The 2017 CodeX Stanford FutureLaw conference brought together more than 300 participants from across the spectrum of lawyers, technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, engineers, and academia to share knowledge and debate emerging issues in the legal technology landscape.
Participants discussed not only the speculative future of technology in law but the reality facing practitioners in a rapidly-changing environment—in Silicon Valley and beyond.
“While I don’t think the legal profession will go away, technology will change how law firms, lawyers, and the law more broadly operate,” said CodeX Executive Director Roland Vogl. “That is why people come to FutureLaw—to learn how to leverage technology in the delivery of legal services.”
The conference, which took place at Stanford Law School’s Paul Brest Hall April 6, featured a keynote address by Gillian Hadfield from USC’s Gould School of Law on “Rules for a Flat World—Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent it for a Complex Global Economy.” In it, she presented many of the challenges that legal technologists and lawyers are seeking to fix: “Law is a fundamental piece of fixing our world’s big challenges,” she said. “What can we be building that gets us to a strong legal infrastructure?”
Hadfield’s talk set the tone for the rest of the day as participants discussed legal, technical, and ethical issues and ideas around how to build a better legal system. Panelists covered topics including predictive analytics in law, rule systems, matter standards in law firms, legal education reform, and customer perspectives.
Other notable panels included a discussion led by Stanford Law Professor and nationally recognized scholar in professional responsibility Norman Spaulding on the rise of chatbots in the law and a lightning round session that included a discussion of the 2016 ABA Report on the Future of Legal Services. Stanford Law School Legal Design Lab Director and Fellow Margaret Hagan, who served on the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services that produced the report, also participated in the lightning round, speaking on the topic, “Building a Better Internet for Legal Help.”
This year, two organizations created highly engaging interactive displays for attendees:
Measures for Justice (MFJ) presented an interactive, sneak preview of its Criminal Justice Data Portal featuring county-level performance data from Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Utah. MFJ’s data span arrest to post-conviction and can be broken down by race/ethnicity; indigent status; sex; age; offense severity; and attorney type. The Portal is six years in the making and will launch in 2017. All data presented were provisional.
WITNESS created a display on how it trains and supports activists and citizens around the world to use video safely, ethically, and effectively to expose human rights abuse and fight for human rights change.
Additionally, one of the speakers on The Rule Systems Panel, Sarah Thornton, displayed “Trudi,” an automated hybrid Ford Fusion, which is a Stanford lab vehicle she uses in her research; Trudi was parked outside the entrance of Paul Brest Hall during the conference. Thornton is affiliated with the Dynamic Design Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University.
At CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, researchers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and technologists work side-by-side to advance the frontier of legal technology, bringing new levels of legal efficiency, transparency, and access to legal systems around the world. CodeX‘s emphasis is on the research and development of computational law — the branch of legal informatics concerned with the automation and mechanization of legal analysis.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.