Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association

A chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.


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Will a Robot Take My Job? Study Predicts Increased Demand for Lawyers and Librarians Through 2030 | Dewey B Strategic

I am an optimist by nature and I have remained skeptical of  dark forecasts which predict the future based on one dominant trend  (AI comes to mind) while ignoring multiple factors that are likely to moderate or change an expected trajectory.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read about a  recent study on the future of work that predicted that both lawyers and librarians are two of the careers  which are expected to experience increased demand through 2030. The Future of Skills” Employment in 2030 was produced as the result of a collaboration by Pearson – the educational publisher, NESTA-  a global innovation foundation and the Oxford Martin School.

via Will a Robot Take My Job? Study Predicts Increased Demand for Lawyers and Librarians Through 2030 | Dewey B Strategic


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Will Bots Disrupt the Legal System?

RobotThink the practice of law is insulated from economic disruption by artificial intelligence?  Check out the DoNotPay chatbot and – gulp! – think again.

A few years ago, a teenager in London racked up over 30 parking tickets. Rather than simply pay the tickets, Joshua Browder sat down, hammered out some programming code, and invented what many journalists are calling “the world’s first robot lawyer.”  Drafting a series of typical legal questions specific to London’s motor vehicle and traffic laws, DoNotPay automatically appealed Browder’s tickets and won 16 of his cases.  Browder expanded his chatbot to include tickets issued in New York City in May 2016.

Once debuted to the general public, roughly 250,000 people used DoNotPay by mid-2016 and the chatbot logged 160,000 successful appeals (including 9,000 in New York City) for a 64% success rate.  As a student at Stanford University, Browder then turned his sights on assisting Syrian refugees by “… producing English document based on Arabic text.”

By mid-2017, DoNotPay worked well for helping users fill out boilerplate legal forms like maternity leave and landlord-tenant contract violations.  Plus, it’s “disrupted” over 375,000 parking tickets.  Browder envisions the DoNotPay of the future to handle any complex litigation, like marriages, divorces, and bankruptcies.  Experts at TechCrunch (one of the world’s leading startup and technology news media sites) muse that new forms of artificial intelligence built on top of, or in conjunction with, already existing information systems will inevitably disrupt many staid industries – such as law.

Following the massive Equifax data breach first reported in September 2017, Browder built a chatbot aimed at assisting anyone affected by suing Equifax in small claims court.  As of October 2017, a link exists on DoNotPay’s home page to learn how to sue Equifax for up to $25,000.  Once clicked, the site will walk you through how to file a claim in New York or California – with more states to be added shortly.

Lawyers caution that DoNotPay isn’t a panacea – a professional’s expertise would likely be an asset when filing even a small claims lawsuit against Equifax.  As USA Today writes in Want Equifax to pay?, even authors of other do-it-yourself legal guides explain that a simple chatbot can’t print the documents, affix the plaintiff’s signature, send the documents to the correct court and correct Equifax registered agent, or pay any filing fees.  Then there’s proving the actual case: whether Equifax’s conduct was negligent, whether the plaintiff’s information was stolen through the Equifax breach (and not some other data breach), and whether the plaintiff suffered any harm. For more on why chatbots aren’t one-size-fits-all, see this Quartz article: The “world’s first robot lawyer” isn’t a damn lawyer

So what’s the truth?  Will innovative, state-of-the-art programming code toll the death knell for the legal industry?  Or will the combination of deft human touch and institutional knowledge stave off the infiltration of chatbots like DoNotPay?  Like many things in life, the truth is prone of the survivors.

Katherine Lowry, Baker Hostetler’s Director of Practice Services, won the 2017 AALL Innovation Tournament with an attorney-facing chatbot for legal information assistance.  AALL Members can watch the conference session here: Innovation Tournament recording.

What other questions might a law library chatbot answer? What opportunities might they create? See Greg Lambert’s 3 Geeks post Now I want a Chatbot!

WPLLA members: how are your employers reacting to artificial intelligence?  Do they see it as an opportunity or a scourge?  If you have any comments, reach out and let us know!  If you’ve used DoNotPay, we’d love to report on your experience!


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Link Roundup – October

Bulk Downloads of Congressional Data Now Available At the ProPublica Data Store, users can download information on all of the bills introduced during each Congressional session in a single file. Twice a day, ProPublica generates this zip file containing metadata for every bill introduced in the current congress, including the sponsors and cosponsors the bill, actions taken by committees, votes on the floor, and a summary of what the bill would do. A download of the bulk bill information contains the complete, up-to-date data set as of that date. Users can also download archives of bill data for past congresses, going back to 1973.

 

Sexual Harassment in the Library: When Patrons are the Perpetrators This informative blog post discusses a library employee’s rights if s/he is sexually harassed by a patron.

 

Technology is the Solution: What Law Firms Can Learn From LegalZoom This article posits: “If law firms used technology to automate tasks, lower prices and give personalized advice, they’d have an undeniable competitive advantage.”

 

*Note: Website requires registration to read full article

 

CLE Presentation Tips: Mastering Time Though you may not be the best public speaker (and as this article notes, great public speakers are rare), there are tips to help you manage your time – which is essential to flow and is a hallmark of a great presentation.

 

New on LLRX – The Fight to Bring Legal Research to the Front Law librarian and professor Brandon Adler identifies core issues to support educating third year law students in a wide range of reliable free and low cost legal resources. Many law librarians acknowledge that there is a lack of awareness and use of alternative legal resources, with the law student community as well across a large swath of attorneys in firms both large and small.

 

NJIT Launches Annotated Patent History Archive The Federated History Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark has launched the Annotated Patent History Digital Archive. Funded by a faculty seed grant from NJIT, this project makes use of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research to explore the history of patents in the United States.

 

New Google search feature links to local libraries to borrow ebooks From @Google on Twitter: “Calling all U.S. bookworms! Now you can take a look at what e-books are available to borrow at your local library, right in Search.”

 

Upcoming Webcast: Getting What You Want for Your Legal Tech Budget On 09/20/2017, Cindy Cicco sent an email to the WPLLA Distribution List alerting its members to a Thursday, October 5, 2017 webcast panel hosted by Lex Machina featuring speakers Greg Lambert (AALL President and CKO of Jackson Walker) and Josh Becker (CEO of Lex Machina). The two will discuss budgeting strategies, tools, and techniques. It will begin at 12:00pm EST. Registration for the event can be found at: http://pages.lexmachina.com/Webcast_The-Future-of-Law-6_FoL-LP-Social.html

 

LC – An App to Answer Your Questions about the Constitution Links to the online version of the publication, “Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation” as well as information on an app called “Constitution Annotated” (which originally debuted in 2013 and has since been updated).

 

Know Your Rights: Whistleblower Protections for Federal Sector Employees A web resource for federal sector employees, the Project on Government Oversight (“POGO”) put together a “starting point” on whistleblower rights.

 

New Title 34 in United States Code Empty since 1956, Title 34 of the United States Code has been updated as of September 1, 2017. New Title 34, called “Crime Control and Law Enforcement”, contains editorially reclassified sections of Title 18 (“Crimes and Criminal Procedure”), Title 28 (“Judiciary and Judicial Procedure”), and Title 42 (“The Public Health and Welfare”). No statutory text was repealed or amended through this reorganization.

 

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do Information on the steps people who may have been victims of the Equifax Data Breach can take to protect their vulnerable private information and identity.

 

How To Use Google Feed For News And Replace Facebook With the complete rollout of Google Feed, users have more control over what they can read about in Feed. Now, right from the search results, one can choose which topics to follow. In some cases, users will see a new Follow button, which can be used to add topics to their Feed. After that, based on search history and engagement with Google products, users will be served news stories. Right from the Feed, users can also unfollow the topics.

 

These To-Do List Methods Will Help You Finally Get Organized Nine different ways to organize a To-Do List that will actually help you complete your tasks!

 

GPO and LC release digital Congressional Record 1921-1930 The U.S. Government Publishing Office (“GPO”) has partnered with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1921-1930 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers the debates and proceedings of the 67th through the 71st Congresses.

 

Hearing: Transforming GPO for 21st Century and Beyond: FDLP Held at the Longworth House Office Building, five experts discussed the topic, “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond.”

 

GOP 9 page tax plan framework and corporate impact This beSpacific blog post links to multiple reputable news outlets with stories detailing the first iteration of the Republican Party’s tax overhaul.

 

Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases The 2017 SCOTUS term has the potential to be one of the most consequential in years. Though a full discussion of every case that the Court will hear during the upcoming term is beyond the scope of the report linked by this beSpacific blog post, the included information provides brief summaries of the cases the Court has thus far agreed to hear.