Katz: The MIT School of Law? A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century

Daniel Martin Katz of Michigan State University has posted The MIT School of Law? A Perspective on Legal Education in the 21st Century, forthcoming in University of Illinois Law Review.

Here is a portion of the abstract, from Dan’s post about the article at Computational Legal Studies:

[...] This essay is offered as part of a symposium honoring the work of the late Larry Ribstein. It is a thought exercise about a hypothetical MIT School of Law—an institution with the type of curriculum that might help prepare students to have the appropriate level of substantive legal expertise and other useful skills that will allow them to deliver value to their clients as well as develop and administer the rules governing markets, politics, and society as we move further into the 21st Century. It is a blueprint based upon the best available information, and like any other plan of action would need to be modified to take stock of shifting realities over time. It is not a solution for all of legal education. Instead, it is a targeted description of an institution and its substantive content that could compete very favorably in the existing and future market. It is a depiction of an institution whose students would arguably be in high demand. It is a high-level sketch of an institution that would be substantively relevant, appropriately practical, theoretically rigorous and world class.

Part I offers an introduction to the question. Part II sets the stage by highlighting several recent trends in the market for legal services. Taking stock of those trends, Part III highlights an alternative paradigm for legal education and describes the polytechnic style of legal education that students might obtain at an MIT School of Law. Part IV carries through on that basic thought experiment by describing the process of attracting, training, and placing students that would occur at MIT Law. Part V provides some concluding thoughts.

Click here for slides of Dan’s presentation on this topic.

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Li et al.: Law is Code: A Software Engineering Approach to Analyzing the United States Code

William P. Li, Pablo Azar, David Larochelle, Phil Hill, and Andrew W. Lo have posted Law is Code: A Software Engineering Approach to Analyzing the United States Code, at SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

The agglomeration of rules and regulations over time has produced a body of legal code that no single individual can fully comprehend. This complexity produces inefficiencies, makes the processes of understanding and changing the law difficult, and frustrates the fundamental principle that the law should provide fair notice to the governed. In this article, we take a quantitative, unbiased, and software-engineering approach to analyze the evolution of the United States Code from 1926 to today. Software engineers frequently face the challenge of understanding and managing large, structured collections of instructions, directives, and conditional statements, and we adapt and apply their techniques to the U.S. Code over time. Our work produces insights into the structure of the U.S. Code as a whole, its strengths and vulnerabilities, and new ways of thinking about individual laws. For example, we identify the first appearance and spread of important terms in the U.S. Code like “whistleblower” and “privacy.” We also analyze and visualize the network structure of certain substantial reforms, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and show how the interconnections of references can increase complexity and create the potential for unintended consequences. Our work is a timely illustration of computational approaches to law as the legal profession embraces technology for scholarship, to increase efficiency, and to improve access to justice.

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Bruce: Caselaw is Set Free, What Next?

Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute has posted Caselaw is Set Free, What Next? at the Google Scholar Blog.

Here are excerpts from the post:

[...] Google Scholar’s caselaw collection is a victory for open access to legal information and the democratization of law. [...]

Five years ago, when Google Scholar added judicial opinions to its portfolio, it created an immediate sensation among lawyers. [...] And now there was access to a significant chunk of material that had previously been lodged firmly behind paywalls. It was linked and searchable, and still better, it offered a version of the citation-tracking and evaluation features that lawyers knew and loved in expensive commercial systems. It had first-class sorting and filtering features. It had Bluebook-form citations for each case [...]

Scholar’s immediate impact on the legal profession was owed in large part to its technical virtuosity. It was an unusual display of ingenuity used to democratize services and features whose value had mostly been known only to lawyers. [...]

Google Scholar’s caselaw collection offers features — such as citators — that are a step toward the “system of books” that would fully integrate primary legal sources and commentary into a practical resource for public understanding and professional practice. The legal-information ecosystem on the Web as a whole is moving in that direction. As that progresses, the benefits to everyone affected by law — which is to say, everyone, period — will be enormous. We will move beyond making law available on the Web to making it truly accessible on the Web — not just discoverable, but understandable. [...]

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT @LIICornell

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Parelon: New legislative crowdsourcing platform for Lazio, Italy

Parelon is a new online legislative system of Regional Council of Lazio, Italy, that permits crowdsourcing of legislative drafting.

Parelon is the subject of a new article in Wired Italy: Guido Romeo: Ecco Parelon, il parlamento elettronico è operativo in Lazio.

Parelon seems to be a new and augmented version of the legislative crowdsourcing platform, Sistema Operativo, developed by Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement.

Here is information about the technology of Parelon, from the platform’s Website and from Monica Palmirani of CIRSFID at the University of Bologna, which is participating in the development of the platform:

  • Parelon uses Liquid Feedback software
  • Parelon runs on PostgreSQL
  • Parelon is using Akoma Ntoso as Legal XML standard for improving the eParticipation in crowdsourcing and cooperative manner.”
  • “CIRSFID is in contact with the Parelon technical team for supporting them in the integration of LIME web editor in the Parelon platform.”
  • “[CIRSFID] intends also to experiment some gamification user-interface techniques in order to help the end-users to better participate in the bill drafting activity.”
  • AT4AM (EU Parliament) supported the project under technical point of view.”

Professor Palmirani also says: “Davide Barillari, member of the Regional Council of Lazio, presented Parelon’s architecture in Summer School LEX2014.”

Click here for an earlier post about Sistema Operativo.

Thanks to Professor Palmirani for sharing the information provided above.

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Legal technology panels accepted for SXSW 2015 Interactive

At least four legal technology panels appear to have been accepted for SXSW 2015 Interactive, scheduled to be held 13-17 March 2015 in Austin, Texas, USA:

For more details, please click the links above to see panel descriptions.

The complete list of accepted panels is posted at: http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/conference/2015-sessions

Click here for a list of legal technology panels original proposed for SXSW 2015 Interactive.

If you know of other legal technology panels accepted for SXSW 2015 Interactive, please feel free to describe them in the comments to this post.

HT @DCLegalHackers

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Hwang: The Legal Innovation Defense Fund

Tim Hwang of the Data and Society Institute invites participation in a new project: The Legal Innovation Defense (LID) Fund, described in a new post at Robot Robot and Hwang.

Here are excerpts from the post:

[...] Today, I want to propose an idea [...]: The Legal Innovation Defense (LID) Fund. The idea is simple: the LID Fund will create a collective insurance program that provides a defense system against the low probability, high impact possibility that a new technology in the legal space will be later discovered to have engaged in UPL [unauthorized practice of law].

There are three components to this project. First, the money: LID would be funded by two main types of actors. There would be a set of smaller startups, non-profits, and other organizations experimenting in legal technology that would pay a small monthly fee for membership in the coalition. We also envision a group of larger institutional supporters and investors with interests in shaping the overall landscape of law around UPL.

Second, the shield: upon facing an UPL action, coalition members would be permitted to trigger the assistance of the LID Fund. The program would deploy not only a preset insurance payment to support the litigation effort, but also would supply legal experts well versed in the law around UPL to guide the challenge. The upshot of this is that the LID Fund would provide insulation to its members from the risks around UPL, and assurance to their stakeholders. Simultaneously, it would support impact litigation in the legal technology space.

Third, the research: LID would be the center of a network of organizations working in legal technology and would be an organization involved in UPL challenges nationally. To that end, it would be able to provide ongoing research and policy work on the evolving state of technological innovation in the legal industry and the landscape of law surrounding the use of those technologies. [...]

So with that, this blog post officially puts out the call for willing hands to help launch this initiative: Would you support an initiative like LID? Would you take advantage of the kind of insurance that LID would offer to pursue a legal technology project or business? Do you know of an institutional supporter that would join this effort?

RR&H is seeking any and all assistance and advice as we make a push to turn this into a reality. We also intend to convene a meeting of interested parties in the near future – so get in touch by dropping a line to tim@robotandhwang.com. Keep your eyes on this space! [...]

For more details or to contact Tim, please see the complete post.

HT @RobotandHwang

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24 October: Extended deadline for JURIX 2014 Doctoral Consortium

The submission deadline has been extended to 24 October 2014 for the Doctoral Consortium at JURIX 2014: International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, scheduled to be held 10 December 2014, at Jagiellonian University in Kraków.

Papers are invited on any of the topics described in the main conference call for papers, concerning the theory, technology, or application of artificial intelligence and law.

An award will be given to the submission featuring “the most original and groundbreaking research.”

For more details and submission instructions, please see the complete call for papers.

HT @MonicaPalmirani

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