Love.Law.Robots — 29 October 2021
October is drawing to a close, and so the end of the year is almost upon us. It's hard to fathom that I have been stuck working from home for nearly 20 months now. Some countries seemed to have moved on, but I doubt we'd do so in Singapore. Nevertheless, it's time for reflection and thinking about what to do about the future.
What I am reading now
- “Law and Technology in Singapore” deals with this topic in only one passing sentence (it's on page 176). Still, the issue of unlicensed practice remains challenging for any innovative legal tech in Singapore. In Florida, the problem rears its ugly head when the highest start court found TKID Services engaging in the unauthorised practice of law. It's not precisely DoNotPay, but the app connects people with traffic tickets with lawyers. Some have questioned the court's premise that the app exposed the public to incompetent and unscrupulous unlicensed practitioners — are all persons without a license incompetent? Are they all unscrupulous? On the flip side, are all lawyers competent? All just and honourable? More clarity will be helpful rather than the “I call it when I see it” approach in Singapore's jurisprudence at present.
The Importance of Being AuthorisedA recent case shows that practising law as an unauthorised person can have serious effects. What does this hold for other people who may be interested in alternative legal services?Love.Law.Robots.HoufuAn in-depth analysis of a rare and recent local decision touching on this point.
- I've started reading “CLM Simplified: Efficient Contracting for Law Departments” on my Kindle, and it's given me lots of food for thought. “Sign Here” was great in general, but Lucy Bassli's book provides more details of how it can work in a law department. Many of Lucy's ideas appear similar to Alex's at first glance, so this will be a good companion for each other. If you want to know what's it about but don't want to spend any money, Legal Evolution ran a series of excerpts from the book.
CLM Simplified: Efficient Contracting for Law Departments : Bassli, Lucy Endel: Amazon.sg: BooksCLM Simplified: Efficient Contracting for Law Departments : Bassli, Lucy Endel: Amazon.sg: BooksLucy Endel BassliI earn a commission from purchases made with this link.
- Do you need a lot of coding or technical skills to use AI? This commentator from Today Online highlights Hugging Face, Gradio and Streamlit and doesn't think so. So have we finally resolved the question of whether lawyers need to code? I still think the answer is very nuanced — one person can compile a graph using free tools quickly, but making it production-ready is tough and won't be free. I agree more with the premise that we need to better empower students and others to “seek out AI services and solutions on their own”. In the Legal field, this starts with having more data out there available for all to use.
Why you don’t need to be an expert to use AI any moreKeeping up with the latest developments in artificial intelligence is like drinking from the proverbial fire hose, as a recent 188-page overview by two tech investors Ian Hogarth and Nathan Benaich would attest.TODAYonline
This week saw the debut of my third feature — “It's Open. It's Free — Public Legal Information in Singapore”. I have been working on it for several months, and it's still a work in progress. I made it as part of my research into what materials to scrape, and I've hinted at the project several times recently. In due course, I want to add more obscure courts and tribunals, including the PDPC and others. You can check the page regularly, or I would mention it here from time to time. I welcome your comments and suggestions on what I should cover.
At the start of this newsletter, I mentioned that November is the month to be looking forward. 😋 Unfortunately, for the time being, I would be racing to finish articles that I had wanted to write since the pandemic started. This includes my observations from playing Monopoly Junior 5 million times. You can look at a sneak peek of the work in my Streamlit app (if it runs).
In the meantime, I would be trying the weights and cons of using MongoDB or SQL for my scraping project. Storing text and downloads on S3 is pretty straightforward, but where should I store the metadata of the decisions? If anyone has an opinion, I could use some advice!
Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out!
Love.Law.Robots. – A blog by Ang Hou Fu