Goldman Set Out to Automate IPOs and It Has Come Far, Really Fast (via Bloomberg Tech)

From the article – “A computer-based interface called Deal Link has replaced informal checklists that were once tended and passed down between generations of rainmakers. It now arranges and tracks legal and compliance reviews, fills in forms and generates reports.”

Sounds just like law-law land.   This is why I teach both legal technology and process improvement to lawyers — because the combo is very potent.

The Development of Structure in the Citation Network of the United States Supreme Court

This is one of our all time best efforts from a scientific perspective (and it is now 7 years old).  We did a rehash of it in our recent paper in the March 31, 2017 edition of Science magazine.

What are some of the key takeaway points?

(1) The Supreme Court’s increasing reliance upon its own decisions over the 1800-1830 window.

(2) The important role of maritime/admiralty law in the early years of the Supreme Court’s citation network. At least with respect to the Supreme Court’s citation network, these maritime decisions are the root of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence.

(3) The increasing centrality of decisions such as Marbury v. Madison, Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee to the overall network.

The Development of Structure in the SCOTUS Citation Network

The visualization offered above is the largest weakly connected component of the citation network of the United States Supreme Court (1800-1829). Each time slice visualizes the aggregate network as of the year in question.

In our paper entitled Distance Measures for Dynamic Citation Networks, we offer some thoughts on the early SCOTUS citation network. In reviewing the visual above note ….“[T]he Court’s early citation practices indicate a general absence of references to its own prior decisions. While the court did invoke well-established legal concepts, those concepts were often originally developed in alternative domains or jurisdictions. At some level, the lack of self-reference and corresponding reliance upon external sources is not terribly surprising. Namely, there often did not exist a set of established Supreme Court precedents for the class of disputes which reached the high court. Thus, it was necessary for the jurisprudence of the United States Supreme Court, seen through the prism of its case-to-case citation network, to transition through a loading phase. During this loading phase, the largest weakly connected component of the graph generally lacked any meaningful clustering. However, this sparsely connected graph would soon give way, and by the early 1820’s, the largest weakly connected component displayed detectable structure.”

We also explore this network in our 2010 paper — Michael Bommarito, Daniel Martin Katz, Jonathan Zelner & James Fowler, Distance Measures for Dynamic Citation Networks 389 Physica A 4201 (2010) < SSRN > < arXiv >

Harvard Law Seeks to Attract STEM Students

There is an old adage which states that “Innovation is doing the obvious before it is obvious to others.”  Suffice to say – this is a totally obvious but it also very correct.  Getting at least some STEM folks to help lead law forward is really important for the future of this field.  So kudos to Harvard for doing this – particularly because as they say in the NFL — this is a ‘copycat league.’

“School officials particularly hope to lure students interested in science, technology, engineering and math to the field of law, because advanced technical knowledge and skills are in demand. “It’s incredibly valuable to have your attorney understand the underlying biology or the underlying coding systems or the underlying physics that are driving the legal questions,” said Jessica Soban, associate dean for admissions and strategic initiatives.

It is worth noting that this quote frames the effort as working to develop lawyers for technology – which is the right way to sell this idea to a conservative (intelligent but not technically inclined) faculty.

The obvious flip side of this is that some subset of these same folks will also help champion technology (and innovation) for law itself.  I would expect HLS to try to make some sort of play in this direction (but would need more folks with relevant technical skills on the core faculty) … perhaps they could consider a Joint Venture with that other academic institution in Cambridge ?

Daniel Martin Katz Named Fellow Elect of the College of Law Practice Management – Ceremony at 2017 Futures Conference in Atlanta, Georgia

I am honored to be Elected as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.  The College includes legal technologists, law firm leaders, corporate counsel, etc.  I am looking forward to joining many friends and colleagues who are members of the college …

Exploring the Physical Properties of Regulatory Ecosystems – Professors Daniel Martin Katz + Michael J Bommarito

A Clickbaity Title but a More Reasonable Set of Content — The Robot Lawyer Thesis / Artificial Intelligence and Law in the New York Times

A more measured article than what we have seen lately regarding the so called ‘Robot Lawyers Thesis.’  I find it pretty funny that the NY Times Facebook link leads to the Click-Bait title but the final online version has the more measured title (see image above).

The article certainly has an Enterprise Law / Big Law undertone. If we focus on this subset of the market for legal services, there are a number of collective trends which together are transforming the market.  It is the combined cocktail that is potent

Here are five of them:
(1) Legal Outsourcing
(2) Insourcing and the Growth of Corporate Legal Departments
(3) Process Improvement (Lean / Six Sigma)
(4) Automation of Legal Tasks using A.I. (a.k.a. robot lawyers)
(5) Financialization of the Law aka  #Fin(Legal)Tech

Plenty has been written about legal outsourcing, insourcing, and the growth of corporate legal departments and the application of process improvement methods (Lean / Six Sigma).

With respect to automation, it is curious to see the Times cite the Remus / Levy paper. At best, this paper is only relevant to the automation of the fraction of the work that is undertaken in Big Law (drawing from data from several years ago).  They suggest an ‘automation rate’ of 2.5% per year. If that were to continue – this implies a rate for the decade of 25% just in Big Law alone. Again, this does not focus upon the other market dynamics highlighted above.

It is worth noting their data comes from a period before the implementation of #MLaaS (Machine Learning as a Service). Since its inception, #MLaaS has made A.I. tools far cheaper to custom build to problems. I have said recently that the best in legal tech has yet to be built (see slide 260).

So thanks to the NY Times for shedding light on this field. But lets remember the #RobotLawyers Thesis is only a small part of the puzzle.

As a matter of strategy, some element of the #LegalInnovation agenda should be part of the strategic portfolio of every legal organization (law firm, law school, corporate legal dept, etc.)  Why? Because those who do so can increase their standing in the relevant market in question. Only those who use the newest and best tools available will thrive in an ever-changing market.