Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 6

FROM OUR PRESIDENT

Over the Cloud
I

magine a day with no emails.

For some, it may be a trip down memory lane of the "simpler" days. For others, it may simply be unimaginable. The dividing line might fall between generations of lawyers for whom "the cloud" evokes white
clouds and blue skies and a newer generation of lawyers for whom "the cloud" primarily conjures up big
data and computing.
The cover article of the July/August 2000 issue of Washington Lawyer, titled "The E-Revolution and the
Practice of Law," observed that "the past half-decade has witnessed a revolution in electronic communication technologies that has wrought dramatic changes in the way lawyers work." The article touched on
burgeoning innovations such as emails, intranet, online research tools, mobile phones, and even firm
websites - all of which are now ubiquitous, if not indispensable, for work and leisure.

Connect
with Esther:
elim@dcbar.org

As it turns out, I started practicing law precisely at the turning point of the legal "e-revolution" and
witnessed those technological breakthroughs transform the practice of law in ways unforeseeable in
the mid-1990s. In the last two decades, technology has arguably been the greatest game changer in the
legal profession.
Indeed, technology has fundamentally reshaped how we practice law from how we communicate with
clients to how we conduct discovery to how we store and manage information. Document review, for
example, has leapt from printed documents with Post-it flags and colored manila folders stuffed in banker's
boxes to online databases hosting terabytes of information searchable in seconds and accessible from
anywhere. Advances in communications have made remote work and virtual firms commonplace.
A lawyer's work is no longer tethered to physical offices and hard wires.

"It behooves our
community and
our profession to
consider how to
leverage technology
to improve the
delivery of legal
services and to
fight against the
widening access
to justice gap."

The American Bar Association Model Rules reflect the changing nature of the legal practice. Comment 8
of Rule 1.1 provides that "[t]o maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of
changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology . . . ."
Not surprisingly, technology has been a hot topic of discussion on access to justice. The ABA continues to
explore the use of technology and online resources to help those in need through access, education, and
assistance. It behooves our community and our profession to consider how to leverage technology to
improve the delivery of legal services and to fight against the widening access to justice gap.
A conversation about the intersection of technology and law would not be complete without mentioning
artificial intelligence (AI). AI-driven tools are automating routine legal work such as document review,
contract drafting, and legal research to reduce costs and increase efficiency. AI algorithms are gaining
a foothold in criminal justice as a tool for sentencing, assessing the risk of recidivism, and tracking and
predicting crimes. Technology-based tribunals are providing online dispute resolution platforms for certain
civil matters.
Increasingly heavy reliance on technology has been met with mixed reactions in a profession steeped
in tradition and history. But whether you view "disruptive" innovations with a welcome embrace or with
cautious skepticism, technology is here to stay.
Perhaps we cannot imagine a day without email. Perhaps the legal profession is not quite over the
moon about working over the cloud. But this lawyer reflects with marvel about the incredible evolution
of technology in law and wonders with amazement what is about to unfold in the next decade or two
in our cherished profession.

Photo: Patrice Gilbert Photography

6

WASHINGTON LAWYER

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NOVEMBER 2018

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https://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/july-august-2000-erevolution.cfm https://www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/july-august-2000-erevolution.cfm

Washington Lawyer - November 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November 2018

Washington Lawyer - November 2018
Contents
Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Career & Professional Development
Calendar
Government & Gavel
Smart Cities: The Future of Living
I, Lawyer? Ai & the Law
Cybersecurity: Preparing for the Inevitable
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Washington Lawyer - November 2018
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 9
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Calendar
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 14
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Smart Cities: The Future of Living
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 18
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - I, Lawyer? Ai & the Law
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 26
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cybersecurity: Preparing for the Inevitable
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 45
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover4
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