Publication | ThinkSet

What the Legal Industry Needs to Know about (Quickly) Advancing Technologies

Richard Finkelman and Craig Freeman

April 8, 2021

New breakthroughs—and related ethical concerns—are emerging, and smart lawyers are working to get ahead of the curve

The legal industry, despite its somewhat stodgy reputation, actually has been out front in adopting automation technologies like word processing and electronic discovery systems. But for many lawyers, the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) has been too complicated and transformative to fully embrace and harness some of its most useful lawyer tools.

But that appears to be changing.

Baylor University’s Executive LL.M. program in litigation management is focused partly on how advanced technologies, specifically AI, are changing the law and how lawyers can deliver high-quality results in affordable and cost-effective ways. The 14-month program, which started in 2018, has attracted an array of students, including in-house counsel from major corporations and partners from high-profile law firms.

“One of the things we preach throughout all of our courses is just how much technology can help lawyers through the litigation process,” said Stephen Rispoli, assistant dean of student affairs and pro bono programs at the Baylor University School of Law. “It’s only been in the last 5 or 10 years where the technology in litigation management has advanced enough to live up to its promise.”

BRG professionals work closely with the Baylor program. The authors have been guest speakers on campus and have developed a series of videos and distance-learning content that focuses on innovations like machine learning and natural language processing, which fall under the broader AI umbrella. Our interactions fill us with optimism about how lawyers—even those who are busy and successful after several years of practice—have a strong appetite for learning about these new technologies.

While Baylor’s program is unique with its focus on litigation management, other LL.M. programs are being offered in the fields of science and law and highlight the rising importance of advanced technologies and the practice of law. However, there is still a lot to learn.

In this article, we will detail how AI is changing the practice of law and, notably, litigation. We’ll discuss exciting emerging technologies and important ethical questions.

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Richard Finkelman

Managing Director

Washington, DC