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Mind-Reading Tech Coming to a Law Firm Near You?

Imagine you are taking a deposition, and the witness doesn't answer your question.

With artificial intelligence, that might not be a problem. MIT researchers have developed software that can read minds.

In other words, or without words, you can get answers to questions telepathically. This may sound like science fiction, but doesn't everything these days?

We often go on and on about how AI lawyers will one day be the end of the legal profession as we know it. Fortunately, a recent take on Recode explains that we attorneys won't be the only ones losing money thanks to robot lawyers. We'll be joined by governments.

Interestingly, it's not just that AI legal services have the potential to impact a government's revenue stream. When the tech is ready, some government service jobs, like residential trash collection, are just bound to go to robots.

As the consumer and business legal markets change, law firms need to be ready to adapt. Using technology to cut costs, as well as increase convenience and transparency, can boost your firm's competitive advantage in today's marketplace. Along those lines, self scheduling software can really help with increasing, that holy grail of web-traffic metrics, conversion rates.

Put yourself in the shoes of your own online potential client. If you were checking out a prospective lawyer on the internet, and you were able to click a link on the law firm's website, and through that link, schedule an appointment ... Would you be impressed, or maybe relieved, that scheduling was that simple? Would you stop looking, and calling around, for other lawyers? If you were able to make an appointment, chances are you're done looking, at least until the appointment.

Law Firms Need Your Expertise to Make AI Tools Work

Robots may be casting a shadow over law jobs, but they are also opening doors at law firms.

Legal tech positions -- such as chief innovation officer, legal solutions architect and chief data scientist -- are in demand. BigLaw, in particular, needs people to make the tech work.

It's no secret that those tech workers have an advantage if they also know the law. The big surprise, for some, is that the robots actually need help.

A new AI tool on the market has the potential to really help some lawyers out. It won't revolutionize the practice of law, but it might just please those lawyers that have been waiting for a good app to do real time voice-to-text transcription. Unfortunately for those lawyers, for the time being, the new AI powered app still lacks all the functionality you'd want, but it may still be worth checking out.

The app, named Otter, is currently free and does a reasonable job of accurately transcribing in real time. Of course, like any transcription app, some words will be missed, but for the most part, it did a good job in my own limited testing (which even included asking it to transcribe non-sense, and non-English, words-which it didn't do very well with). However, the current iteration of the Otter app limits users to interactions within the app only, and limits how much text can be copied to the clipboard from the app for exporting to another app or email.

Do you get a lot of email? Do you use Outlook for email? And do you drive by yourself to commute? If you answered yes to all three of these questions, you may be in luck as Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana may soon be able to read you your emails from Outlook.

This time saving feature promises to save those over-emailed commuters some valuable time, though doing so may cut into those precious moments of solitude and quiet reflection while commuting. Currently, Cortana's email reading functionality is being tested. If successful it could be rolled out in an update to Outlook. But before you start letting Cortana read your emails during your commute, you should make sure you know how it works.

Biggest Cyberthreats to Lawyers

According to a new survey, more than one-fourth of law firms last year say the were hacked and the number is increasing.

If your law firm hasn't been attacked, chances are it's just a matter of time. It may have already happened; you just don't know it.

In any case, cyberthreats are getting bigger, so you need to do more to fight them off. Like the sheriff said in Jaws, you're going to need a bigger boat.

Reports: Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Far From Secure

So, some smart contracts are not so smart after all.

According to a new study, about 34,000 smart contracts built on blockchain technology are vulnerable to hackers. An "accidental bug" in an Ethereum blockchain, for example, cut off users from $150 million to $280 million in their virtual wallets last year.

It's hardly a death knell to the wildly popular technology, but it does raise some second thoughts. Like, what is going on?

Does My Firm Need Blockchain? What For?

Many lawyers are afraid of blockchain technology because they don't know what it is.

"Is it really necessary for my law practice?" "Do I have to be a coder to use it?" "Will it take my job?!"

Yes, technology is transforming the legal industry. But relax, the professor will answer all your questions shortly.

AI Beats Lawyers at Issue-Spotting NDAs

Did you ever have that moment when someone soundly beat you at an intellectual task?

Maybe it was in law school when a student finished the test 20 minutes before everyone else and aced it. Or maybe another candidate got the law job you wanted.

Even if you were that guy, all that is about to change. Robots are better than lawyers now at the threshold of legal analysis.