August 23, 2019

Archives for June 4, 2015

The Future of Law (Part 21): The Future Couldn’t Wait

rhodesI intended this series to be over with last week’s signoff. Apparently the future couldn’t wait. Several developments came to my attention this past week that were just too good to pass up. We’ll look at a couple this week, and a couple more next week. And maybe more, and maybe longer… depending on how fast the future keeps arriving.

Part 15 of this series, Law by Algorithm, said this:

Welcome to law by algorithm: artificial Intelligence at work, serving up the customized law you need personally and for your work and business.

Then it made two predictions. Here’s the first:

  • Law by algorithm will enable consumers to self-diagnose legal issues and access legal “remedies” for what ails them.

Check out this article from two days ago in Above the Law, about LawGeex which will do exactly that:

The fact is many people could use the help of a lawyer to review everyday documents but either lack the means or simply do not want to deal with the pain of finding a lawyer.

One Israeli lawyer, Noory Bechor, thinks software is the solution and has raised $700K to build LawGeex, an artificial intelligence to analyze your documents against the documents in their database and flag provisions that are “not market.” So now, for no cost, ordinary people can negotiate agreements with their landlord, employer or investor just as well as a trained lawyer. The service has already generated buzz with early adopters and, after having LawGeex analyze my new apartment lease, I was ready to learn more.

I went to the LawGeex website, where I was guaranteed my results within 24 hours, for FREE. Nothing personal, but try getting that from your local law firm.

The second prediction from Part 15 was this:

  • We’ll also see online diagnostic networks geared for legal professionals only — similar to those that already exist for physicians.

Check out Foxwordy — a private social network for lawyers, as described in this article in The National Law Review:

[Monica Zent, Foxwordy’s founder] is an experienced entrepreneur and had already been running a successful alternative law firm practice when she founded Foxwordy. Foxwordy is a private social network that is exclusively for lawyers. Monica reminded the audience that we are, remarkably, ten years into the social media experience and all attorneys should consider a well rounded social media toolkit that includes Foxwordy, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

However, as Monica elaborated in a post-conference interview, LinkedIn, for example, “falls short of the needs of professionals like lawyers who are in a space that is regulated; where there’s privacy, [and] professional ethics standards.” As an experienced attorney and social seller, Monica understands that lawyers’ needs are different from other professionals that use the more mainstream and very public social networks, which is why she set out to create Foxwordy.

Foxwordy is currently available to licensed attorneys, those who are licensed but not currently practicing but regularly involved in the business of law, certified paralegals, and will eventually open up to law students. Anyone who fits the above criteria can request membership by going to the homepage, and all potential members go through a vetting process to ensure that they are a member of the legal community.

Membership includes all the core social features such as a profile page, connecting with others, the ability to ask questions and engage anonymously, exchange referrals, and exchange other information and resources.

I went to the Foxwordy website and signed up. I got an email back thanking me for my interest and reminding me that Foxwordy is by invitation only, that they’re looking for the best and brightest, and that they’ll let me know if my invite has been accepted.

Apparently membership does have its privileges.

A collection of Kevin Rhodes’ Legal Connection blog posts for the past three years is now available in print from Amazon. Also available from Amazon as a Kindle, and as an ebook from Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Scribd.

Colorado Supreme Court: Underlying Rationale in General Steel Ruling Applicable to Court Actions

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Boyer v. Health Grades, Inc. on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Abuse of Process—First Amendment Right to Petition.

Boyer and Singson, defendants in a suit brought by Health Grades, petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment declining to affirm a favorable jury verdict on their counterclaim for abuse of process. The court of appeals remanded the case to the district court and ordered reversal of the verdict unless that court were to find that the claims initially brought by Health Grades were devoid of reasonable factual support or had no cognizable basis in law, in accordance with the appellate court’s understanding of the mandate of Protect Our Mountain Environment v. District Court (POME), 677 P.2d 1361 (Colo. 1984). On rehearing, the appellate court modified its opinion, expressly evaluating the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in General Steel Domestic Sales, LLC v. Bacheller, 291 P.3d 1 (Colo. 2012), which had found the heightened abuse of process standards of POME inapplicable to the filing of an arbitration complaint implicating a purely private dispute. Based on its own exegesis of POME and its progeny, as well as POME’s roots in federal jurisprudence, the court of appeals concluded that nothing in General Steel required the modification of its remand order.

The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, holding that the underlying rationale for its judgment in General Steel concerning arbitration proceedings is equally applicable to actions filed in courts of law. Because it is uncontested by the parties that the action filed by Health Grades involved a purely private dispute, the Court remanded the matter with directions to affirm the jury’s verdict.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Governor’s Attestation Regarding Nurse Anesthetists Purely Administrative

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Colorado Medical Society v. Hickenlooper on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Executive Powers and Functions—Standing.

To receive Medicare reimbursement, hospitals and other medical service providers must require certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) who administer anesthesia to do so under physician supervision. However, states may opt out of this requirement if the Governor submits a letter to the relevant federal agencies attesting that the opt-out is in the best interest of the state’s citizens and is consistent with state law. In 2010, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. sent such an opt-out letter, which attested that Colorado law permits CRNAs to administer anesthesia unsupervised.

Here, the Supreme Court held that the Governor’s attestation to the federal agencies that Colorado law permits CRNAs to administer anesthesia without supervision is not a generally binding interpretation of Colorado law subject to de novo review. Instead, the attestation’s sole effect is to exempt certain Colorado hospitals from the federal physician supervision requirement. This decision, if reviewable at all, is reviewable only for a gross abuse of discretion. Because petitioners do not allege that such a gross abuse occurred in this case, the Court affirmed the court of appeals’ dismissal of petitioners’ claims.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Juvenile Life Sentences Subject to Consideration of Defendants’ “Youth and Attendant Characteristics”

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in the consolidated cases of People v. TateBanks v. People, and Jensen v. People on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Juvenile Sentencing.

In this consolidation of three cases, the Supreme Court examined the appropriate remedies for defendants who were given sentences that would be unconstitutional under Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012). Miller held that it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to sentence juveniles to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) without first giving them individualized sentencing that takes into account their “youth and attendant characteristics.” Under the statutory scheme in place between 1990 and 2006, all three defendants were given mandatory LWOP sentences for crimes committed as juveniles.

Two of the cases, Tate and Banks, come on direct review. Miller therefore applies and renders their sentences unconstitutional. To preserve as much of the legislature’s work as possible, Tate and Banks should be given individualized resentencing hearings that take into account their “youth and attendant characteristics.” If the resentencing court determines LWOP is not warranted, the appropriate sentence is life with the possibility of parole (LWPP) after forty years. LWPP is appropriate in that instance because it was the sentence given both before 1990 and after 2006, and thus is what the legislature likely would have intended had they known about the subsequent constitutional rulings. The Court therefore remanded the cases for an individualized resentencing hearing to determine whether LWOP is warranted. If LWOP is not warranted, LWPP should be imposed.

The third case, Jensen, is a CAR 50 petition that came on collateral review of a final judgment. As such, the issue is whether Miller applies retroactively. Because the new rule from Miller is procedural rather than substantive and is not a “watershed” rule of procedure, it does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review of a final judgment. It therefore does not apply to Jensen.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Juvenile Life Sentences on Collateral Review Not Subject to Constitutionality Test

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in People v. Vigil on Monday, June 1, 2015.

Juvenile Sentencing.

In this CAR 50 petition on collateral review of a final judgment, the Supreme Court held that Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review of a final judgment, and thus does not apply to Vigil. This holding was based on the Court’s decision in Jensen v. People, 2015 CO 42, __ P.3d __. The Court therefore reversed the trial court’s decision to grant Vigil’s collateral Crim.P. 35(c) motion pursuant to Miller.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.