New Book Chapter: “The Path of Big Data and the Law”

October 2nd, 2013

Earlier this year I participated in a great conference at Georgetown Law Center, titled “Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information.” West Academic Publishing will be publishing a volume, titled Big Data and the Law, compiling many of the essays of those who presented at the conference. My contribution will be titled “The Path of Big Data and the Law” (yes, playing on the title of the classic Holmes article).

My chapter, which summarizes several other pieces I am working on, highlights at a high level what it will mean for an algorithm to provide a legal service–with and without a lawyer–and what are the ethical, jurisprudential, and regulatory implications of this technology. I close by offering a preview into another paper I’m working on, Robot, Esq.

Here is the abstract:

Advances in artificial intelligence are transforming many aspects of our society, from Google’s autonomous cars to IBM’s Watson defeating the Jeopardy! world champion. The legal profession, as well, is evolving from today’s time-consuming, customized labor-intensive legal market to tomorrow’s on-demand, commoditized legal services market. Today, the legal services industry is standing at the dawn of what Professor Larry Ribstein referred to as Law’s Information Revolution. The promise of this revolution is the intersection, if not the collision, of the power of big data, and the law.

This essay opens the first chapter in this process, and sets forth an agenda of issues to consider as the intersection between law, technology, and justice merges. First, I break down the role of the lawyer, and posit how these familiar tasks can be automated. Next, I explore the ethical, jurisprudential, and regulatory implications of algorithms offering legal services. I conclude by offering a sketch of what the law offices of Robot, Esq. will be like.