Law Firms Could Disrupt the Industry with Business Rules

Law Firms Could Disrupt the Industry with Business Rules

Posted on July 06, 2015 0 Comments

Dr. Mark Allen says business rules software has the potential to automate much of the work that law firms do today.

“Why Lawyers will be Faster, Smarter, Richer and a Lot Fewer in the Years Ahead” was the title of a fascinating talk from Stanford Law Professor and LawLogix Chairman, Dan Siciliano at the Avvo Lawyernomics conference. The answer? Ultimately, rules-based software like Progress® Corticon® will automate much of what lawyers do today. Firms who take advantage of this software have the potential do more work, at less cost while maintaining as good (or better) quality and customer service.

As Founder and Chairman of LawLogix, Professor Siciliano knows a lot about rules-based automation of law. The LawLogix product helps to manage immigration law. He explained that, in immigration law, 97% of the law can be defined as rules, albeit quite complex rules. The remaining three percent of the law requires deep diagnostic and judgment skills.

Automating the Rule of Law with Software

Automating the 97%, using sophisticated rules-based software like Corticon, can ensure that the rules are enforced consistently and efficiently. And, rules automation provides more time for the lawyers to focus on the three percent that require their skills and judgment.

In his talk, Professor Siciliano made some striking predictions:

  1. In 15 years, law will be open source. People will no longer need lawyers to get the answers that they formerly got from lawyers. An example is overtime pay rules, a simple question that formerly required a call to HR counsel.
  1. Two-thirds of lawyers won’t practice law as they do now. Many won’t be lawyers at all.
  1. There will be little point in telling people what the law is. Lawyers need to contextualize it.  This is the three percent.

Why Adopting Business Rules Engines Could Disrupt Legal Industry

Professor Siciliano notes that the adoption of rules-based software may be driven more by the firms’ business model that technical fit.  If firms charge for service on an hourly basis, they are in conflict to adopt technology that has the potential to significantly reduce the hours needed to perform the same tasks.

By contrast, firms that charge fixed fees are incentivized to deliver their services as efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality.  Of course, the firms that start to adopt fixed-fee services using rules-based software have the potential to disrupt the industry.

Professor Siciliano’s parting advice was to start thinking about how technology can disrupt your business and to ride that wave—not be crushed by it. Progress can help. Read about how the California Association of Realtors uses Progress Corticon to automate legal advice for real estate law. And give us a call today to get started.





Dr. Mark Allen

Dr. Mark Allen

Dr. Mark Allen is a Progress General Manager, dedicated to advancing business automation and passionate about applying technology to improve the world. In 2000, he founded Corticon, later acquired by Progress in 2011. Under his leadership, Corticon became a leading independent business rules platform with hundreds of customers in diverse industries such as financial services, government, healthcare and insurance. Prior to founding Corticon, Dr. Allen developed rules-based systems to help physicians make better patient care decisions. Dr. Allen has a B.S. in Applied Physics from Columbia University, and an M.D. from the University of California Los Angeles.


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