"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Do robot attorney eliminate the need for law licenses, for human judges, and make access-to-justice super easy and economical?

I wrote on this blog about a robot "hired" to practice law in a U.S. law firm in May of 2016.

Now, two more law firms reportedly started the use of robots in their law practice.

So, as of now, robots are used in law firms for the following "jobs":

The artificial intelligence system used so far is ROSS, made by IBM.

ROSS, reportedly, "can understand your questions, and respond with a hypothesis backed by references and citations".

As a litmus test, if a human being without a law license "understands your questions and responds with a hypothesis backed by references and citations", such a human being is chargeable with a felony unauthorized practice of law.

ROSS also, reportedly, "improves on legal research by providing you with only the most highly relevant answers rather than thousands of results you would need to sift through."

In other words, ROSS makes a determination INSTEAD of a human being, as to what is most relevant to your case when doing research.

Legal research and making such judgment calls during legal research is considered the practice of law, prohibited to anybody but licensed attorneys.

In this case, it is clear that the attorney is not supervising ROSS in how the legal research is done, ROSS is making the decision INSTEAD of the attorney, to "save time" for the attorney, so that the attorney should not "sift through" "thousands of results".

"Additionally, [ROSS] is constantly monitoring current litigation so that it can notify you about recent court decisions that may affect your case, and it will continue to learn from experience, gaining more knowledge and operating more quickly, the more you interact with it."

ROSS is reportedly doing its job better and faster with "experience" and interaction

It was also reported in May of 2016 that "other law firms" also signed a license with ROSS

At least two other law firms were already reported as using ROSS:

Name of Law Firm
Name of Robot/Name of Manufacturer
Activity that can be handled by the robot
Is the activity subject to unauthorized practice of law prosecution?
States and federal courts where the firm is practicing

·        Legal Research/judgment calls on relevancy of cases found;
·        Case analysis/outcome prediction;
·        Monitoring litigation, prompts about new cases and laws that may affect outcome of the case

All states, all federal jurisdictions

All states, all federal jurisdictions

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

So, since May of 2016, and increasingly so, the practice of law in the United States is delegated to robots.

Because, if a robot makes a decision which case in the case law the robot found is relevant to a certain case, and the lawyer discards all other cases and goes only with the cases that the robot considered relevant, that is a substitution of the judgment of a lawyer by the "judgment" of a robot.

And, functions that ROSS is carrying out are functions routinely charged as unauthorized practice of law.

Of course, if Baker & Hostetler, Latham Watkins and von Brisen & Roper are using a machine that will allow to make decisions instead of a lawyer based on lightning-speed analysis of information and conjuring up case hypotheticals and case outcomes, other law firms are at a competitive disadvantage.

Since ROSS license is, no doubt, super-expensive, we can soon expect licensing pools to use ROSS collectively.

Moreover, what ROSS ACTUALLY can or cannot do is commercial secret.

So, unlike an attorney who, before licensing, must undergo a background check and a character review, the machine that replaces the judgment of a laywer, may not undergo any "checks" because what it can or cannot do is a patented commercial secret.

Owned by IBM.

And IBM - through stocks - is owned by a lot of judges.

So, please tell me, what is the remaining legal basis for state and federal courts to continue attorney licensing if robots can practice without supervision and instead making decisions INSTEAD OF attorneys?

And, I repeat the question I asked in my previous "robot-related" blog, if the robot can assess cases, review the applicable law faster than any human can, pick relevant cases and apply them to the hypotheticals in front of the court, why not replace ALL of the state and federal judiciary with just one ROSS?

Won't it be super-economical and eliminate judicial corruption into the bargain?

And, won't ROSS, if purchased for public use by the government with free or low-fee access for every citizen and legal resident of this country eliminate the "access to justice" gap by engaging in legal consultations and providing information needed by litigants?

Because - ROSS can do legal research and choose the most relevant cases in the thousands of cases decided across the country by various courts, right?

And can do it for the public.

ROSS can generate hypotheticals based on the specific facts of the case and predict case outcomes based on the law.

And can do it for the public.

Making lawyers in the long run not necessary?

Should we as taxpayers give it a try?

Imagine, you have a problem.

Instead of going to a lawyer, you use your ROSS-subscription subsidized by the government (at your expense as a taxpayer), enter a question into the ROSS-consulting terminal, and get an answer as to how your case, most likely, will be decided by a ROSS-judge, based on the law and facts of your case.

The only problem then will be how to find employment to all suddenly unemployed lawyers and judges.

But that is a happy problem, isn't it?

And, lawyers, who call themselves "intellectual elite", can be then easily re-educated in the professions that are in demand and under-represented in the market.

Case solved?

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