Featured Guests
Louise Leduc Kennedy

Louise Leduc Kennedy is the founding attorney of West Hill Technology Counsel. She has extensive experience advising technology companies...

Mitch Jackson

Mitch Jackson was admitted to the California Bar in 1986. He is a founding Partner and Senior Litigation Partner...

Your Host
Jared Correia

Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...

Christmas brought digital assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home, into homes everywhere. Maybe it’s only a matter of time before they show up in law firms too. In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Louise Kennedy and Mitch Jackson about the role of digital assistants in the practice of law. While there are definite advantages, like easy communication and access, there are also complicated security issues that will only be resolved as the technology matures. The episode concludes with what is likely the most important question: will lawyers eventually have robots to help them out in court?

Louise Leduc Kennedy is the founding attorney of West Hill Technology Counsel. She has extensive experience advising technology companies on intellectual property and strategic matters.

Mitch Jackson was admitted to the California Bar in 1986. He is a founding Partner and Senior Litigation Partner in the nationally recognized law firm of Jackson & Wilson, Inc.

Special thanks to our sponsors Amicus AttorneyScorpion, and Answer1.

 


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The Legal Toolkit

Digital Assistance in the Practice of Law

02/17/2017

[Music]

Intro: Welcome to The Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host, Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.

Jared Correia: Hello everybody, and welcome to another super, duper episode of The Legal Toolkit on Legal Talk Network. If you are looking for Tim Raines, you want to check the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.

And finally, I might add that if you’re a returning listener, welcome back; if you are a first time listener, hopefully you will become a longtime listener, and if you are Attila the Hun, you are kind of a mean bastard.

As always, I am your host, Jared Correia, and in addition to casting this pod, I am also the Founder and CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting and technology services for law firms. Check us out at HYPERLINK “http://www.redcavelegal.com/”redcavelegal.com to find out more.

You can buy my book, ‘Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers’, from the American Bar Association on iTunes, at Amazon, and presumably at Laguna Beach Books in Laguna Beach, California.

Here on The Legal Toolkit we provide you each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit so that your practices will become more and more like best practices.

In this episode, we are going to talk about the potential for the use of Digital Assistance in the Practice of Law. I’m talking about those personal digital assistance like the ones that exist on your phone or now through standalone devices in your home like Amazon Alexa.

Before I introduce today’s guests, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors.

First off, let’s welcome our new sponsor, Answer 1. Answer 1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800 Answer 1 or visiting them online at answer1.com, that’s HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/”www.answer1.com.

Scorpion delivers award-winning law firm website design and online marketing programs to get you more cases. Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, to attract new cases and grow their practices. For more information, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.scorpionlegal.com/podcast”scorpionlegal.com/podcast.

This podcast is also brought to you by Amicus Attorney, developers of legal practice management software. Let Amicus help you run your practice so that you can focus on what you do best, practice law. Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.amicusattorney.com/”amicusattorney.com and get started today.

Speaking of wish today, for your listening pleasure, we have two fantastic guests. First off there is Mitch Jackson, a partner at Jackson & Wilson in Laguna Hills, California. Mitch grew up on the famous Saddle and Surrey Guest Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, allowing him to hang-out with luminaries like Walt Disney and John Wayne. He has been a fisherman, hang glider, competed in motocross and several other things that are too dangerous for me to do.

Mitch graduated from the University of Arizona and decided to go to law school after meeting several successful lawyers while he was working at Caesars Palace in Lake Tahoe, California. His law partner is his wife and they have been practicing together since 1988. Mitch is a trial lawyer representing victims of personal injury and wrongful death. He was a 2009 Orange County trial lawyer of the year. He received the California Lawyers Attorney of the Year Award for litigation in 2013, and Jackson & Wilson is listed on the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

He is an active speaker on law practice management issues and maintains a robust social media profile, and I encourage you to go read his bio at his website, it’s pretty darn fascinating.

No less fascinating is our next guest, Louise Leduc Kennedy of West Hill Technology Counsel in Beverly, Massachusetts. We are neighbors actually. She is probably about five minutes from my house where we are recording this podcast.

Louise advises technology companies on strategic and commercial matters, including software commercialization, cloud computing, strategic alliances and all aspects of online business and contracting.

At West Hill, Louise is personally committed to advancing work-life balance as a business strategy. Before launching West Hill, Louise worked as an in-house counsel for IBM Corporation for 9 years. While there, Louise was brand counsel for Lotus Notes, Domino, Sametime and Lotus Live Engage, IBM’s debut SaaS Enterprise Collaboration option.

She started her career however at Robinson & Cole in Boston after graduating from the University Of Connecticut School Of Law.

Welcome to this show, Mitch and Louise.

Mitch Jackson: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Yeah, thanks for having us Jared.

Jared Correia: All right. So let’s start with Louise. As the Internet of Things, which I think we all know about, which lawyers may not generally know about, continues to creep into our lives, more and more of our stuff for lack of a better term becomes imbued with the power of the web.

So I think in the first instance the problem is that most lawyers don’t know what the Internet of Things means, what that concept is. So, Louise, let’s start with you, and can you explain that a little bit for the audience?

(00:04:58)

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Sure. So the Internet of Things refers to devices, but not the typical kind of devices that usually connect to the Internet like telephones and computers, but other devices throughout your home or your office that collect and exchange data over the Internet using embedded sensors.

So for example, cars, the software that’s involved in the cars that we drive every day, our kitchen appliances, there is also thermostats in our homes, and water meters, and most recently the debut of the personal digital assistance like the Echo and the Dot from Amazon for example.

Jared Correia: Ah, look at that, that’s a beautiful segue, we must have talked about this ahead of time. Right, we did, right? I think those are several good examples. The thing is that most people at a consumer level don’t even necessarily know that they are engaging these types of Internet-based technologies. I mean most people just get in their car and drive, and they don’t necessarily think that there is a lot of Internet of Things happening in that vehicle.

So, clearly I am a technologist, because I say things like Internet of Things. So let’s move on. Some of the things that you know about that are devices that are connected to the Internet, are these types of personal digital assistance because you have to turn them on, you have to have to ask them questions, ask them to do things.

So, let’s move on to talking a little bit about those. You have got smartphone applications like Siri and now there are these standalone devices that are in your home that are meant to navigate your home life, like Amazon’s Alexa, like Google’s Home.

So Mitch, can you talk about some of those options and the ways in which you have seen or could imagine law firms using these tools when people start to look at these things from a business perspective?

Mitch Jackson: Absolutely. So for the next three hours let me share with you exactly what I think.

Jared Correia: I’ll start the timer.

Mitch Jackson: Now, it’s just a couple of minutes. You said something earlier Jared that really struck me and I think for me it’s not really about tech or the interface, it’s all about the human experience that’s created by these types of products, by these types of services. And I think that’s the important part, being able to easily communicate through the Internet, to a service, to a product provider using your voice for example with Amazon Echo, with Siri, with Google Assistant, it makes connecting easier, it makes interfacing with other people at a human level easier. It’s more productive.

I think in today’s world we have two big assets that all of us are concerned with, and that’s time and attention. We don’t have enough time and we oftentimes can’t give our clients enough attention.

So any type of device that allows us to communicate using our voice, to communicate with our eyes, to communicate with the swipe or a tap, makes life easier.

What I have noticed with respect to the Amazon Echo, let’s just take that for example, is that it’s bridging the interface between somebody who may not be on the Internet with using the Internet. Our father-in-law was in his late 70s when we got him an Amazon Echo for his birthday and he uses it to listen to 50s and 40s music, and it’s the first time he has really used the Internet, using his voice commands or any other type of command for that matter to benefit from something the Internet has to offer.

If you take this type of technology into the law firm or into the courtroom, once again, I like to look at it as how does it help us better serve our clients. If we’re more efficient, if we’re more effective, if we can easily bring up the case using a voice command, we can research a statute, if we can do a background check on a person or a company using voice commands that makes life easier, it makes us more efficient and it’s just an exciting way to communicate and get more information in an easier fashion without having to use a keyboard or without having to use an expensive outside service.

So that’s where I see the big functionality being with these types of products and services.

Jared Correia: Yeah. And I think that’s a great point that you make about interaction. I think most people think of this as voice interaction, but you are right, there are so many different ways to do this. You are communicating with shifts of your eyes for example. I was watching especially the other day on somebody who had ALS and they were using a computer by typing through movements of their eyes. So I think this technology is pretty fascinating. However, I believe that if I ever got my in-laws an Amazon Alexa, they would be using it as a rolling pin within three days, so, maybe next Christmas.

Mitch Jackson: Jared, I thought the same thing, but let me just point out, when you — when they are able to say let me listen to Benny Goodman, and automatically it just brings up Benny Goodman’s music. It’s that easy and that’s why he uses it. And I think a lot of lawyers using voice commands might actually be a little bit more thorough in their research and in their preparation because it is easier.

(00:10:07)

Jared Correia: Yeah, less 10:8.

Mitch Jackson: — that’s for trial.

Jared Correia: Yeah, no that’s true. That’s an excellent point and I think you’re already influencing my Christmas based decisions and it’s only January, so thank you.

Let’s turn back to Louise here for a second and I know this is something Louise that you really specialize in. Can you talk a little bit about like this complex web of contracts that goes into creating relationships between the companies that offer personal digital assistance and technologies like that. And the consumers and eventually businesses who are going to start using these things and who already are using these things.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Yes, I definitely can. And it really is a web and that is the right word to use to describe it. I took a quick look at the Amazon device offering like Echo and the Dot and if you utilize Alexa using one of these devices, you agree to no less than eight separate customer agreements.

And they are all referred to each other, they are all intertwined and they all are required. Now that’s just to get onto the device. If you want to utilize any third party services through the device, you’re also subject to multiple agreements with those folks, their terms of use, their terms of service, their community guidelines, their privacy policies.

So on any given interaction with one of these assistance you could be subject to 10, 20, 30, more or more sets of legal terms, which is kind of crazy.

Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s a lot.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: The interesting thing about these terms – I mean yeah, and the interesting thing about these terms is they’re really not written sort of to be particularly consumer-friendly, even as an attorney trying to sort through how these different documents relate to each other is complicated.

And they have two things in common, pretty much all of these agreements and one is that they make absolutely no guarantee that the information you receive is accurate, reliable or complete and they also say that they can change the terms and conditions of any of these offerings at any time without any notice to you.

Jared Correia: It’s pretty broad.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Yeah, so when you take these three things together it kind of makes you wonder what you’re getting, and I appreciate that it might make your life easier, query whether it’s going to be sufficiently effective to really help you with a lot of the tasks that you might want to use it for.

Jared Correia: Yeah, and before we started recording this show, I said that Mitch is probably going to be the good cop and Louise is probably going to be the bad cop. So after Mitch tells you to use all this stuff, Louise tells you that there at least eight separate contracts for using this stuff and then we cue the sad trombone.

Sorry, Louise, you must get that a lot Louise.

Mitch Jackson: I actually agree with what she’s saying. It’s interesting when you look at all of the different contractual relationships and obligations that take place. I think that’s really important for people to know when you couple that with the fact that many experts are predicting that in the next 10 years, starting from this year, we’re going to see more digital changes in the next 10 years when it comes to personal assistance, when it comes to voice, when it comes to everything we’re talking about, than what we’ve seen over the last 50 years. That’s how exponentially fast digital is changing.

So along what she just said I would imagine that if the contractual relationships are going to exponentially increase also, that’s something that’s really important for consumers and for lawyers to pay attention to.

Jared Correia: Yeah, so let’s follow up on that directly Mitch. So for practicing lawyers who would like to use systems like this, and to become more efficient and better support their practices, how should those lawyers go about vetting products like these, from a security standpoint.

Mitch Jackson: From a security standpoint, I think you need to take a step back from the force so that you can see the trees. I recently consulted with a major player in the legal industry, I had to sign and execute a non-disclosure agreement but all I can tell you is that obviously the reason we’re talking about this during today’s podcast is because this is the future of the legal industry, it’s the future of really all industries.

And what I encourage people to do, especially lawyers, is I encourage them not to be afraid to kick the tires. I encourage them to start utilizing some of these devices so that they can get a better understanding of how these devices work. I don’t want people to be worried about making mistakes, I don’t want people worried about the downside all of the time. You also want to look at the upside.

There’s a quote by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group where Richard said, ‘You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.’

(00:14:56)

And I want lawyers and legal practitioners and people in the legal industry to embrace technology, to embrace digital and see if it works for them, but even more important see if it works to help them provide a better client experience.

So I would start slowly, maybe pick up an Amazon Echo and take it home, take it away from the firm and start using it on a personal level and start thinking to yourself, how can I use this device in the office to be more efficient, to be more effective, to be a better lawyer and to provide a better client experience.

Take the same concept into the courtroom, how can you use voice-activated personal devices to pick a better jury to better cross-examine a witness, to interact more effectively with opposing counsel or during your closing argument. I think the only limitation is your imagination, and so, I’m leaning more towards embracing this technology and using it for good, shall we say, while at all times appreciating that there’s a downside to all of this too.

So you want to make sure you’re complying with your State Bar rules, you want to make sure you’re complying and doing your due diligence when it comes to privacy, and you want to pay attention to Comment 8 in Rule 1.1 of the American Bar Association, Professional Rules of Conduct that talks about a lawyer’s duty to be confident when it comes to technology.

So there’s a lot to take into consideration, but I look at it as the glass-is-half-full, it’s never been more exciting as a lawyer or as a professional to practice law. And so I’m all-in on this technology.

Jared Correia: You are going Walt Disney for a little bit there. Go ahead Louise.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: As someone who works with these companies, these types of companies as their attorney and draft some of these terms and conditions, I completely agree. I think the technology is fascinating, I think it has endless possibilities.

The issues that I see for a lawyer using this as opposed to just the person using it in their home, is the fact that these devices log everything that you do, every query that you make and every – basically every interaction that you have with these devices. You can go in and you can erase some of that and they do, most of these devices have functionality to allow you to do that, but they warn against it, because it’ll really decrease the functionality and helpfulness of the tools.

So I think that it is important that attorneys or anyone who’s dealing in confidential or personal information is acutely aware that there is a database somewhere that they are not guaranteeing the security of that includes your interactions with the device.

Jared Correia: And that’s a good point, we’ll talk more about that later.

Mitch Jackson: Very well said and I agree 100%, that’s very important for all practitioners to keep in mind. There was a case in Arkansas, a murder case where the district attorney and prosecutors actually have tried to get the content, the information off of Alexa that was in the home of where the alleged murder took place. And there maybe data on that system and you guys may know more about this case than I do, but they’re trying to access the data to put together some evidence with respect to the prosecution.

So those are very real concerns that I think we’re all struggling with, we’re all trying to wrap our minds around, but I remember those same type of arguments the first time I brought a laptop into the courtroom to try a case. And our particular courthouse had not had that happen before, and it wasn’t allowed at the time. And now trying a case without a laptop would be unusual, although we still do it.

So it’s interesting how we all need to pay attention to the pros and the cons, adjust our activity and our conduct accordingly, and then probably move forward in a fashion that’s comfortable for each of us, but no, I actually agree with everything that Louise said.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: You know my favorite thing from that Arkansas case is the piece of evidence that they’ve already been able to get, the prosecutors, and it’s the information from the water meter at the home and that water meter recorded when certain amounts of water were being used at times that could look conspicuously like an effort to clean up.

So it’s not just a personal or digital assistance, it’s basically all of our environment as we sort of here move forward into this Internet of Things that will provide data about our day-to-day life.

Jared Correia: This was great. You guys can keep talking by the way if you want, I’ll just take a nap. Now, but in all seriousness I think this is a good conversation to have and this may be a good opportunity also to plug one of the other podcasts here on Legal Talk Network. I think Lawyer 2 Lawyer and one other program has done an episode on Amazon’s Alexa and that murder case specifically, so you want to check that out.

So I’ve asked my personal digital assistant and she or perhaps it’s it, tells me that we have to take a quick break. But we’ll be back soon with more from Louise Leduc Kennedy of West Hill Technology Counsel and Mitch Jackson of Jackson & Wilson.

(00:20:04)

[Music]

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Jared Correia: Hey, you came back? Thank God, I thought I was going to have to do the rest of the show myself. Now let’s continue our discussion with Mitch Jackson of Jackson & Wilson and Louise Leduc Kennedy of West Hill Technology Counsel.

So one of the key issues with respect of personal digital assistants relates to security, and we’ve already addressed this a little bit, but I want to follow specifically on one thing. Waking a device, activating that device should be harder than saying its name, right? Alexa or whatever, I mean, we’re concerned about passwords for email, so we should also be concerned about voice-activated passwords for personal digital assistance.

So Mitch, can you speak now to some of the practical security measures that lawyers seeking to use personal digital assistance in their business should be considering? So we’ve addressed the concerns, now let’s address what practical applications are available right now to sort of edge some of those security concerns in your mind?

Mitch Jackson: Absolutely, Jared, and that’s the important part. You can make this as complicated as you want or as simple as you want, and later on this month I’m speaking in Los Angeles at Summit.Live, I’ll be on stage with Robert Scoble, he used to be with Microsoft and Al Roker who you all know, who does the news but he’s very, very involved with live-streaming.

The reason I’ll be there is to share the legal side, frankly what we’re talking about right now, but we’ll be talking with creators and live-steamers from around the world and what I will be sharing with them is what I’m sharing with you.

You need to take precautions, you need to do your due diligence, you need to protect your confidential information as a lawyer when you’re using these devices. Most of these devices will allow you to circumvent a simple voice command to start up. There are devices that you can reconfigure by going into the Settings to require a password, to require something other than just a voice activation.

Now we encourage everyone to do that, be aware that just as though when you’re sending a letter through the mail that can easily be intercepted and opened up. The same thing happens on digital, except it’s actually much more difficult with passwords and security and things like that.

So what I would like to see with a lot of the personal digital devices that we’re seeing is better security. I think lawyers need to pay attention to that. You don’t need to be the first person on the block to use one of these new digital devices. You might want to wait until the 2.0 or the 3.0 version until the securities been built in. I think that’s really, really important.

What we’re looking at, Jared, is we are looking at this technology eventually being transformed into a very user-friendly, consumer-friendly, head-mounted display type of device where it not only incorporates voice commands but also VR, AR, AI, and mixed reality. And so when you’re giving a voice command using these HMDs, these Head-Mounted Displays, you have to be aware of where you are, what are you saying, can it be intercepted, is it security protected, and yes, as lawyers, as doctors, as accountants anyone who is dealing a confidential information, you need to be aware of whether or not the particular device you’re using will comply with your security needs.

(00:25:02)

So there’s no easy answer because this is all relatively new, and as Louise, I think, will tell you, things are changing quickly, technology is changing quickly and I think once the needs of an industry are communicated to the provider, the people that are creating these devices that nexus will be integrated more smoothly so that the protective aspect of these devices will be easily available.

Once again, the key here is ease-of-use. If it’s easy to use and it’s secure then you’ll get lawyers to start using these devices and you’ll start getting other professions to use them too. So you just have to be very, very careful.

Jared Correia: Those are great points and I think a lot of times with lawyers and other professionals the ease-of-use terms to security, they just want to get into these services so badly. So that’s good practical advice you gave, I think. I’m just going to digress for a moment and say when we’re all wearing virtual reality headgear, that is when you can find me in my mountain cave somewhere. I don’t know where it’s going to be located yet though.

So Louise, let’s go back to you, and this is something you brought up in the first half of the podcast, which, I’d like to give you the opportunities for a little bit more, if you have an interest in doing so. This idea of these devices being theoretically always on, always potentially listening, do you want to talk a little bit more about the dangers inherent there and maybe practical solutions for trying to tamp that down?

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Sure. Yep, absolutely, so one of the interesting issues with Alexa is that one of my clients has an in-house counsel named Alexa. So obviously at minimum you would need to change the trigger word or it would be recording all the time here. But another issue is the idea of the State and Federal wiretap laws. It’s funny because those laws were put in place to deal with telephone and other types of very sort of old-fashioned at this point technologies, but the reality is that if you have a device that’s recording someone who’s in your office other than yourself you could really run afoul of some of this law.

I know, here in Massachusetts, we need to have consent of both parties to be recorded and many other states are the same way. So I would be concerned about even someone visiting your home and having their voice recorded without their permission can be a pretty serious issue, and of course, there’s also issues related to children, the Alexa terms are very specific that these services are only for people ages 18 and over.

We know from the press that that is not always the case and children are ordering things online, accessing things online that might not be appropriate. So taking some care with regard to access by children is also going to be an important consideration.

And then trying to master the Settings on these devices, it’s a real challenge because they push you hard to leave the default settings saying that you’ll maximize the features, but if you want to actually protect your privacy, you may have to forego some features at least at this stage of where the technology is.

Jared Correia: Those are great practical solutions too. So between your answer and Mitch’s answer I think folks have some good places to go if they’re worried about security. There’s something you can do about it now.

Mitch Jackson: Yeah, Jared, obviously I agree with everything Louise just said. There is one thing that you can do at this point, 2017, until they perfect a lot of the issues that we’ve been talking about, if you’re using Alexa, for example, in your law firm, in your office or on your credenza, for example, which is where mine is just to check the weather, to check the traffic, to check the news. Listen, when a client comes in you can unplug it and you can move it to another room.

So as a lawyer you can take some very practical real-world steps to continue to protect your clients’ best interest with these new devices until the technology catches up with the requirements and demands that we have. And being an early adopter you’re putting yourself out there and you have to think ahead, and you have to be careful, and you have to make sure you’re not violating any of the rules that we’re talking about, but there are some very simple ways of doing that, maybe being selective with when you’re using these products or services.

Jared Correia: Yep, absolutely. People should think about whether or not they want to be an early adopter as you said and unplugging, that’s old school. I like it.

All right, Mitch, this one is for you too. So let’s talk a little bit about the future of personal digital assistance, let’s talk a little bit more about that, so we will spend the rest of the time here. There’s now available, if people want to go look it up online, a virtual home robot that’s being advertised, Azumi Hikari is her name and that’s a product out of Japan, I believe.

So, Mitch, do you think these holographic persons acting as digital assistance are actual robots in the future, assisting people or where we end up here? And if so, what’s the business case for using something like that?

(00:30:00)

Mitch Jackson: Well, I think the future is in everything we’re talking about. I don’t know if you can narrow it down to one type of robot, type of service, and I think what’s interesting is once again one of the things we’ll be talking about later this month at the conferences is, Goldman Sachs predicts that when you look at all categories of BR, when you look at technology, when you look at software, MR, and that’s kind of what we’re talking about with the voice activation, you’re looking at about a $110 billion industry by 2020, and with Head-Mounted Displays its anticipated that by 2025 we won’t be using our smartphones anymore, we’ll be using these wearable devices.

The question is, will we be using these wearable devices to communicate with, for example, the robot you just brought up or with that legal research we need to do, or if I’m picking a jury will I be communicating in real-time while trying a case here in California with my jury assistant back in New York and/or in Paris or London in real time while I’m interacting with the jury through my wearable device? They’re not even going to be knowing that I’m doing that, but they’re listening to the voice — interaction between me and my jury or the judge, or opposing counsel.

So yes, I see all of this happening at the personal level, I see this happening at the professional level, and I think law firms that embrace this technology and go out of their way to spend time learning how to use this technology will be the law firms that are relevant five to ten years down the road.

One big caveat is that in today’s world you’ve got to be transparent and if you can’t be transparent, I’m not talking about attorney-client private information; I’m talking about as a practitioner.

If you’re not transparent in today’s world it’s going to be hard for people to know like and trust you. And so, everything we’re talking about does revolve around transparency, it revolves about being digitally relevant and it involves embracing this new technology.

I was an early user of Google Glass it was a great product, we had fun with it while we were litigating, and I did try to try a couple of cases with it, but we weren’t able to get it while we settled the cases, but having settled that technology went a different direction than Google Glass, and as excited as we were about that product several years ago we’re now looking in a completely different direction at a completely different product.

I would encourage lawyers listening to this podcast to really pay attention to Head-Mounted Displays and how they relate to personal digital assistants that you interface with using your voice, because these items will allow you to use your voice to give commands they will be reading your eyes in order to understand what it is you want done, companies like Magic Leap out of Florida or companies that everybody needs to pay attention to, because they’re doing really, really amazing things although it’s very private, nobody really knows what they’re doing, but everyone’s excited about these types of companies.

And I’m just suggesting that law firms maybe take a step back and try to start doing things different than everyone else in town by embracing this technology, paying attention to the downside risk, but also really focusing on the upside benefits, and I think that’s a recipe for success for law firms over the next, oh, I don’t know, five to ten years.

Jared Correia: It’s pretty good summary. Now let’s talk about the risks, and I was taking notes by the way, so 2025 is when the headsets are coming out, so that’s when I’ll be living in the foothills of West Virginia and Shaq to say that out loud.

All right, Louise, let’s talk about like the personal digital assistant holograms, the robots. What is something like that going to do to the contract structures that make up the agreements between vendors and consumers?

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Well, Jared, I can really see this going one of two ways, and the first possibility is that individuals become much more aware of privacy and demand, more transparency from their vendors, and accordingly they demand simpler agreements that are easier to understand and clearer and simplified. I can see that totally happening, it happened in other industries and that is one possibility, but the second imply more likely possibility is that the technology evolves and gets more complex and the agreements similarly evolve and get more complex. I think the reason for that is because we’re entering times when large portions of the working population have grown up with the Internet, have grown up with the expectation of having things online and available and out there, and they don’t care that there’s a 17-page privacy policy associated with this offering, they’re just going to use it.

(00:35:05)

So my guess, looking into my crystal ball is that actually they could get more complex and more — trying to be more protective, and it really will turn out to be the courts that may have a real impact on that as well. We have not that much case law regarding the interpretation of these types of agreements. We’ve got a little bit of guidance about how to craft an agreement properly so that the user of a service is enough on notice to understand whether they’ve committed to arbitration or whether they’ve given up certain rights, but it’s still very, very limited in the courts, typically or 20-25 years behind the eight ball on this stuff. So I’ll be curious to see if there is an increase in the number of cases that can give more guidance to folks who are actually drafting these agreements.

Jared Correia: Yes, but betting on apathy always a good idea.

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Yes, unfortunately so.

Jared Correia: Yeah.

Mitch Jackson: You know what’s interesting, Jared is, is what Louise just mentioned, the courts are 15 to 25 years behind the times when it comes to Case Law yet consumers today want immediate results, they want to tap, they want to swipe, and they want an answer to their question. So as Louise just mentioned we are trying to balance where the consumer expectations are in today’s transparent world with our existing legal system, and that’s why I’m so excited about this, because I don’t know the answers, she doesn’t know the answers, we can look back on our appearances and maybe look at our crystal balls and give a well-informed opinion as to what might happen, but we’re balancing consumer expectations with technology and our court system. So who knows what the answers are going to be? I’m so glad you said that, Louise, because I think it’s so important.

Jared Correia: Well, thank you both. I thought this was a great episode. I think folks will learn a lot, I learned a lot and I’ll be back on future episodes of ‘The Legal Toolkit’ with further insights into my soul, the soul of America, and the legal market. However, if you’re feeling nostalgic for my dulcet tones you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at  HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com.

So let me again say thanks to Louise Leduc Kennedy of West Hill Technology Counsel and Mitch Jackson of Jackson & Wilson for spending some quality hang time with us at the Virtual Studios.

So, Louise, can you tell folks how to get more information about you and West Hill?

Louise Leduc Kennedy: Sure. I’d say the best way is to visit our website, which is, www.westhillcounsel.com, and you can find out about me and my colleagues and how we sort of are on the cutting edge of technology law here in Greater Boston.

Jared Correia: Yeah, Louise is doing some really great stuff, so check out her site. Now Mitch, your turn. How can people find out more about you and Jackson & Wilson?

Mitch Jackson: Well, Jared, thanks for having me on your podcast, really appreciate it. Our law firm is  HYPERLINK “http://www.jacksonandwilson.com” jacksonandwilson.com and then a lot of my social media and live streaming efforts are focused over at streaming.lawyer, and if anyone would like to connect with me on social just go to mitch.social and I’ll see everyone online.

Jared Correia: And Mitch has a fantastic social media presence as well as being an excellent lawyer so I would encourage you to check that out also.

So thanks again to Mitch Jackson of Jackson & Wilson and Louise Leduc Kennedy of West Hill Technology Counsel.

Thanks to all of you out there for listening and let me just say, if anything in this podcast about the future of our technology driven world disturbs you, do not watch season one of ‘Westworld’ on HBO. I’m out.

[Music]

Outro: Thanks for listening to ‘The Legal Toolkit’, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast, covering the current business trends for law firms.

If you like more information about today’s show please visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com, subscribe via iTunes and RSS. Find Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.

The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own, and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.

[Music]

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Episode Details
Published: February 17, 2017
Podcast: Legal Toolkit
Category: Legal Technology
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Legal Toolkit
Legal Toolkit

Legal Toolkit highlights services, ideas, and programs that will improve lawyers' practices and workflow.

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