AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum | January/February 2016 | Volume 20, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

Issue link: http://epubs.aallnet.org/i/628170

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | AALL SPECTRUM 39 there's all the knowledge available in the wider legal market, which can form the basis of competitive intelligence to sup- port the firm's strategic decisions. And just wait until metrics are developed to assess the quality of outcomes generated for clients. Extracting all that informa- tion and converting it into actionable knowledge represents a tremendous opportunity for law firm knowledge professionals. Artificial Intelligence. Or Cognitive Computing Systems. Or Augmented Human Intelligence. Or Skynet. Whatever we end up calling it, artificial intelligence in the law will replicate more and more of the basic reasoning tasks that lawyers traditionally have undertaken. IBM Watson is the most famous of these tools, and IBM is investing a lot of time and money into its professional sector applications, but there are many more angles and dimen- sions to legal AI. Law librarians and legal researchers can be on the front lines of the effort to figure out what machine learning in the law can do and how it can create value by reducing costs, increasing speed, and enhancing the firm's quality and value for clients. It's become trite to talk about disruption in the legal sector, and it's true that the word does get overused. Lawyers and law firms will be with us for a long time yet, and so will the legal professionals who support them. But it's increasingly apparent that technology and process are going to seriously dis- rupt the business model and accompa- nying infrastructure with which lawyers have built those law firms. In the future, legal work will be performed more efficiently, more systematically, against clearer procedural standards, with more sophisticated tools, and leverag- ing deeper databases of information than has ever been the case in the past. Knowledge, technology, and process will be the keys to this castle. So I would encourage law librarians, legal knowledge managers, and all legal information professionals to identify the emerging opportunities in this new market and seek out leadership roles for the coming transformation of the law firm business model. Legal knowl- edge, and its expert practitioners, will be essential to the success of law firms of the future. ¢ firms hard to demonstrate adoption of some sort of process management system. Knowledge professionals can support the work of the firm's pro- cess improvement initiatives through information and training sessions. Or they could help lead these initiatives by conducting process mapping exercises (identifying and streamlining the steps involved in carrying out legal tasks) and sketching out the blueprints for project management. Firm Productivity. Traditional law firms still measure productivity by volume of lawyers' billed hours, which tells you all you need to know about those firms' long-term sustainability. Building upon process improvement efforts, new-model firms will scruti- nize the costs of serving clients against the revenues generated, differentiating profitable engagements from vanity projects. ey will create pricing mech- anisms that ensure fixed-fee offerings can actually generate profits. ey will identify the leading contributors of value to the firm and find metrics that reveal the people and processes that generate the most value, so that these can be rewarded and encouraged. Law firm productivity will be redefined in rational business terms, and applied knowledge systems will lead the way. Data and Analytics. Big Data isn't actu- ally all that big in the legal world, but there's more than enough to reward its exploration and application. ere is an enormous amount of latent and implicit information contained inside both law firms and their clients, as well as within the interactions between them, wait- ing to be accessed and analyzed. en Jordan Furlong is a leading legal industry analyst and consultant who forecasts the impact of the changing legal market on lawyers, clients, and legal organizations. A prin- cipal with global consulting firm Edge International, he is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and Advisory Board Co-Chair of the Institute for Law Practice Management and Innovation at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where he also serves as the Legal Strategist in Residence. Mr. Furlong is the author of Evolutionary Road (published by Attorney at Work) and Content Marketing and Publishing Strategies for Law Firms (co-authored with Steve Matthews, published by The Ark Group) and has written more than 450 articles and posts that can be accessed on his website, Law21.ca. © 2016 BY JORDAN FURLONG READ Jean O'Grady's article "Hand in Hand with IBM Watson" in the September/ October 2015 of AALL Spectrum at bit.ly/SO15IBMWatson. VIEW 2015 AALL Annual Meeting session "Doctor, Lawyer, Contestant, Chef: How New Cognitive Technology will Drive the Transformation of Society as We Know It" at bit.ly/AALL15IBMWatson. JORDAN FURLONG Principal, Edge International Senior Consultant, Stem Legal Publisher, Law21 Ottawa, Canada jordan@law21.ca Law librarians and legal information professionals are ideally posi- tioned to lead their firms' efforts in identifying, capturing, analyzing, integrating, and creating value from these information sources.

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