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— Legal Talk Network (@LegalTalkNet) March 17, 2017
When artificial intelligence (AI) comes up at TECHSHOW, they’re not talking about the Matrix. They’re not even talking about robots taking over for human lawyers. In reality, AI has the potential to help with practice management, a subject that has taken over TECHSHOW, and aid lawyers in becoming better lawyers.
In this episode of TECHSHOW Today, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Steve Best talk to Sam Glover, CEO of Lawyerist. They discuss his company, his view of TECHSHOW, AI, and Lawyerist’s own conference, TBD Law.
What is Lawyerist?
Lawyerist is not just an online community for solo and small firm lawyers, it’s the largest community of solo and small firm lawyers on the web according to Sam. Sometimes accused of being a blog, it’s a place where discussion happens so small firms can improve their practice.
Sam says, “I started it years ago because I wasn’t happy with the software options for law firms and I needed a place to gripe about it.” Five years later, it has grown to include a lot more than griping, now hosting a podcast among its other daily content.
Sam has attended the last eight TECHSHOWs and has seen a lot of change over the course of that time. “What’s been most exciting for the last eight years has been the growth of cloud-based practice management software,” he says. “All of a sudden Clio, MyCase, and Rocket Matter showed up and they were the underdogs. Now they own the expo hall floors.”
The rise of these particular startups heralded the normalization of practice management which, according to Sam, is now sort of boring in that it’s expected.
He observes, “All of the software down there in the expo hall has moved beyond the stage of pushing the envelope on innovation into competing for new customers.”
Steve agrees, saying, “Any lawyer who’s thinking about starting a firm on his or her own now would be remiss in their obligations to their clients not to have practice management software.”
The normalization of practice management also solidifies one of the themes that keeps popping up at this year’s conference, which is that the consumer drives legal development.
— Adriana Linares (@AdrianaL) March 17, 2017
With practice management normalized, could AI be the next big, innovative thing? First, maybe it should be established what AI actually is. As Sam says, “I’m not talking about robot lawyers who you talk to on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, I’m talking about software that is able to learn based on data that you feed it and draw conclusions based on that as well as come up with suggestions.”
This kind of technology could be used in a myriad of different ways to save lawyers time and therefore money, but one of the methods focused on in this interview was document assembly. For lawyers, document assembly can claim a lot of time and energy. AI could potentially reduce time spent on this significantly.
According to Steve, “The legal profession really needs to think about its process. AI would really enhance the ability for lawyers to understand their process, how to manage the process, and then how to apply software to the process to make it more efficient.”
Sam agrees, saying, “Lawyers need to stop being afraid of scale because, if you can practice at scale and deliver superior work product, you can imagine things like one click solve my legal problem and that would be pretty amazing.”
Right now, though, AI is still in the development stage. “Maybe it’ll suck for a while but this is clearly where things are going,” Sam says.
In preparation for a future of AI-enabled lawyers, Sam suggests gathering data about your firm, tracking your time spent on certain activities, and analyzing your productivity workflow. He says, “If we’re not billing by the hour and if we have other tools that enable us to serve people differently, we can start actually thinking about creating effortless client experiences that they actually enjoy.”
TBD Law is a conference created by Lawyerist and Filament. It consists of 75 lawyers dedicated to sharing and acting on big ideas.
Sam created the conference after he “realized that, at conferences like TECHSHOW, we got the most value not out of the sessions but out of the conversations we were having in between.”
So TBD Law was created, in which lawyers sit in a room and conversation is guided by facilitators.
“The idea is you put a bunch of smart, clear, forward-thinking lawyers in a room together and give them a push and give them some problems and magic just sort of happens,” Sam says.
For more about Lawyerist, AI, and TBD Law (not to mention a couple bonus quips from Sam), watch the full video below.
Legal Talk Network is a podcast network for legal professionals with hosts from well-known organizations and brands in legal. Over 20 active podcasts cover important legal news and developments, including access to justice, law school, industry events, legal technology, and the future of law.