Welcome to your Law Tech briefing for Sep 13, 2023, covering what happened in legal tech recently.
TLDR; Listen instead:
Have less than a 1 min? Three takeaways from yesterday
- Legal Tech Adoption: Given the significant shift towards legal technology within the industry, knowledge workers should familiarise themselves with innovative platforms like Overture Law, Jameson Legal, and LexFusion. They must also gear up to address the associated risks of adopting generative AI, considering it's emerging prevalence in the field.
- Bridging the Legal Access Gap: Legal professionals need to be aware of how legal tech could potentially alleviate the 'legal desert' problem in rural America. The adoption of technologies like Microsoft Teams, AI, and cloud-based solutions can help broaden access to legal advice and services in underserved areas.
- Ethical and Legal complexities: The advent of AI-driven tools in legal sector ushers in an array of ethical and legal dilemmas, as indicated by the issues faced by OpenAI. Legal analysts are advised to keep a close watch on the balance between technology, law, and ethics and navigate copyright laws and noncompete agreements accordingly. In the same vein, fostering inclusivity in the workspace, as demonstrated by the move towards banning caste-based discrimination in California, is also a crucial consideration.
Here's what happened in legal tech recently...
Leading the charge was the lawyer-to-lawyer referral platform Overture Law, gaining momentum with over 300 attorneys on board since its establishment in January. Meanwhile, other key players remain active, with Jameson Legal appointing new heads for its tech consultancy division and LexFusion bringing on ex-Citi director of legal innovation, Christina Wojcik, to drive its corporate legal operations. The Women of Legal Tech initiative led by Danielle Hall is continuing to promote diversity and empower women's contributions in legal technology. In addition, global law firm DLA Piper committed to enhance its business capabilities via the iManage Cloud.
Notable trends yesterday highlighted the enduring challenges and boundless opportunities in legal technology. LegaltechUK, backed by the Ministry of Justice, outlined a structured platform for investors in this burgeoning technology sector. It was noted that generative AI continues to be a significant emerging tech in this field despite only one-third of enterprises currently addressing associated risks. Meanwhile, the 'legal desert' phenomenon in rural America is worsening due to a decrease in lawyers; legal tech could hold the answer to bridge this gap. Significantly, more enterprises are also considering Microsoft Teams, AI, and clouds as valuable assets in managing their businesses. Further, the latest developments in digitizing and streamlining the workspace were highlighted with the unveiling of Workhub, a platform developed by Transform Data International, which integrates with Intapp’s SharePoint document management system.
The constant evolution and adoption of technologies such as AI and cloud solutions in legal practice underscore the new terrain through which law and tech are interweaving. The consideration of missteps along with advancements highlights the measured approach necessary in this growing sector. The allegations against OpenAI by authors, including Michael Chabon, for copyright infringement illustrates the emerging ethical and legal complexities companies may face while deploying AI. The future, it appears, will necessitate a balance between technology, law, and ethics. The dismissal of noncompete agreements and steps taken towards banning caste-based discrimination by California present a peek into what future legal systems could look like, driven by both tech and consciousness about inclusivity. New legislation, combined with empowering initiatives such as Women of Legal Tech and broadened investment opportunities in the sector, paints an optimistic picture for the future of legal technology.
Lupl. Manage your matters, deals, and cases without the chaos. Lupl brings together tasks, documents, and knowledge so legal professionals can focus on what matters most - delivering positive outcomes.
See for yourself.
CS Disco (DISCO) recently announced the departure of co-founder and CEO, Kiwi Camara, who will be temporarily replaced by Scott Hill while the company searches for a permanent successor. Camara, who gained attention last summer for earning $110 million, higher than Apple CEO's Tim Cook, plans to assist during the transition. This announcement follows his influential role guiding DISCO’s public listing on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2021, making it one of the few legal tech companies to ever go public. Hill, who joined DISCO’s board in June 2021 and served as CFO of Intercontinental Exchange, will carry the torch forward as the company continues to apply AI solutions to legal issues.
Generative AI adoption is on the rise within the enterprise, however, a McKinsey survey reveals that only one-third are implementing measures to address AI-induced security risks and even less are handling inaccuracies. This potential oversight could lead to unforeseen results as businesses rapidly capitalize on AI tech to gain a competitive edge. Several industry leaders advocate for the necessity of crafting ethical frameworks and policies that encompass the intended and consequential facets of each use case. The process of creating ethical guidelines should include defining principles and values, operationalizing them through use case reviews, and vigilant monitoring for unexpected deviations. Currently, regulations are predicted to become mandatory by 2025, emphasizing AI ethics, transparency, and privacy.
Overture Law, a lawyer-to-lawyer referral platform, is a service that allows attorneys to refer cases outside their jurisdiction or expertise to other lawyers, earning referral fees. The platform, founded by LegalZoom co-founder Brian Liu, includes billing features, trust accounting, and direct deposit for earned fees. The company, which started in January, has over 300 lawyers and earns revenue by taking a 20% cut of the client's fee, while the handling and referring attorneys receive 65% and 15% respectively.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative, led by Danielle Hall, is promoting diversity and women's contributions in legal technology. Hall provides training and resources to lawyers and law students, focusing on the intersection of technology and well-being in remote work. She believes the legal industry has been slow to adopt technology and identifies generative AI as a significant emerging tech in the field.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative by the Legal Technology Resource Center is honoring women in the legal tech field, including Sarah Lawsky, an expert in tax and computational law. Lawsky is contributing to the development of Catala, a programming language for formalizing statutes, and has created a website offering free tax law resources. She highlights the challenge of balancing the potential of legal tech with the hype and misrepresentations that often surround it.
LawtechUK, supported by the Ministry of Justice, is organising free events and educational programmes for investors in the legal technology sector. The inaugural event, scheduled for 3 October 2023, will focus on the market size, investment opportunities, emerging trends, disruptive technologies, and regulatory changes in UK legaltech. The event will host industry experts and investors like Stephen Browning, Brian Liu, James Clough, Julia Salasky, Zach Posner, and Alexandra Lennox.
The 43rd ILTACON, the world's largest legal tech conference, was held in Orlando, attracting over 3,400 attendees. The event covered technical topics, market trends, and law firm management, with special emphasis on the rise of Microsoft Teams, AI and cloud adoption, and stress management. It offered valuable insights for larger firms into global developments and emerging startups. The next ILTACON is scheduled for August 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee.
California has enacted two new employment laws, bolstering rules against noncompete agreements and prohibiting caste-based discrimination. Senate Bill No. 699 invalidates noncompete agreements and permits employees to seek redress for breaches, effective January 2024. Senate Bill No. 403, pending governor's approval, would make California the pioneer state in banning caste-based discrimination, also extending to ancestry, heritage, parentage, or inherited social status.
Legal tech accelerator LexFusion has appointed Christina Wojcik, ex-director of legal innovation at Citi, as the head of its corporate legal operations and technology business. Wojcik will assist LexFusion's member organisations in liaising with corporates and identifying additional vendors. Her previous roles include building a legal innovation lab at Citi, initiating the AI for Legal program, and contributing significantly to the growth of Pangea3 and Seal Software.
Transform Data International (TDI) has introduced Workhub, a platform that integrates with Intapp's SharePoint document management system. Developed in partnership with legal and corporate clients, Workhub can be used on any device and provides an alternative to Outlook. The platform features a landing page for easy access to workspaces and supports new features and processes via the MS Power Platform. It also allows users to pin and unpin items for convenience.
Jameson Legal has named Dan Wales as the head of its legal tech consultancy division, Jameson Legal Tech (JLT), with Sophie Best as a senior legal tech consultant. They replace Jon Bartman and Anthony Cherchian, who played crucial roles in establishing JLT in 2020. JLT links buyers with legal tech solutions, fills tech and sales positions in law firms, and provides a service for extracting data from practice management systems for organizations moving from legacy systems to the cloud.
New York-based eDiscovery firm, DISCO, announced the resignation of its CEO, Kiwi Camara. Board member Scott Hill will take over as interim CEO. Despite its growth since 2013, DISCO has faced profitability issues, resulting in a 9% workforce reduction in January and a reported loss of up to $60m in adjusted EBITDA. However, the firm showed signs of recovery in Q2 with reduced losses and increased revenue.
Sheryl Hoskins, CEO of legal tech firm Litera, has been instrumental in the company's growth, expanding through 17 acquisitions and amassing over 2.3 million global users and 15,000 customers. Her strategy includes a focus on generative AI, with product enhancements expected soon. Prior to Litera, Hoskins held leadership roles in the global technology sector and served as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army.
The article explores the commercial opportunities and risks associated with the rapidly developing metaverse, emphasizing its importance for businesses, consumers, legislators, and legal practitioners. It introduces a seven-part guide focusing on the critical legal and regulatory issues surrounding the metaverse, including new marketing avenues and enhanced customer engagement.
The "legal desert" phenomenon in rural America, where only 2% of lawyers practice, is being aggravated by falling law school enrollment, retiring attorneys, and young professionals' reluctance to move to small towns. State-led incentive programs to attract lawyers to these areas have seen limited success. This lawyer shortage is affecting access to justice and causing inconvenience for middle and upper-middle-class rural residents.
The Women of Legal Tech initiative by the Legal Technology Resource Center honors women leaders in legal tech, including Tara Cheever, Co-Founder and Chief Products Officer at LIT SOFTWARE. Since 2010, Cheever has played a key role in creating legal software tools, including the LIT SUITE, and is committed to making legal technology affordable and accessible. Her recent work includes developing on-device syncing technology for TranscriptPad, a tool for managing legal videos.
Global law firm DLA Piper has chosen iManage Cloud as its work platform for its 46 offices worldwide. The switch aims to lessen the firm's data centre footprint and improve business capabilities and document-related processes. The platform will offer a secure environment for global collaboration and efficient change delivery. The transition will be handled by iManage's Professional Services team, Ascertus, and OIA.
Richard Steele has been appointed as the new senior vice president and general counsel of Moody's Corp., succeeding the retiring John Goggins. Previously general counsel of Moody's Analytics, Steele will now manage the global legal and compliance functions for Moody's Corp., the parent company of Moody's Investors Service. Steele's expertise lies in intellectual property, technology matters, and understanding of litigation and regulatory landscapes. Moody's is currently seeking a replacement for Steele's previous role.
Pulitzer-winning author Michael Chabon and other writers have filed a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging copyright infringement. They claim OpenAI trained its AI models using their works, pirated from 'shadow library' websites. The complaint suggests the AI's ability to mimic the authors' writing styles indicates their works were included in the training datasets. OpenAI has not yet responded to the allegations.