Artificial Intelligence

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

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

Algorithms have a substantial impact on everything happening around us. Most everyone would agree that the impact of algorithms, computational technologies, and artificial intelligence on everyday life, institutions, and society will only grow, and rapidly. Yet most law students and lawyers lack the foundational knowledge to generally explain how these technologies work, much less assess them.

One way to address this is to teach law students about artificial intelligence and computational technologies. I’m teaching several courses in this arena at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law this year, beginning with “Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning” this fall.

Each class meeting includes discussion about the effectiveness of these technologies, in the proper context of the status quo, and related ethical questions. Additionally, we will spend two full class meetings discussing technical assessment (recall, precision, F1 score, etc.) and broader questions about the use of algorithms, computational technologies, and artificial intelligence in legal-services delivery and society (transparency, explainability, auditability, provenance, bias, fairness, etc.).

I had the opportunity to introduce these topics during multiple talks this summer, beginning with “Demystifying and Assessing Artificial Intelligence” at the launch of the LawAhead Hub think tank at IE Law School in Madrid. The event attracted a variety of leaders, primarily from international law firms and the legal departments of major corporations.


Continue Reading Training Lawyers to Assess Artificial Intelligence and Computational Technologies

“It’s simple. Nice user interface. I like the questionnaire style.”

Comments like these, you assume, refer to an Apple iPhone, Google Search, or some other product hailed for its superior user experience. When is the last time you heard a client make comments like these when discussing a law firm’s legal services?

Okay, maybe you’ve never heard a law firm client make comments like these, particularly when talking about legal services of any complexity. But that is what I heard from a potential client who had just seen a demo of the Akerman Data Law Center, a client-facing expert system that provides data privacy and security advice.
Continue Reading Collaborative Disaggregation: Law Firms Can Delight Clients with the Right Technology

When I tell lawyers that I’m teaching the LegalRnD version of “Quantitative Analysis for Lawyers” next semester at MSU Law, I usually get one of three reactions:

  1. Wow, what a great class! I wish I was still in law school!
  2. Wow, what a great class! But I’m not good at math.
  3. Why teach lawyers quantitative analysis?

With all the talk about big data, forensic evidence in the courtroom, artificial intelligence, code, and robot lawyers, the value of quantitative training is becoming obvious. Many lawyers see opportunities to apply quantitative thinking in practice, especially at the intersection of law and technology. At the same time, data and artificial intelligence are transforming legal-service delivery. The challenge of exercising basic math skills in an introductory quantitative analysis class is nothing compared to the rewards from learning quantitative thinking.

But there remain far too many lawyers and law students–especially law students–who do not see the connection between quantitative thinking and the law. Why should law students take “Quantitative Analysis for Lawyers”? The better question is, “How can law students afford not to learn quantitative thinking?”

Continue Reading Why Law Students Should Take Quantitative Analysis: Big Data, Algorithms, Courtrooms, Code, and Robot Lawyers