Nathan Shedroff, a renowned "interaction designer," wrote a paper called "Information Design" in which he described a process by which we understand things.

Shedroff called this process the "continuum of understanding.” And it’s a useful model for better understanding what humans are good at vs what computers excel at.

The process of understanding begins with collecting data that is developed into information that helps us acquire knowledge and culminates in the development of wisdom.

Computers are good at the data & information level. Humans excel at the knowledge (domain specific) and wisdom levels.

This is the "high value" area that lawyers need to focus on. The knowledge level involves soft skills, informed intuition, ability to "read the room," and giving thoughtful advice based on deep knowledge and wisdom.

This is what lawyers should focus on. And it's what they should have been focusing on before ChatGPT was born.

Some good articles to read👇🏻



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May 3, 2023Liked by Jordan Furlong

Excellent post! I've been very disappointed to see people say vaguely that LLMs will free people up to do "more important" legal work without ever defining what that means. Also, are law schools preparing students to do these higher level tasks? Based on most law school exams and the bar exam (even the next gen bar), we're still preparing students to solve complicated word/logic problems that computers are on the verge of mastering.

If (as I hope) you are right that the true future of lawyering lies in human interaction, I still think that the overall human workload would have to decrease, at least under our current service model. The real power of computerization should be that we should finally be able to scale up delivery of legal service to more people who actually need it but can't afford it. There are plenty of people out there who are at the mercy of a legal system they don't understand and can't begin to engage with. LLMs are the structure on which such a bridge could be built, but lawyers will have to get together and figure out how to build it sustainably.

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Thank you for this. Although educated and trained as a lawyer. I now teach fitness classes to seniors. The isolation and straight up sedentary office work is killing lawyers, and I'm not sure we do much good in the world for all we're giving up, which seems to be our health. It's okay to change your idea about how to make yourself useful in the world ;)

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May 3, 2023Liked by Jordan Furlong

Great questions and excellent insights . . . as always. Thanks, Jordan.

As long in the tooth as I am, my memory of my first business card still fascinates me: "Counselor at Law". Is it possible that we can return to the role of lawyer as a personal advisor to clients and their representatives? I certainly prefer that to "technician".

Over the course of a career, the business model of law has become irrelevant. Technicians of all stripes can and will be replaced by Generative AI (GAI). I regret that countless hoards of lawyers bought the lie that all you need to do to succeed as a legal professional is to bill as much time as you can . . . alone in the privacy of your office. (Suicidal by most accounts.)

Technology and the global economy have proven those principles to be obsolete.

"Trusted advisor" is far more valuable than "legal technician".

It may thin the ranks, but clients have been crying for the difference for years and are prepared to pay handsomely for it. Ask the Big Four consulting firms.

I'm personally pleased that technology has revealed what the business of law has become.

I vote for trusted advisors, and most clients with whom I speak with are of the same mind.

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Another terrific article Jordan. Keep them coming!

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One of my bets is a combination of talking to clients + helping them choose a proper legal solution for their issue, be it a product, a service or a combination of both.

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