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Software Can't Beat Laypersons at Predicting Recidivism

Some things are true even if you can't explain them.

It's true of a sixth sense and, apparently, the ability to predict recidivism. According to researchers, random people can predict a defendant's likelihood of reoffending better than a computer.

It's another confirmation that people really do have brains and that computers don't. Who'd have thought?

How Tech Has Shifted Law Firm Division of Labor

Before cellphones and wearable technologies, it was odd to see someone talking to the air.

Today, other than the fashion faux pas of having bent-cigarette headphones hanging out of your ears, it seems normal. That's the evolution of technology at work.

But how is that evolution affecting work at the law firm? Is there a place for that old-time practice of law?

No Innovation Without Proper Implementation

About 70 percent of organizational changes fail, including adaptations to new technology.

It's so predictable, everyone knows that today's innovation will be replaced -- or updated -- by tomorrow's. When it comes to law firm technology, however, it is a little more complicated.

It's not as hard for lawyers to buy tech, as it is to get them to use it. But innovation without implementation is a waste of time and money, right?

Are Lawyer Bots Impacting Jobs?

It's not really news that robots will take over lawyer jobs, but it is about that time.

A year ago, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 23 percent of a lawyer's job could be automated. As it turned out, that future is already here.

Some 1.1 million legal professionals in the United States did not lose their jobs in 2017, but the traditional legal neighborhood has definitely changed since the robots started to move in.

When it comes to running a law firm, especially small or solo practices, getting money through the door is the only way to keep the door open. As such, it can literally pay to accept credit cards and alternative payment options to checks and cold hard cash.

Before you set up a new payment method for clients, you should review your state's specific ethical considerations relating to the fees charged by credit card, and alternative payment, processors, like PayPal or Venmo. Also, you need to be aware of the potential drawbacks to using certain services.

Lawyer's Programming Skills Help Disadvantaged Clients

If you have two hats, you usually can't wear them both at the same time.

Unless you are Michael Hollander, a programmer-turned-lawyer. Hollander is an employment attorney who is creating software to help disadvantaged clients.

Why did he jump from computing to lawyering? It definitely was not for the money.

When it comes to cybersecurity, there is a delicate balance between annoying and asking to get hacked. While cybersecurity is important, there's no doubt about the fact that cybersecurity measures, like two-factor authentication, or obscenely long and complex passwords, are just annoying.

Unfortunately, when outsourcing cybersecurity, third party providers will always want to oversell. This has two primary benefits for them: 1) the more you buy the more money they make, and 2) the more cybersecurity you have in place, the less likely you'll have a breach which makes the third party look good. Knowing how much digital security your firm actually needs generally depends on what you're doing, but having a good basic understanding can minimally help you avoid getting soaked by third parties.

BigLaw Firm Launches In-House Tech Lab

Sometimes, including these tech times, you just have to do it yourself.

That's about what Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe has decided with its internal technology incubator, "Orrick Labs." The developers are building custom solutions for the law firm.

"Clients worldwide are asking us how we are addressing innovation and value, and Orrick Labs is a key part of the answer," said Orrick chairman Mitch Zuklie. "With a dedicated team collaborating with our lawyers, our goal is to innovate where optimal solutions are not available in the market."

AI Beats Attorneys in Law Competition

Remember that show where the computer totally destroys the lawyer?

No, not that one. That was a computer-generated dinosaur crunching on the attorney.

We're talking about CaseCrunch, which hosted an AI-versus-lawyers competition. You guessed it: the robot killed the lawyers.

The marijuana industry, despite the federal taboo and legal challenges, is booming. The law firms and other ancillary industries that cater to the marijuana industry are seeing massive growth alongside the pot boom as well.

However, one of the big challenges faced by both businesses and the states is the regulation of the industry. From monitoring sources to recording transactions, due to the highly regulated nature of the industry, marijuana businesses will likely need to rely on technology to ensure they keep on the legal side of the marijuana regulations. And, like most highly regulated industries, pot regulation could potentially benefit from the use of blockchain.