Artificial Lawyer doesn’t often do ‘Best Of’ lists, but 2020 was such an extraordinary year it seems fitting to do one this year. So, please find below this site’s Top 25 Most Read Articles of the Year.
At the end of the piece there are also some observations on what this Top 25 tells us. Enjoy!
The Artificial Lawyer Top 25 Articles of 2020
- Gartner Legal Tech Hype Curve – 2020 Positions – July
- GPT-3 – A Game Changer For Legal Tech? – July
- 62% of GCs Still Use Excel, SharePoint + Email to Manage Contract Data – Feb
- LinkedIn To Launch Lawyer Marketplace After UpCounsel Exodus – April
- CMS, Cooley, Rajah & Tann Launch ‘Universal Adapter’ Lupl Collaboration Platform – May
- The Epiq Ransomware Attack – A Threat Analyst’s View – March
- Legal Tech Layoffs Begin As DISCO Announces Job Cuts – March
- DocuSign Sets Out ‘Smart Agreement’ Vision With Clause – Oct
- The End of Offices? Or At Least As We Know Them – April (RT)
- European Women of Legal Tech Winners – The Full List – Nov
- How Will Covid-19 Impact the Legal Tech Sector? – March (RT)
- Emily Foges Leaves Luminance For Deloitte Legal – May
- The Economics of Legal Tech – May (RT)
- Epiq Calls In The Feds After Ransomware Attack – But ‘No Client Data Accessed’ – March
- Is Beagle the First Legal AI Casualty? – Jan
- What If…Big Law Pulled The Plug On Legal Innovation? – Feb (RT)
- Thomson Reuters Launches Marketplace for Templates, Services + Tech – KPMG Involved – Nov
- Killing Time – How To End The Billable Hour + Liberate Legal Tech – Feb (RT)
- ‘We’re Never Going Back’ – Legal Introverts Demand Home-Working Forever – (April Fools story)
- Meet Theorem: The New LegalTech App Store + More – Feb
- H4: ‘Kids Use Google Docs, But Lawyers Still Use Word + Email’ – June
- Another One Bites the Dust… UpCounsel To Shut Down Site – Feb
- UK To Launch LawTech Sandbox to Drive R&D – May
- 100+ PwC Legal Lawyers To Be Trained on BRYTER No Code Platform – Jan
- Co-Founder of Linklaters’ Nakhoda Tech Group Leaves, Bhandarkar Takes On Role – Feb
(NB: There was also a highly read story about the French ban on using judges’ data, which this site first brought to readers’ attention in 2019. Talk about a story that has legs! But, as it was from last year it’s been taken out of the list to show only what happened this year.)
Observations on the Results
First we have to look at the Number 1 story, and that was this site’s analysis of the Gartner Hype Curve for legal tech in 2020. As may be remembered, this site took a fairly hard line on some of the analysis. This seemed to strike a chord and sent the story right to the top of the charts. Writing about a big brand obviously helps, but challenging assumptions is also clearly of interest to Artificial Lawyer’s readers.
As perhaps could be expected in 2020, Open AI’s GPT-3 language model came high up, in this case in second place. The number of legal tech vendors offering products where GPT-3 has played a key role remains very small, and it is more of a side project for now to most. That may change in 2021, or perhaps we’ll have to wait for the next iteration before it can be widely taken up? Roll on GPT-4…..?
Also, understandably – and it would have been very surprising if not – COVID-19 featured in several parts of the Top 25. The first mention was at number 7, with a story about layoffs at Disco, which were triggered by the pandemic.
There were a couple more related to the pandemic, including one that had actually been meant as an April Fools about introverts not ever wanting to go back to their offices. This one also struck a chord with a lot of people and this site received several messages of thanks, with some saying: ‘For once I really wanted this April Fools to be true!’
As it turns out many people may find they can stay working from home for a long time to come, even after the pandemic, thanks to a new level of acceptance for this approach, at least for most of the week.
Another key factor was that the only two stories that mentioned anyone by name in the headline were both about women legal tech stars, namely Emily Foges and her move to Deloitte, and Shilpa Bhandarkar at Linklaters. Also, coming in at number 10 was the recent story about the European Women in Legal Tech award winners.
Marketplaces also featured prominently in the Top 25, with two very well-read stories about Theorem and Thomson Reuters’ new marketplace. Clearly people are interested in this approach to selling and engaging with legal tech solutions.
As someone once said about successful literature: ‘The most popular stories are always about either love or death, and very often both.’ And so it is true of legal tech news, although in this case the mortal battles are in relation to companies closing or getting into hot water.
Epiq’s attack earlier this year garnered two pieces in the Top 25 – although as readers know, it managed to bounce back and is now doing well again. While the demise of legal AI company, Beagle, and lawyer marketplace, UpCounsel (company version one), both got a lot of attention. The recent demise of ROSS just hasn’t been in circulation long enough yet to rack up the same numbers. Although, being the most read closure story is probably not an accolade any founder really wants to have.
As to the love angle, we can see this as vendors, law firms and other organisations working closely together. The UK’s LawTech Sandbox figured in the Top 25, while the ‘Universal Adapter’ Lupl platform set up by CMS, Cooley, and Rajah & Tann, came in at number 5. People clearly like collaboration.
The penultimate theme was lawyers still stuck on old tech tools, especially the Windows suite. Stories about this came in at number 3 and 21. The former was related to a survey by ContractPodAi. So, there you go, surveys done well get attention.
The final observation, if Artificial Lawyer’s founder may be excused for noting this, is that readers are clearly still coming to this site for a good old think. For example, five of the Top 25 most read articles of 2020 were not news pieces, they were studied leaps of thought combined with an analysis of the facts, (these are marked RT).
Thank you very much for reading all of these articles and the dozens and dozens of other pieces published over the year by Artificial Lawyer, and for also now watching the many AL TV videos that have arrived in 2020.
This site always strives to deliver readers with something of value and I hope to maintain, and in fact improve on this, next year in 2021. As ever, thank you for all the kind feedback over the last 12 months and for engaging with Artificial Lawyer in multiple ways. You make this site what it is. Thank you!
Publication Note: Christmas Holidays – given how this year seems to have made everyone work even harder than usual and without even the chance to meet up with the many great friends this site has made around the world at conferences and hackathons in order to unwind a bit, I need a short holiday, as no doubt we all do.
Artificial Lawyer will be returning to its normal publication schedule from Jan 7 next year. In the meantime, please enjoy the Top 25 stories above – just click the links to go to the article; have a read of the many great insights in the 2021 Predictions from the Market piece; and if that’s not enough to sate your appetite for legal tech goodies over Christmas, then please check out the AL TV Library, which features a now extensive collection of video interviews and product walk throughs with many of the world’s great legal tech experts and most exciting solution providers.
So, thank you once again for reading Artificial Lawyer. It’s been a hard year, but there have been many good times as well, even if some of them have been had virtually. I look forward to seeing many of you next year in person, as for sure, at some point, we’ll meet again.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
By Richard Tromans, Founder, Artificial Lawyer (Dec, 2020)