Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rise of the robolawyers

The Atlantic has an article this month on the consumerization of legal AI. The TL;DR is that garden variety civil legal issues are amenable to automation and "bots will become the main entry point into the legal system." The prediction is that by 2025, bots will handle the majority of divorces, contract disputes, and deportation proceedings.

Let me say this: both my work and encounters with vendors give me a good vantage point. I've argued since the early-2000s about technology displacing lawyers and other professionals. It was interesting having someone tell me I wasn't that smart after I posted an image of a production scanner, never mind that I had been to trade shows and met offshoring companies that would handle its output.

At this point I don't care whether you go to law school or not. The main thing you should be aware is that it is now commercially viable to replace lawyers with artificial intelligence, with the technology moving inexorably down the legal food chain. Absent protectionist measures — there won't be any — the writing is on the wall.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Harvard legiTTTimizes a scam

A funny thing happened on the way to this post. I created the above image over a year ago, intending to write about toilets doing an end run around the LSAT by accepting GRE results instead. The gist was that schools needed an innocuous, facially valid test to help get Asses In Seats while concurrently obscuring how dumb the asses actually were. In other words, a rankings scam.

Taking that to its logical conclusion, the best available easily-administered and graded, low-cost, objective test is CAPTCHA. Seriously. I've played Oregon Trail on a teletype, so I'm an expert on typing tests. "BANG!" For bonus irony, CAPTCHA is designed to defeat Artificial Intelligence yet AI will ultimately handle the work that might have gone to toilet graduates.

Harvard, eh, Hahvard, you peons, just threw a monkey wrench into that. The 8,000-pound gorilla of the legal academy announced

Starting in the fall of 2017, Harvard Law School will allow applicants to submit either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) to be considered for admission to its three-year J.D. program.

The pilot program to accept the GRE is part of a wider strategy at Harvard Law School to expand access to legal education for students in the United States and internationally. … The Law School’s decision to accept the GRE will alleviate the financial burden on applicants who would otherwise be required to prepare and pay for an additional test.

The change is supported by an HLS study, designed in 2016 and completed earlier this year, examining, on an anonymized basis, the GRE scores of current and former HLS students who took both the GRE and the LSAT. In accordance with American Bar Association (ABA) Standards for Legal Education, the aim of the study was to determine whether the GRE is a valid predictor of first-year academic performance in law school. The statistical study showed that the GRE is an equally valid predictor of first-year grades.

Let's look at the winners:

  • Harvard, which just expanded its applicant pool amidst an ongoing brain drain as the smartest students avoid law school
  • Columbia and Chicago, which will pick up Harvard's dregs
  • Every toilet from Brooklyn to Costa Mesa. If the most prominent law school in the country says the GRE is a valid proxy then who's to argue? Christmas just came nine months early at Cooley, where disseminating unintentionally humorous irrelevant comparisons to Harvard is an insTTTiTTTuTTTion

The losers:

  • The LSAC, but they'll get over it
  • Anyone going to a school outside the T6. This was also the case before Harvard's change
  • A handful of 170 or 171-LSAT scorers who get Columbia as a consolation prize. It will be interesting if this bulge descends further down the rankings
  • Taxpayers, as toilets prey on a newly-expanded pool of stupid, gullible SJWs

Law school vs dying of dysentery? Tough choice.

Friday, March 10, 2017

February 2017

So much material to post, so little motivation.

Not seasonally adjustedFebruary20161,112,500
Seasonally adjustedFebruary20161,119,100
Change from Jan-17 to