LegalTech NY field report

I attended LegalTech on Jan 31st 2017. 

(Archive link).  The highlights were 1) hearing Dean Erwin Chemerinsky speak about the state of the Federal Judiciary 2) meeting Legal Innovators from members of the Legal Tech Education Consortium, which includes Vermont Law, and 3) attending the ILTA track presentations which generally focused on implementing innvation at existing firms.  

Chemerinsky's talk

  • If you don't know him, Chemerinsky's Constitutional Law treatise helps many 1st year Law students pass arguably the most ambiguous and complicated course, and he was awarded "top legal educator" by national jurist in 2017
  • Law.com's overview of the speech.  He  covered a lot of ground, especially with regard to legaltech. Interesting excerpt- “[Chemerinsky said] I think the Supreme Court justices are struggling with technology, I think they are struggling to bring the constitution in the 21st century,” he said, pointing out that there have been no Supreme Court decisions yet on e-discovery or on free speech concerns with new technologies.
  • During the talk, Chemerinsky transitioned into the issue of Supreme Court nominees (later that night, Trump made a nomination) by pointing out the obvious: "it would be better to give this talk tomorrow."  He delivered an overview of the 3 frontrunners (Gorsuch, Hardiman, Pryor).  He didn't predict the pick.  I recall his characterization of Gorsuch, who was nominated later that night, was: "Like Scalia but without the sarcasm." 
  • He tells killer jokes. While lamenting the Republicans blocking Obama nominee Merrick Garland, Chemerinsky outlines distinctive features he likes about Garland - raised in Chicago, debated in high school, attended Harvard Law School, 5'7", Jewish, etc - and noted his affection for all these (also a description of Chemerinsky).  It's the delivery.  While visiting UC Irvine Law in February 2016, I happened to attend Chemerinsky's Constitutional Law class on its first meeting following Justice Scalia's death.  He built anticipation in the room just by showing up.  He began writing a few notes on the board.  We all wondering what he was going to say.  Finally, he turned to the class after a pause, and asked - "So this weekened . . . how about the Utah Jazz?" 
  • Magistrate Judge Peck (S.D.N.Y.) asked an interesting question about an upcoming case Supreme Court Case (unclear whether cert will be granted at this time), where MSFT is involved and [a novel ediscovery] issue is presented.  Hope to discover exactly which case they were referring to and update this post.
  • Hope to make some more additions here from my conference notebook.

Legal Education Consortium


It was a pleasure speaking with Jeannette Eicks, a research professor of law at Vermont Law School, about legal education, innovation, great law review articles, founding a tech startup (which I believe survived the dotbomb) and so much more.  Professor Goodenough, who I did not meet, also teaches at Vermont.  Professor Henderson, who I also did not meet, teaches at Indiana and has written about the future he envisions for legal education in Pepperdine Law Review.  

International Legal Technology Association Track

Here's the agenda (click Day 1, and then toggle on the ILTA track).  

Most memorable for me was Bryn Bowen's (of the Wall St firm Schulte Roth & Zabel) discussion of the impending feasibility of quantifying legal risk, which greatly appeals to general counsels and other 'business people' who engage with firms like his.  He recommends LexPredict.  For more on legal quantification of risk I recommend familiarizing yourself with Daniel Martin Katz's material (here is a good audio interview with him) and taking a look at his LegalLab, part of Illinois Tech's Chicago-Kent Law School.

Perhaps will add more commentary soon.

Big thank you to TJ from ILTA for generously providing me a student discount at the door.  Perhaps she sympathized with the fact that I arrived in Manhattan directly from my red eye flight which departed LAX at 9PM and arrived at JFK circa 545am.