Law Times

December 8, 2014

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Emotional debate over plan for more administrative calls By yamri Taddese Law Times proposal to allow pro- spective lawyers to skip the call to the bar cer- emony started a heated debate among Law Society of Up- per Canada benchers at Convoca- tion on Nov. 28 with some calling the plan "the final coup d'état" of a profession that's continually "dumbing down." On the face of it, the motion be- fore Convocation seemed pretty innocuous. The idea was to give law graduates an option for an administrative call to the bar of Ontario without first gowning up to watch proud family and friends cheer them on at a traditional ceremony. The proposal was a response to the rising numbers of gradu- ates every year and, in turn, the increased cost and administra- tive hurdles around planning more ceremonies. With call to bar ceremonies only taking place in Toronto, Ottawa, and London, Ont., geography is also a barrier for some students, according to Bencher Howard Goldblatt, who moved the motion. On top of that, the new crop of law practice program graduates will have to wait two months be- fore their call to the bar. If the ad- ministrative option existed, they could be called soon after finish- ing their program. But in a 26-19 vote, Convoca- tion decided attendance at the tra- ditional ceremony should remain obligatory unless extraordinary circumstances prevented gradu- ates from showing up. "I think that we need to recog- nize that being called to the bar is a different process from a motor vehicle registration," said Bencher Constance Backhouse, a professor at the University of Ottawa. "Our members are joining a learned profession with a long his- tory of tradition and ritual." In-person calls to the bar are also an "occasion of opportunity for the law society," according to Backhouse. "As a regulator, we meet our new members in person for the first and, for some of them, the only time. We have their atten- tion. We have the attention of their 2015 ONTARIO LAWYER'S PHONE BOOK THE MOST COMPLETE DIRECTORY OF ONTARIO LAWYERS, LAW FIRMS, JUDGES AND COURTS Perfectbound Published December each year On subscription $77 One time purchase $80 L88804-677 Multiple copy discounts available . Plus applicable taxes and shipping & handling. (prices subject to change without notice) With more than 1,400 pages of essential legal references, Ontario Lawyer's Phone Book is your best connection to legal services in Ontario. Subscribers can depend on the credibility, accuracy and currency of this directory year after year. More detail and a wider scope of legal contact information for Ontario than any other source: ȕ 0WFS27,000 lawyers listedȕ0WFS9,000 law firms and corporate offices listed ȕ 'BYBOEUFMFQIPOFOVNCFSTFNBJMBEESFTTFTPGȮDFMPDBUJPOTBOEQPTUBMDPEFT 7JTJUDBSTXFMMDPNPSDBMMGPSBEBZOPSJTLFWBMVBUJPO OLPB_LT_Dec8_14.indd 1 2014-12-03 11:56 AM Associates threatened by artificial intelligence New study suggests robotics will revolutionize legal sector By Julius melniTZer For Law Times t's just a matter of time before artificial intelligence and robotics put a lot of law firm associates and paralegals out of work, according to a report au- thored by Jomati Consultants LLP. "[Artificial intelligence] and robotics will revolu- tionize the legal sector," says Tony Williams, founder of Jomati Consultants, a leading British-based strategic consultancy to the legal profession. "Law firms will see nearly all their process work un- dertaken by AI bots, completely upending the tradi- tional associate leverage model." "Civilisation 2030: The near future for law firms," a study released by Jomati Consultants in November, predicts that workplace robots and their artificial intel- ligence processing systems could be in general produc- tion by 2030. Williams acknowledges that promises regarding ro- bots have failed to deliver in the past. But he maintains that the emergence of rudimentary artificial intelli- gence bots that can act autonomously in digital space or within a mobile machine portend a different outcome this time around. "For years, law firms have amassed vast stores of knowledge management files," says Williams. "Knowledge bots would go beyond the retrieval function of today's [knowledge management] software by putting all this material to work." David Holme, chief executive officer of Exigent Group Ltd., a global legal services outsourcer and con- sultancy headquartered in South Africa, says that's already happening. "There are tools on the market that automate standard consumer documentation and that claim to have contract drafting and development intel- ligence," he says. "Not only are these tools getting better all the time, but AI is being designed and built for much more complex stuff than this." The impact on associate and paralegal workload could be cataclysmic. "AI bots could foreseeably take over any work with a systemic component that involves the processing of information," says Williams. "That includes low-level knowledge economy work, like due diligence, that is currently performed by very junior lawyers." Salaries for lawyers doing these types of tasks, which also include file and data checking, collation, data link- ing, and document improvement, is in the range of $100,000. According to the Jomati Consultants report, licensing fees for bots smart enough to work indepen- dently in a leading law firm will initially cost about $500,000 with the cost going down over time. "Even at this price, the bots would be worth the cost as they can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no downtime, thereby eclipsing the chargeable hours of the most workaholic lawyers," the authors conclude. As well, a handful of bots could work on many mat- ters at the same time and would be instantly accessible at any moment to anyone in the firm no matter where they were. They would learn as they work and become more efficient over time. "Eventually, each bot would be able to do the work of a dozen low level associates," the report says. "They would not get tired. They would not seek advancement. HOMELESSNESS CASE Appeal court says no to Charter challenge P3 RCMP TROUBLES Force landing in lots of legal hot water P6 FOCUS ON Criminal Law P9 'Some partners who have been very well paid will find themselves either out of a job or not paid as well,' says Tony Williams. See LSUC, page 5 See Artifi cial, page 5 Providing those who finish the law practice program with an administrative option would create a two-tier system, says Michael Lerner. PM #40762529 HOMELESSNESS CASE Appeal court says no to Charter challenge & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 40 December 8, 2014 e: Litigation Support Our Document Management Services include: Scanning • Indexing • OCR (Optical Character Recognition) • Electronic Document Capture and More - Call Us, We Can Help! ntitled-1 1 2014-09-26 9:29 AM L aw TIMes L aw TIMes I A

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