Thanks for joining us for another installment of Bleeding Edge! For episode three, we sit down with Richard Tromans, Publisher and Editor of Artificial Lawyer, who is also a subject matter expert on law firm strategy and innovation. As we dive right in, Joe Davis, leads this interview into the recent French Justice Reform Act that prohibits modern analytics techniques.
For this podcast, we attempt to get a handle on this new law, which some US scholars believe could be considered unconstitutional in the United States. We also talk about how we use data analytic and data collection, and how we, as legal technologists and legal strategists could be more efficient, as we move ever closer to the Bleeding Edge…
Opening quickly, Richard jumps into a conversation he recently had: “So a few weeks ago I was talking to,a contact in France who has a legal tech company...and he mentioned, ‘Have you seen this thing that the judges are doing?’ ... And he explained it to me...So I contacted some other people, including some companies that were directly affected by this [law], who have been previously collecting data on French court cases. And they said, yeah, this is, this is for real, they have actually done it. It is law.”
So now we’re no longer talking in hypotheticals about what a ban on analytics for parts of the judiciary... “They felt that an individual judge shouldn't really be named in a statistical analysis of what happened in that courtroom or relation to certain types of cases ...and hence it is now technically illegal to pour over data, produce statistical models about what a particular judge says about certain types of case and then publish it.”
Joe then asks about the legality of publishing this data or if the simple act of collecting the data itself is illegal; that is where Richard believes we enter a hazy area. Ultimately, the question of gathering this data is in how it will be reused. And, as this is a relatively new, untested law, and Richard believes that the French Justice Reform Act “must be trying to say [that] we don't want you to be producing a kind of scorecard and sharing it around the public, amongst the legal market about Judge X always says this. That is their fundamental problem with the whole thing that they, I think, feel that they're being sort of trapped by the data.”
We move the discussion along to the law’s legal technology angle and ask, what are the kinds of analytics or the companies that are affected by this ban? Richard makes the simple point that a person could do statistical research on judges simply with a pencil and pad. However, as Joe states, it comes down to that this Act is not really a ban on technology per se. “It's really, it should be perhaps taken more at face value that they [French Judges] just don't want to be identified individually.”
As the discussion turns to technology, data, and public decisions are being created and used. Richard believes “If it is in the public realm, why shouldn't you do some statistical analysis on it?” Tune in to the podcast for more on this emerging and interesting topic, as Richard and Joe delve into the Bleeding Edge, discussing even more, that “legal technology, fundamentally, is about efficiency.”