This class is subject to change! Please check readings at least the week before something is due and double-check whether a class is remote or in-person by monitoring the Microsoft Teams channel.
Create a Clio Academic Access Program account (https://www.clio.com/partnerships/academic-access/) and poke around the site for a few minutes
Read Troman's short article, "Law Firms Are Inefficiency Factories, Automation is the Cure" (https://www.artificiallawyer.com/2018/06/11/law-firms-are-inefficiency-factories-automation-is-the-cure/), perma.cc. Be prepared to discuss it.
- What is the author's main point?
- What do you think of the author's main point? How different is a law firm from a restaurant?
- Can you think of a better metaphor than "inefficiency factory"?
- Do you agree that automation will cost law firms money?
- How much room is there for law firms to expand business?
- Why do people outsource things anyway?
- Do people hire lawyers for the same reasons that they hire a painter or go to a restaurant?
- How has automation shaped the rest of society?
- The Clio report introduces several frameworks for thinking about business growth:
- Marginal gains
- Which of these were helpful?
- The report states that "legal services have been delivered in a way that's been unaffordable, inconvenient, and difficult for potential clients to know whether they have a legal problem worth pursuing in the first place— all of which function as critical barriers to hiring a lawyer." Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Why do lawyers only earn 15% of their day?
- What is the product-market fit problem?
- Do you agree that there is a vast latent legal market?
- What are some reasons why that market may or may not exist that are not explored in the report?
- What aspects of technology did the report say are most underused by lawyers?
- Did anything surprise you in this list?
- What do you think would be the biggest advantage for a lawyer to learn?
- What surprised you about how lawyers spend their day?
- Based on what you learned from the report, how would you work to get clients?
Before class, read:
- An Introduction to Docassemble
- Explore the Docassemble.org website.
- Make sure you have an account on the Suffolk LIT Lab Docassemble server, https://apps-dev.suffolklitlab.org. NOTE: this server is for Suffolk Law Students, only.
- Building your first expert system
- Skim Lauritsen & Soudakoff, Keys to a Successful Document Assembly Project
- Topics in Digital Law Practice, Document Automation
- The access to justice gap
- What is document automation?
- What is it good for?
In-class exercise: Hello, World.
For a recording of this in-class exercise for later reference, you can view:
If there is time during class: Start working on the Clio University (16 mini "courses", CPE01-16). The completed Clio coursework is due by the end of week 5. It should take between 5-10 hours to go through all of the exercises. You will be very busy at the end of the semester, so please start it early.
Enjoy the holiday! After Monday, this may be a good week to get started with the Legal Tech Assessment, which is due on the final day of class.
Expect to spend a few days working through the training and assessment portions. You can retake the assessment portion as needed.
Three CDC Moratorium declaration generators
Listen to Evaluating Legal Technology Applications (podcast) or read Lauritsen and Steenhuis, Substantive Legal Software Quality: A Gathering Storm?, International Conference on AI and Law.
Explore Yo Tengo Bot
Come prepared with questions for Jared Jaskot, technology-enabled immigration firm owner and CEO of Yo Tengo Bot.
- What obligations does an app have that a paper form does not?
Turn in Docassemble exercise from week 2
- Clio University learning modules
- Final project proposal
- Pick a law and try writing a short description of it here: https://www.splasho.com/upgoer5/library.php
- Visit PlainLanguage.gov. Read sections about Plain Language.
- Watch Using Plain Language for the Web (video at bottom of page or here)
- In class exercise: reviewing plain language on mass.gov
- Getting started on the final project. Review of rubric, suggestions on outlining
- Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Professor Steenhuis
Narrow down ideas for your final project.
See guidance here.
- Read Atul Gawande, The Checklist, The New Yorker (Dec. 19, 2007), perma.cc
- Go to qnamarkup.org. Read the syntax and watch the video intro.
Open THIS file for our class activity.
Before class, read
- Steenhuis and Colarusso, Digital Curb Cuts: Towards an Inclusive Open Forms Ecosystem (2021), Akron Law Review
- The Ins and Outs of Practice Management Systems, perma.cc
- [10 Reasons to Use Practice Management Software](https://abovethelaw.com/2016/10/ this-week-in-legal-tech-10-reasons-you-should-use-practice-management-software/), perma.cc
- Hadfield, G. Legal Markets, Journal of Economic Literature, perma.cc.
- Come prepared with questions for Joshua Lenon, Laywer in Residence at Clio
If you haven't yet, start outlining your final project. Start thinking of a natural way to ask the questions, information that your user will need to complete the interaction, and follow-up steps that they will need to take.
Form groups for week 8's Free Tool Fiesta
- Accept the invitation to join the Assembly Line Trello
- Read What is Kanban?, perma.cc
- Why should lawyers learn project management?, perma.cc
- Explore https://www.wordrake.com/
- Come prepared with questions for Wordrake Director of Business Strategy Ivy Grey
Monday schedule, class meets at regular time on Tuesday
- draft question order and user instructions for your form. (15% of final project grade)
Recommended further reading for those interested, only:
Create an account at https://www.github.com
In class: create a Calendly booking page
In class: complete the exercise at "Create a form with Microsoft Forms" (about 15 minutes)
You have access to Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Forms through the Suffolk Office 365 portal.
To access Microsoft Flow, go to https://portal.microsoftonline.com and click on the "All apps" arrow, and then the "Forms" and "Power Automate" links, respectively.
- Optional: Complete the exercises under "Getting Started with Microsoft Power Automate". (11 modules, about 1.5 hours)
Your form (if using a form) should be properly labeled. You should request a review from another student to ensure labeling is correct.
Presentations for Free Tool Fiesta
See instructions here
You should be able to run your form through the Weaver at least once. Correct any form errors or mislabeled variables.
- Schedule a second one-on-one meeting with Professor Steenhuis
- App "teardown" and extended reflection
- Read: Design Practices: Nothing about Us without Us. (2020). In Design Justice (1st ed.). Retrieved from https://design-justice.pubpub.org/pub/cfohnud7, perma.cc
- Read chapter 1 of Law by Design, by Margaret Hagan, Perma.cc
- Come prepared with questions for guest Nicole Bradick, CEO of Theory and Principle
Your form should be a package in your Docassemble playground. You should be able to start editing question text and adding refinements.
- Read M.R.P.C. 5.5
- The Face of Legal Technology in 2018 (and What it Means for the Future of Access to Justice). Kristen Sonday, May 8, 2018, perma.cc
- Lauritsen, Liberty, Justice, & Legal Automata, perma.cc
Check out this post on alternative legal research tools and click the links/watch the embedded videos.
After class: run a search for Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe v. Wade, or any other landmark constitutional law cases that interest you in at least 2 search tools that are new to you, and one that you know well (such as Lexis/Westlaw).
What do you like about the alternative tool? What is missing?
Your form should run through to the end, although it may not have a logical question order and a lot of information may still be missing.
Come to class prepared to troubleshoot specific problems in your final project.
Before class, read
- Henrik Kniberg, Making sense of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - and why I prefer Earliest Testable/Usable/Lovable, perma.cc (2016).
- Legal app maturity model.
- Legal Tech Assessment
- Final project presentation (but not the final project)
Please come prepared to deliver a 5 minute presentation of your work. See final project guidelines for more information about how to structure your presentation. Slides are welcome, but not required.
You do not need to have your final project finished. Be ready to demonstrate what you have, explain your process, and tell us about the work that is still to come. A working prototype will be able to get more constructive feedback, but your grade will not be based on how complete the work is, but rather the quality of the presentation.
Come prepared to present/provide constructive critique of classmates' work.
Your form should be in the final refinement stage now. Questions should be in roughly the right order. You should be ready to send it to a peer or a subject matter expert for feedback.
You should have feedback from 2-3 peers or at least one subject matter expert to triage and start implementing.
During the week, get started incorporating feedback on your final project.
Final project is due. Turn in through link in Teams.
Your form should meet at least a "useful prototype" by this stage. Write down any goals that you did not have time to implement, especially feedback from a subject matter expert.