Hofstra Law has been recognized by the American Bar Association’s eLawerying Task Force as a top 10 law school for teaching the technology of practice, in large part because of the Law, Logic & Technology Research Laboratory, or LLT Lab.
Alumna Karina Vazirova ’14, who worked in the LLT Lab with Professor Vern R. Walker, is now a solutions architect at Neota Logic Inc., the creator of a no-code platform with which people who are not programmers build, test, maintain, and deploy expert applications to reduce risk, increase efficiency and ensure compliance.
How are you using what you learned in the Law, Logic & Technology Lab as a solutions architect for Neota Logic?
I act as a bridge between technology and legal experts. My job involves turning legal knowledge provided by lawyers into rule-based Web applications. These applications, referred to as “expert systems,” encapsulate attorneys’ decision-making and save them a lot of time on performing repetitive tasks.
Can you give us a real-world example?
Employment lawyers, for example, have to determine whether an employee must be paid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Consequences of misclassifying can be very severe. Making such determinations manually for every employee can be very time-consuming and sometimes not possible.
What is the result of your work with attorneys?
Our platform allows lawyers to build the FLSA rules into an application using such tools as decision trees and formulas. Running through the app instead of performing manual research per each employee makes the legal advice much more consistent and quicker.
Do you foresee a time when lawyers are replaced by computers?
Not everything can be automated. Our platform is meant to automate repetitive tasks so that attorneys can focus on improving the quality of those services that cannot be automated.
Before attending Hofstra Law, did you have a computer science background?
None at all, but as a former professional chess player, and therefore an analytical thinker, I was attracted to the analysis of legal rules performed by the members of the LLT Lab.
What interested you most in your work in the LLT Lab?
Researching patterns of reasoning and ways to automate certain parts of legal work.
Why did you pursue employment in the legal tech field?
It was sparked by the work in the LLT Lab and a class trip to the annual Legal Tech conference in New York, where I first became aware that there were actually jobs for lawyers in the technology field.
Did you find that the skills you acquired in the LLT Lab made you more marketable?
Attending legal tech conferences with the LLT Lab exposed me to various legal tech companies. My experience in the LLT Lab was valuable in positioning myself in that market.
How does “thinking like a lawyer” help you in the technology sector?
In my job, I need to think in rules and legal logical restraints, which is what you do in law school. Similarly, shaping facts under logical constraints that rules give you is how software is developed.
Where do you see the future of legal technology going?
Technology is already changing legal industry — big law firms license software platforms and use solutions for matter management, discovery, etc. I think that eventually legal technology solutions will become common practice in law firms of all sizes and practices.
What would you say to prospective students about careers in legal tech?
Lawyers are behind in adapting to the tech revolution, but with the changes in economy, clients are not as eager to pay for the endless billable hours. Therefore, now there is a stronger incentive for the legal industry to open doors for the efficiency provided by technology. Technology has taken over every other industry, and it is just a matter of time before lawyers have to yield to it as well. If law students are interested in technology, they should definitely explore career opportunities in legal tech.