Vanderbilt Law School recently launched an exciting new initiative called the Vanderbilt AI Legal Lab (VAILL) to explore how artificial intelligence can transform legal services and access to justice. In this episode, we spoke with VAILL’s leadership – Cat Moon,(👑) Director of Innovation at Vanderbilt’s Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI), and Mark Williams, Associate Director for Collections and Innovation at the Massey Law Library – about their vision for this pioneering lab. 

VAILL’s mission is to harness AI to expand access to legal knowledge and services, with a particular focus on leveraging generative AI to improve legal service delivery. As Moon described, VAILL aims to experiment, collaborate widely, and build solutions to realize AI’s potential in the legal domain. The lab will leverage Vanderbilt’s cross-disciplinary strengths, drawing on experts in computer science, engineering, philosophy, and other fields to inform their ethically-grounded, human-centered approach.

VAILL is prioritizing partnerships across sectors – courts, law firms, legal aid organizations, alternative providers, and others – to test ideas and develop prototype AI applications that solve real legal needs. For instance, they plan to co-create solutions with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Innovation Lab to expand access to justice. Moon explained that generative AI presents solutions for some legal challenges, so VAILL hopes to match developing technological capabilities with organizations’ needs.

Ethics are foundational to VAILL’s work. Students will learn both practical uses of AI in law practice as well as broader policy and social implications. As Williams emphasized, beyond core professional responsibility issues, VAILL aims to empower students to lead in shaping AI’s societal impacts through deeper engagement with questions around data, access, and algorithms. Teaching ethical, creative mindsets is VAILL’s ultimate opportunity.

VAILL will leverage the resources and expertise of Vanderbilt’s law librarians to critically assess new AI tools from their unique perspective. Williams noted that the lab sees law students as a “risk free” testing ground for innovations, while also equipping them with adaptable learning capabilities to keep pace with AI’s rapid evolution. Rather than viewing AI as a differentiator, VAILL’s goal is producing legally-skilled innovators ready to thrive amidst ongoing change.

Vanderbilt’s AI Legal Lab represents an exciting development in exploring AI’s legal impacts. By emphasizing human-centered, ethical approaches and collaborations, VAILL aims to pioneer solutions that expand access to legal knowledge and services for all. We look forward to seeing the innovative applications VAILL develops at the intersection of law and AI.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠


Continue Reading TGIR Ep. 228 – Cat Moon and Mark Williams Launch the New Vanderbilt AI Law Lab (VAILL)

This week on The Geek in Review podcast Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert featured guests Colin Levy, Ashley Carlisle, and Dorna Moini discussing Levy’s recently published book “Handbook of Legal Tech.” Levy edited the book and contributors included Moini, Carlisle’s CEO, Tony Thai, and many more legal technology experts. The book provides an overview of key technologies transforming the legal industry like automation, AI, blockchain, document automation, CLM, and more.

Levy shared how he ended up editing the book, describing it as “herding cats” to get busy experts to contribute chapters. He wanted the book to serve as a comprehensive introduction to legal tech, with each chapter written by leaders in the various subject matter areas. Carlisle and Moini explained their motivations for taking time out of their demanding schedules to write chapters – spreading knowledge to help move the industry forward and impart insights from their work.

The guests reflected on their favorite parts of the experience. Levy enjoyed bringing together the community and seeing different perspectives. Carlisle appreciated being able to consolidate information on contract lifecycle management. Moini was proud to contribute right before having a baby. Lambert highlighted Levy juggling this book and writing his own solo book on legal tech stories from the front lines.

The guests offered advice to law students and lawyers looking to learn about and leverage legal tech. Carlisle emphasized starting with an open mind, intentional research, and reading widely from legal tech thought leaders. Moini recommended thinking big but starting small with iterative implementation. Levy stressed knowing your purpose and motivations to stay focused amidst the vast array of options.

Lambert prompted the guests to identify low-hanging fruit legal technologies those new to practice should focus on. Levy pointed to document automation and AI. Moini noted that intake and forms digitization can be a first step for laggards. Carlisle advised starting small with discrete tasks before tackling advanced tools.

For their forward-looking predictions, Carlisle saw AI hype fading but increasing tech literacy, Levy predicted growing focus on use and analysis of data as AI advances, and Moini forecasted a rise in online legal service delivery. The guests are excited about spreading awareness through the book to help transform the legal industry.


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Contact Us: 

Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript:Continue Reading Colin Levy, Dorna Moini, and Ashley Carlisle on Herding Cats and Heralding Change: The Inside Scoop on the “Handbook of Legal Tech”