Robot and gavelThe idea for my column, Automation in Today’s Law Firm, came during a holiday evening in the Calloway household, when my spouse and I were setting up several automated tasks, none of which had anything to do with the Internet of Things.

There has been much discussion among futurists and technologists about how robots and artificial intelligence were moving on from taking the jobs of factory workers to threatening knowledge workers, like lawyers. Yet, some law firms have not implemented some simple and easy-to-use automation tools that are available today.

So Automation in Today’s Law Firm is about automation projects you can do today and, that some readers already have incorporated. I end with a few more sophisticated automation tools like IFTTT (If This Then That) and Zapier. These two are not widely in use in the legal profession, but definitely are in use in the legal profession.

Full-blown massive law office automation projects are beyond the scope of the column, but here is some additional reading on automation and artificial intelligence not included in the column:

Benefits and the Climb of Legal Automation by Sarah A. McCromick

Biglaw Automation: Whose Job Goes First? by Michael Allen

How artificial intelligence is transforming the legal profession by Julie Sobowale (ABA Journal April 2016 cover story)

Several hundred academic articles are available for free download at Vanderbilt law School’s Artificial Intelligence – Law, Policy, & Ethics eJournal on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Some provocative titles include Using Machine Learning to Predict Outcomes in Tax Law, Siri-ously 2.0: What Artificial Intelligence Reveals about the First Amendment , and for Issac Asimov fans, The Three Laws of Robotics in the Age of Big Data. My favorite title (even thought I didn’t read the paper) was Do Driverless Cars Dream of Electric Sheep?