In this episode Mitch Jackson joins us to talk about augmented reality, including what it is and how it can be useful in the courtroom.
Mitch Jackson is a California personal injury lawyer. He enjoys combining law, social media and technology to disrupt, hack, and improve his clients’ companies, causes, and professional relationships.
Mentioned in This Episode
During the show, Mitch mentioned Magic Leap. Here’s a demo: https://youtu.be/kw0-JRa9n94
He also recommended this TED Talk about whether we can give ourselves new senses.
Announcer: Welcome to the Lawyerist Podcast, with Sam Glover and Aaron Street. Each week, Lawyerist brings you advice and interviews to help you build a more successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. And now, here are Sam and Aaron.
Sam Glover: Hi, I’m Sam Glover.
Aaron Street: And I’m Aaron Street, and this is episode 159 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today we’re talking with Mitch Jackson about augmented reality, what it is and how it might actually be useful to lawyers in practice.
Sam Glover: Today’s Podcast is brought to you by Law Pay, FreshBooks, and Ruby Receptionist. We appreciate their support and we’ll tell you more about them later in the show.
Aaron Street: So I figure, with talk about augmented reality, which I assume is like Pokemon Go, for the courtroom.
Sam Glover: Oh absolutely, yeah.
Aaron Street: So I assume with a discussion with Mitch that’s coming up about augmented reality that we should talk a little bit about tech.
Sam Glover: Yeah.
Aaron Street: And specifically the ABA Tech Show in Chicago is coming up in a just a couple of weeks. Long enough that if it’s not on your radar and your calendar, you probably can still sign up and get a room and go. And if it is, you’re probably gearing up for all the cool stuff you’re going to see.
Sam Glover: So there are two ways to do tech show, and I think it’s important to highlight this for people. If you’re interested in the sessions, you need a ticket and you should go. If you’re not sure you’re interested in the sessions, but you just want to go and come and be part of the crowd and see people, meet with vendors, check out all the new tech, you can just get an expo hall pass. So it’s work going to Tech Show even if you’re not super interested in the sessions. And we’ll be there.
Aaron Street: Totally. Yeah, and to be clear, the distinction between a full conference pass with all the CLE credit and all the sessions you could want, I think those are $1,000 or so, maybe a little less if you’re an ABA member. Whereas the expo hall pass is free. It means you can’t go to any of the sessions, but you can hang out in the expo hall with all the vendors and with us and you can meet us for drinks or whatever.
Sam Glover: Yeah, so we will be there. And by we, it is Aaron and I, and Stephanie Everett and Ashley [inaudible 00: 02: 07]. The four of us will be there. Probably be wearing Lawyerist.com tee shirts, so hopefully we’ll be easy to find.
Aaron Street: And I just noticed on the faculty list, as I was digging through it this morning that, I think there are nine TBD alumni on the Tech Show faculty this year, which is a measurable percentage of all of the faculty. Which is pretty cool.
Sam Glover: Yeah, and if you can’t tell. We are excited about Tech Show. We’ve been going every year for, I don’t know, five, six, seven years.
Aaron Street: I think it’s 10.
Sam Glover: Really? It is so much fun. We have a great time very year. The vendors, like Clio and MyCase, I think, Zola, and maybe CosmoLex, are putting on after parties this year. There are taste of Tech Show dinners, I think. We’re not sure they’re happening this year, but I think they are because somebody told me that ours is sold out already. There’s all kinds of fun activities associated with it and it’s not a bad time to be in Chicago, even though it’s chilly, if you’re coming from warmer climates. It’s a really fun time. We have a great time, and if you’re gonna be there, please find us, we’d love to chat with you.
So with that said, first we’ve got a sponsored interview with Larry Port about what’s great about online invoicing and payments, and then we’ll talk about augmented reality with Mitch Jackson.
Larry Port: Hi, folks. I’m Larry Port, I’m the CEO of Rocket Matter. Celebrating 10 years of providing legal software to law firms.
Sam Glover: 10 years? That’s awesome, Larry.
Larry Port: Thank you very much.
Sam Glover: It’s hard to believe.
Larry Port: I know. It is hard to believe.
Sam Glover: But very cool. So today we wanted to talk about online invoicing and maybe we should start by talking about what’s so great about it. Why should anyone care about getting paid online versus sending out paper bills?
Larry Port: That’s a good questions. It just seems to be how people want to pay these days especially consumers. So if you’re in a consumer-facing law firm, especially whether it’s family law, or bankruptcy, or criminal defense, or immigration, people are just used to paying things in this manner. Like the days of like cutting checks and so on and so forth are kind of like almost, I don’t want to say over, but they’re kind of almost over for a lot of consumers. It’s a very old school way of doing things. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever we run out of checks, like it’s a whole big ordeal like paper checks. We have to order new checks and why are we writing this check?
Sam Glover: I’m pretty sure I have checks. I’m not sure where they are.
Larry Port: Exactly. That’s my point entirely. So we ran out of checks recently and it was this whole big disaster in our house. So law firms are no different in that way in that a lot of people want to be able to pay online. So they want to be able to get their invoice and they want to be able to pay online and receive electronic invoice, not have to get anything through the mail, not have to work through that stack that they all hate, and a lot of times people just want rewards points. So when you’re paying online, you’re usually paying with a credit card. You could be paying with ACH or echeck too. You get those reward points as well. So a lot of times, it just comes down to the fact that consumers want to pay online and businesses do too.
Rocket Matter. We’re legal consumers. We have lawyers that we pay. And we try and charge as much as humanly possible because we use the points for stuff. So in general, it’s just a way that we try and do transactions. So a lot of people, businesses and consumers, try to pay online with credit cards.
Sam Glover: Yeah and that’s the other half of it. It’s not just invoicing, it’s accepting the payments. Okay. So what’s so hard about this?
Larry Port: You know, a lot of times for law firms, it’s really difficult for them to get going because they’re confused about how to set up things. So for example, let’s say that a law firm wants to be able to send out just like invoices and collect. Well, you can do that. You can do that through smaller programs or you can do it through programs like QuickBooks Online, but then the question is, “Is it tied into your matters? Is it tied into your practice management information?” So if you’re doing it in isolation then you have a lot of different systems to keep track of. That’s one of the advantages of working with a practice management software like ours, like Rocket Matter, where invoices can be sent out electronically to all of your clients. And if you’re doing batch billing, it can all be sent out at once so then people can click on things and pay online.
Another thing people have trouble with, especially law firms, it’s just getting up and running with the payment processing because there’s a couple of different moving parts when you’re talking about online invoicing. You’re talking about the invoicing aspect itself and you’re talking about the collections aspect. So really, you need to be looking for a solution that has all of these things combined where the bills can get out quickly and your clients can click on links, pay things, and so on and so forth.
The other thing that’s a little bit hard about online invoicing is that if you don’t have the support to do payment plans or recurring billing on your own, then that’s a very labor intensive operation that law firms have to deal with that can be operationally prohibitive. So if you have software that can automate this for you where you can send out payment plans, recurring billing, then a lot of those moving pieces are already taken care of and you don’t even have to worry about the invoicing. You don’t have to worry about getting the invoices out. These things just keep happening and money keeps hitting your bank account automatically on a recurring monthly basis.
Sam Glover: Larry, having tried … I tried to put together a post where I compared what various things cost and because there are so many moving pieces in credit card payment, it was really difficult to even come up with that and I think you’re right that an obstacle is trying to figure out what to buy and then figuring out how to make it all work together. But I think a lot of people worry that when there’s an easy solution, it’s a more expensive solution. It’s not my impression that that’s necessarily the case. That the convenience does come at a cost, but it’s a very slim margin. Does that sound right?
Larry Port: Well if you think about it, if you are doing the printing route and you are not doing online invoicing, what a law firm has to do is they have to print their invoices, they have to fold them, they have to stuff them in envelopes, they have to stamp them, address them, send them out, and then they have to wait for the collections to come in in the form of checks. And then when those checks come in, they have to be entered into the practice management system. So if you think about all the time that it takes to do all those kinds of things and then to go and switch to a solution where things are just emailed out, links are clicked on, you shorten the cash collections cycle. So that’s one thing. So there’s more money in your pockets sooner. You may be paying a fee on credit cards, but that could be alleviated by either maybe charging more if that’s what you want to do or you’re just trading off the increasing likelihood that you’ll get paid through credit cards with the expense that you incur. You also don’t have to collect credit cards. You could do echeck or ACH, which often times is a lot less expensive.
So, yes, I don’t know that necessarily it is more expensive and in fact I would argue that you probably end up at the end of the day saving money moving to this. You certainly save a lot of labor.
Sam Glover: So if somebody wants to get started with online invoicing, what’s the next step they should take?
Larry Port: We put together an online invoicing cheat sheet that has a lot of the different considerations involved. Thinking about connecting to QuickBooks, thinking abour recurring billing, payment plans, how to get started with credit cards, all those kind of issues. And we put together and we made that as a one page resource that attorneys can download and quickly take a look at. So that’s a great place to start.
Sam Glover: If you’d like to learn more about online invoicing, get Rocket Matter’s cheat sheet and you can find it at RocketMatter.com/Lawyerist. Thanks, Larry.
Larry Port: Thank you, Sam.
Mitch Jackson: Hi, everyone. My name’s Mitch Jackson. I’m a husband, father. I’m also a trial lawyer that loves to help people and I really enjoy embracing technology, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, to try to help my clients get the results they’re looking for both during litigation and trial.
Sam Glover: Hi, Mitch. Thanks for being with us today.
Mitch Jackson: It’s good to be here, Sam. Thanks for having me on.
Sam Glover: Yeah, man. You have mostly entered my sphere of awareness because of your exuberant early adoption of technologies. Does that seem fair?
Mitch Jackson: It does seem fair and I’m glad our paths have crossed. We’ve gone from the early stages of the uncomfortable Google Glass wearing situation to fast forward to today and it’s been an exciting journey for both of us, so it’s good to be on your show today.
Sam Glover: Yeah. Tell me about your practice too because I think there’s a tendency to look at people who are easily distracted by technology as you and I both are and kind of wonder if they’re actually serious about practicing law or just looking for excuses. But you have always been trying to find really useful ways to integrate technology I think. So tell us about your practice and sort of generally the ways that you force technology and try to find opportunities to put technology into your practice.
Mitch Jackson: Well, we’re in our 32nd year of practicing law. I thought it was only 30, but LinkedIn reminded me it’s 32 years, Sam. And I started practicing law before the internet. I remember spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on law libraries, and marketing, and branding and everything else. And as the internet rolled out, we put up our first website in 1996, which was a FrontPage website. A million dollar case came into our office about six months later and I’ve never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but when that happened, Sam, I realized, “There might be something about this internet thing.” Technology has always fascinated me all the way back to high school. And so I’ve just gone all in on the internet, on websites, on blogging, and then over the last, what maybe 10, 12 years, social media, Twitter, Facebook, and everything in between. And it’s allowed us to really take that one on one message to a one to one thousand message, to build our brand and expand it from local to global using social media.
It’s been a great way to humanize who we are as lawyers. We’re human beings. We’re the neighbor next door. So what I found, Sam, is that many of the things I’ve been able to use over the years, my people skills both in court and out of court, we’ve been able to make a transition onto social media and use those same skills to build relationships, and to build referral sources, and to help the consumer, and hopefully paint a better picture in the public’s mind as to who lawyers are and what we really do. Some of us really like making a difference and helping people. I think with social, with technology, with some of the things we’ll be talking about today, we’re going to be able to take that to the next level and that’s why I’m excited to be on your show today to talk about some of the things that are out there that I think is going to be changing not only the practice of law and business, but society generally around the world
Sam Glover: What I’m interested in is so obviously you can use technology for marketing. Anybody who doesn’t get that by now is probably not worth talking to about anything, but what I’m really interested in is how technology can actually play a role in practice. You mentioned Google Glass and I think I did too, which is one of the first ways that I learned about who you are and how you were experimenting with technology and I maintain that people who are wearing Google Glass look dumb.
Mitch Jackson: You know what, Sam? You were right about that.
Sam Glover: But that doesn’t mean it is dumb, but maybe we should back up and say a few words about what these different virtual, augmented, modified whatever reality technologies are. So I think the abbreviations are VR, AR, and MR. Am I missing any?
Mitch Jackson: No. That’s generally I think where we should start. And maybe, Sam, before diving into that, everyone needs to understand when you reach over and pick up your smart phone right now, right now those people in the audience that are listening, their smart phones in their hand, in their pocket, in their jacket, in their briefcase, in their purse, that came around about 11 years ago. It’s only been 11 years since the iPhone rolled out and experts are predicting that from 2016 forward over the next five years, we’re going to see a hundred times more advancement in technology than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. So taking that into consideration, looking at augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality, and I’ll talk a little bit about the difference between all of those, what everyone needs to understand that experts are predicting that by 2024, 2025 that smart phone, that smart device in your hand, isn’t going to be around anymore. What they’re predicting is we’ll be wearing devices, whether it’s like an Apple Watch or maybe something that you’ll be wearing on your head like eye gasses or sunglasses, something like that, is going to change everything. Voice activated, eye sensor activated. And so I want everyone to wrap their minds around what we’re going to be talking about with that future eight to ten years out.
Sam Glover: But it’s worth pointing out that your phone can handle augmented reality right now. I mean, that was part of the iPhone X release was it can do it.
Mitch Jackson: Oh, absolutely.
Sam Glover: I mean Google Cardboard has been around for, what, four or five years now?
Mitch Jackson: It has been. And the new Galaxy S8 shipped with Bixby, which is a new voice activated AI type of device like other devices out there. The iPhone also now will be accommodating virtual reality and so everything we’re talking about is already here. It’s now being perfected. It’s now being improved upon. And when we talk about augmented reality, because that’s the question you asked me and it’s a good question, I want everyone to think about augmented reality as a live direct or indirect view of a physical real world environment whose elements are supplemented by computer generated sensory input such as sound, video graphics, or location data. Keep that in mind. It’s a live of indirect view of the physical world.
Virtual reality is a computer technology that replicates that environment whether it’s real or imagined. Mixed reality is a combination of the two such that you can’t tell the difference and that’s where we’re going to be heading. So during today’s conversation when we talk about virtual reality, augmented reality, or mixed reality, I’m kind of thinking about all of these things together with the end play being mixed reality. And mixed reality, a friend of mine who’s one of the leading experts on this topic, was talking about … think about looking through a device, a wearable device, that’s self-contained that displays six feet away from you a 90 inch screen that’s eight to ten times more clear than a 4K screen. I mean, think about that. Where you can’t tell the difference between reality and artificial reality. That’s where we’re going whether we get there in 10 years or 20 years, who knows. But that’s kind of the direction we’re leading.
So those are the three different types that we’ll be talking about today.
Sam Glover: Right. So virtual reality is like if you reconstructed your house inside the computer so that you could pretend that you’re walking around inside your house or inside a video game, but everything in there would be computer generated. Whereas augmented reality is if I go and sit down at my tabletop and I play a game where dinosaurs look like they’re interacting with me on my actual table. I can reach out and put my hand on the table, but there obviously aren’t dinosaurs there because I’m perceiving them through my phone, or through my eye glasses, or through my contact lenses, or whatever it is that’s feeding that image in. And then mixed reality is where that sort of augmented reality, virtual reality overlap just becomes almost pointless because you might as well be sitting there for real.
Mitch Jackson: And when you add smell, vibration, touch to the equation using sensory devices whether it’s a vest or some other type of device, things get really interesting.
Sam Glover: I assume it’s actually like nanites are plugged into my senses and are just making me think I’m smelling things at that point.
Mitch Jackson: Yeah, exactly.
Sam Glover: Little nanobots or something in my bloodstream.
Mitch Jackson: Well, actually you’re absolutely right, Sam, because what’s happening is Elon Musk is an investor in a company called Neuralink and it’s an overlay that overlays on your brain that actually stimulates everything we’re talking about and that’s something way down, way down the line in the future, but if anybody wants to Google Neuralink, N-E-U-R-A- link, it’s a new company that’s going to be taking everything we’re talking about and making it that mixed reality type of experience using a direct connection to your brain with this overlay. So pretty exciting stuff. Imagine having 12 jurors with virtual reality headsets or overlays during your trial. That’s what I can’t wait for.
Sam Glover: So let’s go all the way back and when Google Glass came out, and for people who maybe don’t realize, Google Glass was like an eye glass frame with a little sort of crystal that would project a small screen in front of your eyes. So it was sort of a rudimentary augmented reality. I’m curious, did you ever find a way to use Google Glass in practice?
Mitch Jackson: I sure tried, Sam. I sure tried. We had a couple of trials lined up where the judge and opposing counsel all stipulated to letting me use Google Glass and what it did allow you to do … by the way, the Google Glass that I was using was provided to me by Thomson Reuters, a big global company, by their head of global technology and I said I’d go ahead and give it a try. And what it would allow you to do is use Google Hangouts and live stream through Google Hangouts what you were looking at. So if I was picking a jury for example, my jury consultant in New York was watching me during my jury selection here in California and in real time through an earbud communicating to me follow up questions, body language, whatever I’m looking at, he or she would theoretically be able to communicate in real time back to me or send a message to me such that it pops up in a private screen so I can read exactly that note, that follow up question. That’s the game plan.
Sam Glover: That’s fascinating. Like so you’re there, you are the conduit through which a team of lawyers, potentially, a team of people is watching everything that happens in the jury box, everyone’s reactions, and then giving you the information that you need to ask follow up questions and figure out what needs to happen.
Mitch Jackson: The ten new lawyers at the law firm who have never tried a case and never picked a jury are also tapped into that live video feed and they’re watching jury selection in real time through my eyes for example as to what’s going on. What a great way to learn how to pick a jury or to learn how to try a case. Now, that never happened. And in fact, I think the Google Glass technology was ahead of its time. To be able to do that, you need a super fast wifi internet connection.
Sam Glover: Which you’re not going to find in any courthouse.
Mitch Jackson: Which you’re not going to find anywhere. But I will tell you, there was an ancillary benefit to Google Glass and I actually used them in a deposition. And in the morning deposition, we had four lawyers, everyone’s pounding on their chest, everybody’s alpha males and females, and positioning themselves, and it’s just one of those typical morning depositions. I came in in the afternoon after lunch wearing my Google Glass, Sam. And you’ve seen me with them on shows. I’m not shy about it. I’m at the age where I don’t care what anybody else thinks about me. So I walk in and I’m telling you, the attorneys looked. And one of the attorneys looked at me and said, “Is that that Google thing? Can I try it on?” And I said, “Sure. Try it on.” And there’s a guest mode, so I tapped the guest mode, gave it to him, so he couldn’t tap into anything that’s proprietary or private. His client who was the gentleman we were suing, “Mr. Jackson, would you mind if I tried that on? I’ve never seen that before.” In 15 minutes, Sam, the four of us were new best friends. Went into the depo, they stipulated on the record that I’d be able to use a sample Q&A for a particular company to use, and it changed the personality or dynamics of that deposition just because of technology.
So the human side to everything we’re talking about shouldn’t be overlooked. And for me, that was my greatest takeaway with Google Glass that I never expected in a million years is that it was a new opportunity to start conversations, to develop rapport, and obviously towards settling cases and getting things done.
Sam Glover: So I’ve been, this is a tangent now, but I’ve been thinking a lot for years now about ideally everyone should have something that they can just have a … that everyone wants to know more about and it’s always good for like a 30 to 45 minute conversation. I go winter camping. If I can work that into a conversation, we’re set. There will be at least 45 minutes of conversation about camping, about winter camping, and everybody’s going to be interested in it. Golfing is not that because golfing is boring to people who don’t play it. And to people that do play it, there’s not that much to talk about. But I think you’ve just pinpointed another thing. Like having new technology that there is buzz about and everybody has heard about is probably a good catalyst for that sort of 30 to 45 minute automatic ice breaker.
Mitch Jackson: How true. You know, you got to put yourself out there and try these new things. Sam, you just said something I wasn’t aware of you and that’s winter camping. I spent four days in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in a snow storm. Most people have never been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon much less in the winter when it’s snowing. Rarely does snow touch the bottom of the Grand Canyon. So you and I have something in common.
Sam Glover: Yeah, see? There you go. Like if we’re not careful, we’ll spend the next 45 minutes to an hour sharing war stories.
Mitch Jackson: And we’re not going to let that happen. Yeah, but imagine if we were sharing that experience through a self-contained portable head device like we’re talking about and so you’re there and you’re experiencing and you’re looking around. What people need to understand is this isn’t just looking at a video, this is putting on a headset and regardless of whether you look up or down, left of right, you’re actually in the environment. It’s just like you were there. We have a couple of cases coming up, Sam, where we’re hopefully going to be using this technology and I can go into detail if you want me to, to bring the jury into our environment that brings us into court and litigation. And it’s going to be fun. It’s going to save the jury time from getting in a bus and traveling to a building that was the location of an incident. It’s going to allow the jurors to look to their left and right in real time to get a better understanding of what we’re talking about. This is game changing stuff and I can’t wait to use it in court someday soon assuming we’re able to do it.
Sam Glover: So I’m going to stop you there for a second, but I want to talk more about that as soon as we hear from our sponsors. We’ll be right back.
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Okay and we’re back and just before we took the break, you touched on something that I think is one of the most powerful arguments for why the advent of VR and AR is so important, which is that you can literally put yourself in someone else’s shoes. They’re a huge tool for creating empathy, which you can’t do in any other way unless you’re actually standing there seeing things through someone else’s eyes and I experienced this in one way with, I think the New York Times partnered with Google Cardboard and Cardboard is just this, you snap it on over your phone and you put your phone up to your eyes and you get to be in it.
And so I do this and I put my headphones in and I’m standing on a boat, I think it was in Africa or something and I’m there with a family that is trying to escape from war and I’m standing in the boat and I’m looking at the children, at the backs. And I’m getting emotional just talking about it because it was such a true experience in a way that you can’t see through just pictures. Like I’m standing there. I can turn around and I can see the reeds swishing past the boat. And somebody is pulling the boat through the marsh and it’s such a real experience. And it may not be as … maybe it’s more or less powerful, but you can actually take the jury to the crime scene although I can imagine there’s some boundaries to what you’re allowed to do with that, so maybe you can jump back up and tell us more about how you’re planning to use it and what you hope the impact will be.
Mitch Jackson: Before I do that, when you were experiencing what you just described, did it make you nauseous? Did it make you dizzy?
Sam Glover: No.
Mitch Jackson: Share with your listeners. You were okay with it?
Sam Glover: Yeah. And I know that is one of the problems that some people do get nauseous in those situations. Fortunately, I’m not on of them.
Mitch Jackson: Yeah. It’s an interesting scenario. I would encourage everyone listening to try on the Samsung Gear, the Sony PlayStation VR, the HTC VIVE, the Oculus Rift and feel and experience what Sam just described because it’s a game changer. What’s coming down the pipe, Sam, are standalone augmented reality headsets. It’s where everything is self-contained. You put it on, you don’t need a laptop, a high powered desktop computer, it’s all right there. And that’s what’s going to be ideal for trial because it will allow a law firm to hand out 12 of these just liked you’d buy a laptop. Look, I’m one of those guys that used to try cases before laptops were around, were readily available. I remember walking into court with a laptop with a bounce in my step and a twinkle in my eye. I was going to wow the jury and to make a long story short, the judge is like, “What is that? And no, you’re not going to use that.”
Fast forward to … Really. Really. Fast forward to today-
Sam Glover: I had bailiffs tell me to put my laptop away and I had to explain to them that those were my files.
Mitch Jackson: Unbelievable. But fast forward today and it’s rare to go into a trial without everyone using laptops. Well, I see the same thing happening with virtual reality, self-contained headsets. And imagine, for example, we have a case where it’s a construction issue inside of a big building and instead of taking that jury in a bus, taking them down to this building site, walking them through, maybe not getting it right the first time and having to go back the next day, spending our money and the system’s money to transport the jury there.
Sam Glover: And you may not get permission to do it.
Mitch Jackson: Well, I mean, assuming everybody wants to do it and everybody stipulated and the judge is on board with this. Imagine, and what we’re doing is we’re having our investigators go through with Samsung Gear 360 cameras and they’re filming the inside of this location using 360 video, which is what you’re basically watching with the technology that Sam and I are talking about. Ideally what will then happen is during the trial, and it may or may not happen, but during the trial, the jurors put on the self-contained Oculus Rift headsets and as we’re walking through the building, they’re actually walking through with us. And so is the opposing counsel, and so is the judge, and any witnesses that are applicable and we’re looking to the left, we’re looking to the right. Our experts while they’re on the stand are asking the jury, “Look up at the beam overhead and look to your right and see where it connects onto the side wall of the premises.” And so it allows the jury to get a much more accurate understanding of what’s going on. Yes, there are foundational and authenticity issues, evidence code issues, but there were when the first the trial lawyer walked into court with a big blown up exhibit, I mean the same challenges that existed back then will be facing us today, but we’re going to get past those.
And so it allows for a more accurate understanding of what did or didn’t happen for all parties.
Sam Glover: Or that’ll be your argument anyway for admission.
Mitch Jackson: And I think it’s a valid argument. Imagine the first lawyer that tried to get a video admitted into evidence. So I actually helped co-write our CEB, our Continuing Education of the Bar, section of our evidence manual here, Sam, in California on social media evidence. And it’s very similar to all the other evidence issues. I don’t want to get into them now, but the point is this is what’s going to be happening. The court system will be using these types of self-contained headsets for evidence. There’s something else that I’m looking forward to and probably won’t happen in my lifetime, but I love the beach, I love running, working out, flying the drone down over the ocean. I would love to pick a jury, Sam, with my toes in the sand with the headset on, with jurors from around the world also with similar court authorized headsets and when you have these headsets on and you look to your left and your right, it’s just as if you were in the room. And there’s a way to do this where you could actually try a case virtually without having to fly expensive experts in because they’re using the same technology and all of us are in our own locations virtually trying the case. Yes, there are issues and we’re way, way, way away from this ever happening-
Sam Glover: But it doesn’t seem crazy to me. Our appellate courts ride circuit by going into the next room and watching the arguments on video camera.
Mitch Jackson: Bingo. Bingo.
Sam Glover: It’s not that much of a departure and it’s going to be a lot better. And honestly, when I have listened to the judges talk about how dissatisfying it is to observe and question a lawyer over a video feed, I think most of their concerns are answered by doing some form of augmented or mixed reality and meeting in a shared space rather than just meeting across flat screens.
Mitch Jackson: You know, I always feel as though time and attention are our two biggest assets and challenges in today’s world whether it’s yours, mine, our jurors, the judges. Anything we can do to improve the quality of the time and attention we put into something, the better it’s going to be for everyone. And when you look at the numbers that big companies are putting into virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, we’re looking at $37 billion is expected to be spent by these companies by 2023. It’s expected to be $120 billion industry with people like Zuckerberg, and Microsoft, and Google, and by the way everyone should circle and write down Magic Leap Check this out, you guys, because this type of technology is what we’re talking about. With these major players investing this kind of money in this type of technology, it’s a game changer and I think it’s really smart for professionals to step into the digital sandbox now and start playing with these toys and start understanding these things because when they start becoming mainstream five or ten years from now, you’ll already understand the concepts, you’ll already be familiar with how to use them, and you’ll be leading edge when it comes to making your point, proving your case, and maximizing your damages.
Sam Glover: In some ways, I have this very … I think there’s a lot of really good reasons why lawyer aught to be using social media, but the main reason that lawyers aught to understand social media is that this is how communication and social interaction happens throughout the world. And how do you introduce a Tweet into evidence if you’ve never touched Twitter? How do you talk about a conversation between people on Signal or Snapchat if you don’t know what those are and you have no idea how they work? I mean, I don’t recommend using Snapchat every day because it’s a garbage user interface, but hundreds of thousands or millions of people do and if you don’t understand how these things work, it’s like not understanding how the mail functions if you’re trying to make an argument on the mailbox rule. And VR and AR are the same. If you’re right, and I think there are a lot of kids raised on science fiction books who have a lot of money, and resources, and smarts that are going to make it right, that this is the future then I think lawyers have an obligation to at least be conversant in these technologies. And by that I mean try them, use them, understand them exactly as you say.
Mitch Jackson: I agree 100%. It’s interesting, it’s all about story telling and empowering our audience, right? That’s what lawyers do and for 400,000 years, we’ve been sitting around the campfire telling stories and communicating. In the 1400s with the advent of the printing press, that changed everything. Fast forward to the pony express, the telegraph, the radio, black and white television, color television, the internet, social media. What we’re seeing today, Sam, is if you want to, five to ten years from now, tell that story and empower your audience, empower your jury to take action on that story, this is what they’re going to expect you to do. This is what they’re going to be used to and it’s just something that you want to put in your quiver, your quiver of persuasive tools so at the right time, at the right moment, you’re positioning yourself and your firm to be a relevant player in this new technology. And by the way, let me just premise what I just said, experts are predicting what we’ve just talked about to be as much of a game changer with civilization as the internet’s been. That’s how powerful-
Sam Glover: All you have to do is go watch Ready Player One when it comes out. I’m so excited for that movie. I love that book. I can’t wait for the movie. And it’s all about virtual reality and all that stuff.
Okay. We’ve talked about what’s available now and in fact what you are planning to use in trial if you’re able to in the very near future. We’ve talked about what we hope to see in say ten or so years from now. What are you excited about in the next like one to three years? Like what do you hope to be holding in your hand and playing with within the next like, you know, 12 to 36 months?
Mitch Jackson: That short out would be probably voice devices. Amazon Echo, it’s a whole different show, but Amazon Echo, Google Home, technology like that. And the improvement of sensory devices because all of these are going to play nicely together.
Sam Glover: Oh, you mean like Smell-O-Vision vests or whatever?
Mitch Jackson: Exactly. Exactly. If you look at the Ted Talk by neuroscientist David Eagleman, E-A-G-L-E-M-A-N, Can we Create New Senses for Humans, it blew me away when I watched what David shared about how human beings perceive less than a ten trillionth of all light waves. And with this type of vest or wearable device, it allows you to have a better understanding of what’s happening in the world, in your community, in your city, in your jury panel, in your jury box, whatever it might be, so you take that sensory type of device and you pair it with voice technology and virtual reality and augmented reality, so you’re not just walking through the building, but you’re also able to feel and understand what other people walking through the building are feeling or experiencing. It’s just a more intuitive understanding of your environment. These are the things that I’m looking forward-
Sam Glover: Do you think those will be good and actually like you would want to have one in the next two or three years? I mean, I get that you might buy one, but do you think I, who I’m a little more critical of the technology I use, do you think I would actually want to own a sensory vest in the next two or three years?
Mitch Jackson: Well, you probably … you may already, and I don’t know this, but if anyone out there owns an Apple Watch or fit band, that’s early sensory technology. And I personally, you’re going to get a kick out of this, Sam, I don’t really enjoy wearing Apple Watches and fit bands when I’m working out. I know when I’m tired. I know when I need to slow down. But the fact of the matter is, people are already using this technology and, yes, I think as they become more readily accessible and acceptable, I think human nature will be, “I want to know as much as I can about what’s about ready to happen.” And imagine from a trial lawyer’s perspective having a better understanding of whether or not what you’re talking about in court, the questions you’re asking a witness, they’re being properly received by jury. Maybe you’re wearing your Apple Watch with a red and green light and the jury’s connected in using the technology we’re talking about and if through their perception of what’s going on it’s a favorable perception, your watch lights up green. If they feel like you’re beating up on a witness or you’re boring them, which happens a lot in trial, your light starts to glow orange or red. It gives you the ability to fine tune your approach to better present your case to hopefully better educate the jury and get the result you’re looking for.
So, yeah, I’m kind of all in on this stuff, but I have a feeling it’s going to be next generation and not really me.
Sam Glover: There’s a famous quote that I love and I’m blanking on who said it, but it boils down to, “Technology doesn’t get really interesting until it’s boring.” And what that means is, you know, I said when we were talking about planning the show and what we were going to talk about, I said, “Look, I don’t want to have the conversation about how amazing our smart phones are that everybody leads off every legal tech conversation with because I’m just tired of that conversation.” But the reason we have to keep doing it is because we have to keep reminding our selves how truly amazing the world we live in that we don’t even think about anymore is. AR and VR have the potential to become truly integrated into our lives in a way that we don’t even think about. They will be boring technology. The only question is … I mean assuming we can get it right. There’s all kinds of problems. Like how do you walk through a building you’re not currently standing in without bumping into walls in your house without having some ridiculous rig? These are all important problems to solve. None of them are insurmountable. And I think AR and VR have the potential to become truly boring and therefore truly interesting. The only question is when.
Mitch Jackson: I love that quote. Looking back 15 years ago, the smart phone as we know it didn’t even exist. Today, more people have access to a smart phone and internet connection than they do tooth brushes, working toilets, or drinking water.
Sam Glover: And it’s not about the technology itself, it’s about what we do with them every day that anybody actually cares about.
Mitch Jackson: Which is the important part, but I wonder if we were having this conversation 15 years from now, I think we’d look back and laugh about even thinking that this stuff may or may not actually materialize. We’ll probably be having a virtual or mixed reality interview and laughing at why it took so many people so long to dive into this [inaudible 00: 41: 22] transformation, which is what it is.
Sam Glover: Well, my dragon avatar thanks you for being on this podcast to talk about it, Mitch.
Mitch Jackson: Oh, Sam. I had a blast. Thank you and I hope to see you in the virtual world some day and also the real world.
Sam Glover: All right. Good stuff. Thanks, Mitch.
Mitch Jackson: All right. Take care. Bye bye.
Aaron Street: Make sure to catch next week’s episode of the Lawyerist Podcast by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast app. And please leave a rating to help other people find our show. You can find the note’s for today’s episode on Lawyerist.com/Podcast.
Sam Glover: The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.