Is Lex Mercatoria a New Opportunity in Legal and Regulatory?

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on August 29, 2014

Just like parties to commercial transactions today, merchants in Europe in the Middle Ages knew that time is money. Waiting on courts and legislative entities was a money-losing option, so they created their own means to settle disputes – the lex mercatoria (see articles in Wikipedia and for an overview). The lex mercatoria, Latin for “commercial law,” took into account best commercial practices and existing laws of the jurisdiction where disputes arose. Some commercial best practices were later codified into national legal systems. Others were recognized in judicial opinions. Other customs remained, simply, customs. Read further >

Financial Times’ Special Report on Innovative Lawyers – AsiaPacific

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on June 30, 2014

Valuable insights appear in the recently released inaugural Special Report from the Financial Times on Innovative Lawyers in Asia-Pacific, which follow its earlier Special Reports on innovative lawyers in the US and Europe that I have blogged about in the past. The FT observes that many law firms in the Asia-Pacific are more innovative than their counterparts in the US and UK. Several factors contribute to this: Read further >

You can forget about that!

Christian Dirschl
Written by Christian Dirschl
on May 16, 2014

The Court of Justice of the European Union has recently decided that “An internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties.”

Based on that decision, international websites as well as national discussion platforms in Europe are glowing with activity.

But what does that mean?

Read further >

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality

Raymond Blijd
Written by Raymond Blijd
on January 06, 2014

Google’s Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” stated “Privacy May Be An Anomaly.” Historically, he is right in some context. We used to bathe in the open and wore less and more revealing clothes in the past. Some won’t mind going back to those days but ever since humans acquired the ability to communicate it always had the option to do it in private. Moreover, confidentiality is the corner-stone of several business sectors such as Health, Legal and Finance. So the question is: as a professional, who will you trust? Read further > Folksonomies as Glossa on Public Domain Legal Content?

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on August 07, 2013 is a contract database and search engine that enables lawyers, financial analysts and business owners to search SEC filings to find contracts that can be used as model documents. My colleagues and I recently had the privilege of attending a webinar by LawInsider’s founder, attorney-entrepreneur Preston Clark. In essence, makes it possible for lawyers to locate model documents by searching for them using full-text search and/or metadata search. Each user of LawInsider can increase the precision of searching for all end users by adding “tags” to the content that is retrieved. For example, an attorney who finds an excellent example of a “lock up agreement” can tag it – and everyone in the LawInsider community can browse to that document using “lock up agreement.” Even more beneficial would be if an attorney end-user adds more detailed words to “lock up agreement” for specifying its context, for example, “lock up agreement – buyer friendly.” Every end user in effect becomes part of the editorial team. Read further >

How Should Social Media Be Integrated into Professional Research Products?

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on July 22, 2013

Recent developments around social media highlight the need for Wolters Kluwer to incorporate social media into its research products targeted at end users. Why? Social media are behaving more and more like primary and secondary sources of law. Consider the following developments: Read further >

New Normal Is an Opportunity for Law Firms and Publishers

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on July 03, 2013

Juxtapose the following two video interviews by Bloomgberg Law of two prominent thinkers about legal services: Bruce MacEwen about Weil Gotshal’s layoffs and Richard Susskind about the need for law firms to make radical changes. Bruce is the publisher of the blog Adam Smith Esq. and Richard is the author of the book Tomorrow’s Lawyers. While neither interview mentions publishers of professional content, I think that they evoke questions about new opportunities for law firms and publishers to partner. Read further >

An Evolving Push Model in the Cloud for Proactively Associated Professional Content

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on May 06, 2013

Google Docs and Gmail have always been in the cloud. Microsoft has followed more of a hybrid model. Both are interested in generating revenue from highly targeted advertising. Microsoft and Google have invested money and brain power into creating algorithms that target advertisements to end users. The algorithms increase the precision of the targeted advertising by becoming aware of end users’ interests. Algorithms attribute interests to end users based on their search terms, the contents of their electronic communications, demographic information and the contents of their word-processing documents. If you have a Gmail account, you probably have experienced Google’s contextual targeting, based on keywords in Gmail messages. Other insights for these thoughts come from patents and patent applications, including the following: Read further >

Publishers’ Evolving Role as Curators of Public Domain Content

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on March 15, 2013

I’ve always admired how private publishers made it possible for professionals to access tax, legal and regulatory content. Their role was primarily aggregation and distribution through print. But they also curated. Looseleaf publishing, which required editorial expertise, made it possible to reconcile topically published content with chronologically published updates, all under a single topical classification scheme relevant to a specific area of law. Publishers made a choice as to how to organize content in looseleafs as well what to include and exclude, based on a deep understanding of professional customers’ needs. Technology later made it possible to digitize hardbound & looseleaf print volumes, thus making it accessible through full-text & fielded-metadata search. Read further >

Trends towards Automating Regulatory Compliance

John Barker
Written by John Barker
on December 31, 2012

While the problem is not yet solved, several research papers reveal movement towards automating translation of regulatory and legislative texts into machine-readable logic and human-readable statements. This research is timely, given the increasingly regulatory burden within each jurisdiction and across all jurisdictions. As I noted in an earlier post, professional human editors are essential but cannot keep up with every regulatory development globally in every domain. Automation will become increasingly important. The benefit of automation (reality check: there is still a long road ahead) is that desktop, laptop and mobile computing devices would be able to query regulations in a more sophisticated way, use them in decision trees, and translate them into prescriptive easy-to-read statements that professionals could apply to their clients’ problems. Another potential benefit is automatically mapping regulations to organizational processes. Read further >

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