The American Lawyer writes……

As the co-founder of AI tool ROSS Intelligence, Andrew Arruda has been at the fore of innovation in the legal industry. He has turned his efforts lately on how the regulatory climate around law needs to change to keep up with advances in the industry. As part of those efforts, he is involved with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. In advance of speaking on this topic at our Legal Business Strategy conference at Legalweek NY next month, we checked in with Arruda on why he thinks the profession should be regulated in a different way.

The American Lawyer: You have long been on the cutting edge of legal technology and the evolution of the delivery of legal services. What about the topics IAALS promotes attracted you?

Andrew Arruda: I was immediately drawn to IAALS because of its focus on providing real and actionable improvements to the delivery of legal services, in part because of my experience as an attorney practicing in the blue-collar community I grew up in, and in part, because of the impact I’ve seen our technology have on helping make quality legal services affordable and available to everyone. While there is a lot of talk in legal circles about access to justice, IAALS has from day one been focused on practical results and direct conversation which has, in turn, allowed it to attract such a talented and diverse group of supporters and leaders and is why myself and our company as a whole is so invested in doing what we can to help it achieves its goals.

TAL: How do you think regulations around the ownership and practice of law should be changed?

AA: The nuances can and should continue to be fleshed out, but the core of how we should re-regulate the legal profession is clear. Non-JDs should no longer be barred from ownership of law firms, and similarly, non-JDs should not be barred from the provisioning of some legal services. In reality, this has already partially occurred through the encroachment of global consulting firms into legal services, and it’s time as a self-regulating profession we come to grips with the changes that have already occurred, and ensure the benefits they bring to consumers will be shared not only among Fortune 500 clients but also among regular Americans who can now benefit from streamlined and more efficient legal services at their neighborhood law firm.

TAL: How will those changes spawn innovation in the delivery of legal services?

AA: Just like the specialization of labor and professional management allowed for the creation of faster, more reliable and more effective hospitals, first responders and dental services, the re-regulation of law will similarly allow for the average consumer of legal services to get higher quality work at a more reasonable rate. What’s more, because 80% of Americans currently go without legal representation because they are priced out of the market, this increased efficiency won’t lead to a reduction in work for lawyers, but rather increase the size of the total addressable market.

TAL: In general, what are your predictions for biggest changes to the purchase, sale or delivery of legal services in the next decade?

AA: Rather than foreseeing dramatic new changes, our team’s view is generally that we’ll just see existing trends continue to grow—increased tech literacy among new law school grads, further relaxing of lawyer-only requirements, and an increasingly informed and demanding consumer base for legal services. The end results, as I mentioned above, will be a healthier and better functioning democracy where for the first time the average citizen can afford timely and effective legal services, whether it be related to a custody dispute, a land conveyance, or even the immigration status of a loved one.

TAL: In thinking of your session at the Legal Business Strategy conference on the changes to bar access, what would be the key message you’d want to ensure those interested in this subject understand?

AA: I think the biggest takeaway I hope folks leave the session with is that legal technology, along with re-regulation, are both healthy and constructive influences that not only are here to stay but which should be embraced and applied, rather than resisted. We still have a long way to go, but the dialogue that has emerged from IAALS’ work has been extremely encouraging, and I’m honored to have been able to make my own small contribution to the important work that the organization continues to do.

For more on this topic, sign up to attend Legal Business Strategy. The session on this topic takes place Feb. 4 from 2-3pm EST. Other speakers include moderator Ralph Baxter and panelists, Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas; Vice Chief Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer of the Arizona Supreme Court; and Professor Rebecca Sandefur of Arizona State University, along with Arruda.

This session will examine how the latest efforts around deregulation are different than ones in the past. Who stands to benefit and who will face increased competition? What type of investments are we expecting? Where will this spread next?

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