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Automation Replaces About 23 Percent of Lawyer's Work

Relax, a robot will not be taking your law job -- yet.

According to researchers -- aided by computers, of course -- only 23 percent of a lawyer's tasks can be automated with current technology. After analyzing 2,000 work activities for 800 occupations, McKinsey Global Institute reported that it will be a decade before artificial intelligence will take over any lawyer jobs.

That's right, C3PO, get away from the lawyer's desk and get back to the translation business.

In 2013, Bitcoin was inescapable. The strange little cryptocurrency had morphed from an internet oddity, where Bitcoin-backers celebrated exchanging 10,000 Bitcoins for two (bad) pizzas, to a serious phenomenon. After a whole lot of stumbling blocks, Bitcoin has continued to grow, with the digital currency valued at over $1,000 a coin today. (That makes those pizzas worth $10 million.)

But the real story behind Bitcoin isn't Bitcoin, it turns out. It's the blockchain, the technology that makes Bitcoin possible. And it's blockchain, rather than virtual currencies, that could revolutionize everything from banking to land records. The tech could even be embraced by tech-shy lawyers.

The Trump administration is without a doubt the most watched presidency in history. President Donald has already earned more prime time minutes, column inches, and radio coverage than any other public figure -- $817 million worth of free coverage in January alone, according to mediaQuant.

But it's not just the fourth estate that's tracking the Trump administration's every move. There are a host of online apps available for monitoring the Twitterer-in-Chief, focused on the legal changes the new regime is making. Here are the highlights.

How Expensive Is AI for Law Firms Really?

While AI has arrived for work at some law firms, it is still in the future for most.

It's not that law firms are lagging behind in technology. It's just that the high end solutions are too expensive for most lawyers.

Sure, even a solo practitioner can buy a digital assistant for about $200 to manage a calendar and make electronic deposits. But a small firm will spend about $30,000 to install a software robot to handle legal tasks like workflow management and contract review.

And if you need a system to accommodate 500 users, we're talking $250,000 -- to start. After set up, there's the cost of tech personnel and support. It's a half million dollar robot -- not quite Iron Man dollars but more than Robby the Robot.

When clients look for attorneys, they're looking for someone who will win. But finding that information isn't always the easiest. Sure, attorneys may tout their big victories on their websites, billboards, and subway adds, but the average legal consumer can't easily tell if that $15 million personal injury verdict was a fluke or the norm.

That is, until now. A new startup has launched a free website, Justice Toolbox, that lets users look up the winning-est lawyers by practice area and city -- though there might be some problems with evaluating lawyers based on wins alone.

Firm Automates Mundane Tasks With 'Software Robots'

It's not quite R2D2, but it's not just a cute movie robot either.

RPA, for Robotic Process Automation, is the real deal. They are software robots, and they are going to work at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw.

The firm will put the robots to work managing client information, reviewing contracts and other tasks as fast as they can get trained. That, by the way, is the key to machine learning.

What Should Small Firms Know About AI?

What should solo practitioners and small firms know about AI?

He was only the highest-scoring point guard in the history of the NBA, that's what! He stood toe-to-toe with Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, crossed him over and scored on him like a boss!

Wait, you want to know about the other AI? Fine. Work with me here.

Like gifted athletes on the basketball court, solo practitioners and small law firms can own the big leagues on the other court. And AI can get you there. That's what I'm talking about. Artificial Intelligence, not Allen Iverson.

Tech Tips to Protect Client Confidentiality

If there is one thing we should learn from the 1.5 billion email hack at Yahoo, it's that email is not secure.

Many Yahoo users responded by changing their passwords, as the company advised, but it was a bit like closing the barn door after the horse got out. Other subscribers cancelled their accounts, perhaps contributing to the delay in Verizon's negotiations to purchase Yahoo.

In any case, it's a problem that is not going away because hackers and cyber-terrorists are not going away. For lawyers duty-bound to protect client confidentiality, it's even a bigger problem.

Another nor'easter is bearing down on New York. It's a balmy 37 degrees in Chicago. Even Los Angeles was hit by cold and rain yesterday, their equivalent of a snowpocalypse. Winter is still here, and it's not going anywhere for a while.

If the bad weather, lack of sun, and bulky coats are getting you down, we understand. It's bleak out there. But you don't just have to suffer through the winter doldrums. Here are a few handy apps that can bring a bit of a spring feeling into your life.

Checklist for Updating Your Law Office Technologies

Usually, technology evolves faster than the law firm. Sometimes, however, law firms evolve faster than their technologies.

This can be a good thing because it may be a sign a law firm is growing. At the same time, lagging technology may be one of the growing pains.

In any case, it is important to assess the firm's technologies from time to time because technology always affects the bottom line. Technology can increase profits if it increases productivity, but it can also cost more than it's worth if it is not efficient.

Here's a checklist for updating your law office technologies: