Legal Innovation Zone announces next legal tech challenge

Ryerson University's Legal Innovation Zone, in Toronto, announced its next legal technology challenge on Sept. 26 for advancing artificial intelligence technology for legal services. Among those making the announcement was Ontario Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi.
  • Apps cannot solve the unaffordale legal services problem-the A.G. is not using our tax money wisely

    Ken Chasse

    The A.G. of Ontario at the Legal Innovation Zone (LIZ): there are now many sources developing such "apps" for the intended purpose of making legal services affordable. It cannot be done with apps alone. The industry development process will be as follows.

    First, there will be a rationalization process among all the many producers, such that there be a reduction to those apps most popularly used.

    Secondly, there will be a consolidation process of mergers, acquisitions, and financial failures for various reasons.

    Then thirdly, the dominant market-controlling producers will emerge who will be the biggest and therefore most successful producers. That will threaten LIZ's operations, unless LIZ becomes a thoroughly commercial producer, motivated, financed, staffed, and equipped to compete with those biggest producers. They will have their own experimental-developmental departments and be very well financed.

    So, unless LIZ is able to compete at that level, it will have to find something else to do. That's why I recommended that it become a civil service for all of Canada's law societies, with the University of Ottawa providing the French language counterpart. Law society management structure is still that of the 19th century, managed by practising lawyers whose top priority is their own law offices and clients. Therefore Canada's law societies are incompetently managed. Like a government without a civil service, they cannot govern.

    That is why the present unaffordable legal services problem makes victims of the majority of Canada's population. The problem has been allowed to develop for several decades with no remedial action being taken. The legal profession has priced itself beyond the majority of Canada's residents. LIZ would have no competitors providing such a civil service function for all of Canada's law societies, and paid for by enabling CanLII to provide at cost a legal opinion service as does LAO LAW at Legal Aid Ontario. Canada's law societies are soon to be under threat of abolition if they cannot demonstrate that they are honestly and effectively trying to solve the problem. Right now, they have nothing of that nature--no program the purpose of which is to solve the problem of unaffordable legal services. The social media, and then the news media, will soon make the problem a major topic of discussion and complaint. Canada's Attorneys General and the law societies are not prepared for that.

    2. The Attorney General of Ontario is giving our tax money to the development of "apps" without knowing what impact, if any, they will have on that problem. Apps cannot cure the problem of unaffordable legal services. Making a producer of anything more cost-efficient cannot in itself make its goods or services affordable. That is why all manufacturing uses "support services methods" of production. For example, that is why the "parts industry" exists to help the auto manufacturers make affordable automobiles. If they were made the same way that automobile were first made, 120 years ago, they too would be too expensive for the majority of the population. It wasn't enough to make each auto manufacturer itself more cost-efficient.

    Similarly, all medical services are produced by means of support services methods. There are no generalists. And so, no doctor's office provides all treatments and all remedies for all patients the way that a lawyer's office does for all clients. The legal profession has not suffered the pressure that forces innovation in its methods of production as has the medical profession had to endure such pressure.

    So, tell the A.G. of Ontario to spend our tax money more responsibly with greater forethought, and tell LIZ to think further into the future as to justifying its existence.

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