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    May 19th, 2016

    ♫ The future is here inside my hands
    As I travel the unknown…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Coldrain.



    William Gibson coined the phrase: “The Future is already here – is just not very evenly distributed.”

    Well a very telling sign that the future is arrived is the appearance of a robot inside a law firm.

    Fortune Magazine, in an article entitled: “Meet Ross, the World’s First Robot Lawyer” states that:

    “Global law firm Baker & Hostetler, one of the nation’s largest, recently announced that it has hired a robot lawyer created by ROSS Intelligence, Futurism reports. Ross will be employed in the law firm’s bankruptcy practice which currently employs close to 50 lawyers.”

    Ross is based on IBM’s Watson.  He? She? (not sure how to genderize a machine – guess you select gender based on their name.  What about a robot named Lindsay?..hmmm) would be the perfect associate.  Finally firms can legitimately bill them out for working 24 hours a day. But I digress.  Ross is described as follows:

    “It can understand your questions, and respond with a hypothesis backed by references and citations. It improves on legal research by providing you with only the most highly relevant answers rather than thousands of results you would need to sift through. Additionally, it is constantly monitoring current litigation so that it can notify you about recent court decisions that may affect your case, and it will continue to learn from experience, gaining more knowledge and operating more quickly, the more you interact with it.”

    When man (or for that matter, women) go up against a machine, we all know that eventually the machine wins. Take Jeopardy! for example. So how long before the legions of young associate lawyers in firms are replaced by Ross-clones? For that matter, wouldn’t clients hire their own Ross (or get a slice of his/her time by sharing him/her with other corporations) and cut the law firm out of the equation altogether?

    Does a robot lawyer have to pass the bar exam?  What about insurance coverage, bar dues and continuing professional development? Is it possible to program the “evil robot lawyer” whose instructions are advising on ways to skirt, bend or break legal and ethical rules?

    The appearance of the world’s first robot lawyer is indeed a momentous occasion. However, I can’t help but feel the future is now here inside our hands…


    This entry was posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 9:20 am and is filed under Adding Value, Business Development, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    One Response to “The Future is Now”
    1. David Bjornson Says:

      Great article! This is so interesting.

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