Obamacare: SCOTUS decision unpicked

There has been much political comment on the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday that Obamacare is constitutional. However, this article in the ABA Journal unpicks the legal arguments, pointing out that

Solicitor General’s Third Backup Argument Is a Winner in Health Law Case

Which may suggest that throwing the kitchen sink into the mix may sometimes work!

When Computers Replace Lawyers

So you thought the Legal Services Act was a threat? Wait until the computers take over.

“In the end, after you’ve stripped away their six-figure degrees, their state bar memberships, and their proclivity for capitalizing Odd Words, lawyers are just another breed of knowledge worker. They’re paid to research, analyze, write, and argue — not unlike an academic, a journalist, or an accountant. So when software comes along that’s smarter or more efficient at those tasks than a human with a JD, it spells trouble.” READ MORE

Jordan Weissman raises some interesting issues. While I will not follow Private Fraser, and say “we’re doomed”, it is salutary to see lawyers as knowledge workers rather than a priesthood. And while people in a process are expensive, lawyers are more expensive than most.

There will be more uncertainty to legal life, and lawyers need to be yet more flexible, and yet more business oriented. There may be an advantage to big business.

That said, NatWest and RBS have now been trying to sort out their computer banking problems for the last 7 days (and counting). It would be interesting to cost out remedial costs, compensation costs, weekend opening and reputational damage. individual lawyers can screw up, but it takes computers to do it on this scale.

Leadership and building confidence

Ben Lui

©Paul Kennedy

Last week was mostly very enjoyable, spent on a led walking holiday in the Scottish Highlands. The leader was experienced, and had climbed all of the Munros.

The problem came on Tuesday, on Ben Lui (pictured). In misty conditions, he led us along a path that became steeper, and petered out. We ended up on a very steep, wet and grassy slope, where one of the party slid some 30 feet. Luckily she avoided injury. Since there was no way to the top of the mountain, we had to abort the attempt, and turn back.

The result was a loss of confidence in the leader (not helped by one or two more instances of trouble finding the right path, either due to lack of preparation or lack of briefing). Potentially, this could have undermined the group as a whole. (I for one was careful not to spread a lack of confidence).

What lessons can be learned?

  1. Know where you are going, and how to get there.
  2. Do your research properly.
  3. Remember always that people’s confidence in you can be lost in seconds, but takes a long time to build.