“AI” has become an ever-present marketing buzzword in many sectors, not least of which in the legal arena. Machine learning applications are promising to deliver remarkably accurate software and data solutions while downplaying the critical intersection with the human component. Itai Gurari discusses and illustrates his approach for applying AI to the delivery of accurate legal research by having a human in the loop who is continuously iterating on the technology. In this scenario, the users can rely on a person whenever the problem gets too hard and the technology starts to fail, rather than on an overarching one-size-fits-all machine learning solution.
This commentary by attorney Nicolle Schippers offers insight and perspective on how technology has changed the paradigm of legal services and client communications in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, Schippers calls upon her colleagues to engage in a continuing dialogue to collectively deliver more consumer-focused and service-oriented services that leverage actionable technology solutions applied in the interest of best serving the legal needs of consumers.
Peggy Roebuck Jarrett writes about an issue that is significant to law librarians, federal documents librarians, and to the public. The subject is a draft House bill that proposes “to amend title 44, United States Code, to reform the organization, authorities, and programs relating to public printing and documents, including the Federal Depository Program.” Jarrett shares why this bill could fundamentally change the publication and distribution of official print and digital government information. In addition, Jarrett describes how the future of no-fee public access to reliable government information – which includes the very laws that govern us – is at stake.
Ken Strutin’s exemplary research once again advances our understanding of critical issues pertaining to our justice system in the United States. According to Strutin: ‘the number of innocent people in post-conviction confinement is counted in the thousands, the pre-trial population of the unconvicted is in the millions. Every accused has constitutional rights to liberty, dignity and innocence, and yet, confinement often arrives before conviction. Money bail has the unfortunate effect of monetizing personal liberty and alchemizing human beings into negotiable instruments. This is the slippery slope of criminal justice, the erosion of liberty and due process. So it is that excessive bail bars the way to fully realize constitutional rights and increases the risk of wrongful conviction. Present efforts to improve pretrial release and detention practices have inspired some legislative and policy changes as well as bail funds and advocacy programs. This guide and annotated bibliography covers noteworthy legislation, court decisions, reports and guides, news articles and other sources concerning bail reforms and practices.”
Marcus Zillman’s guide is a comprehensive link dataset toolkit of electronic reference resources and services currently available on the Internet. Zillman provides researchers with a wide ranging A-Z pathfinder of subject matter specific sources, sites and services that provide researchers with actionable information on topical issues including: business, dictionaries and digital archives, the economy, education, energy, governance, law and legislation, news, online services provided by librarians, information maintained by US and global organizations (public, private, industry, news, academic/scholarly, government), sciences, and more.
In anticipation of the incorporation of Ravel Law visualization technology into an upcoming iteration of LexisAdvance, Reference Librarian and Professor Sarah Gotcshall shows us examples of how Ravel Law and Shepard’s graphical view work now.
Ellyssa Kroski is the Director of Information Technology at the New York Law Institute and an award-winning editor and author of 36 books. In Part One of a three part series for LLRX, she describes the current landscape of eBooks relevant to the law library field, the benefits and challenges of offering eBooks in law libraries, the different ways to purchase law-related eBooks, and how to get started choosing a solution.
While Lyonette Louis-Jacques was conducting research on the subject of illustrated law books, she identified the extensive work of her colleague, Michael Widener – Yale Lillian Goldman Law Library. Mike has shared his research in a number of presentations and lectures that Lyo identifies for us, in addition to sharing her considerable insights and own work on this subject. The confluence of their respective work provides us with a “sense of wonder and play, things that can be in short supply in today’s world.”
For law librarians, the past 25 years have engaged us in a journey from fee based access to the law via books, followed by dedicated terminals and CDs, to online portal services, to the current state of far more open, accessible and free access to the law. Sarah Glassmeyer’s perspective on this journey helps us focus on information access as a key facet of justice, highlighting the critical foundation that Cornell’s Legal Information Institute established for our communities of best practice to follow as we continue to pursue complete and free access to all facets of legal information on the Internet.
Our exposure to and reliance upon an increasingly ubiquitous range of technology is intertwined with issues related to intellectual property law. With smartphone cameras used to capture and share what their respective creators otherwise claim as intellectual property, to the devices, services and applications that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT), Ken Grady raises significant and as yet unresolved concerns about how the rule of law will be applied in response to the use, and misuse, of AI and digital personal assistants.