Perlman: ABA Future Commission Not Out to Regulate ‘Entire Legal Tech Industry’

ABA_Future_CommissionThe ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services is not out to regulate the entire legal technology industry, its vice-chair Andrew Perlman told me today.

Perlman, the dean of Suffolk University Law School in Boston, was addressing concerns I raised in a post here yesterday about whether the commission is looking at regulating e-discovery companies and other companies that provide products and services to the legal industry.

In a March 31 issue paper, the commission’s working group on regulatory opportunities asked for comments on the potential regulation of unregulated legal service providers (LSPs). It offered a broad description of LSPs to include “automated legal document assembly for consumers, law firms, and corporate counsel; expert systems that address legal issues through a series of branching questions and answers; electronic discovery; legal process outsourcing; legal process insourcing and design; legal project management and process improvement; knowledge management; online dispute resolution; data analytics; and many others.”

“I can tell you that what the working group had in mind was feedback on the possibility of creating new regulations directed specifically to companies that deliver legal and law-related services directly to the public,” Perlman said.

“It was not intended to address and we never even discussed regulating the entire legal technology industry. That’s much broader than anything that’s ever been discussed.”

With an April 28 deadline for comments on the issue paper, Perlman said that many of the comments submitted so far expressed concern about this issue.

“Probably the most common concern raised so far is the breadth of the regulatory opportunities being considered,” he said. “I wanted to take this opportunity to allay some of those concerns. We are not thinking about regulating the entire legal tech industry.”

The working group has reached no conclusions about regulating even some subset of the industry, Perlman said. After considering the comments it receives, it may or may not make a recommendation to the full commission. If a recommendation is made, it would then be up to the full commission to consider.


About Bob Ambrogi

Bob is known internationally for his expertise in the Internet and legal technology. He held the top editorial positions at the two leading national U.S. legal newspapers, the National Law Journal and Lawyers USA. A long-time advisor to Catalyst, Bob now divides his time between law practice and media consulting. He writes two blogs, LawSites and MediaLaw, co-authors's Legal Blog Watch, and co-hosts the weekly legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer. A 1980 graduate of Boston College Law School, Bob is a life member of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and an active member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, which honored him in 1994 with its President's Award.