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  • Bad News For Law Schools

    "Quantifying the employment impact of these new technologies is difficult. Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, is convinced that “legal is a sector that will likely employ fewer, not more, people in the U.S. in the future.” He estimated that the shift from manual document discovery to e-discovery would lead to a manpower reduction in which one lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500 and that the newest generation of software, which can detect duplicates and find clusters of important documents on a particular topic, could cut the head count by another 50 percent."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/sc...e&ref=homepage

    I think this could lead to a scientific renaissance here in the US. Some of the best young engineers and scientists that I know left the industry to go to law school. I bet the same can be said of the finance industry.

  • #2
    Re: Bad News For Law Schools

    I suspect that with the power of google as an information search-engine, not only will the employment for lawyers be past its peak, but the employment opportunities for doctors may have past its peak. People can now get information on prescription drugs, and opinions on medical issues from reputable published journals.

    If I am correct, then the cost of healthcare per capita (age-specific and gender-specific) might have peaked-out. The cost of legal advice might have peak-out as well. In other words, the public can do the work at home and have professionals check our work at a much lower cost in time. Lengthly and expensive consultations may be a thing of the past. This is good for everyone because healthcare and legal costs are now in check.

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    • #3
      Re: Bad News For Law Schools

      Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post
      I suspect that with the power of google as an information search-engine, not only will the employment for lawyers be past its peak, ....The cost of legal advice might have peak-out as well. In other words, the public can do the work at home and have professionals check our work at a much lower cost in time. Lengthly and expensive consultations may be a thing of the past. This is good for everyone because healthcare and legal costs are now in check.
      ah but, Mr Steve - you forget about the 'wild card' in all this:

      The US congress & state legislatures (or the political aristocracy of yer choice)
      is an ENDLESS SUPPLY OF LEGAL CONFUSION/OBFUSCATION, that i suspect even google cant keep up with - esp when we get legislation "that has to pass before we can get to read it"

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      • #4
        Re: Bad News For Law Schools

        Originally posted by suki View Post
        I think this could lead to a scientific renaissance here in the US. Some of the best young engineers and scientists that I know left the industry to go to law school. I bet the same can be said of the finance industry.
        I hope you are right but I sincerely doubt it. The best and brightest went into law and FIRE because that's where the money is. And where is the money now, and how to get it? It's in money making businesses, and you get it by SUING THEM.

        if one lawyer can do the work that 500 used to do, that leaves 499 lawyers to drum up new business.

        And if this filters down as reduced costs and legal fees, a multitude more plaintiffs can afford a lawsuit. You in the US won't have to have a Darl McBride and a SCO Group that could blow massive lies out its backside about the merits of its suits to drum up $80 million on the stock market to be wasted on frivolous lawsuits.

        And our suspicions have been confirmed again - the SCOG lawsuits were definitely frivolous, this is the second code comparison that was commissioned by SCOG that found SCOG's suits were frivolous:

        http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...10301153719104

        Future patent trolls and future Darl McLieds and his greedy Boies will do it for much less, and will be able to stifle innovation and erect toll roads on the US economy much more easily.

        Note the recent Oracle vs Google suit, the Paul Allen vs world suits, the Sony suits and MS touting its patent portfolio, ever ready to sue, sue, sue.

        Want to know what will motivate the patent trolls? Here's one example - companies just rolled over, played dead and paid until one fought & had patents from this troll overturned
        http://www.google.com/search?client=...utf-8&oe=utf-8

        And the travesty where RIM's arrogant high-handedness cost them $250 million from what I thought was a worthless patent.

        Like the old joke used to go: half price? I'll take 2 then.
        Last edited by Spartacus; 03-05-11, 08:14 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Bad News For Law Schools

          Originally posted by Starving Steve View Post
          I suspect that with the power of google as an information search-engine, not only will the employment for lawyers be past its peak, but the employment opportunities for doctors may have past its peak.
          Yup, it past its peak about 25 years ago. Your point is valid however it isn't going to get better. There will be certain things you will want a doc for, but they are shrinking. I can put in a new light switch and hang a chandelier but wouldn't rewire my house even though I could read how to do it on the web.

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          • #6
            Re: Bad News For Law Schools

            It won't be the lawyers that get slammed - it will be the paralegals.

            The reality is that the assistants and paralegals do the majority of the grunt work.

            The lawyers are the ones who keep track of what cases are relevant/work, the relationships with judges/police, the marketing and customer management, etc etc.

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            • #7
              Re: Bad News For Law Schools

              Originally posted by Jay View Post
              Yup, it past its peak about 25 years ago. Your point is valid however it isn't going to get better. There will be certain things you will want a doc for, but they are shrinking. I can put in a new light switch and hang a chandelier but wouldn't rewire my house even though I could read how to do it on the web.
              That doesn't stop a lot of people from trying.

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              • #8
                Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                One trend on the internet is the really valuable info is being roped off for fee only, a substantial one at times. The promise of the availability of widespread knowledge that the publically-funded original net held may disappear beneath the waves of a handful of profit-wringing providers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                  I have done a lot of legal work, so I can understand what the writer is saying. On the other hand, there is sometimes no substitute for flipping through an entire file from beginning to end when something seems odd. You find, for example, that documents have wrong case numbers and wound up in the wrong file.

                  If the information in the electronic documents were perfect, it might work reasonably well, but legal documents are loaded with typos, misspellings, misunderstandings, dropped words, duplications, wrong word choice, mispunctuation, you name it... and those are documents written by native English speakers... you should see the ones translated into English. The other problem is that one thing is not called by the same term across documents, so doing a find is really difficult because you have to try to guess all the possible permutations of what you are looking for, including errors. You get IBM Watsonlike answers, and it can lead to disaster. I have seen multimillion dollar mistakes that resulted from a single digit error on one page out of hundreds ("5" was written instead of "15"). That was really difficult to find and took me hours. Basically, when you know something is wrong, but you do not know what is wrong, the only solution is to read the whole damn thing.

                  Professors at Harvard, Stanford, etc., I know are screaming that their funding is being slashed so much they cannot buy basic equipment they need to do research. That is eating our seed corn. Science funding is so inconsistent, it dissuades many from even considering it. And to learn how to think in a scientific way sufficient to do research takes 20 years at least.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                    Originally posted by don View Post
                    One trend on the internet is the really valuable info is being roped off for fee only, a substantial one at times. The promise of the availability of widespread knowledge that the publically-funded original net held may disappear beneath the waves of a handful of profit-wringing providers.
                    on the other hand...
                    fee for service can be a good thing, esp with info.
                    writing as one who actually knew what compuserve was in 1985 (my neighbor in bostons north end was a marketing wheel for them, she showed me the whole show, i had just the year b4 pressed 'enter' for the first time on a dec pdp1144 and was doing stuff on a vax by then...) - anyway - watching whats happened with the 'free-wheeling' internet/wild-wild-web - we've been _overrun_ with too much information, too many choices, too many options, too many products that do _everything_ but dont do _anything_ particularly well....

                    if some are able to successfully filter/aggragate and effectively disseminate _useable_ (never mind factual) information? dont ya think thats worth PAYING for?

                    i do - why i subscribe to the best source of useable/actionable info i've ever found - its a website i ran into sometime last year, known as:

                    http://www.itulip.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                      Originally posted by mooncliff View Post
                      ....Professors at Harvard, Stanford, etc., I know are screaming that their funding is being slashed so much they cannot buy basic equipment they need to do research. That is eating our seed corn. Science funding is so inconsistent, it dissuades many from even considering it.
                      seems kinda odd, that - considering the size of their endowments - why would they cut the research budgets?
                      seeing as that would seem to be their bread n butter and an attractant for donations etc?


                      Originally posted by mooncliff View Post
                      And to learn how to think in a scientific way sufficient to do research takes 20 years at least.
                      all i can say to that is, some of you guys (here on the tulip) must be about 100 - esp c1ue... ;)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                        Originally posted by don View Post
                        One trend on the internet is the really valuable info is being roped off for fee only, a substantial one at times. The promise of the availability of widespread knowledge that the publically-funded original net held may disappear beneath the waves of a handful of profit-wringing providers.
                        I am comfortable with letting those who have information decide whether it's best to erect a paywall or leave the roads open and clear. So long as people still buy and sell anything, advertising is still going to be an enormous source of income for any sufficiently trafficked website. We're currently still in a renaissance of free-to-access information, after all.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                          Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
                          I am comfortable with letting those who have information decide whether it's best to erect a paywall or leave the roads open and clear. So long as people still buy and sell anything, advertising is still going to be an enormous source of income for any sufficiently trafficked website. We're currently still in a renaissance of free-to-access information, after all.
                          Arthur Brisbane, the "public editor" for the nytimes, writes a column every other Sunday. They're usually interesting. His latest is "Business News You Didn’t Read Here," about the Time's decision to establish a paywall and about why it's been so seldom mentioned in the paper. Reader comments are interesting. I am often amazed at what's free on the internet. Michael Lewis travels to Iceland for weeks, does tons of research, and writes a long thoughtful piece and I, without subscribing to Vanity Fair, get to read it for free.

                          Times piece:

                          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/op...hepubliceditor

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                          • #14
                            Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                            Originally posted by lektrode View Post
                            seems kinda odd, that - considering the size of their endowments - why would they cut the research budgets?
                            seeing as that would seem to be their bread n butter and an attractant for donations etc?
                            Ah, but you are assuming that research funding comes from endowments. It does, in part, but primarily, it's federal.

                            From Harvard Biomed Imaging Center:


                            From University of Iowa:


                            From U. Oregon


                            From McGill *(Canada)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Bad News For Law Schools

                              Originally posted by suki View Post
                              "Quantifying the employment impact of these new technologies is difficult. Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, is convinced that “legal is a sector that will likely employ fewer, not more, people in the U.S. in the future.” He estimated that the shift from manual document discovery to e-discovery would lead to a manpower reduction in which one lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500 and that the newest generation of software, which can detect duplicates and find clusters of important documents on a particular topic, could cut the head count by another 50 percent."

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/sc...e&ref=homepage

                              I think this could lead to a scientific renaissance here in the US. Some of the best young engineers and scientists that I know left the industry to go to law school. I bet the same can be said of the finance industry.
                              About 20 people have sent me this article. I found it highly hyperbolic -- almost fantastical.

                              The gist seems to be -- "We don't need lawyers to review every single document by hand anymore!"

                              Newsflash: the legal field has been using Google-like document searching for about a decade. The only time every doc gets reviewed by hand is when the matter is "bet the company." In which case, I suspect they will still want every doc reviewed by hand.

                              These technolgoies have not obviated the need to actually, you know, review and analyze the documents resulting from a search within the context of a particular matter, and apply the legal and factual context to determine what the document means.

                              In 15-20 years, the machines will probably be able to analyze a document for its content and how it relates to the facts and legal framework of the case-at-hand. At which point, lawyers will still be needed to draft the memorandums and motions that rely on these documents.

                              10-15 years after that, the machines will do it all. At which point, most other jobs will be gone as well. Hopefully, we will have the social programs in place so that this abundance will lead to a life of leisure for all of humanity, rather than abject poverty for all but the owners of the machines.

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