Link Round-Up: February 10, 2017
‘Link Round-Up’ gives you a glimpse into the articles that got the most airtime around the Loom Analytics water cooler this week. Published every Friday, article topics include access to justice, big data, legal technology, and what’s happening in the Canadian legal landscape.
- Gabrielle Orum Hernández reports that after a massive amount of funding ($24 million!) poured into the American Civil Liberties Union over one weekend in the wake of President Trump's executive order banning travel into the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries, the ACLU is joining the Y Combinator startup accelerator as a legal tech startup in order to further their reach.
"The accelerator has pledged to donate tech development services to the ACLU as part of its fellowship program, along with the mentorship and networking opportunities for which the accelerator is best known. The ACLU is slated to participate in the accelerator’s famed “Demo Day” in March, where startups typically present the product they plan to introduce to market.
The accelerator, however, will make a few special accommodations for the ACLU: Unlike other startups, the ACLU will not spend time in residence in Silicon Valley, nor will the accelerator take any equity stake or payment from the civil liberties nonprofit for its participation in the program."
This is not the only way in which the partnership will be unique:
"While startups typically develop the technology behind their own projects during their time in YC’s fellowship, the accelerator has asked its network of developers and tech staffers to contribute time to ACLU projects. Shortly after the tech incubator announced the partnership, it put out a call for engineers to donate hours to working on projects for the ACLU. [ACLU Executive Director] Romero said that YC president Sam Altman told him the accelerator was “overwhelmed with offers for volunteers” to design and develop technology for ACLU projects."
- Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay on Slaw takes on the news that Google Translate has shifted from a 'phrase-based' system for translation to a neural network (AI) system. He is optimistic about the implications of improved translation technology for legal purposes, both from an access to justice standpoint (eliminating language barriers for vulnerable sectors within the legal system) and for the potential boost to the distribution of translated case law:
- In New Brunswick, for example, if a court finds that a judgment “determines a question of law of interest or importance to the general public”, this case needs to be translated. Of course, this comes at a cost, which costs may have led – I’m told – to the non-publication of a quantity of significant cases.
- In Quebec, the judiciary is known to worry that significant cases with a potentially high precedential value that are issued by Quebec judges in non-civil law matters (e.g. criminal law) are all but ignored outside the province even when they advance the law and could help litigants there.
- Over on Above The Law, Robert Ambrogi is one of many giving his take on this year's Legaltech/Legalweek conference which happened over January 31st - February 2nd. Reflecting on the reinvention of Legaltech, a New York legal institution, into Legalweek, Ambrogi discusses what he sees as the successes and failures of the three day conference.