States need to focus on the benefits of AI, not just the risks when making law and policy. That was my primary message when I gave testimony about AI in the corporate and legal space at a hearing on “Emerging Issues in AI” held by the Illinois House Judiciary – Civil Committee and House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee on November 2, 2023. I was invited by to testify by Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Representative Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., committee chairs. I read the following testimony into the record as my opening statement.

Thank you to the Committee and Chair, Representative Gong-Gershowitz, for this opportunity.

I’m Dan Linna, a professor at Northwestern University with a joint appointment in Pritzker School of Law and McCormick School of Engineering as a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Law and Technology Initiatives. Previously, I was an equity partner at Honigman, where I was a litigator and practiced commercial law and privacy and security law. Before my legal career, I was a software developer, IT consultant, and IT Manager.

I would like to make four points:

First: AI policy needs to focus on the  potential benefits of AI, not only mitigating risks.

Second: AI can help us improve access to civil justice.

Third: AI can help us transform courts and government services.

Fourth: Organizations must be accountable for the AI that they design, develop, or deploy.

First: AI can produce tremendous benefits for individuals, organizations, governments, and society at large.

Building reliable, trustworthy AI systems that solve important challenges requires technological expertise AND deep expertise in the domain of application.

Illinois can stand out nationally by supporting and facilitating multidisciplinary research and development focused on the application of AI to specific industries, such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, agribusiness, life sciences and biotech, healthcare, and legal services.

Second: AI can help us transform access to legal services. LegalTech tools can help individuals understand their obligations and rights, and enforce their rights.

For example, Rentervention, a chatbot provided by Law Center for Better Housing, helps tenants in disputes with landlords. In our Northwestern Innovation Lab, interdisciplinary teams of computer science and law students have worked on improving Rentervention, including to capture the advances in Large Language Models and Generative AI. I’ve worked with other researchers to completed a Randomized Controlled Trial simulating use of Rentervention to evaluate its accuracy and ability to use empathetic language to improve understanding, trust, and the user experience.

AI is also transforming the work of law firms, big and small, and corporate legal departments. Technology allows legal departments to scale legal, compliance, and ethical frameworks across the business, empowering people to make better decisions.

The legal profession, however, has been slow to adopt innovation and technology. Barriers include prohibitions on sharing profits, which makes it difficult for lawyers to partner with technologists in startups or other ventures.

Likewise, vague, overbroad Unauthorized Practice of Law rules also need to be narrowed. Unauthorized Practice of Law rules obstruct innovation, and impede the deployment of LegalTech that can improve access to civil justice.

Likewise, vague, overbroad Unauthorized Practice of Law rules also need to be narrowed. Unauthorized Practice of Law rules obstruct innovation, and impede the deployment of LegalTech that can improve access to civil justice.

A policy that new legal services providers register and subject themselves to oversight would sufficiently protect the public, further develop the market for legal services, and improve access to legal services for everyone.

Third: AI can help us transform court services, administration, and adjudication.

In the media, we see lots of clickbait headlines about robot judges. But AI is most likely to have an impact through online dispute resolution. AI can help litigants understand their rights, obligations, and the likely outcome of a matter, facilitating an informed resolution.

A small number of judges nationwide have issued overbroad bans or certification requirements for “AI” or “Generative AI.” This is the wrong direction. Long before ChatGPT, lawyers made mistakes in briefs. The solution is for judges to use technology to analyze briefs and help draft opinions.

AI can likewise be used in administrative agencies and government services, including to more fairly and efficiently allocate benefits.

Illinois policy should bring courts, administrative agencies, and government services providers into the 21st Century. Many in these systems are ready to lead, but they lack resources.

Additionally, we need a mission based on a vision of what we want the Rule of Law to look like in a digital world in 20, 50, and 100 years. We have a lot of important work to do.

Fourth: For-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations must be accountable for the AI that they design, develop, or deploy. This includes testing AI systems for accuracy and bias, being transparent, and conducting impact assessments.

Perfection is not the goal—AI systems must be compared to existing systems, which have bias and other problems. Responsibly designed, developed, and deployed AI systems can help us reduce bias and address other problems in existing systems.

Finally, we need more education about AI.

An informed citizenry is crucial, including to combat the harms of deep fakes, misinformation, dark pattern AI, and manipulation.

And we need policy to improve AI and digital literacy education in K-12 schools, higher education, and professional schools.

We also need to upskill the workforce, educating people to train, oversee, refine, and work with AI systems.

If we prepare, there are abundant job opportunities.

AI technology is in the early stages, perhaps the first inning of nine. But from an AI policy perspective, we’re already in the seventh inning, with a lot to be done.

We desperately need policy focused on capturing the tremendous benefits of AI, and mitigating the risks. Now is the time to take bold action.

Thank you.

The image at the top of this post is a screenshot from the video accompanying an article about the hearing: Max Cotton, Illinois lawmakers take a stab at regulating AI, WGEM (Nov. 3, 2023)

Other coverage included:

The Daily Line quoted me: “AI policy needs to focus on the potential benefits [of] AI, not just [mitigating] risks.”

By Nathan Alamillo, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law third-year law student, and Dan Linna.

The Catalog of Law Firm Innovations identifies innovative tools that law firms have implemented to improve their delivery of legal services to their clients. An updated version of the Catalog, which will be released in early 2023, contains more than 825 entries, including seventeen law firms that have created data-breach assessment tools. These tools help clients react to data-breach incidents and provide guidance about how to comply with data privacy laws of various jurisdictions. These seventeen law firms each created one to three data-breach assessment tools of varying forms and uses.

A data-breach assessment tool is a computer-based product that clients can use to obtain a legal solution and guidance when they experience a data breach, or to prevent data-breach incidents. These tools may take the form of algorithmic tools that assess the risk of a client’s situation by obtaining responses from the client as inputs and producing an output, typically a data-breach risk assessment report. A client inputs their factual circumstances, usually by answering a series of questions in a survey or digital interview, and then receives responses in the form of potential action items to their data-breach incident. These tools provide a useful and cost-effective product to clients that gives them guidance on how to react to their specific scenario.

In the Catalog, most of the data-breach assessment tools are classified as an “expert system.” This is a rule-based product that organizes expert knowledge and provides direction to clients who input information in response to questions. However, data-breach assessment tools take a variety of forms, with some of them serving as “information management” or “data analytics” tools, depending on how they assist clients.

Data-breach assessment tools are a leading example of the productization of legal services. As compared to legal-services delivery in other areas, data-breach assessment tools provide an example of how law firms can give clients legal solutions in non-traditional forms. A handful of examples illustrate the variety of data-breach assessment tools that law firms are offering.

The LexShift Data Breach Notification Advisor is an example of a data-breach assessment tool that provides clients “automated analysis and advice” so that they can comply with federal and state data-breach notification laws. The tool learns about the client’s factual scenario through a digital interview, performs an analysis through an algorithm, and produces answers for clients. Through the tool, end-user clients receive legal guidance and advice.

DLA Piper’s “NOTIFY” is a “web-based tool” designed to bring “consistency and accountability into data-breach response handling.” The firm describes the tool as using a quantitative approach to measuring data-breach risks by using an algorithm to create an automated risk assessment report. DLA Piper says that the tool reduces what would be hours of conversation to perform a risk assessment of a company.

Reed Smith’s “Breach RespondeRS” works similarly. The tool identifies common factual data-breach situations and provides clients with a response to their data-breach incident. Clients answer a set of questions, and the tool identifies common risks to be addressed in a data-breach investigation.

CMS’s “Breach Assistant” is a slightly different type of expert system tool. It is an interactive mobile platform that provides clients legal advice on how to deal with a data breach. After clients answer questions in the app, they receive guidance on various data laws, a data-breach response checklist, and a digital menu advising whether a client must notify regulators and individuals.

Based on the data we’ve collected for the Catalog, eight UK law firms have created fifteen of these data-breach tools and eight US law firms have created twelve of these tools. Furthermore, we have seen that these tools are only a recent development. Seven out of the twenty-eight of these tools have been introduced in the past three years.

We are in the process of completing a significant update to the Catalog of Law Firm Innovations, which we plan to launch in early 2023. If you are aware of a law firm innovation that is not listed in the Catalog, including data-breach assessment tools, please use this link to submit it so that we can include it in the upcoming update to the Catalog.

Guest post by Seung Hoon Park, a 2L at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Seung Hoon was a research assistant for Daniel W. Linna Jr. during the summer of 2020. In this guest post, Seung Hoon examines the current regulation of South Korea’s legal tech industry and emphasizes the need for change. Seung Hoon discusses how updating legal-services regulations will help grow South Korea’s legal tech industry so that more law firms can provide services based on advanced technology.


In South Korea, the legal tech industry is in its early stages, exploring its way forward in an environment limited by regulations. Large South Korean law firms are adopting technology tools, such as e-discovery and digital forensics equipment.[i] Although lawyers use technology tools to help them deliver services, they are not yet providing client-facing tools using technology, such as expert systems that can be used by clients to solve a specific problem. Most of South Korea’s legal tech services are provided by start-up companies. The services provided by these start-up companies are mainly divided into 1) attorney-search services, 2) automated document completion services, and 3) legal information research services. Below, I introduce the contents of each service, the start-ups providing it, and related regulations. Continue Reading Legal Innovation in South Korea: Lawyer Regulation Stifling Progress

By Mona Kalantar and Dan Linna

On April 14, 2020 seven interdisciplinary teams of 36 Northwestern computer science and law students presented demos of the projects they completed in the 2020 CS+Law Innovation Lab. Each student team worked closely with an external project partner and Professors Kris Hammond and Dan Linna. Nearly 250 people attended the online event, not including the student teams. Video of the event is available on YouTube.

The Innovation Lab immerses students in the product development process while they work with a project partner on a real-world legal-services delivery problem. The student teams explore the problem, develop an understanding of stakeholders’ needs, brainstorm, prototype, test ideas, and iterate through the development of a technology-based solution. Continue Reading Innovation Lab Demos: Northwestern Law and Computer Science Students Partner with Organizations to build Legal Technology Solutions

In January 2020, I launched Version 1.03 of the Catalog of Law Firm Innovations, part of the Legal Services Innovation Index. Version 1.03 includes an additional 379 law firm innovations, bringing the total number of entries to 706. Northwestern Law students Alexander Crowley, Lauren Diner, Mona Kalantar, and Yoon Hoo Lee helped conduct the research for this version.

The goal of the Catalog is to “[i]dentify concrete examples of law firms offering products, legal services, or consulting services that constitute innovations in legal-service delivery or foster legal-service delivery innovations.” While we have employed systematic rigor to curate this information, the Catalog does not purport to be an exhaustive collection of all law firm innovations.

Version 1.03 includes innovations submitted through the form available on the Catalog page. Before adding these innovations to the Catalog, we verified the information, including the practice area and discipline driving the innovation. After making these additions, we reviewed prior entries, updating information where appropriate. We also removed six entries that had been added to version 1.02 after determining that they did not meet the Catalog criteria.

In addition to the submissions that we’ve received, we browsed the websites of the Global 100 (American Lawyer), Am Law 200 (American Lawyer), and Canadian top 30 law firms (Lexpert), looking for innovations that meet the Catalog criteria. Next, no matter what we found while browsing each law firm website, we completed specific Google searches for innovations at each individual firm.

After some experimentation, we settled on conducting two specific searches for each firm: “[firm name] innovation” and “[firm name] launch” (without any quotes). For each search, we reviewed the first five pages of results returned by Google and clicked on each result that appeared to lead to an innovation at the law firm that met the Catalog criteria. For each innovation that actually met the criteria, a team member confirmed the details on the law firm’s website and added the entry to the Catalog. A second team member reviewed each entry, including the designated discipline/tool, area of law, and description.

My team and I welcome feedback on how to improve this resource. We are currently working on improving the consistency of classifications and pruning entries that upon closer inspection do not satisfy the Catalog criteria.

If you know about a law firm innovation that is not included in the Catalog, please submit the innovation using the form available on the Catalog page. We will review your entry and include it in our next release.

How do we evaluate the quality and value of legal services? For example, if we compare two proposed contracts for a commercial agreement, how do we determine which contract is of higher quality? How do we determine the total value produced by the process of drafting, negotiating, and finalizing each contract? Would our answers change if some or all of the services are produced by a software application? If a software application is used, how would we evaluate the quality of any training data inputs, the development process, and the outputs of the software application? Would our assessment of the quality and value of the software application change if the software application is used to serve individuals who would otherwise go without a lawyer?

These are just some of the questions that I discuss in this draft book chapter, Evaluating Legal Services: The Need for a Quality Movement and Standard Measures of Quality and Value, the final version of which will be available in the Research Handbook on Big Data Law edited by Dr. Roland Vogl, forthcoming 2020, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. I’ve included the abstract for my chapter below. Continue Reading Evaluating Legal Services: The Need for a Quality Movement and Standard Measures of Quality and Value – Chapter in Research Handbook on Big Data Law

Mona Kalantar
Mona Kalantar

Mona Kalantar, a 3L at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, has been a research assistant for Daniel W. Linna Jr. at since May 2019. In this guest post, Mona highlights ways for attorneys to become data-driven. Doing so will add to the general body of knowledge and create industry-standards that could lead to the improvement of legal services.

Guest post by Mona Kalantar

In his 2012 article, Where is the ‘Quality Movement’ in Law Practice?, Professor William H. Simon argued that the quest for continuous improvement has largely bypassed legal practice. The legal profession has not fully embraced quality reforms that we have seen in other professions. Today, the drive for innovation is leading lawyers to think about how to provide greater value with fewer resources. The market is producing innovations within legal-services delivery organizations that promote streamlining processes, facilitating connectivity between legal professionals and clients, and creating opportunities for alternative fee arrangements. Despite the growing demand for legal-services delivery innovation, there is less evidence of demand for measuring the quality of legal work, performance, and outcomes. Continue Reading Guest Post: Getting Around to the Quality Movement in Law

Guest Post By Alex Crowley and Mona Kalantar

Over 120 attendees engaged in a vibrant discussion about the future of law and technology at Northwestern University’s first public meeting of its Law and Technology Initiative on September 5, 2019. Attendees included academics and students in computer science and law and lawyers and allied professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, legal aid organizations, alternative legal services providers, consultancies, and legal startups.

The Law and Technology Initiative aims to address two needs: 

  • Technology for Law: First, as governments, justice systems, and legal-services providers adopt technologies of automation, prediction, intelligent search, and semantic analysis, there is a need to proactively guide and shape these technologies, even before they emerge.
  • Law of Technology: Second, there is a need for legal and regulatory guidance for new technologies, as many affect privacy, security, individual liberties, and views of liability and responsibility in the face of machine decision-making. 

Continue Reading Northwestern Law and Technology Initiative: 120 Attendees Discuss Law and Technology Challenges and Opportunities

This is a draft abstract for a talk that I gave to the Northwestern University Computer Science faculty on April 22, 2019.

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence presents many opportunities to improve law and society. At the same time, AI presents risks and potential harms. From a Law and Computational Technologies perspective, these opportunities and challenges can be separated into two categories. First, ethics, regulations, and laws that apply to technology. Second, the use of technology to improve legal-services delivery, justice systems, and the law itself. Each category also presents massive opportunities to use technology to preserve and expand the rule of law.

The deployment of AI raises many interesting questions about the application of existing law and regulation. AI also raises questions about the need for new law and regulation, including to ensure fairness, accountability, and transparency. Computational technologies also create opportunities to embed law, regulations, respect for human rights, and democratic principles into innovation processes and products, systems, and platforms by design and default. The goal ought to be to use law and regulation to guide the development, deployment, and maintenance of AI toward improving society, without unnecessarily impeding innovation.

Technology has also demonstrated the potential to revolutionize legal-services delivery, thus improving access to law and legal services for everyone. In the U.S., estimates are that more than 80% of the impoverished and more than 50% of the middle class lack access to legal services. Even some legal needs of businesses, large and small, go unmet. Computational technologies hold great promise for automating the delivery of various legal services across this spectrum. For basic legal needs, smartphones and other devices in the future could provide all users with an inventory of their legal rights and obligations, as well as solutions to common legal problems. Better yet, AI can foster Proactive Law to identify potential problems and prevent them from arising, or at least mitigate the risk.

As technologies advance, savvy lawyers will use them to augment their services. Innovative lawyers will embrace technologies that replace low-value, repetitive tasks and seize abundant opportunities to use technology to deliver greater value to clients and also contribute to interdisciplinary teams solving “wicked problems” for society. Updating laws and regulations for emerging technologies is one obvious area in which lawyers ought to be able to demonstrate that they can add tremendous value.

Innovation in legal-services delivery has been slow, however, in part because regulations traditionally prohibited lawyers from sharing fees with, and prohibited investment by, anyone who is not a lawyer. Consequently, lawyers and technologists rarely collaborate on legal-services delivery projects. But this is changing. An increasing number of lawyers today work with allied professionals to improve processes, better manage projects, embrace data-driven methods, and leverage technology to improve legal services and systems. Legal-services and lawyer regulations are evolving. And basic technologies and AI are slowly making their way into the legal industry, from legal aid organizations and courts to large law firms, corporate legal departments, and governments.

If we are to realize the potential to improve society with computational technologies, law, regulation, and ethical principles must be front and center at every stage, from problem definition, design, data collection, and data cleaning to training, deployment, and monitoring and maintenance of products and systems. To achieve this, technologists and lawyers must collaborate and share a common vocabulary. Lawyers must learn about technology, and technologists must learn about law. Multidisciplinary teams with a shared commitment to law, regulation, and ethics can proactively address today’s AI challenges, and advance our collaborative problem-solving capabilities to address tomorrow’s increasingly complex problems. Lawyers and technologists must work together to create a better future for everyone.


Michael Genesereth, Computational Law: The Cop in the Backseat, 

Gillian K. Hadfield, Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 

Mireille Hildebrandt, Law As Computation in the Era of Artificial Legal Intelligence. Speaking Law to the Power of Statistics (June 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: 

David Howarth, Law as Engineering: Thinking About What Lawyers Do (Edward Elgar Pub, 2014), 

John O. McGinnis & Russell G. Pearce, The Great Disruption: How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services (May 13, 2014), 82 Fordham Law Review 3041 (2014) Available at SSRN: 

George Siedel and Helena Haapio, Proactive Law for Managers: A Hidden Source of Competitive Advantage, (Routledge, 2011),

This last fall, I began updating the Legal Services Innovation Index, focusing first on the Catalog of Law Firm Innovations. I have had the help of three research assistants, Northwestern second-year law students Lauren Diner, Douglas Lavey, and Yoon Hoo Lee.

We’ve added 112 entries to Version 1.02 of the Law Firm Innovation Catalog, for a total of 334 entries. I previously described the methodology employed to curate the list of innovations on the Catalog page. In addition to the innovations that we’ve gathered, many were submitted by law firms, each of which we reviewed before adding to the Catalog.

In addition to the curation process described on the Catalog page, we also performed a Google search for each of the 264 law firms that comprise the Am Law 200 (American Lawyer), Global 100 (American Lawyer), and Canadian top 30 law firms (Lexpert). The search query included the law firm name with the terms “innovation,” “product,” and “client service.” We reviewed the first two pages of results returned by Google. This search process was not designed to be comprehensive, but merely to help us identify well known innovations. Only innovations listed on the law firm’s website have been included in the Catalog.

The goal of the Catalog is to “identify concrete examples of law firms offering products, legal services, or consulting services that constitute innovations in legal-service delivery or foster legal-service delivery innovations.” As described above, the curation of this information has been somewhat ad hoc. While we have employed a measure of systematic rigor while curating and reviewing this information, the Catalog does not purport to be a representative survey of the legal landscape. It is important to understand and disclose these limitations before drawing conclusions based on comparisons across categories, between versions, etc.

The full-screen Tableau visualizations of versions 1.02 and 1.01 of the Catalog are available on my Tableau Public page. As always, I welcome all feedback on how to improve this resource.

Has your law firm implemented an innovation that is not listed on the Catalog? Please submit the information, using the form available at the bottom of the Catalog page. We will review your entry and add it to the Catalog soon. Going forward, I plan to complete updates more frequently.

Next, my team and I are working on updates to the Law School Innovation Index. Stay tuned for additional information.