Like you, I’ve heard about artificial intelligence before. I’m a big science fiction movie fan and prefer it over rom-coms. But lately, the terms “artificial intelligence”, “machine learning” and “neural networks” seem to be cropping up over and over in my Twitter feed. I have never been one to jump into hyped tech because a lot of it can lead you down rabbit holes where you end up with something shiny, but not useful.
So I approached with caution… this was what I kept hearing in my head, with Dorothy’s voice saying, “Artificial intelligence and machine learning and neural networks, oh my!”
I signed up for bootcamp courses online, both free and paid. I watched videos and read content. And one thing I learned is that much of this new terminology is a re-hash of old terminology.
Whispers… machine learning is often just plain ole statistics.
Yes, there are changes that are new, and most of what I’ve found so far is the amount of data that can be used now can be huge (big data is the buzzword here). Also, there is a lot of free stuff or open source content. So the knowledge you can obtain about shiny new tech is not behind ivory towers. However, you may have to sift through content because a lot is junk, or old, or not helpful in any way.
So I’m learning again, and that makes me happy. I’ll post more about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural networks because I *DO* believe in their usefulness. I do think they are more than hype. And just like Dorothy, I say, “Oh my!” but now in an excited-eager-confident way.
The Core Trends Survey was conducted Jan 8 – February 2019. The original sample had 1502 adults. I downloaded the csv dataset in Excel (because the sample size and file sizes were small) and only wanted older adults ages 55 and up.
My final sample was 465 older Americans, ages 55 and up.
All used the internet or email, at least occasionally
All had either a smart phone, a tablet, or a computer or a combination of these devices All had either high-speed internet access (like DSL,cable, fiber optic) or cell phone or tablet access at home (no dial-up). So either high speed or cell connection (note the difference of these with latency and fog computing in the future)
I cleaned the data, created new variables, and analyzed it using Excel and R. I created some image files using various packages in RStudio, and saved some stacked bar charts as pngs. These were a high level overview of my findings.
It’s been a while since my last post. A LOT has happened since then. Most noteably, the pandemic. Like the rest of the world, my life was radically changed because of this. It was a period of triage for many of us, and that resulted in my radio silence on this blog.
But, I’m back.
What has not changed is that I’m still an Illinois-licensed attorney mainly focusing on family law. I own my own law firm and that has allowed me the incredible flexibility to be with my children. I can always work more; I can never get back the time I have with my children as they grow up.
So this has re-focused me on my career path. I will always have my law license and actually aim to get licensed in more states when I can. I love learning. The more I learn, the more I want to learn more. (LOL at my grammar but you get my point!)
One common area that I’ve always been interested in is technology. Technology changes so rapidly and that is exciting to me. Throughout my time as a lawyer, I’ve been learning about new technologies and new applications of the technologies. New development. I’ve even taken online courses to keep my skillset current and understand how I can use these tools (used by data analytics and data scientists) in combination with what I already know (stastical analysis, research, content creation, the law).
So you’ll see a change in the posts I’m going to make. They’re going to be more data-focused because that is what I’m into now. I’m exploring data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. They are technical and can be complex, but I aim to be able to explain my thoughts as clearly and efficiently as possible.
I am a family law attorney who represents people in Chicago and the surrounding counties going through divorces and child custody lawsuits. When an attorney is hired by a Petitioner (or Plaintiff) or Respondent (or Defendant), that attorney normally only represents one side in the lawsuit. Not both sides.
Yet I’ve encountered many cases, especially in divorcing couples, where the party I represented WANTED me to work for her (or him) AND the opposing party. Maybe they thought hiring one lawyer means they pay one attorney to do everything, for everyone, in the lawsuit.
This can be very problematic to say the least.
I had a pro se/unrepresented opposing party shout at me (while in the courthouse, no less) to “do all the f***in paperwork”. His wife, my client, supported this and she, too, ranted to the Judge that she only hired me to “do paperwork”.
The legal divorce process is more than just “doing paperwork”, so it was obvious that both parties had no idea what an attorney does, or that some attorneys, MOST attorneys, will not represent both sides in a lawsuit.
I used this recent hailstorm as motivation for developing something to help me, opposing parties, other attorneys, etc.
First, let’s look at the problems:
Problem 1: The divorce process is not clear.
Going through a divorce and working with the Courts, judges, and clerks can be a daunting process. One person I represented asked where the checklist was for her to file for divorce by herself in Cook County, Illinois. There wasn’t one.
Problem 2: The e-filing process is not easy to understand.
Although e-filing has eliminated the need to travel to the courthouse and physically give someone legal documents, the e-filing process is not easy to understand.
We live in an age where we expect to be able to instantly learn and understand how to navigate around websites. Shopping online, watching videos, reading online news content… we expect to be able to quickly know how to use their sites. When a person is unable to understand how to navigate through a site, they will abandon it.
Yet people who e-file MUST use the sites. Because in Illinois, all legal documents must now be e-filed.
When you combine problem 1 and problem 2, you normally get frustrated and angry pro se litigants. Sure there are websites that contain pdf forms that these litigants can download, but there is a lack of good, clear educational content on:
A. How to understand what these forms mean
B. How to fill them out
c. How to e-file them
I was a professor who taught students software, and I now am an attorney who has helped many people get divorced in Illinois. So I made some videos for pro se litigants going through divorces in the Illinois courts.
The next set of videos is bundled into an online course. I’ve created a series of videos for someone who wants to file for divorce in Cook County, IL. The course is (creatively) entitled “How to File for Divorce in Cook County, IL” and is priced at $64.99. It’s located here. If you click that Udemy link, you can preview a lesson and see how I’ve broken the course down. I’ll walk you through how to fill out all the forms you need to start a divorce lawsuit in Cook County, IL. I’ll also provide you with the forms, and show you how to e-file them.
Finally, if you have legal questions and Google your legal question, you will get flooded with results. And so much of those results will not pertain to you AT ALL. Divorce and family law is different in every state. But Googling results does not necessarily tell you that. People get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information online. I’ve learned that lawyers often have really good blogs with helpful content, but our blogs do not end up on page 1 of a Google search. So if you’re reading this, certainly check out the rest of my blog. But head over to another Chicago divorce attorney’s blog that I think is super informative, https://rdklegal.com/blog/. Attorney Russell Knight churns out content quite frequently. And I’m all for boosting another attorney’s work that can help demystify the legal process.
When I was an attorney at various family law firms, I rarely
met with my clients in my office. There just wasn’t a need for a client to
travel to my office in order for me to work with them. I called them. We
emailed a lot. We met at court before and after any court appearances.
When I formed my own solo practice, I wondered, “Why do
family law firms still have physical offices when most of what we do with
clients can be done remotely?”
Maybe law firms have formal physical law offices because
that is as it has always been. The stereotypical image of a lawyer is someone
standing in front of a row of law books, crossing their arms in front of them
and looking serious. And what is true is that the legal profession does not
accept change very quickly.
But you know who pays for law offices? Those beautiful offices with leather chairs and mahogany furniture? Ultimately, the client does.
If it’s not necessary for a law firm to have a law office,
and if the cost of having a law office is something the clients end up paying
for, let’s get with the times and operate in a more streamlined way.
Lawyers are providing a service to their clients. Who else
provides services? Plumbers, electricians, teachers. You get the idea. Unless
you need to buy a product from these service professionals, they do not need public
However, if you want to meet with them, you can. You can meet
with an attorney in an agreed-upon location. And how much more convenient is it
to meet with your attorney in an area closer to you?
Driving in an urban area can be hard to do, costly, and there
may be a large distance between you and the law office. Or maybe there is a
short distance but the travel time is still big (especially during rush hour
My law firm is called Kubik Legal. It is a family law firm so many of our clients have younger children. We know that you have familial obligations and have taken this into consideration regarding how we work with our clients.
Because we don’t have an office, we don’t have office hours!
So we’ll work with your time schedule
when we represent you. Whenever we can, we’ll work in a way that you prefer to communicate.
When you work with a lawyer, you will develop a professional relationship with them. So much of what we do involves communication. And in today’s technology-driven world, we can communicate in different ways. The idea that a legal client has to always drive into a law office in order to meet with their lawyer is outdated. Plus, it’s probably going to cost a legal client more when they work with a law firm who operates in this way. Consider working with Kubik Legal. We are an efficient and effective law firm.
This month I decided to become a solo practitioner practicing family law in Cook County, Will County, Kankakee County and Grundy County, Illinois. Introducing Kubik Legal! https://kubiklegal.com
It’s time that I’m my own boss. Also, I know I can do this. I can excel at having my own law firm.
Many people stay in one profession their entire lives. I have jumped career tracks more than once.
But each jump, each experience, is going to play a role in how I operate my law firm. In how I work with clients. In how I practice law.
I’ve worked at law firms that barely use technology, to those that over-use technology. There is a better way, and my approach is to use technology in a way that makes my practice beneficial for both the client and for me.
The legal world is slow to change. The technology world changes rapidly. People use technology in their everyday lives and have the expectation that this lifestyle caries over when working with lawyers. Sadly, it does not.
Most family lawyers practice in a way that has been the same for years. I was shocked to witness this. Can you imagine using a cell phone that hasn’t changed in 20 years? (Even flip phones have evolved within this time frame.) Even if you say that the legal process has not changed, the tools we use to communicate have. And lawyers are most certainly in the field of communication!
Yet many lawyers won’t grow, or adapt. I believe this is a disservice to clients. It’s also a way to NOT focus on their needs, or what they want to achieve by hiring you.
I look forward to taking a different path with my own law firm. For more information on Kubik Legal, click here.