LegalTech 2012 NYC – The Power of Data, Prediction and Tectonic Changes in the Business of Law

I am at the New York Hilton right now for Legal Tech NYC 2012.  I am very pleased that I was asked to speak at this important conference.

For those of you considering attending law school (particularly those with a technical prior background) please understand that although it may appear so on first glance – not all law schools are alike.  At MSU Law, we are fully engaged in what is happening in the legal services industry. Things are changing very quickly and we are working to adapt rapidly to that change.

For example, we are in the process of proposing or rolling new courses including – Quantitative Methods for Lawyers (which focuses on quantitative thinking, technology and the business of law practice), E-Discovery, Entrepreneurial Lawyering as well as several others (to be announced).

In addition, we have just started our 21st Century Law Practice – London Summer Program which is “a first of its kind, intensive study of technology, innovation, deregulation, entrepreneurship and the international legal marketplace. With the deregulation of lawyers in the United Kingdom and the outgrowth of alternative legal services delivery models, London is poised to become the global leader in the legal services market. Our program will educate students about these new delivery models and help prepare students for the technology infused law jobs of the 21st Century.”

Anyway, I look forward to speaking tomorrow. If you are here for #LTNY please feel to drop in at the session — I will be speaking tomorrow about Quantitative Legal Prediction from 1:45pm – 3:00pm in The Power of Data section.

IBM Watson: Final Jeopardy! and the Future of Watson – Motivation to Step Up Your Game in 2012 and Beyond :)

I just showed these two videos (one above, one below) in my Quantitative Methods for Lawyers Class here at MSU Law. I think it is important to try to let people know where things really stand with Big Data and ‘Soft’ Artificial Intelligence (i.e. just exactly what is possible today – and what is soon going to move from the high end lab to the enterprise level to the level of personal computing).

Challenge: Watch these two videos and ask yourself the following question: Am I really sure that professional fields such as law, medicine, education, etc. are not going be dialed in for a real quant and technology invasion? Marc Andreessen thinks so (yeah software is indeed eating the world).

One of the purposes of this blog is to create a venue to highlight what the rise of computation, software, big data, soft AI, etc. mean for the future of legal education and the legal services industry. Our business is going to change (has changed) and obviously there is a major disconnect between the scholarship / research and development side of our industry and the market for legal education/legal academics.

The sophisticates in legal academy are obsessed with causal inference and experimental methods. That is completely understandable as these approaches are now mainstream methods to do rigorous policy evaluation and social science work with law applications.

Let me encourage folks to think a bit more broadly about what falls in the broader set of rigorous approaches. In short, engineering is über rigorous (even if there is not an IV regression to be found).

We are entering the age of Quantitative Legal Prediction (for a historical analog see Quant Finance). Indeed, as I will argue in forthcoming work this is key to the future of our industry. Causal inference (as well as experimental methods) are not the core of what won the NetFlix Prize or what built IBM Watson. Rather, it was Machine learning, Network Analysis, Natural Language Processing, Probabilistic Graph Models, the Science of Similarity and Algorithm Construction, etc.

Here is the good news – those who have been trained in high end methods are in striking distance of the above (although it would be useful to learn (or collaborate with someone who knows) a real programming language). R is not a real programming language and STATA does not even pretend to be one.

Yesterday’s Fast Is Today’s Slow — Time to step up your game 🙂

Computational Legal Studies – 2011 in Retrospective – Looking Forward to More in 2012 :)

Katz & Bommarito – Slides from Introductory Tutorial in Network Analysis and Law @ Jurix 2011 Meeting (University of Vienna – Faculty of Law)



Announcing the Beta Pre-Release of Legal Language < Search the History of ANY Phrase in the Decisions of the United States Supreme Court >




The 21st Century Law Practice London Summer Program – MSU College of Law – (In Partnership with University of Westminster)



The MIT School of Law: A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century [Presentation Slides Version 1.02]




The Old Bailey Online –> Access 197,000 Trials — [ 1674 -1913 ]



Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity [Via McKinsey Global Institute]






Dynamic Reconfiguration of Human Brain Networks during Learning [From PNAS]


The Electronic World Treaty Index [Our Post @ VoxPopuLII – Cornell LII]






Applying the Science of Similarity to Computer Forensics (with lots of other potential applications) [via Jesse Kornblum]



What is Computational Legal Studies? Katz Presentation @ University of Houston – Workshop on Law & Computation





Rock / Paper / Scissors – Man v. Machine (as t→∞ you are not likely to win) [via NY Times]




Robert Trivers: Mathematical Approaches to Problems in Evolutionary Social Theory




Modeling the Financial Crisis [ From Nature ]




IBM Watson on Jeopardy – Scoreboard: Watson 2, Humans 0 [via CNN]





Katz -ICPSR Summer Program 2011 – Full Course Slides for Computing for Complex Systems (20+ Classes)




Crime Maps: Interactive Exploration of Crime Stats [via The Guardian]