August 21, 2019

Archives for February 25, 2015

The Future of Law (Part Seven): The Law Gets Faster, Goes Micro, and Eats at a Communal Table

rhodesHarvard professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the phrase disruptive innovation in the late ’90s.

The theory of disruptive innovation . . . explains the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability where complication and high cost are the status quo. Initially, a disruptive innovation is formed in a niche market that may appear unattractive or inconsequential to industry incumbents, but eventually the new product or idea completely redefines the industry.

Until recently, the legal profession and the law remained mostly aloof from the impact of innovative disruption, moving instead at an analog pace of change driven by reasoned discourse and scholarly input. Think of the usual pace of legislation, appellate review, uniform laws, and legal restatements. But life in the slow lane is ending.

  • The analog pace of changes in the law is already breaking down. Legal practice developments are already moving at the digital pace of disruptive innovation. Changes to the law itself will soon follow suit.

Disruptive innovation doesn’t wait for reasoned discourse. It moves fast and impulsively, riding on trends fueled by democratized access to information. Disruptive change in the law will create new modes of change that simply will not wait for the historical pace of precedent and consensus.

  • These law changes will first follow the new practice models serving legal niche markets, where “simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability” are essential. (i.e., they will be “micro-law” in nature. We looked at the micro trend in this post last summer.)
  • This new way of creating and changing applicable law will go mostly unnoticed to “industry incumbents” at first, because the changes will be narrowly focused on the particular needs of emerging niche markets, which will make them “unattractive or inconsequential.”
  • In time, however, this way of creating and changing the law will gain wider usage and impact.

Other practice innovations already in place have disruptive potential as well. Consider, for example, ediscovery and due diligence. These practices began as digital versions of their former analog practices, and mostly retain that character, but possibly not for long.

  • These digital innovations could easily morph from their case-specific beginnings into more widely accessible databases of searchable information.
  • If so, they will change the overall fact-specific context of dispute resolution and transactional law.
  • And if they do that, new standards of pleading and disclosure will arise, and will require new rules and procedures to guide their use.

And finally:

  • This new way of changing the law will likely arise from an informal collaborative process which will further — by a quantum leap — the goal of bringing more “simplicity, convenience, accessibility, and affordability” to dispute resolution and commercial transactions.

In this regard, think of disruptive innovation as a sort of communal table process for changing the law. You’ve noticed the community tables springing up in restaurant and coffee shops. They’re more than a new style of seating arrangements: they’re changing the dining/drinking industry and the dining out experience. (For a wonderful analysis, see Alone Together: The Return of Communal Restaurant Tables.)

These developments will create some fascinating new bedfellows. Next time we’ll look at one such pair: commercial law and legal ethics.

Kevin Rhodes’ Legal Connection blog posts for the past three years have been collected into an ebook which is currently available as a promotional free download from Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Scribd, and for a nominal price from Amazon. For those who prefer to do their reading in hard copy, the collection will soon be available in that format (details to follow).

Governor Hickenlooper Signs First Bills of 2015 Legislative Session

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper signed three bills into law. These three bills are the first bills of the 2015 legislative session to be approved by the governor. The three bills are

  • HJR 15-1006Concerning Approval of Water Project Revolving Fund Eligibility Lists Administered by the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. By Rep. Edward Vigil and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. The joint resolution adopts additions to the Drinking Project Eligibility List.
  • SB 15-035Concerning the Enactment of Colorado Revised Statutes 2014 as the Positive and Statutory Law of the State of Colorado. By Sen. Michael Johnston and Rep. Elena Kagan. The bill enacts the 2014 Colorado Revised Statutes.
  • SB 15-098Concerning the Codification of Certain Phrases Previously Included in Appropriation Clauses. By Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Dave Young. The bill attempts to omit superfluous language in appropriation clauses by codifying language.

Stay tuned for more information about Governor Hickenlooper’s 2015 legislative decisions.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 2/25/2015

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinion and six unpublished opinions.

Chapman v. Wyoming Department of Corrections

United States v. Scott

United States v. Springer

Velasquez v. Faulk

Tadlock v. Marshall County HMA, LLC

Grayson v. McCollum

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.