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AdmissionsDean is the best place to learn about law school–for free. Use AdmissionsDean to research law schools, track fellow applicants, find law school scholarships, read our interviews with law school admissions deans and professors, and much more.

AdmissionsDean is now the most popular law school applicant tracking site on the Internet! The real power of AdmissionsDean is unleashed when users register (anonymously) and input basic information about themselves, like their LSAT score(s), undergraduate GPA and the law schools to which they have applied. Registered users can then track specific law schools and applicants to see who is getting admitted, wait-listed and rejected by which schools so you can better assess your own chances. Tracking applicants also helps you identify law schools that may not currently be on your radar screen, but should be.

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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?

For the last two installments, we’ve been talking about the coming empire, the reign of the machine, and anything I can think of to keep what attention you may have for this topic. And, in a questionable move, I promised two things for this installment: “just how the predictive coding engines work” and “ some recent case law not only validating but also mandating” their use. In retrospect, I realize that I could not possibly have promised you two less exciting cliffhangers. So, with apologies to anyone who is here anyway, I will be brief.

1) How predictive coding works (generally):

Generally, there are two methods employed by predictive coding applications:

a. SAMPLING AND CONVERGENCE

A subject matter expert (attorney) sits down with a random sampling of documents. She “codes” while the computer “watches”, building a model according to the attorney’s choices. Then, the computer “predicts” the coding of another set. When the computer’s predictions sufficiently match the attorney’s choices, it has learned all it needs to complete the batch itself.

b. KNOWLEDGE GATHERING

A team of reviewers (not experts) begins to code while the computer “watches” and compares each response with all of the other responses. It makes its own predictions at the same time, and when its predictions match the reviewers’, it has learned all it needs to complete the batch itself.

As you can see, the differences are in details so fine that you and I do not really need to know about them. What’s important to understand is that, through the miracles of parallel processing, machines can now watch, practice and eventually mimic the choices made by humans as the humans are making the choices. This means a real-time, actionable feedback cycle that makes it possible for us to trust that, yes, we can program a machine to think like us. As I’ve said before, for now, all we’re asking the machine to do is work that humans were never really well-suited to do in the first place: digest and make binary choices about non-binary information at speeds not humanly possible. double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Virtual Canary in the Digital Mine #5: Total Pre-Cull (Part 3 of 3), or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Predictive Coding”

Watch as our editors give a sneak peek of what you could get in this month’s box from the set of SUITS!

Proper hair pomade might be the only thing standing between you and the promotion you deserve. If we’ve learned anything from USA’s hit series SUITS’ Mike Ross, it’s that succeeding at a high-powered firm is more about looking the part than, say, actually earning a law degree. Being a genius helps too, of course, but even if you make all the right moves, you’ll still need a polished look if you want to make partner someday.

The best way to get cleaned up like the stylish lawyers on SUITS is to try all the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear—everything from hair care and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets. Join by June 30th and you’ll receive the limited edition SUITS box, with supplies inspired by the impeccably-dressed lawyers on the show.

Once you’ve signed up and filled out your personal profile, you can head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine where you’ll find article and video tutorials on how to look sharp, interviews with tastemakers, and much more. You can pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points with every purchase.

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My Big Law Student Loan Debt


A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.

In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%

It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.

To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.

S. Fischer, 36, Attorney
Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000

When I was 21, I had no real concept of money. I’d lived off my parents as a college student, and anything that I made from part-time jobs was “fun money.” So the amount of student loan debt that I was accruing seemed very abstract. Not to mention that I really bought into the idea that large student loans are an “investment” in law school, and they’ll pay off in the form of money! money! money! upon graduation.Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me. I went to a private “regional” law school (that’s a euphemism for a bottom-tier school, according to the rankings) that nobody outside of Florida has heard of because it was the only school that accepted me.

So every month, $308.19 comes out of my checking account, which is a lot considering that I make only about $55,000 a year. My salary is about 40% less than what most attorneys with my years of experience typically make because I don’t work for a private firm—I believe quality of life is as important as quality of work.

The culture of the legal profession is to never talk about your student loan debt because most people who’ve paid it off are resented by contemporaries who haven’t. But I am comforted in the knowledge that if I run into tough times, I can always defer the loans—while accumulating interest, of course. And since the interest rate is low at 2.875%, I’m not scrambling to pay it off.

What Katie Says: Shane is correct when he says that his interest rate is great—under 3% is fantastic—but I would caution him not to get too comfortable with those loans. He mentioned that he’s also thinking about paying down his mortgage faster, and saving for retirement and travel, which is smart, but I’d recommend that he keep the 50/20/30 rule in mind. At least 20% of his income should go toward financial priorities, which includes savings and debt repayment.

Have questions about your student loan?
At LearnVest, our goal is to arm you with the unbiased information you need to make the best financial decisions possible. The LearnVest website is full of expert advice, tips, tools and the latest news and more to help you make the most of your money. Visit LearnVest and create a free account today.

Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Please consult a financial advisor for advice specific to your financial situation.

LexisNexis® Digital Library

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LexisNexis and OverDrive®, the digital library solutions provider chosen by 22,000+ libraries, schools and colleges worldwide, have joined forces to provide a library management solution that suits evolving legal research requirements mobility, simplified library management, and space and budget reductions.

Innovative new service offers legal professionals access to the largest collection of authoritative legal eBook content.

Reduce your library costs and extend the budget.
With LexisNexis® Digital Library, overhead and administrative costs for maintaining a print library are reduced dramatically. Adopt an easy-to-use platform that requires minimal staff resources so your organization can make the most out of your library budget. Plus, multi-year purchase options let your library lock in savings.

Empower your librarians.
Your firm’s librarians will have more time to conduct value-added research. They’ll have greater insight into what resources the staff actually uses so they can make adjustments to the collection quickly using a single website. Librarians can gain greater control, which can lead to better library utilization and increased strategic value to the firm.

Sign up for a quick, complimentary Webinar: June 19, 2–3 P.M. ET

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “LexisNexis® Digital Library”


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Your years in law school were filled with the promise of making a difference.

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It’s the time of year when law students assess their transfer opportunities, perhaps to focus on a specific area at another school, to spend a visiting year, or to better manage the financial demands of law study.

If you’re thinking along those lines, Arizona Law is worth a long look.

For 98 years, we’ve offered students one of the most highly individualized programs in the country, with faculty who love to teach and are leaders in their fields, and an increasingly national – even international – alumni base. While maintaining a strong core, we’ve kept in touch with the changing landscape of legal education and practice.

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If you want the advantages of an outstanding small law school, coupled with the resources of a great research university, find out more at www.choosearizonalaw.com. Then contact a member of our Transfer Transition Team to explore your options.

In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?

Last time I regaled or, alternately, disgusted you with a tale of my days as an objective coder. We covered such weighty topics as mind-numbingly repetitive labor, mind-pummelling attorney billing practices, and the prehistory of the human-computer-interface that is my beautiful two-year-old Apple fan-girl daughter. As I said, that was about context. About trying to establish a context in which you might find the introduction of a “predictive” technology to not be such an unwelcome thing.

Let’s stop for a second and consider a handful of predictive technological sidekicks that are so useful (if occasionally a nuisance) we no longer consider them innovative because they are, in fact, essential. Here’s a short roll call:

• Spam filters
• “Adult” content filters
• Explicit image searches
• Targeted advertising
• iOS’s auto-correct.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Wait, I thought he was going to try and convince me that predictive coding is a good thing”. And, sure, we’ve all missed an important email because the spam filter caught it. Or we’ve tried to do a legitimate search for, I don’t know, “chicken breasts”, only to be foiled by an overzealous content filter. Or we’ve attempted to use an explicit image search to filter out, ahem, questionable scenes only to find that the filter really didn’t understand that that picture was a picture of that. Oh my. We’ve also been persistently irritated by Google’s insistence that a “recommended” site for us might be this when actually we were looking for this. And the pithy things I can say about autocorrect would literally write themselves if I were using my iPhone to write this.

So, why would I, as the boxers say, lead with my nose? Because these examples are all hilarious exceptions to the rule otherwise established by the widespread adoption of these technologies. The rule (Virtual Canary Rule #4080) is that “you can absolutely teach a machine to think like a human when the human task it’s asked to replicate is a very mechanical process”. The spam filter, just like you would, sees an email from an address that does not look like a real person’s address or a message with a suspiciously generic subject and it trashes them. And, when it first gets started, you know that it’s wise to keep an eye on it, or at least to check when an email you expect never arrives. If you find something that you value more than the machine predicted you would, you say to it, “this is not spam”. At that point, it writes a new rule for itself and no longer trashes emails from that source. The machine has learned to think like you. And you rejoice. What’s more, when you went to look for the missing email, you saw exactly what had been going on the spam filter all this time without your input. And again, you rejoiced: you never had to look at all that garbage with your precious human eyes.

And that, my friends, is predictive coding. Truly the future is here and, as always, it turns out that it’s been here we us all along. When we talk about “Technology Assisted Review”, it’s nothing new. It’s simply litigation-grade spam filtering. You do a bit of preliminary review on a representative sample and your new high-tech best buddy (think C3PO) says, “Oh, I see, if you like these 1,000 documents as potentially relevant, then I recommend you also focus on these 10,000. You’re going to love them! And, please, don’t waste too much of your time or your client’s money on those 90,000 documents over here. I’m 98.769% sure there’s nothing there for you and I’ve put a little flag on them to remind you later.”

Next time, I’ll complete this trilogy by discussing just how the predictive coding engines work and present you with some recent case law not only validating but also mandating that we defer to the machines. Before then, please use this once amazing technology (I’m referring to the hyperlink) to transport yourself to my company’s entry into the predictive coding arena. Or, if you’d rather watch the tool in action, sign up here for a free live webinar.

As of this printing, we do still use actual humans to demonstrate the power of the tool.


In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?

First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.

On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.

What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.

After some time, I became slightly senior due to the fact that others were hired. I went on to code other projects. And then teams I managed coded other projects. Most of these projects covered the same ground: coding objective data so that the attorneys could perform subjective searches for it, maybe, someday. But, other projects were a little more advanced: we examined doc dates to determine relevancy or maybe we examined names and email addresses to determine privilege. As a bonus, if we saw something that was handwritten or that had a handwritten note, it was immediately suspect and perhaps “Attorney Work Product”.

In my personal experience, that was human coding. Moreover, the firm I worked for charged its clients for my time (billed, of course, by the hour) and for the time of my colleagues and other firms billed their clients for the time of our peers at other firms. The only explanations I have for this are that either clients were so successful that they no longer reviewed invoices or were so beaten-down by years of bills that they assumed they had no other choice. So, we continued, coding like fallible machines.

And then 2008 happened. And the bottom-line is an engine of change. Clients began to ask for the unthinkable: a better way to review documents. They began to (shudder to think) pay attention to the work folks like me were doing and weigh that against the price they were paying . . .

In the meantime, “googling” became a lower-case verb and librarians began pondering extinction. The Yellow Pages had already been reduced to a doorstop and Encyclopedia Brittanica stopped printing. Why? Because “technology” (accessed with our “computers”) now “assisted” us in “review”ing all of the information at our disposal without ever having to crack a book. The evolution of the human-computer has begun. Just ask my two-year-old, if you can pry her away from “her” iPad.

OK, why did I spend my valuable word-count discussing this? For context, friends.

And because, next time, I am going to – head on – tackle the fears that many still have of “Technology (or ‘Computer’) Assisted Review” (“TAR” or “CAR”). And hopefully instill in you an even greater fear: a fear of not embracing it. The machines are here to help us. Our poor coders are not equipped for the tasks we’ve given them. And the tasks are getting larger by the day.

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