— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) November 14, 2017
In reply, former SDNY Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy put some things in perspective:
Orin, I’m a fan but, if it’s true (as I believe is true) that Wikileaks is a Russian intel operative, then the technical violation of the computer fraud statute is the least of the problems.
— Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) November 14, 2017
I focus a lot on how the law is wrestling with technology. In this section, I’m flipping the lens to look at how tech and innovation are changing the practice of law. Ideas? Observations? I’m all ears: [email protected]
>> Building legal tech, in house.
Silicon Valley stalwart law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has launched Orrick Labs, an in-house technology incubator tasked with developing efficiency technology for the firm, reports my colleague Gabrielle Orum Hernandez. “The ‘lab’ is currently working on a firm-wide document management dashboard platform and intends to develop other technology to support firm operations.”
Jackson Ratcliffe, technology architect for Orrick Labs, explained that the idea for the incubator derived originally from the technology strategy at Venture Law Group, a firm that rode the boom and bust of the late 90s dot-com wave. “Their whole focus was they had the most advanced tech that any law firm could have,” Ratcliffe said.
>> In Context: A growing trend? In addition to Orrick, some other large firms like Paul Hastings have moved into doing some coding and software-development in house to streamline discovery.
Dose of Dystopia
We’re talking about the future here, and as much as we humans like to hope that things will go right, we’re also fascinated by how things could go creepily wrong. Think Minority Report, Black Mirror, The Matrix. In that spirit, I bring you a dose of dystopia for the future of law.
This week: Did you take your medicine? Now your doctors—and maybe lots of other people—know the answer.
A digital-pill version of the antipsychotic Abilify, which is used to treat conditions like schizophrenia, was approved by the Food & Drug Administration earlier this month. The pill is aimed at improving “adherence,” the technical terms for making sure patients keep up with their meds. It contains minerals that generate an electrical signal when they come in contact stomach juices, which is then detected by a sensor worn by the patient, The New York Times explains.
If schizophrenia—symptoms of which include paranoia—seems like an odd ailment to choose in introducing big-brother style medical monitoring, you’re not alone. “You would think that, whether in psychiatry or general medicine, drugs for almost any other condition would be a better place to start than a drug for schizophrenia,” Dr. Paul Appelbaum, director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia University’s psychiatry department, told the Times.
But the medication also introduces a range of questions in the criminal and civil law space, as Utah-based attorney Anikka Hoidal wrote back in 2015 when the digital pill was still in the works. Privacy is probably the largest concern, she noted, especially in light of recent hacks. But could medical adherence data could into play into court custody battles over children?
And what about in law enforcement—might corrections officers make “medical compliance” a term of parole, coercing convicts into taking medication they may not want?
“Hopefully the legal and ethical world will be able to keep up with the medical advancements,” Hoidal concluded. Here’s hoping, indeed.
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