ALEX SHAHRESTANI

PROMISE LEGAL

"TECHNOLOGY PERMITS AMAZING PARADIGM SHIFTS IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW.

- ALEX SHAHRESTANI, PROMISE LEGAL

Among attorneys, tech enthusiasts are in short supply. Most legal tech headlines don’t sound like news at all – a judge who doesn’t understand Zoom, a law firm that finally accepts credit card payments, a “new” tool that automates invoicing. Y’all, this is 2022.

Why is the bar for legal innovation so depressingly low? Partly because lawyers are risk-averse as a rule; and partly because lawyers and technologists speak very different languages. But more than anything, it’s because lawyers themselves are threatened by the idea of automation coming anywhere near their legal work.

That’s a mistake.

In reality, technology permits amazing paradigm shifts in the practice of law. Automation gives us an opportunity to practice a whole new kind of lawyering, where the lawyer of the future will be part technologist, part legal strategist. A suite of automations will drive processes like legal threat identification, contract generation, and even dispute resolution. The trick will be in knowing how best to operate the tools.

In our firm, we develop our own solutions to fill our tech needs; among other tools, we have the initial drafts of complex documents automatically generated based on some key data points (with hundreds of possible iterations), we have automated the first pass of document review received from other attorneys, and we have developed means of proactively identifying our client’s internal legal needs without relying on the C-suite or in-house counsel to spot potential legal issues.

There is no place better than Austin to lean into new solutions, and the time has long passed for innovation to be front and center in the practice of law.

Alex Shahrestani is a startup-tech nerd trapped in an attorney’s body. He serves as Vice President of EFF-Austin, CLE Program Coordinator for SXSW, is a leadership member of the Computer & Technology Section of the State Bar, and the Founder of the Journal of Law and Technology at Texas. You can find out more about him and how he uses his CS background to inform his practice at promiselegalpllc.com

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