By Amber Nimocks
This year’s NCBA Annual Meeting features a rockstar lineup of legal innovators from around the country. Among them is Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase and a leader in Artificial Intelligence integrations for the legal profession.
Walters will present a CLE titled “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” on Saturday, June 23 at 12:30 at the Wilmington Convention Center. Registration for NCBA Annual Meeting includes CLE while availability remains. Sign up by May 1 to secure your place.
Here’s a quick look at Walters’ take on AI and the future of the law.
Are you concerned about AI changing the legal profession’s understanding of ethics?
I’m more concerned with how we apply the existing ethical rules to new tech, including AI. The ethics rules (for the most part) stay the same, and we apply them to a changing world. Sounds easy, but it’s actually pretty hard.
Most of our ethical rules exist to protect clients – but when machines begin analyzing legal problems, our rules break down. With existing lawyer regulations, we regulate the inputs: lawyers have to graduate from an accredited law school, pass the bar exam, pass character and fitness, and in many states, do continuing legal education. We presume that people who satisfy those conditions are fit to dispense legal advice.
Those questions are irrelevant to machines. Could Watson pass the bar exam? Probably – but would that mean that it could give competent legal advice? Probably not. With software, we’d probably want to look at outputs: is the advice accurate and up to date?
Think about TurboTax. Is there any question that the software is interpreting tax law? No – but it isn’t licensed anywhere. Do we need to regulate TurboTax? No. But we also wouldn’t let Intuit start representing clients in legal matters either. We’re not yet ready to draw the lines, but that world is coming fast.
By Nihad Mansour
I was hopeless and out of answers when I typed “PLEASE HELP! 🙁 🙁 🙁 ” in the subject line of my post and hit send. Out it went into the ether of a free online Excel forum.
Tears of surprise and elation welled up in my eyes when an Excel forum expert from Belgium responded the next day. His answer provided the solution to a small but vexing problem that I’d been wrestling with for months. But my happiness sprang not just from the fact that I could finally vanquish the Excel “error” message that had been haunting me. The fact that a knowledgeable stranger in the vast, unfeeling Internet had answered my cry for help moved me to tears.
That is the power of a response. As volunteers for NC Free Legal Answers, that’s the kind of help we can offer clients in need of legal advice. And if enough of us pitch in, we can do it in just six minutes per day.
By Tara Muller
This article appeared originally in The Peacemaker, the newsletter of the NCBA’s Dispute Resolution Section.
In the world of public opinion, alternative dispute resolution still struggles to compete with its crusty cousin – the traditional, costly, and lengthy trial process. For years, parties interested in enforcing arbitration provisions in lieu of trial have wrestled with the obstacle of unclear North Carolina appellate precedent as to whether courts would compel mandatory arbitration when the parties engaged in some initial litigation before moving to enforce the arbitration provision. Fortunately for the up-and-coming arbitration protagonist in this tale, the North Carolina Court of Appeals kicked off 2018 with a bang, clearing up a history of self-described “divergent case law” and handing a win to parties interested in enforcing arbitration provisions.
By Erik Mazzone
“The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
– William Gibson
I’ve thought about that quote a lot over this bar year, particularly when watching the work of our newly formed Future of Law Committee. That committee, convened by President Caryn McNeill on July 1, 2017, is charged with helping the NCBA to cast its headlights further down the road than we’ve previously done; to see not just the changes that are likely to come in the next 12 months, but the issues that lurk around the bend in the next two to four years.
Register by May 1 to save your spot at the President’s Luncheon and CLE sessions.
Welcome Reception on the Cape Fear: Kickoff party on the banks of the Cape Fear outside Wilmington Convention Center with beach music, food and fun. All attendees are invited. Thursday, June 21 at
Annual Meeting Awards Dinner: We’re going to celebrate several pro bono award winners, recognize others and announce a new Justice Fund. Embassy Suites, Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Joint Session with the N.C. Superior Court: Kick off the Friday morning session with a civil law update from the bench. Members of the judiciary will present. Friday, June 22 at 9 a.m.
President’s Luncheon: Join President Caryn McNeill for a luncheon after the morning session where we’ll honor recipients of annual pro bono awards and hear from Iris Sunshine, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina. Friday, June 22 at 12:30 p.m. Included with registration by May 1.
Registration Includes Six Hours Of CLE: Hear from Paul Unger, Ed Walters of Fastcase, Emily van Siereveld of Clio and a panel of blockchain experts. Friday, June 22 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, June 23 at 12:30 p.m. Included with registration by May 1.
By Laura Graham
Recently, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw a link to a list that piqued my interest: “Lake Superior State University’s 43rd Annual List of Banished Words.” It turns out that Lake Superior State University has been publishing this list every year since 1975, and over 900 words are now on the master list. The 2017 List of Banished Words (and a few phrases) includes unpack (a “misused word for analyze, consider, assess”); impactful (“a frivolous word groping for something ‘effective’ or influential’”); and drill down (“instead of expanding on a statement”). These were among hundreds of words submitted by “word-watchers” who “target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more.”