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.


  1. It's a brave new world, law chumps.

  2. Procurement contracts in large volume would not have been handled by lawyers. Once the form was reviewed and decided on by the lawyers, and a decision made of which form is used where, a BA would be drafting these contracts. This is what the law schools like to call a JD preferred job, even though a JD is neither necessary or desirable to do the job.

    The lawyers would pitch in where there was trouble agreeing on contract terms or a dispute. Not clear the computers can do either.

    If the other side insists on using its own contract, another job for a lawyer. The computer cannot pass on a new form.

    There is a limit to what computers can do. Much of the lower level legal work is already being done by BAs. Maybe some of the BA jobs will be replaced by computers.

    1. Correct. Most contracts are formulaic: A agrees to buy X from B at a cost of $Y for delivery by date Z, with a load of boilerplate language about breaches, entirety, confidentiality, choice of law and forum, and the like. The "drafting" consists of little more than filling in blanks.

      A firm as large as Johnson & Johnson gets to impose its own forms much of the time, so the contracts end up being similar anyway. No army of lawyers is needed.

      Any significant dispute that arises, however, will be referred to lawyers. Computers will neither negotiate a resolution nor plead in court.

  3. Automation has kicked the shit out of the legal profession so-called. And people keep bellying up to go to law skool.

    1. Yes. I even see it at my area. Courtroom representation. Lawyers who are forced out of highly paid law firm work, now show as Solos doing DUI, criminal and PI. Those attorneys, like me, are desperate for cash and clients to pay massive student loan debt.

  4. @ 407 PM:

    Get real. Most lawyers are not quibbling over terms. They subsist on standardized form processing and filing, i.e. bankruptcy and making appearances.

    First, the law firms outsourced attorneys to paralegals - and most paralegals are far more valuable than attorneys and yet are *paid less*, etc. That's only one of the games firms play.

    This type of technological innovation will kill what's left of doc review or, in other words, a so-called "safety net" of attorneys for years prior and that paid fairly well. Enough to eliminate loans in years past but no longer because it's no longer a safety net and hasn't been for some time. That and totally out of control tuition levels.

    It's Game Over for that now. John B. saw all this coming years ago.. And he was right.

    Just like in 5 years, it'll be Game Over for garbage men when automated, self-driving trucks are put into play. It might be a little longer than 5 years but definitely no more then 10.

    Then the smug NYC garbage fuck with the GED who only cares about whether "me and mine eat" will starve.

    Let's see what he says then.

    Not that I blame the guy but people only care when it's *their asses* on the line.. Just like when Lemmings get scammed with non-dischargeable Higher Education student loans under the pretext that more education leads to better jobs when the economy is only generating menial jobs which will soon be lost themselves to technology and AI.

  5. @ 4.07, I have a friend who is a buyer for a Fortune 500 firm, and this is exactly what happens now. As a Fortune 500 firm, the company can force most sellers to use their standard contract. The buyers, who are subject matter experts, negotiate all the fill in the blank items, like price and delivery date and the like. Only in rare exceptions (once a month or so) do they need to modify he legal terms of the contract and send it to legal.

    BTW, the company doesn't want to employ lawyers as buyers. They want to employ subject matter experts like engineers who have actually made the good or service they are buying and have a true feel for what things should cost and how they should work.

  6. The ABA Journal just published an article, “Reinventing Professionals: Where is the legal industry headed in 2017?”

    A legal insider echoed Nando’s analysis and told the ABA Journal, “we hear a lot about AI in the law; maybe 85 to 90 percent of it is hype, but the remaining 10 to 15 percent is real and will have a revolutionary impact.”

    Idiot Team AAMPLE, er, Bill Henderson, “professor” of law at Indiana Sewer of Law advised that everyone “stay calm because at the end of the day, talent is going to find it’s own level. So if you are a hardworking person who is open-minded and learning new technologies that have a customer focus, there is an organization for you. But it may be just a different organization than you are at now.”

    Ray English, assistant dean of “career services” at Arizona State Law Sewer provided some insight into how the pigs will now market their worthless JDs to lemmings. English told the ABA Journal, “we need to expand the type of legal jobs that are out there, not just focusing on the traditional law firm jobs, but the other jobs in security, compliance, and other areas where JDs are much more competitive.”

    Who wouldn’t want to shell out $150k+ learning about Blackacre, the owner of a Fox in 19th Century America, and other arcane legal nonsense to work in a job merely requiring a bachelor’s degree!

    If you are considering law school, think very carefully. Years ago, law schools published fraudulent employment data, claiming 99% of their graduates obtained jobs making six-figure salaries. These statistics were completely false. The law schools included graduates working at Starbucks and conveniently left out the $10/hr salary data without telling anyone. The fraudulent stats allowed law schools to charge exorbitant tuition and pay faculty and staff six figure salaries for minimal work. About 5 years ago the law school transparency movement forced the ABA to require law schools to publish accurate employment information. The truth came out that many graduates were unemployed, working non-legal jobs, or working part-time jobs. Applications to law schools plummeted. The deans and law professors chose to cling to their jobs rather than adapt. They told unemployed grads that they were lazy and entitled, then they told unemployed grads to move to Nebraska, and finally they came up with the sales idea of the JD advantage job. Recently, they promised a job recovery in the legal market that never materialized. The claim that corporations are looking to hire JDs in security, compliance, and accounting is the latest lie told by desperate pigs looking to cling to their jobs. Just look at the law school job statistics from last year! Corporations are not interested in hiring unemployed law grads. The law schools don’t give a damn about you.

    1. —— talent is going to find it's own level.

      First of all, the word is its, not it's, you talentless dolt. Second, there is precious little talent at the Indiana Sewer of Law or other law schools of its calibre. Third, your claim is Horatio Alger bullshit.

      —— other jobs in security, compliance

      Show me a single mother-fucking law school in the US that promotes this sort of stuff to prospective students, rather than leading them to believe that they're going to be global leaders litigating for dolphins or rubbing elbows with celebrities.

    2. If you are going to rationalize law school by convincing yourself that corps will hire Jds for security, compliance etc be sure to ask career services how many corps showed up to interview on campus for those positions.

    3. Nobody goes to law school with the intention of shuffling papers in a compliance department.

    4. Ray English, assistant dean of “career services” at Arizona State Law Sewer...

      Why in the hell does Arizona State Law Sewer need an "assistant dean" of career services? Maybe ASU Law can replace Asst Dean English with a robot with AI because it is likely that English could not get a paid job practicing law when he completed law school either. At least the robot could be programmed to use logic and to tell the truth.

    5. The correct abbreviation of "Assistant" in this context is "Ass".

      "Assistant dean" is just a fancy title used to justify a fancy salary. Law schools nowadays have throngs of assistant deans and associate deans and vice-deans and deputy deans and whatnot.

  7. Time to admit what we all know. The legal profession is shit, and it's not going to get any better for the average lawyer.

  8. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 2, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    This is brilliant. A great insight. Maybe those billboards across Chicago advertising $49.00 traffic court defense send a virtual lawyer to court. No need to pay one that eats and needs to wear a suit from Nordstrom Rack. Now I get it.

  9. Do not worry guys.... let's switch gears to advocate to get everyone ---- wait for it ....a UNIVERSAL (living) WAGE !!!!

    Where due to automation and outsourcing taking jobs from the people we are given a flat salary to live on because there are no more jobs (or less tha the population).



    Back on March 16, 2016, Legal IT Insider featured a piece entitled “Deloitte Insight: Over 100,000 legal roles to be automated.” Read the following segment:

    “Over 100,000 jobs in the legal sector have a high chance of being automated in the next twenty years, according to extensive new analysis by Deloitte.

    The Deloitte Insight report, which predicts “profound reforms” across the legal profession within the next 10 years, finds that 39% of jobs (114,000) in the legal sector stand to be automated in the longer term as the profession feels the impact of more “radical changes.”

    Spurred on by the quickening pace of technology, shifts in workforce demographics and the need to offer clients more value for money, this transformation will mean that by 2020, law firms will face a ‘tipping point’ and the need for a new talent strategy, with the report finding that “businesses must prepare effectively now so they are not left behind by the end of the decade.”

    Automation, changing client demands and the rise of millennials in the workplace will significantly alter the nature of talent required by law firms in the future, according to the report: ‘Developing legal talent. Stepping into the future law firm.’

    In terms of the former, to date automation has meant the loss of some, lower-skilled jobs such as legal secretaries. However, new, high-skilled roles have been created to develop and manage new technologies. The report estimates that technology has already contributed to the loss of more than 31,000 jobs in the sector but that there has been an overall increase of approximately 80,000, most of which are higher skilled and better paid.

    Automation opportunities have grown in the legal sector and robotic process automation has been maturing slowly over the last decade. However, the report finds that there is more the legal sector can do to automate other routine processes using robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence. “Some firms are already making use of virtual assistants to help clients and support in-house functions. Further technological advances over the next decade mean that future skill requirements will change,” the report says.”

    Do you that think toiletlaw practitioners will be unaffected by these developments? The fact remains that technological advancements result in lower costs to the consumer. This is not good news for attorneys, especially those who represent broke-ass clients. Five years ago, I saw lawyers do entire cases, including divorces, for $400. Imagine where the rates will go, in the next few years.

  11. This is a bit off topic, but the DoE recently had to revise (upward) the cost of offering IBR to lemmings by $28 BILLION dollars.

    It can't be too long before the entire Grad PLUS loan boondoggle gets severely curtailed.
    Everybody with an IQ above room temperature has known it was just a massive taxpayer giveaway to garbage law skools and worthless online diploma mills.

  12. America’s law professors are so brave. After generously giving up big law careers making $1 million per year for the higher calling of “teaching” law, 1100+ law professors are now taking a stand against the Jeff Sessions nomination!

    Donald Trump is a blessing to the law school pigs. Law students are afraid of failing the bar and graduating unemployed. Now the pigs can divert the students’ attention by railing against the orange turd. Hell, the pigs may get a boost in enrollment next year. The pigs can sell lemmings on becoming a Constitutional-Civil Rights-environmental lawyer for the low price of $150,000.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJanuary 3, 2017 at 8:03 PM

      There is nothing wrong with being an idealistic attorney. Just be up front with the newbies and explain that operationalizing or monetizing that idealism is not going to happen. Earning a sustainable middle class income is NOT a guarantee an difficult at best. It's ok to be a lawyer and represent justice and fight T-Rump. Don't think of it as an income nor job. T-Rump could give two shits about a earning three bills for a DUI or real estate closing or getting a few thousand dollars for a PI. It is brutal out there.

    2. How could the President resist a petition from professionals of such caliber?


  13. Great News! Charlotte Sewer of Law may be on the verge of collapse. The school is desperately trying to transfer their student loan conduits to Florida Coastal Law Sewer. The school announced they will not be enrolling any new lemmings for the spring semester.

    Numerous students and former students have filed lawsuits against Charlotte. A Charlotte attorney representing 45 current and former students said more legal action will be filed if “students continue to get the run-around from the school.”

    In one lawsuit, the students alleged that they had been consigned “to years of indentured servitude” by being saddled “with crushing, non-dischargeable debt that will take literally decades to pay off.” Sound familiar? Those were the warnings of the law school scam blog movement that these lemmings ignored when they enrolled at Charlotte Sewer of Law.

    Students are planning a rally tomorrow.

    The coverage by the Charlotte Observer has been excellent:

    The article even mentioned Paul Campos. The law school pigs have been awfully quiet lately. Last summer when the plight of Valpo grads was featured in the NYT, the pigs squealed that the article should have included the million-dollar degree study. Now the pigs have nothing to say.

  14. —— In one lawsuit, the students alleged that they had been consigned “to years of indentured servitude” by being saddled “with crushing, non-dischargeable debt that will take literally decades to pay off.”

    Lemmings, you would have had even more of that crushing, non-dischargeable debt if Harlotte had remained in operation. With an LSAT score at the fifteenth percentile, you never should have attended any law school, let alone a for-profit scam school such as Harlotte. Don't pose as innocent victims (all that crap about "indentured servitude"). Going to Harlotte never would have worked out well for you.

  15. On September 9, 2016, ATL posted a Michael Allen article entitled “Biglaw Automation: Whose Job Goes First?” Take a look at the following:

    “There’s a new attorney named ROSS in BakerHostetler’s bankruptcy practice and it doesn’t eat, sleep, or complain about bonuses. Back in May, the Texas firm announced it would be the first to integrate artificial intelligence into its practice. Since then, Latham has entered into the fray, along with the Milwaukee-based Von Briesen & Roper.

    For those fearing for their job security, don’t fret yet. The implementation of such software faces into two primary obstacles, technical shortcomings and potential client pushback.

    What can the software do? The program is multi-faceted; its four main components are machine learning (continuously using data points to improve performance), natural language processing (interpreting text and using linguistics and key words), image interpretation (identifying and describing images), and discourse (back and forth communication between the user and the software).

    What are the limits of this? Law, though codified and exhaustively documented, often hinges on the ambiguity of semantics — the meaning of words — to shift decisions or leverage one way or the other. The Supreme Court’s often-divisive and contentious rulings are a testament to this. Since languages evolve, so must a computer’s understanding and ability to contextualize the language to the time period. Misinterpreting language would be an egregious mistake for an attorney — though a few hundred years earlier, egregious would have actually been a compliment. As we see, language evolves.

    Nonetheless, the software is an invaluable tool for law firms. In its current iteration, ROSS can only really aid in finding relevant resources, pretty much the lowest level of work an associate is tasked with. However, there are plans to expand its capabilities to contact review, drafting, e-discovery and more. In fact, there already exists an AI capable of drafting claims.

    Meet DoNotPay, the world’s first autonomous robot lawyer. To date, the bot has contested over 250,000 tickets, winning 160,000 of those cases. How does it work? In the same way a lawyer does. It asks relevant questions using simple conditionals to determine the circumstances of your case, the relevant case law, and the eventual outcome.”

    Still think taking on an additional $130K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – for a garbage law degree – is a wise investment, cretin?!?! Good luck competing against this technology, when broke-ass clients want the cheapest representation for their little legal problems. Make sure to toss in a few packets of ketchup, for your customers’ fries, chump.

  16. Many of the profs who signed this petition teach at notorious scam schools (Touro, Cooley, Pace, Charlotte, Cal Western, Thomas Jefferson, NYLS, Western NE, Nova Southeastern, Widner, Vermont Law School, LaVerne, Valpo, Charleston, McGeorge etc...). Trump is known for holding a grudge. If I were him, upon taking office, I would order the Education Department to fully investigate all of these scam schools with an eye toward cutting off the Federal loan dollars, just like they did with Charlotte. These scam profs sold their souls the minute they began collecting a paycheck and lost their right to judge anyone.

  17. How should this surprise anyone??

    These days, the legal profession has been so dumbed down that a monkey could practice law. Of course we should expect computers to take over our jobs.

    Let me be clear: of course there are "real" lawyers out there practicing "real" law.

    However, for many, being a lawyer is just doing over-glorified secretarial work. There is ZERO thinking involved.

    Vast numbers of lawyers (dare I say MOST lawyers) do nothing more than fill out forms all day. They can get through an entire legal career and never read a single court opinion.

    It's not just law schools that are a scam. The legal profession itself has become one.


    On January 4, 2017, Aviation Week & Space Technology featured an Anthony L. Velocci Jr. piece labeled "Who Will Be Left Behind From The Factory Of The Future?" Look at this insightful comment from Mark Lincoln:

    "The fact is there are just not many jobs which cannot be reduced to an algorithm and the old joke about folks being instantly reprogrammable and produced by unskilled labor will lose it's humor.

    Artificial Intelligence is self-reprogrammable, can be manufactured cheaply in automated factories and requires no employment taxes, retirement, vacations, days off and sick leave.

    Creativity? Watson writes hit songs, and newspaper articles. DARPA has a program which functions as a General Practitioner. The robo-securities salesman already exists and the robo-lawyer is coming fast.

    Everyone like Teller is counting the profits to be made by mass unemployment.

    No one seems to be thinking of how the masses of unemployed will respond. Especially those educated who find themselves reduced from upper middle class comfort to minimum wage poverty or homelessness.

    Those who imagine that massive tax cuts will result in job growth out of the kindness of the wealthy need to read this article again carefully.

    A massive infusion of capital will result in equally massive unemployment as workers at all levels from doctors and lawyers on down find themselves unneeded. Replaced by cheap, flexible automation.

    If you think laws requiring professional licensing are protection consider you too could be subject to the elimination of onerous anti-competitive regulation.

    One of the results of the soaring profits to be wrought from eliminating unnecessary workers will be ample funds to pay for advertising on talk radio, Weasel News, and political advertising (i.e. buying politicians)."

    This appeared in a publication devoted to space and aviation technology. A couple of days ago, a woman in her 60s told me that “The lawyer job market is glutted. There are a lot of licensed attorneys who can’t make ends meet right now.” She brought up the topic, when she was telling me that her son was considering law school. I could only manage to nod in agreement. People are aware of the situation facing lawyers.

    Automation is not to be celebrated. The owners of the factories, patents, businesses, and industries do not purchase or use these systems for benevolent reasons. They want to cut costs, i.e. you. Back in 1997, IBM supercomputer Deep Blue beat then-world chess champion Garry Kasparov in the rematch. That event signaled a huge shift. Kasparov is arguably the greatest human chess player ever. The machine did not think, as Alan Turing had hoped for in the early days of AI conceptualization. However, it used brute computational force to win. Now, that computer is basically obsolete. Technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, while human intelligence remains about the same. Still like your odds of taking on an AI program that can analyze billions of documents to find an answer?!?!


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