The Brief No. 24: Of Legal Week & Walls

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January 30, 2019

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Have you ever wondered if the “Machine Learning” claims in Legal Tech are legitimate? Or how Amazon’s failed Machine Learning recruiting project “learned” to discriminate? In Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist (ageist, sexist, and classist)... And other reasons we don’t use Machine Learning, Hire an Esquire’s CEO discusses what machine learning really is, how it learns bias, and why it may produce sub-par results in recruiting.

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Legal Walls: While the news fixated on the lost battle in a signature campaign promise when the government shutdown ended without wall funding, walls were being built for POTUS elsewhere. Attempts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census were vehemently rejected by New York District Judge Jesse Furman, citing federal rule violations and questionable motives. On the same day, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Meanwhile, indictments surrounding alleged election meddling and collusion with foreign governments continued to move up the food chain of the Trump campaign inner circle. It’s TBD if the wall to POTUS’s agenda is made of steel, or will prove to be porous.

Tech Generation Gap? As the tidal wave of legal tech continues to build in 2019, established firms are attempting to harness new technologies to stay competitive. In the UK, general counsels are directing resources away from legal spending and into legal tech, a timely move, as legal tech could play a vital role in upcoming Brexit procedures. On the other side of the Atlantic, American firms have begun bringing on Chief Innovation Officers (CINO) to stay relevant. While existing companies struggle to learn how to ride this new wave, new firms like Fincap are building around automation and AI, learning the legal tech language while their brains are still soft (so to speak).

Giant Leaps and Small Steps: Emerging technology has opened countless doors to new possibilities and working at scale. Unfortunately, as the SEC recently became painfully aware, those doors swing both ways. Hackers obtained and disseminated thousands of documents containing information that facilitated illegal trading, totaling profits of close to $4.1 million. Such cyber attacks have experts concerned at the opportunities for illicit practices within rapidly evolving technology. How to balance the speed of innovation with the need for safeguards was one of the questions that policymakers attempted to address at MIT last week. Their conclusion carried an appropriate level of apprehension and new questions.

Legally Bored: It’s that time of year again. If you’re at the epicenter of New York Legal Week 2019 right now, you’ve probably had more than your share of coffee, cocktails, vendor branded swag, and demos featuring Enron documents. In Above the Law, Joe Patrice wishes for another great public legal scandal with a massive and amusing data set to keep the next generation of legal tech demos fresh. And we wish for Joe and ATL to bring back their 2016 Legal Tech Swag Review.

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With major, nation-gripping legal news dropping on a daily basis, even lawyers are finding it difficult to stay informed (especially while meeting billables!). Get up to speed with Episode 88 of Law360’s Pro Say podcast, a lively discussion of Skadden Arps’ $4.6 million foreign lobbying settlement, the newly reinstated transgender military ban, and legal action by exasperated Saints fans after a controversial call in the NFC Championship.

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Senior Venture Finance Paralegal - San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA
Real Estate / Foreclosure of Counsel - Remote (MI Bar)
Senior Insurance Litigation Contract Attorney - Remote
Associate In-House Corporate Counsel - New York, NY
Entry-level Civil Litigation Project Manager - Evansville, IN  
Senior MedMal Litigation Paralegal - Remote

See a complete listing on our latest job openings on the Hire an Esquire Job Board.

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