CodeX FutureLaw: 5 Questions (Updated)

Updated Saturday 8th, 7 p.m. Pacific: What a day!!!!!  Here are some initial reflections at CodeX FutureLaw 2017.

Question 1 What was your favorite panel and why (besides your panel)?

Josh Becker, CEO, Lex Machina: “FutureLaw @ 5. Terrific to hear the diff perspectives and love the comments on future of legal education.”

Nicole Shanahan 1
Nichole Shanahan


Nicole Shanahan, founder and CEO, ClearAccessIP. Keynote. “First, a bad ass keynote from the first female keynote speaker of FutureLaw. Hallelujah! Loved the way Prof. Gillian Hadfield walked us through the reason we have a legal infrastructure. She successfully set the tone for why our work *really* matters. It is not just about getting tech savvy, it is about enabling a better future. Striving for a stronger, more egalitarian, robust and modern community structure. Solving the big problems we face as we grow as a society. This is the stuff I get excited about.”


Cian O’Sullivan, Top Dog and Founder, Beagel Inc. CodeX Fellow. “The Perils and Promise of Predictive Analytics in Law was a great panel, and a special shout out to Gipsy Escobar, who had a few tweet-able comments.”

Sebastian Ko, Regional Director and Legal Counsel, Asia, Epiq Systems: “The Rule Systems Panel—approaches to Computational Law. Loved the discourse flow from theory to practice: starting with the dichotomy of the rules vs data analytics based technological development framework, which is then broken down when examining closely the real world applications of the panelists. And rounding off the analysis by questioning the hard-coding of legal interpretation when reducing the law into code. Very relevant to the ongoing debates surrounding code as law / law as code.”

“The discussion could be even more juicy if we delved more into answering the question about whether we as consumers of tech might in the future be compelled to choose the underlying technological philosophy and legal interpretation as part of the slew of customizable product features—in the spirit of full and frank disclosures by vendors.”

CodeX FutureLaw: 5 Questions (Updated)
Chris Bently


Chris Bently, Executive Director, Legal Innovation Zone and Law Practice Program, Ryerson University, Toronto. “I love listening to Gillian Hadfield. It was the second time I have heard her speak. The call to action, to think big, was energizing. All of the panels and speakers got me to think in different ways about issues- which was part of the purpose. Choosing one is a challenge. Let me make special mention of the predictive Analytics panel. Hi energy, different takes, good takeaways. Replace anecdata with actual data.”



Oliver Goodenough, Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Legal Innovation at Vermont Law School: “I really liked the lightning round—a lot of good substance on many subjects.”

Aron Solomon,  Co-Founder, Law Made. “Dera Nevin was the star of the day. The general reaction from the audience and from social media is that their minds were blown. Dera is a serious heavy hitter in this space and what she said, for example, ‘Law is a general story telling system at the general level enforced at the specific level,’ was food for thought for an entire day and beyond.”

CodeX FutureLaw 2017: Five Questions
Sam Glover


Sam Glover, Editor-in-Chief, “My favorite panel was the chatbots panel, because the developers were very thoughtful about how chat can be used to try to identify and solve legal problems, and because of Joshua Lenon‘s very constructive cautionary thoughts. Both the benefits and the risks were discussed candidly, and it made for a particularly interesting panel.”

Question 2  What panel surprised you and why?
Becker: “Chatbots, because it involved some conflict and debate—rare on a panel and made it a must watch.”

Ko: “Chatbots. Originally thought the panel would be a showcase of the latest chatbots on the market; light analysis and a lot of product PR. But Joshua Lenon turned the table by critiquing the concept and the legal and operational challenges of chatbots today. And for certain panelists stepping up to respond with reasonable, substantive defenses. Browder was great too—very articulate!”

Goodenough: “Chatbot: Both what was happening and the good back and forth.”

O’Sullivan: “The Rise of Legal Chatbots was fantastic because it presented true polar elements of chatbots.  Everything from great examples to discussions of problems. The most thought provoking panel by far.”

Law Technology Now: Josh Becker on Lex Machina 5
Josh Becker


Question 3. Who was the best speaker and why?
Becker: “Hmmm. Jim Sandman had gravitas.”

Shanahan: “I thought Dera Nevin was great. She is a practitioner and seems to *really* get AI. Loved her reference to the Go match changing the nature of the game, and why we should view this as significant in changing the narrative around legal services.”

Cian: “Joshua Lenon really turned the tables on the glorification of chatbots. He was respectful, pointed and very clear.”


Ko: Joshua Lenon, Clio, for incisively analysing the current state of chatbots, their pros and cons, and for challenging fellow panellists in a fair, responsive but critical way.

Question 4 What new topics would you like to see next year?
Becker: “Will think.”

Ko: “Comparative development in Legal Tech e.g. In U.K., Germany and Singapore.”

Goodenough:  “Panel on reg-tech – computational government.”

Cian: “What are Bar Associations doing to encourage and accommodate new technologies.”

The (Canada) Pitch! 7
Cian O’Sullivan


Question 5 Who would you recommend as a keynote speaker next year?

Meng Wong, Co-Founder at “Dera Nevin for FutureLaw 2018 keynote!”

Goodenough: “Someone from reg-tech/gov-tech.”

Ko: “A regulator or researcher who can provide an in-depth analysis on the regulatory environment surrounding the development of a healthy legaltech market; the existing state and what needs to be reshaped for things to come.”

Cian: “Me : )”


Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX and a freelance journalist. She is a member of the California bar. Email: Twitter: @MonicaBay.