Getting Smart in Tallinn

I spent yesterday in Tallinn at a conference on “legal tech”, a topic that I am confident will not excite many readers.

The weird thing is that it does not inspire many lawyers either. Lawyers have good reason to be that way. Legal tech threatens to make many legal services cheaper. And as legal bills shrink, the lifestyles of at least some lawyers get less fancy.

This is not a new story. But there are some new twists to the story.  One of these twists involves access to legal advice. AI powered search does not yet rival human legal advisory services in all areas. The key word is “yet”. Applying AI thinking to legal search is in its infancy. So it is no surprise that it is very, very limited. The question is not whether it will start replacing lawyers in certain areas. It is, rather, how quickly this will happen.

And that process will not be driven by lawyers. It will be driven by users of legal services who are less and less willing to suffer the same old inefficient and expensive human alternative.

Here is the weird thing about the conference. While we know that users will drive this process, there were no users presenting at the conference. It was lawyer dominated. Well, it is a nice start.


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