Beating up on Legal Tech in Front of a Home Crowd at CodeX 2016

Podcast guest and Casetext VP Pablo Arredondo asked me to join him at the CodeX1 conference at Stanford Law School to argue about whether the legal tech industry is making promises it can’t keep. Here’s the setup:

Imagine it is the year 2020. Plaintiff, a dissatisfied attorney, has brought suit against the entire legal tech industry, alleging that the claims and promises it made in 2016 amount to fraud and false advertising. Using a moot court format, this session explores some of the legal tech community’s grander predictions, and examines the various ways the community might succeed (or fail) in reaching these lofty goals.

We were joined by Casetext CEO Jake Heller and Keith Lee, who writes the Associate’s Mind blog. Keith and I represented the plaintiff, and Jake and Pablo represented the legal tech industry, on cross-motions for summary judgment.

Here are the promises we agreed were at issue:

  1. Legal tech will “disrupt” the legal profession.
  2. Legal tech will increase access to justice.
  3. Legal tech will increase access to legal information.
  4. Legal tech will increase access to lawyers/make it easier for people to find a (good) lawyer.

Although I represented the side accusing the legal tech industry of failing to deliver on its promises, I’d like to go on record as being quite optimistic about legal tech. I think it’s going to substantially increase access to justice, legal information, and lawyers, and I even think a little disruption might be possible here and there. That said, it wasn’t hard to argue that the legal tech industry is over-promising and under-delivering, even if the future is rosy.

For more on our session, read Keith Lee’s thoughts, Monica Bay’s preview, and check out our “bench memo.”

Update. Here is the video of our session:

(For videos from all the sessions, visit the CodeX blog.)

Last updated 2016-07-16.

  1. I believe the X in CodeX is technically the Greek letter chi, pronounced as a hard K. So CodeX is pronounced like <a href="">codec</a>, and a codec “encodes a data stream or signal for transmission, storage or encryption, or decodes it for playback or editing.” Which kind of works for this conference. More trivia: the X in <a href="">LaTeX</a> is also a chi, so it is pronounced la-tek. And LaTeX is apparently what the U.S. Supreme Court uses for its opinions, <a href="">according to lawyer-typographer Matthew Butterick</a>. 

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