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The law of numbers

What the vLex-Fastcase merger tells us about the development of legal AI tools in Canada. Fastcase and vLex were both founded as scrappy smaller competitors in online legal research markets dominated by larger players. That all changed with their recent merger, a clear signal that legal tech companies view extensive data collection as the key … Continued

Getting Started on Writing That Book You’ve Been Thinking About

Over the years I’ve spoken with many people who believe they “have a book in them” or an idea for a book. But to take liberties paraphrasing Stephen Fry’s protagonist in The Hippopotamus: books aren’t made up of ideas, they’re made up of words. So how do you string those words together at scale? Firstly, … Continued

Are 80% of legal problems in Canada really going unmet?

This is the first article in a series of three on the Canadian Legal Problems Survey and what its findings say about the legal market. We often say that 80% of legal problems are not being addressed in the legal system, but how closely does that figure match measured reality, and how could we approach … Continued

Article published in AALL Spectrum: “The Case for Algorithmic Skepticism in Law”

My Slaw column “The Case for Algorithmic Skepticism in Law” was included in the March/April 2023 issue of American Association of Law Libraries’ magazine Spectrum. You can read if here on pages 38-39. It was originally published here.

Considering the Time Element in Law

Law is a unique and important dataset: to a large degree it is a record of governance. It also tends to be conservative, so people can know what is likely to happen in the future based on what has happened in the past. Structurally, it has elements in common with other large text-based collections, such … Continued

Sarah will be speaking at LSC’s Innovations in Technology Conference, January 19-21 in Phoenix Arizona

Sarah will be giving a talk titled “Issues with Using Primary Law as Data” at Legal Service Corporation’s (LSC) Innovations in Technology Conference to be held January 19-21, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Navigating the Adoption of New Technologies

The end of the year is a time when we frequently think about what has happened in the past and what will come in the future. One of the things that is often considered in this context is technological changes.

Sarah spoke at Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters event, October 27, 2022

Sarah spoke on a panel titled “We’ve Got the Data – Now What?” as part of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters event on October 27, 2022. Here’s the session description: The Action Committee on A2J has been advocating for more national A2J data to support people-centred legal services. … Continued

Looking Forward: Forecasting Technology Developments in the Legal System, Redux

It’s about two years since my first forecast column for Slaw, and as the future is always rising to meet us, I thought I would do an updated version as we approach 2023.

Sarah spoke at Refugee Law Lab, based at York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School, September 21, 2022

Sarah gave an online seminar titles “Primary Law as Legal Data” at the Refugee Law Lab, based at York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School, on September 21, 2022. Here’s the session description: Researchers are looking for opportunities for leveraging the primary law as data. This work is anticipated to be … Continued