An Interview With Legal Informatics Pioneer, Roland Vogl


Publish Date:
August 10, 2019
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Dr. Roland Vogl is a pioneer within the legal informatics space. Dr. Vogl is currently Executive Director of CodeX – the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics and a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School. Dr. Vogl also was named to the American Bar Association 2017 Class of Legal Rebels, a highly-regarded group of legal innovators and he was previously selected as one of the 2016 Fastcase 50. Dr. Vogl also serves on the advisory boards of LexCheck, IPNexus and LegalForce.

For those unfamiliar with the field, what is legal informatics and why should lawyers know about it?

The management of information is crucial to the proper functioning of any legal system. A good legal system relies on information about the world itself (such as evidence of who did what and when) as well as more purely legal information (such as court rulings, statutes, contracts, and so forth). Legal Informatics is the theory and practice of managing such information. It covers both legal theory and information theory. It also covers elements of general information processing technology as well as applications of that technology in the administration of law. While the concept of Legal Informatics is not new, its importance is greater than ever due to recent technological advances – including progress on mechanized legal information processing, the growth of the Internet, and the proliferation of autonomous systems (such as self-driving cars and robots), as well as globalization of the legal industry. The upshot of these advances is the emergence of practical legal technology that is qualitatively superior to what has gone before. This technology is capable of dramatically changing the legal profession, improving the quality and efficiency of legal services and disrupting the way law firms do business. The technology is also capable of popularizing the law – bringing legal understanding and legal tools to everyone in society, not just legal professionals. CodeX – The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics focuses its work on the field of Computational Law, the branch of Legal Informatics concerned with the mechanization of legal analysis.

What first prompted your interest in legal technology? How would you define legal technology as a field?

The legal industry is facing unique challenges and opportunities in light of the tech-driven transformation of our legal system. I am very interested learning about and contributing to the innovative new approaches seeking to address these challenges.

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