Bill Herr

From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out. People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.

2 thoughts on “Bill Herr

  1. s.A

    112 West
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    Back in the 80′s the old joke was to tell people that they could be replaced with a non-functioning button. After all, the tech boom was beginning to get into full swing and it looked like automation could eventually replace anyone. Of course not everyone has been replaced entirely. Those that couldn’t, have been off-shored.

    However, an article in today’s New York Times , John Markoff shows that the saying may still have some legs. If you are a lawyer or a paralegal, you need to watch your back, as the computers are now coming for you.

    Using the same types of language comprehension software that was used by the Jeopardy contestant “Watson”, computers can quickly sift through millions of documents in discovery phase to find relevant links that would take an small army of paralegals months of billable hours. Softwares can detect changes in writing styles, find nuances and even positve or negative sentiments in e-mails, text messages or even recordings, all for far less than your normal room full of laywers would charge. Far less. As Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end told the Times,

    “From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out. People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”

    More importantly, when presented with a mountain of information, people sometimes zone out and miss things. Herr used e-discovery software to reanalyze work his company’s lawyers did in the 1980s and ’90s. His human colleagues had been only 60 percent accurate, he found.

    What does all of this mean? Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, a major meaning-based firm, is convinced that the legal sector will start to see a drop in employees sooner than later. He estimates that the shift from manual document discovery to e-discovery could reduce manpower to the point that one lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500 and that the newest generation of software, which can detect duplicates and find clusters of important documents on a particular topic, could cut the head count by another 50 percent.

    But in all fairness, the document that the software selects will need to be read by a human, at least for now. And in the end, a human lawyer will need to go in front of a human judge. But if Watson is any indication, even that may change in the future.

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  2. Anonymous

    field of science/medical will top over the field of law?
    how about the future finance sector?
    stock will not be the only game anymore?
    people even splits the antique paintings, jewelery into shares (the same as stocks)for public trading in China. too much money for the rich people. rich get richer, poor will always stay poor.
    where the richer get rich from? the poor people.

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