I’ve started a newsletter at my school, highlighting interesting legal and technology stories – but some weeks, I am overwhelmed. I want to keep the newsletter small and manageable, so I’ve decided to use the blog for overflow: items I think are worth reading that didn’t make this week’s newsletter. This will largely be open-web material, since this is an open-web blog.

Suffolk University Law School is holding its conference on legal education and technology, LITCon, March 30, 2020. More details here, including how to apply to give a rapid-fire talk. And they even have a cute little not-a-bot to help you decide if you should go.

According to this Buzzfeed article, there’s a trend of police officers using mugshots and suspect photos for viral content and memes on social media.

This week, I discovered Sidney Fussell at The Atlantic and I may need a subscription because he is good:

Stanford Law School has an Open Policing Project that is collecting and analyzing data from traffic stops from over 40 states. Data Scientist Amy Shoemaker will be providing an update on the project @ Stanford Codex on December 5, 2019. If you’re in the area, great, but if you aren’t, there’s remote viewing options, too, but you must register to get the info.

What exactly is a smart city? And who benefits from its existence, if it is actually a real thing? Jathan Sadowski argues that the surveillance and centralized control needed for a city to become ‘smart’ is not done primarily for the benefit of the public.

I like games. Pinball. Arkanoid (kinda like Pong, but in space and more colors and the cursor can turn into different things), hidden object games, trivia games. Also, I like the law. A lot.

There may be those who feel that the law and games really shouldn’t mix, outside of Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. But, I had an idea and I turned my idea into a conference presentation and I gave my presentation at CALICon ’19. There’s video and a handout and a description – it was a nice crowd. And a very good conference.

Also, you like games and you like law (especially if you’re a law student), here are a couple of things you might like to check out:


Episode 2 of Chaotic Lawful is out. In it, I interview Becki Lee, an IP attorney at Seyfarth Shaw, about Seyfarth Lean, the firm’s process management system utilizing lean and six sigma principles.

New to process management? Here are some links to give you an idea of what those terms mean and how they apply to legal practice.

I am getting in on the podcast game. It’s called Chaotic Lawful and will focus on change in the legal industry. The first episode is linked here.

Most of the episode is a long introduction, but the last portion addresses a new Nature article about algorithmic bias. Following is a link to the article and a few related ones:

Bias detectives: the researchers striving to make algorithms fair

This is a blind spot in AI research

Machine bias

Google says sorry for racist auto-tag in photo app

The Blur Between The Sense of Technology and People

Did you see this study? If you follow #legaltech in any online sphere, it was ubiquitous.

AI vs. Lawyers

[pretty infographic here, 40-page PDF – you have to submit your name and email to download it directly from Lawgeex]

Which led to such headlines as:

Being an optimistic contrarian (no, it’s not a thing, I just made it up), I like reading and hearing reasonable, skeptical takes on new technology. Ken Adams, author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, has given some thought to the study and what it purportedly shows. Do note that he’s not against AI software for contract review or drafting.

And fifth, my biggest question about the new crop of “AI” technologies isn’t the technology per se, it’s the humanoid expertise it incorporates. That concern applies to all services that address contract content. I’m toying with the slogan “Editorial expertise is the new black box.” In the case of services that offer contract templates, if I don’t know who prepared a template, I’m not going to trust it. Even if I do know, I’ll be skeptical unless given good reason not to be. Relying on someone’s contract language requires a leap of faith, so I know that I have to not only be an expert but also appear to be an expert. The same goes for services that assist with review.

So, not to take away from LawGeex’s achievement, but thoughtful, non-reflexive discussion and expertise is valuable in discussions of innovation … right?


Welcome! This is StrangeLaw, Esq.: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legal Technology. I’m Eli Edwards, and I’m an Emerging Technologies Research Librarian at Santa Clara University School of Law. Per the job title, I wanted to have a space to discuss legaltech issues and how Santa Clara Law is approaching them. Now, on with the show!

My inaugural post is, most fittingly, about robot lawyers. Of all of the talk about chatbot lawyers and AI lawyers and robot AI lawyers – I figured ‘robot lawyers’ were just a bit of hyperbole, an appealing but inaccurate analogy for automated legal services distributed over the Internet.

But no! There are robot lawyers. Or, a robot that dispenses basic legal advice and gives directions in a courthouse:

Beijing court now has a legal robot that provides advice

The robot, named Xiaofa, stands 1.46 meters tall and provides legal advice and guidance in a child’s voice.

“Xiaofa explains complicated legal terms in everyday language to help the public better understand legal definitions,” said Du Xiangyang, founder and CEO of AEGIS Data, which designed Xiaofa. “We used a child’s voice to ease the tense emotions of litigants who come here for help.”

The robot can move its head and wave its hands as instructions show up on screen, and it can guide people to the exact service window for litigation services.

The appearance of Xiaofa was a big move for the Beijing court, as the capital works to build a “smart” court system. Over 40,000 litigation questions and 30,000 legal issues can be answered by the robot, according to the court.

So, yeah, the future is here. Time to buckle up.

H/T to Keith R. Lee at Associate’s Mind/LawyerSlack