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Monday, July 13, 2015

The Borders of Technology - Modria Resolution Center

Modria is a company that's working on developing innovations in dispute resolution.  This much is clear, and so far there's nothing controversial.  EBay uses their systems to act as online dispute resolution - Modria's systems guide the user through a series of questions, and determines which procedure is best.  It then pushes that procedure to the next step.  If it requires human involvement, it notifies the appropriate human.  In many cases, it does not require human involvement - instead, it automates results.

This is some of the value added for Modria's automated dispute resolution.  However, Modria has higher goals, and these are being implemented today.  In Ohio, tax assessment disputes run through Modria's dispute resolution system, automating a subset of the tax court.  A New York arbitration association is using it to automate settlements on medical claims for a subset of car wrecks.

Perhaps most unusual, in the Netherlands Modria's system automates divorce proceedings.  Essentially, both members of the soon-to-be former marriage answer questions about desired child custodianship, apportionment of assets, and other factors, and the system determines agreement and disagreement.  It prompts to see if a resolution can be discovered.  If resolution occurs, the results go to an attorney who confirms that neither party has given up too much, and the divorce decree then gets passed.  Presumably, if there is an irreconcilable dispute, it gets handed over to the court for a judge to preside.

Modria is looking forward to seeing this in more courts, including divorce proceedings, moving violations, tax disputes, and other factors.  According to Colin Rule, CEO of Modria, the purpose of this is to provide self-service for "simpler" legal scenarios, giving attorneys who would normally serve those roles the opportunity to serve more of the underserved.  (One may question how "simple" a divorce proceeding might be.)

There remains the outstanding question - exactly how much automation is good for the court?  Is a judgment valid if it is determined by a machine, even if a judge or court-approved attorney looks it over and says it looks okay?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Supreme Play - Scalia/Ginsburg, Opera

Don't know what you're doing in the middle of  July?  Why not attend Scalia/Ginsburg at the Castleton Festival in Virginia, an opera covering the rather turbulent relationship between these two pillars of the American legal establishment.  Can't make it to Virginia?  Watch it online!

Although the July 11 performance (which will include a talk by Justice Ginsburg on law and opera) is sold out, there is a waitlist.  There will be a livestream of the July 11 performance along with L'heure espagnole on July 11 from 6:00 p.m. CST to 8:30 p.m. CST, viewable here.  Additionally, the next live performances will be July 17 & 19.

On review of the merits of the opera, Justice Ginsburg delivered the judgment of "quite funny" and an opinion of its creator Derrick Wang as "very talented."  Justice Scalia took no part in the consideration or decision of this opera.

Read the facts of the opera here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

The members of the Fred Parks Law Library would like to wish everyone a happy, fun and safe 4th of July!

 Happy 4th of July from Fred Parks!