New exit strategy pressure for legal service providers
Do legal tech companies and other providers like legal process outsourcing and managed legal services need an exit strategy?
Ron Friedmann has posed that question in an article he wrote for Legal Business World. As partner at Fireman & Company, a legal industry-focused management consulting firm, you would think he has the answer, but he says beyond speculation that he doesn’t know.
As a professional consultant who specializes in providing procurement and spend management support for law firms and corporations, I can attest that our services are in demand and changing in terms of needs. The objective is no longer just immediate savings for a new contract or renewal. Our clients are in need of innovative solutions that measurably reduce costs, decrease the time for renewing services and make their procurement process more efficient. Often, firms will have staffs that possess the financial and numbers crunching background, but not the knowledge and intricacies of the services in their portfolios. I agree with Ron, that any successful LPOs or Legal Services Providers must have talented professional teams with hands on experience. These teams must continue to hone their knowledge and skills in their respective areas, to meet the demands of their client base. Companies providing legal services cannot flourish without a gifted team that supports their goals and continued success.
Fake news threats and consequences
2017 may be remembered as the year when we lost our ability to discern factual information from opinion, bias, misrepresentation and outright lying.
Association of American Medical Colleges CEO and physician Darrell G. Kirch expresses his concerns on bias and fear as the enemies of the truth revealed by science. He writes,
“I am concerned that today we face a growing threat to science, to truth, and to our ethics. In 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary selected ‘post-truth’ as its word of the year, defining the term as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’”
Combatting false information in Facebook
Of all the social media sites criticized for fake news, Facebook is probably at the top. The company has been taking steps to combat the problem—enlisting users to spot and report articles that may be false, contracting with outside fact-finding firms like PolitiFact and Snopes, using artificial intelligence and employing its own fact-checking operation, as limited as it might be.
But as Bloomberg writer Sarah Frier points out,
“Facebook doesn’t want to take direct responsibility for the information on its platform because it would be riskier and more expensive to hire and train all the people needed to take on the challenge properly.”
Until that time, the information on Facebook will be only as reliable as the people who publish and share it.
Breaking down the paywalls in science publishing
Wired magazine delves into the world of scholarship research with some of the reasons why the scientific research paywalls may be eroding:
- Some scientists are skipping the lengthy peer review process mediated by big journals and just posting, with review to follow.
- The open science movement, with its free distribution of articles before their official publication.
- Improvements in scientific search engines like Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic and Semantic Scholar.
The top five scientific publishers—Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer and Taylor & Francis—publish 50% of all journal articles. Scientific publishing is a $10 billion industry, big enough to be targeted for innovation and disruption.
I don’t think we can expect this information to flow freely and free—after all, as pointed out in the article, it costs money to review, edit, create metadata, publish, distribute and do all the other value-added services.
And without those services, we risk adding more fuel to the fake and biased news/information fire.
Legal tech and innovation
The website Above the Law now offers a section on legal innovation called Evolve the Law, with the goal of connecting lawyers with technologists, legal-design thinkers and others. Evolve the Law features op-eds from the innovation community in law and technology. Following are a few articles that I found helpful:
Serving client interests more, personal interests less
Attorney Nicole Black discusses the many factors contributing to greater efficiencies in the legal industry, including AI and other technology advances. At the heart of it all is the client. She says:
“The sacrosanct wall between lawyer and client will fall, resulting in the delivery of more efficient and client-focused legal services.”
How to handle a security breach
Security professionals say it’s no longer a matter of “if” your company will be breached but “when.” Glassdoor general counsel and former eBay deputy general counsel Brad Serwin shares five lessons on responding to a breach.
Everyone’s talking about AI, but how many know what it is?
Andrew Arruda is CEO and co-founder of ROSS Intelligence, the leader in Artificial Intelligence for the legal industry. He speaks often on the subject, and says one of the questions he hears regularly is this:
“Andrew, how do you define artificial intelligence exactly?”
If you decide not to read the entire article, here’s his definition:
“…the process of teaching computer systems how to do things that were thought to be human.”
However, if you truly care about understanding artificial intelligence, I highly recommend you read this article. Because rather than trying to explain it solely from his perspective, Arruda turns to several people who truly know this topic:
- A deep learning pioneer and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms.
- The original visionary behind deep learning, who splits his time between Google and the University of Toronto.
- The CTO of Ross Intelligence
Another good reason to read the article? You will learn about the Dunning–Kruger effect, which contrasts the beliefs of those who know the least about something (“know nothings”) with those who know the most (“gurus”).
That’s all for this month’s wrap-up of information service topics. I welcome your thoughts on any of them, and future suggestions. You can connect with me here.