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(Some Guy)   Could lawyers be replaced by clever computer algorithms? "But it's not just about sticking it to lawyers," they say. But that's the best part, obviously   (nfsleasing.com) divider line 60
    More: Interesting, legal aid, algorithms  
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1193 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 Oct 2012 at 1:55 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-02 11:59:51 AM  
www.hwdyk.com
 
2012-10-02 12:04:05 PM  
Yes, for a lot of very basic legal questions, and for the basic drafting of simple documents.

For all the fiddly bits? Not so much.
 
2012-10-02 12:28:11 PM  
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers algorithms

/naw... doesn't have the same ring to it
 
2012-10-02 12:44:50 PM  
Computers will never be as creatively devious and evil as a human lawyer can be
 
2012-10-02 12:45:38 PM  

Rincewind53: Yes, for a lot of very basic legal questions, and for the basic drafting of simple documents.

For all the fiddly bits? Not so much.

 
2012-10-02 12:48:11 PM  
Computers will probably get rid of a lot of doc review people, though.
 
2012-10-02 01:03:46 PM  
at least the computers will have better personalities
 
2012-10-02 01:07:25 PM  
It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

Try reading all of that fine print on a charge card application or statement, which basically says 'we reserve the right to screw you out of as much money as we can possibly get away with.'

Between distorting the truth, hiding client favoring conditions in obscuring text and finding all sorts of new ways to sue the krap out of everyone for fun and profit, now they offer a service to explain the mess they made.

For a fee.
 
2012-10-02 01:10:31 PM  
So it's an ad for a screening/referral company that will save us the administrative time and effort of collecting client information, then will feed them to us for a fee? And this is somehow supposed to "stick it" to us? Cute.

Rik01: It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.


Reality is complicated. The economy is complicated. Wear a f*cking helmet.
 
2012-10-02 02:07:21 PM  
As long as they make the computer dress like Miles Edgeworth...
 
2012-10-02 02:17:00 PM  

kronicfeld: Wear a f*cking helmet.


A Pickelhaube?
 
2012-10-02 02:18:20 PM  

Rik01: It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

Try reading all of that fine print on a charge card application or statement, which basically says 'we reserve the right to screw you out of as much money as we can possibly get away with.'

Between distorting the truth, hiding client favoring conditions in obscuring text and finding all sorts of new ways to sue the krap out of everyone for fun and profit, now they offer a service to explain the mess they made.

For a fee.


One day I'm going to cross out a bunch the fine print on the card offers, put in my own terms, send it back and if they send me a card I'm off and running.
 
2012-10-02 02:18:38 PM  
This sounds like a job for.

imgs.xkcd.com

The Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister
 
2012-10-02 02:19:09 PM  

kronicfeld: So it's an ad for a screening/referral company that will save us the administrative time and effort of collecting client information, then will feed them to us for a fee? And this is somehow supposed to "stick it" to us? Cute.

Rik01: It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

Reality is complicated. The economy is complicated. Wear a f*cking helmetEducate yourself.

 
2012-10-02 02:22:06 PM  

whither_apophis: One day I'm going to cross out a bunch the fine print on the card offers, put in my own terms, send it back and if they send me a card I'm off and running.



+1.  I like it.
 
2012-10-02 02:28:51 PM  
3.bp.blogspot.com

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my iPhone, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know - a man that has a machine for an attorney has no case!
 
2012-10-02 02:31:29 PM  
There are very few non-physical jobs that couldn't be replaced with clever computer algorithms.
 
2012-10-02 02:37:47 PM  
can't wait to read the EULA's.
 
2012-10-02 02:44:37 PM  

mr lawson: can't wait to read the EULA's.


cache.reelz.com

EULA. EULA. EULA.
 
2012-10-02 02:47:25 PM  
There already is a lot of legal software that assists with rote tasks like contract drafting and case law searches. Heck, the article itself only claims that some labour would be saved be developing a sophisticated FAQ for clients. None of this will get rid of lawyers however, in the same way that improvements in accounting and financial software haven't gotten rid of accountants or investment bankers. The amount of abstract thinking (and, to a lesser degree, emotional understanding) required for a software replacement is simply not possible with our current level of AI sophistication.
 
2012-10-02 02:49:54 PM  
They should let WATSON take the bar and see how well it scores.
 
2012-10-02 02:56:13 PM  
Sure... Simple wills, leases, etc.? You can mostly do standard contracts for these anyway. And for the complicated stuff, generally you know that you're dealing with complicated stuff (or the triage algorithms will point out that you are), and you can contact a lawyer.
The problem is if that triage algorithm pointing out step doesn't work. If you're dealing with something complex, but you think it's straightforward, you may make an unreasonable assumption that farks you five years later.

Of course, built into this will be contractual language that the triage company isn't responsible if you do make that unreasonable assumption... so it will end up screwing well-meaning little guys who are trying to save money, while benefiting evil-meaning rich guys who will be able to fight the little guys much more easily.
 
2012-10-02 03:15:21 PM  
Computers are not mobil enough to chase ambulances, submitter. Who will chase the ambulances!?
 
2012-10-02 03:15:57 PM  
Well, mobile anyway.....
 
2012-10-02 03:30:11 PM  
Rik01:
It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

1. Lawyers do not write the law (at least, not the lawyers you pay to work on your legal shiat).
2. Legal language is complex and convoluted because it has to be unambiguous. HAS TO. A contract should not use language that means different things to the different parties involved. A judge should not have to try and figure out if an offender broke the law or not because a law was written vaguely. A will should not accidentally leave the same trust fund to two different children. Legalese prevents this.
 
2012-10-02 03:38:23 PM  
Lawyers are going to do their best to make this illegal
 
2012-10-02 03:41:54 PM  

basemetal: Computers are not mobil enough to chase ambulances, submitter. Who will chase the ambulances!?


Obviously, this is what we need humanoid robots for.
 
2012-10-02 03:42:42 PM  

imontheinternet: [3.bp.blogspot.com image 715x478]

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever.. Sometimes when I get a message on my iPhone, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know! My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know - a man that has a machine for an attorney has no case!


+10. Like.
 
2012-10-02 03:49:21 PM  

ROBO-Jesus: There already is a lot of legal software that assists with rote tasks like contract drafting and case law searches. Heck, the article itself only claims that some labour would be saved be developing a sophisticated FAQ for clients. None of this will get rid of lawyers however, in the same way that improvements in accounting and financial software haven't gotten rid of accountants or investment bankers. The amount of abstract thinking (and, to a lesser degree, emotional understanding) required for a software replacement is simply not possible with our current level of AI sophistication.


All that aside, all legal software should be illegal. The reason for this is closely analogous to the current restrictions on medicine. Do you REALLY want uninformed consumers self-medicating for any illness? That's totally irresponsible. PEOPLE MUST BE PROTECTED AGAINST THEIR OWN IGNORANCE! Same as with vets: do you really want uneducated people treating their own pets? Same as with dentists. Do you want that filling filled by just anybody? How about priests? Can just anybody speak for God? Attorneys are DOCTORS OF THE LEGAL SOUL, and must maintain a state-granted monopoly over all legal issues. It's for your own good, you know.

/this message vetted and approved by an actual attorney.
 
2012-10-02 04:05:52 PM  
Presumably they would work the same way popup windows work:

"Would you like to plead guilty? Y/N"
"N"
"Would you like to plead guilty? Y/N"
"N"
"Would you like to plead guilty? Y/N"
click "x"
.....
"Would you like to plead guilty?"
 
2012-10-02 04:07:31 PM  

NowhereMon: Computers will never be as creatively devious and evil as a human lawyer can be


Creative? Nah. Cold and evil yes.
 
2012-10-02 04:12:44 PM  

basemetal: Who will chase the ambulances!?


Clouds, of course!
Ain't you heard of cloud computing?

/they see all
 
2012-10-02 04:12:51 PM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: All that aside, all legal software should be illegal. The reason for this is closely analogous to the current restrictions on medicine. Do you REALLY want uninformed consumers self-medicating for any illness? That's totally irresponsible. PEOPLE MUST BE PROTECTED AGAINST THEIR OWN IGNORANCE! Same as with vets: do you really want uneducated people treating their own pets? Same as with dentists. Do you want that filling filled by just anybody? How about priests? Can just anybody speak for God? Attorneys are DOCTORS OF THE LEGAL SOUL, and must maintain a state-granted monopoly over all legal issues. It's for your own good, you know.


I'm sure medical doctors are wary of sites like WebMD because they get patients who have self-diagnosed themselves with ridiculous ailments, but I'm not so sure that lawyers would be as upset with that kind of competition. Odds are the person relying on representation from Internet & Associates is getting some pretty questionable advice and will likely miss key aspects that even a crummy lawyer would catch. It's not so much that amateurs are incapable of performing "legal surgery" (to use your metaphor), but most probably aren't aware or used to the thought process required to properly protect yourself.

Case-in-point: the company I work for recently let go our bookkeeper who was a part-time independent contractor. His contract, which he had gotten from some template website, contained a clause saying that we had to give at least 60 days notice. Unfortunately the contract was silent on the question of how many hours - if any - he would be working. We just told him we were terminating the agreement 60 days down the line though we "probably" wouldn't need him to come in until then.
 
2012-10-02 04:17:51 PM  

mr lawson: basemetal: Who will chase the ambulances!?

Clouds, of course!
Ain't you heard of cloud computing?

/they see all


I really don't trust clouds, at all
 
2012-10-02 04:42:48 PM  

Rik01: It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

Try reading all of that fine print on a charge card application or statement, which basically says 'we reserve the right to screw you out of as much money as we can possibly get away with.'

Between distorting the truth, hiding client favoring conditions in obscuring text and finding all sorts of new ways to sue the krap out of everyone for fun and profit, now they offer a service to explain the mess they made.

For a fee.


To be fair, a good portion of that wasn't written by lawyers - it was written by bankers and finance people using banking and finance terms of art, who only asked the lawyers to make sure they weren't going to be laughed out of court.

I'm an attorney, and the language on those things is not complex because it's legal-ese. It's complex because I finance person wanted to specify how he could win both ways and just used the lawyer to keep it legal.

Choice of venue or law, that you can blame on the lawyers...
 
2012-10-02 04:49:28 PM  

basemetal: Well, mobile anyway.....


that is why lawyer AI is breeding cars at google
 
2012-10-02 04:52:16 PM  

ROBO-Jesus: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: All that aside, all legal software should be illegal. The reason for this is closely analogous to the current restrictions on medicine. Do you REALLY want uninformed consumers self-medicating for any illness? That's totally irresponsible. PEOPLE MUST BE PROTECTED AGAINST THEIR OWN IGNORANCE! Same as with vets: do you really want uneducated people treating their own pets? Same as with dentists. Do you want that filling filled by just anybody? How about priests? Can just anybody speak for God? Attorneys are DOCTORS OF THE LEGAL SOUL, and must maintain a state-granted monopoly over all legal issues. It's for your own good, you know.

I'm sure medical doctors are wary of sites like WebMD because they get patients who have self-diagnosed themselves with ridiculous ailments, but I'm not so sure that lawyers would be as upset with that kind of competition. Odds are the person relying on representation from Internet & Associates is getting some pretty questionable advice and will likely miss key aspects that even a crummy lawyer would catch. It's not so much that amateurs are incapable of performing "legal surgery" (to use your metaphor), but most probably aren't aware or used to the thought process required to properly protect yourself.

Case-in-point: the company I work for recently let go our bookkeeper who was a part-time independent contractor. His contract, which he had gotten from some template website, contained a clause saying that we had to give at least 60 days notice. Unfortunately the contract was silent on the question of how many hours - if any - he would be working. We just told him we were terminating the agreement 60 days down the line though we "probably" wouldn't need him to come in until then.


I don't know any details, but beyond being shady, that may actually not be 100% ok. Reasonableness and party expectations is a pretty key part of contract law. If you cut him from 25 to 0 hours without notice that may be considered constructive termination without notice and a breach of contract.

Not a legal opinion, but proof that legal issues can be more complex than people realize without getting an actual legal opinion from a qualified lawyer.

/which I'm not. And that wasn't.
 
2012-10-02 05:02:29 PM  

ROBO-Jesus: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: All that aside, all legal software should be illegal. The reason for this is closely analogous to the current restrictions on medicine. Do you REALLY want uninformed consumers self-medicating for any illness? That's totally irresponsible. PEOPLE MUST BE PROTECTED AGAINST THEIR OWN IGNORANCE! Same as with vets: do you really want uneducated people treating their own pets? Same as with dentists. Do you want that filling filled by just anybody? How about priests? Can just anybody speak for God? Attorneys are DOCTORS OF THE LEGAL SOUL, and must maintain a state-granted monopoly over all legal issues. It's for your own good, you know.

I'm sure medical doctors are wary of sites like WebMD because they get patients who have self-diagnosed themselves with ridiculous ailments, but I'm not so sure that lawyers would be as upset with that kind of competition. Odds are the person relying on representation from Internet & Associates is getting some pretty questionable advice and will likely miss key aspects that even a crummy lawyer would catch. It's not so much that amateurs are incapable of performing "legal surgery" (to use your metaphor), but most probably aren't aware or used to the thought process required to properly protect yourself.

Case-in-point: the company I work for recently let go our bookkeeper who was a part-time independent contractor. His contract, which he had gotten from some template website, contained a clause saying that we had to give at least 60 days notice. Unfortunately the contract was silent on the question of how many hours - if any - he would be working. We just told him we were terminating the agreement 60 days down the line though we "probably" wouldn't need him to come in until then.


Your sarcasm meter needs adjustment.
 
2012-10-02 05:15:11 PM  
Replace "lawyer" with "human resources representative" in this thread and we have a winner.
 
2012-10-02 05:18:20 PM  

Deneb81: I don't know any details, but beyond being shady, that may actually not be 100% ok. Reasonableness and party expectations is a pretty key part of contract law. If you cut him from 25 to 0 hours without notice that may be considered constructive termination without notice and a breach of contract.

Not a legal opinion, but proof that legal issues can be more complex than people realize without getting an actual legal opinion from a qualified lawyer.


If he were an employee it would have been a big no-no (without question - Canadian labour laws are far more protective of the employee than those in the US) but he was actually an incorporated company so it was purely a business-to-business relationship. Since he "drafted" the contract he would have had a very hard time arguing he wasn't actually aware what it contained, and since there had been a fair bit of fluctuation in his hours already there was no clear standard of what he'd work over the next two months. Had he objected we probably would have given him a small amount of work but he didn't bring it up. I agree that we weren't 100% safe, but on the balance of probabilities the risk was small.


Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Your sarcasm meter needs adjustment.


Nah, you were pretty obvious. But you raised a good point anyway.
 
2012-10-02 05:41:28 PM  
whither_apophis:

One day I'm going to cross out a bunch the fine print on the card offers, put in my own terms, send it back and if they send me a card I'm off and running.




OMFG that's too awesome. Has anyone ever done this? If not, I think you kinda have to.

/For science!
//And for GREAT JUSTICE!!!
///ok, really just for teh lulz...
 
2012-10-02 05:54:49 PM  
Unlike many professions, law is ideal for implementation on an expert system.

1. All of the law and legal precedence exists and is public.
2. Legal-speak has precise meanings. Precision is something computers are very good at.
3. Everything flows logically from law and legal precedence. (Appealing to emotions in trials is always an attempt to get the jury to IGNORE the law, which they are allowed to do. - look it up)
4. The results would be so complete and so interwoven that no human lawyer could ever figure out what had been said.
 
2012-10-02 05:57:46 PM  

natazha: Everything flows logically from law and legal precedence.


No, I'm afraid this is the "???" in the underpants gnomes' plan.
 
2012-10-02 06:19:11 PM  
natazha

While it is true that case law is public, how that case law is applied can be extremely complex. Also, the case law can change over time so just because it is out there does not mean it is valid or should remain valid.

What you call appealing to emotion is more often than not pointing out inconsistencies that make the prosecution's/plaintiff's case not reach the burden of proof or just putting forth alternative theories. And they are allowed to ignore the law as you say but good luck getting a jury instruction that lets jurors know that in a trial. Typically judges do not let the jury nullification instruction in.
 
2012-10-02 06:57:13 PM  
A good lawyer finds the law.

A GREAT lawyer traces the evolution of the law with a keen eye to the facts of the cases, attitudes of the times, and policies articulated.

Can a computer algorithm find 95% of that? Yes.

Can a computer algorithm find that one case from 30 years ago that isn't actually germane to the exact issue, but has such compelling dicta or such a similar fact pattern with an amazing result that it pushes your argument to the next level? Probably not in this lifetime.
 
2012-10-02 06:58:43 PM  
I think we should master Artificial Intelligence first, before trying our hand at Conniving Intelligence.
 
2012-10-02 07:16:55 PM  

Moridion: What you call appealing to emotion is more often than not pointing out inconsistencies that make the prosecution's/plaintiff's case not reach the burden of proof or just putting forth alternative theoriesarguing the facts


Most litigation has absolutely nothing to do with figuring out what the applicable law is. Most has everything to do with determining whose version of the facts is more correct or believable. Let's see a computer do that.
 
2012-10-02 07:20:27 PM  

Rik01: It was bound to come to this. Lawyers made the language of the law so convoluted and confusing that average folks had to pay them to understand it. A win-win situation for them.

Try reading all of that fine print on a charge card application or statement, which basically says 'we reserve the right to screw you out of as much money as we can possibly get away with.'

Between distorting the truth, hiding client favoring conditions in obscuring text and finding all sorts of new ways to sue the krap out of everyone for fun and profit, now they offer a service to explain the mess they made.

For a fee.


This is a fun game. I like to challenge people to suggest an alternative to the law that exists. ("No law" is not an option. Anyone over four years old -- hell, two -- should understand that law is necessary, because people are going to be schmucks. Until the Second Coming, this is one evil that truly is necessary.) I let them offer a few suggestions. Then I start asking questions. Hypotheticals. They start modifying their draft. If the game went on long enough, you'd end up with something not very unlike what we have now. Because yes, that's what you actually need to run a huge, complex society. And because the world is constantly changing, the law must constantly change, too, either through amendment or through reinterpretation.

When I need work on my plumbing, I hire a plumber. I've never accused plumbers of deliberately making plumbing too complicated and confusing for me to handle myself, just so they can make me pay for it. And it would be ludicrous for me to suppose that it could be made simple enough for me to never have to hire a plumber again, yet perform as well.
 
2012-10-02 07:20:54 PM  
Once my Lenovo figures out how to sneak and envelope full of cash to a judge, I'll start to worry.
 
2012-10-02 07:22:36 PM  

natazha: Unlike many professions, law is ideal for implementation on an expert system.

1. All of the law and legal precedence exists and is public.
2. Legal-speak has precise meanings. Precision is something computers are very good at.
3. Everything flows logically from law and legal precedence. (Appealing to emotions in trials is always an attempt to get the jury to IGNORE the law, which they are allowed to do. - look it up)
4. The results would be so complete and so interwoven that no human lawyer could ever figure out what had been said.


"If the glove does not fit I must acquit but the DNA matches, but the glove does not fit, but the DNA matches... bbzzz error error error, Scalia must coordinate, Scalia must coordinate!"
 
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