Latest from The Ethical Investigator - Page 2

Just back from the ABA’s family law conference where I gave a talk on asset searching, I heard a wonderful talk from the “father of unbundling” of legal services, Forrest “Woody” Mosten. He is a high priced divorce lawyer practicing in Beverly Hills, and yet makes a great living in never going to court. Instead, he lets others do that and spends a lot of time working for an hour or two at a…
Anyone following artificial intelligence in law knows that its first great cost saving has been in the area of document discovery. Machines can sort through duplicates so that associates don’t have to read the same document seven times, and they can string together thousands of emails to put together a quick-to-read series of a dozen email chains. More sophisticated programs evolve their ability with the help of human input. Law firms are already saving their…
By now, if a lawyer isn’t thinking hard about how automation is going transform the business of law, that lawyer is a laggard. You see the way computers upended the taxi, hotel, book and shopping mall businesses? It’s already started in law too.  As firms face resistance over pricing and are looking to get more efficient, the time is now to start training people to work with – and not in fear of – artificial…
One lawyer we know has a stock answer when clients ask him how good their case is: “I don’t know. The courts are the most lawless place in America.” What he means is that even though the law is supposed to foster predictability so that we will know how to act without breaking our society’s civil and criminal rules, there is a wide variety of opinion among judges even in the same jurisdictions about the…
Another EB-5 visa fraud, more burned investors. For people outside the United States trying to pick a reputable investment that will get them permanent residency in the U.S., sorting through hundreds of projects is often the hardest part of the job. There is plenty written about what you should do before you invest, one of the latest guides being from the North American Securities Administrators Association, here. You can read up on EB-5 frauds…
Lawyers need to find witnesses. They look for assets to see if it’s worth suing or if they can collect after they win. They want to profile opponents for weaknesses based on past litigation or business dealings. Every legal matter turns on facts. Most cases don’t go to trial, fewer still go to appeal, but all need good facts. Without decent facts, they face dismissal or don’t even get to the complaint stage. Do law…
We don’t usually think of the law as the place our most creative people go. Lawyers with a creative bent often drift into business, where a higher risk tolerance is often required to make a success of yourself. Some of our greatest writers and artists have legal training, but most seem to drop out when their artistic calling tells them law school isn’t for them. Still, creativity and innovation are all the rage in law…
Step one: don’t have a manual. That’s the message in an information-packed new book about the inner workings of the SEC just after the Madoff and now largely forgotten (but just as egregious) Allen Stanford frauds. In his memoir of five years at the agency, former SEC Director of Investment Management Norm Champ (now back in private practice) writes that he was stunned to arrive into public service in 2010 to find that examiners had…
What to do when the databases you rely on start stripping out the very data you are paying for? Word in today’s Wall Street Journal that the main credit reporting firms will be removing many civil judgments and tax liens from credit reports prompts us to restate one our core beliefs: Not only do databases routinely mix people up, they are far from complete in the information they contain. Now, they will be even farther…
What will it take for artificial intelligence to surpass us humans? After the Oscars fiasco last night, it doesn’t look like much. As a person who thinks a lot about the power of human thought versus that of machines, what is striking is not that the mix-up of the Best Picture award was the product of one person’s error, but rather the screw-ups of four people who flubbed what is about the easiest job there…