Future Law, Free Law?

The second annual FutureLaw Conference took place last Friday at Stanford University. Hosted by Codex – Stanford Center for Legal Informatics this was a conference “focusing on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly.”

Judging by the comments in the storified #FutureLaw Twitter stream it looks like it was a very interesting and successful event. It was also live streamed and the day’s videos will be made available soon for those of us unable to attend.

Richard Susskind opened the proceedings with a talk entitled, “The Future of Lawyers: From Denial to Disruption.” The first panel on “Forging an Open Legal Document Ecosystem” really caught my eye featuring a wonderful mix of legal and technology types: Brian Carver (Free Law Project), Thomas Bruce (LII), Paul Sawaya (Restatement), and Julio Avalos (General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at GitHub). The panelists talked about how the “lack of access to data hinders continued innovation and inhibits the creation of whole categories of technologies.”

Although I think Colin Lachance might object to this characterization, Thomas Bruce apparently pointed to the success of CanLII saying that Canadians are financing their open law project on a $30 per lawyer tax. And Sarah Glassmeyer made an interesting observation Tweeting that it is a “tragedy of the commons” that “The US bar [is] paying billions to WEXIS instead of supporting @LIICornell like the Canadians do with @canlii.” Louis Mirando‘s Slaw column on open access to law in Canada was also cited during the day’s Twitter stream.

Other panel sessions included:

  • Managing Legal Marketplaces
  • Rebuilding Legal Education
  • Legal Technology in the Public Interest
  • Legal Ethics in the Age of Machines

Michael Genesereth, an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, provided the closing keynote address talking about how legal technology “could have significant impact on the way law functions in society, arguably constituting an important step in the evolution of our legal system.”

Looking forward to reviewing the video archive and I’ll post the link when it becomes available.

UPDATE: The videos for FutureLaw 2014 are now available.

Source: Slaw Legal Information

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