Sarah Glassmeyer’s article and infographic document and visualize her perspective on what access to justice means, who participates, and what aspects of it can be improved via technology
This article by Theresa Kaiser-Jarvis, Assistant Dean for International Affairs, University of Michigan Law School, discusses a pivotal issue that represents an increasingly significant development in the practice of law in the United States. Kaiser-Jarvis shines a bright light on the skills, knowledge and abilities that are now required of attorneys as the business world becomes less focused on the United States. She supports the position that as law firms search for new revenue streams and as American internal demographics become more diverse, we can expect that all U.S. lawyers will eventually need to be prepared for global practice.
Alan Rothman’s article focuses on a creative, innovative effort to deploy the blockchain as a form of global registry of creative works ownership – specifically a global rights database for images. The co-founders of a new metadata protocol they call the Mediachain enables creators working in digital media to write data describing their work along with a timestamp directly onto the blockchain. The implications of this technology impact multiple sectors such as: legal, financial, libraries, museums and archives, and social media.
Learning new skills to support more effective engagement in a competitive job market has attracted many job seekers and employees to online education, most often through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Alan Rothman is proficient in the arena of e-learning and expands the discussion of what courses are available to how they are accredited and subsequently whether they are recognized by potential employers.
Alan Rothman discusses the growing interest in and need for attorneys who have degrees and skills from another field that serves client requirements, previously focused on areas such as engineering, business and medicine. Already well established in professions that include journalism and economics, the legal arena is increasingly embracing the skills and value added work product associated with technical coding. This is reflected in new course offerings in advanced degree programs as well as in job positions that focus on data management and data analytics.
Ken Strutin’s paper addresses a seminal issue that has been an integral part of the personal and collective ethic of diverse peoples around the world. As Strutin states, when life is classified biologically, it is also defined legally. Thus is formed the tension between the natural and juridical worlds. Whether animal rights can ever fall within the ambit of personhood will depend as much on the findings of cognitive science as on the evolution of legal remedies. Indeed, the foundations for nonhuman personhood are being laid in a growing body of litigation and scholarship at the borderlands of science and civil justice.
Ken Strutin argues that cut-and-paste is a laudable method for reducing transcription errors in copying citations and quotations. However, he identifies that a problem arises when it is used to lift verbatim sections of a party’s arguments into a case decision. Stipulations and proposed orders from counsel for both parties might be enviable and practicable, but judgment and fact-finding are solely in the province of the court. This has been a long standing issue that has spanned technologies from shears and paste-pot to typewriters and computers, and which might culminate in a Turing Test for case law.
Nicole Black lauds the the leading edge role taken by the New York State Bar in determining issues related to lawyer use of cloud computing and client confidential data. In two different opinions handed down in the latter half of this year, the New York Bar committee reaffirmed the applicability of the longstanding duty of due diligence when assessing the security of third party service providers, explaining that a lawyer must assess whether the technology offers reasonable protections against disclosure and must also take reasonable precautions when using technology.
Thomas R. Bruce, Director of the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute discusses how Google Scholar’s caselaw collection is a victory for open access to legal information and the democratization of law. He strongly acknowledges the fifth anniversary of this open access legal web site, but goes further to focus on the importance of this benchmark to the expanding value of freely accessible legal information combined with technically advanced search features available to diverse user communities outside the scope of the legal profession, for free. From caselaw to the rapidly expanding regulatory arena, fed by rules created by over 400 federal agencies that have enormous and multifaceted impact on our lives, the potential for search, discovery, education, empowerment and citizen engagement remains under development. Thank you Tom and all the experts at LII for blazing, maintaining and pioneering the next wave of critical paths to enable access to free legal research.
Nicole Black review the highlights of results of two legal technology surveys about lawyers’ plans to use legal technology in their law practices. They offer a glimpse into the businesses of solo and small firm lawyers and provide indications of their assessments of the value that different types of technologies will bring to their law practices.