by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
automation, lawyers

First Thing We Do Is Automate Away All The Lawyers...

from the paraphrasing-shakespeare dept

Since we write about an awful lot of lawsuits and public policy issues around here, we often can be pretty harsh on lawyers (admittedly, we often fall short of appreciating the good lawyers who protect everyone from the worst abuses). But, one thing that has seemed pretty clear is that, by opening up more legal issues, the pace of technology innovation has increased the demand for more lawyers. But will that always be the case? Apparently, some believe that a business ripe for disintermediation, thanks to the internet, will be the legal profession. The idea is that a lot of basic (high margin) legal work can now be automated. Part of this is probably true. The amount that businesses have to pay for fairly routine processes can be quite ridiculous at times. However, I doubt that the legal profession is really facing a shift as major as those facing, say, the entertainment industry. It may cut out some margins on the low end of stuff usually handled by paralegals or new associates, but it seems likely that there will be plenty of room for lawyers. Sometimes, in fact, it seems like our elected representatives are really mostly focused on a program of "full employment for lawyers," by passing laws that only require more lawyers.

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  1. identicon
    Paul Brinker, 8 Dec 2008 @ 11:21am


    The first rule to automate something is to find a subject matter expert, have him tell you exactly how the system works, model his system for a given task and finally end up with a system that takes input (guy who wants divorce) and provides output. (a divorce)

    The problem is, automating a lawyer is to big of a task, and different lawyers do things differently, have special tricks, know some judges and can do back room deals to make more time in court. (and charge more money)

    Yes, a specific task a lawyer does could be automated but it would be vary location specific. The challenge would be to have many many tasks automated, then put together to make a lawyer bot who still cant show up in court for you, and your still going to file as you would when you don't have one (see the case of the clerk who killed himself and left a note saying all appeals from people with out lawyers were auto trashed) and you know your odds are stacked against you because the system keeps it self going via things you cant program into a computer.

    Im not saying its impossable, im just saying lawyers dont want to make it possable so thay pass laws written so strange that noone can read them.

    If anything we need a HTML system for law, where a render program looks at the law and desplays it for normal people, then shows all cases that use this law the same way. Right now people go to 4+ years of law school to learn to do this.

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