If you like reading it, please subscribe. You're also invited to forward this to others who you think would benefit. Likewise, please email me with feedback, ideas, and tips so I can deliver what's most valuable to you.
The Appetizer: Sponsors
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The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week
Utah Courts Innovate Their Way into Consumer Nightmare: one of the best, and most important, moves in recent years for the legal tech community has been Utah's state-wide embrace of various tools to streamline their judicial system, including adopting online dispute resolution in various contexts. It turns out it's not all roses in the Beehive State. This article from The Markup shows how a system designed to make life easier and more fair for working people has become a weapon for payday lenders taking advantage of struggling Utahns. The moral to the story is that technology is amoral (a car is an important piece of tech...but it can be used as a getaway vehicle for bank robbers just as well as it can be used as a way for families to visit each other) and that when court systems adopt new technologies, they also need to adjust their approach over time to assure that their underlying goals are being met. Your move, Utah.
Remote Hearings Take Longer: continuing on the online dispute resolution theme, the National Center for State Courts has a new study on the effectiveness of remote hearings, where they found that the hearings themselves tend to take about 1/3 longer than traditional, in-person hearings. Of course, the remote hearings are more accessible for people who face common logistical hurdles (transportation, childcare, time off work, etc), so outside-of-court time should be weighed, too. The report has some really interesting recommendations for how to keep the good in place, while reducing the inefficient and annoying aspects. Here's a good summary, with a link to the original, from 2Civility.org.
Stanford CodeX FutureLaw on April 7: this is the 10th installment of this terrific event. It'll be in-person, but with (free) Zoom access for anyone who can't be in Palo Alto. More information will be forthcoming here, but highlights include a keynote from the Chief Legal Officer at Meta, and talks on Computational Law & the Metaverse, DAO, computable contracts, no code legal tech, web3, Legal NLP, Tech Policy, and Innovation in Legal Services.
Lawyerist's Top Law Firm Websites of the Year: it's always interesting to learn what makes for a good website (and why) based on changing technologies. The Lawyerist has offered these awards for several years, and I always learn something about web design by reading *why* they selected specific sites.
TechCrunch on LegalTech: there is no better website for monitoring innovation and startup culture than TechCrunch, and this week they ran an article on...legal tech. The piece features two recently funded companies, Justpoint and New Era ADR, explaining how they will they automate processes that get bogged down. The article itself is solid, explaining to a non-legal crowd why these companies matter, and it's also interesting because it evidences growing interest in legal tech from the broader world.
Whole Earth Catalog: today's New York Times features a piece on Stewart Brand, a counter-culture icon and fascinating thinker. His first big hit was the launch of the 1968 "Whole Earth Catalog," described as "a user-curated selection of the best tools and ideas for living beyond the limits of suburban/corporate America, the Catalog was iconoclastic, visionary and widely influential." The entire archive of Whole Earth Cataloga is now available, free of charge, on archive.org. It's worth checking out.