Sunday, January 1, 2017
Law Firms Race to Replace Unnecessary Attorneys and Paralegals With Legal Technology
Boom!: On December 31, 2016, JD Journal published a Teresa Lo piece that was entitled “How Will Automated Legal Services Affect You?” Take a look at this opening:
“This month, Axiom announced that it had inked a five-year deal with Johnson & Johnson to provide contract management services. Axiom is a large provider of technology-enabled legal services (i.e. automation), and its Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Al Giles said that Axiom will apply “standardization, automation and process” to Johnson & Johnson’s global contracting function. This includes thousands of agreements in more than 10 languages.
Axiom’s announcement is on trend with what is happening in the workforce. Robotics are not only replacing cashiers and factory workers, but they are starting to take on attorney and paralegal duties. For instance, BakerHostetler uses the skills of a “digital attorney” named ROSS to do low-level attorney work. At the “Watson, Esq.” conference for law and artificial intelligence, ROSS’s co-founder Andrew Arruda said that other law firms were looking to follow BakerHostetler’s lead.
ROSS is an artificial intelligence program that can analyze billions of documents to find an answer. It also can include citations, track changes to laws that affect pending cases, and learn as it goes. ROSS is based off another IBM-powered machine called Watson, and its technology has advanced thanks to an investment from law firm, Dentons.
The people in the legal world most negatively affected by artificial intelligence right now is first-year associates and paralegals. However, a survey from 2015 found that some law firms would be interested in replacing second and third year attorneys with technology. The survey asked 320 firms that had a minimum of 50 lawyers if they would be interested in replacing associates with robotics in the next ten years. Thirty-five percent said they could imagine first year associates being replaced, 20 percent said they saw second- and third-year attorneys being replaced, and 47 percent believe paralegals will be eliminated.” [Emphasis mine]
Still want to take the plunge, Dumbass?!?! Low level lawyers are being replaced by advances in technology. Do you think that now is a good time to incur an additional $163,217.23 in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, for a law degree from a second tier sewer?! Wake up, before you financially ruin yourself.
Other Coverage: On December 30, 2016, Forbes featured an article from Mark A. Cohen, under the headline “Automated And Agile: The New Paradigm For Legal Service.” Read the following portion:
“Axiom, a legal staffing-turned-technology company, recently announced a five-year deal with Johnson & Johnson (J & J) to provide multi-shore contract management services to the pharmaceutical giant. Axiom will support J&J’s global procurement contracting function, helping to standardize its vast trove of procurement agreements across a dozen contract types and 10 languages. This is not Axiom’s lone big dollar, long-term contract with a major corporation. A couple years ago, it inked an eye-popping $73 million deal with Credit Suisse to process the bank’s “master trading agreements.”
Axiom’s metamorphosis from staffing to technology is emblematic of the maturing face and changing focus of legal service providers. They have come a long way since the early days of staffing and legal process outsourcing (LPO). The first generation of sourced work performed outside law firms involved high-volume/low value tasks-- principally document review. Labor arbitrage was the lynchpin of the early service provider model. Their greatest contribution was to debunk the myth that all ‘legal’ work must be delivered from the law firm structure. ‘Disaggregation’ of legal services spelled the beginning of the end of law firm hegemony over legal delivery. Law firms have not only ceded work to service providers, but also corporate legal departments—initially seen as another form of labor arbitrage—have expanded their breadth and scope dramatically at the expense of law firms.
Market acceptance and an increased emphasis on technology and process in legal delivery has enabled leading service providers to vie for more complex and scalable matters--‘legal service 2.0.’ Labor arbitrage is an element in this second phase of disaggregated legal delivery, but its centerpiece is automation, data, and knowledge retention. Service providers’ corporate delivery model— on-demand or ‘gig’ (even when the gig is longer-term)-- enables them to deliver services more cost-effectively than law firms that are saddled with embedded cost escalators—‘partner tribute,’ expensive real estate, and employees with fluctuating workloads. Service providers have also replaced certain ‘services’ with ‘products,’ further reducing cost and promoting timeliness (e.g. subscription legislative and regulatory updates). They have also leveraged technology and process to create 'agile' workforces that are well-suited to the unpredictable, on demand and geographically disparate needs of their customers.” [Emphasis mine]
Can you compete against these firms armed with the latest in automated services, as a solo practitioner, Stupid?!?! Have you been accepted to Harvard or Yale? Do you have an article III clerkship waiting for your ass?!
Conclusion: Can you, as a human being, process billions of documents, including court cases, statutes, news regulations, etc.? Will you have the funds to purchase such a program, as a recent law graduate? In the end, these developments may not affect the average ham and egg lawyer who practices toiletlaw. However, that is low-paid legal work anyway. In the event that you are still considering law school at this point in time, then you are not looking at the big picture. If you have not suffered a stroke or brain injury – and you still want to pursue this route – then you deserve your fate. You have been warned sufficiently.
Posted by Nando at 7:08 AM