Who are you and what is your role?

My name is Mary Kopczynski and I am the CEO of 8of9. 8of9 is a next generation RegTech company that translates complex financial regulation into simple solutions. We strive to build a world where regulatory compliance is automated and easy to understand. Our tools capture, store, and monitor regulatory content so it can be read by machines and understood by humans. 8of9: RegTech starts here.sm

What do you think will be the single most defining feature of the next 1-5 years in law? And then, same question – but over the next decade?

In the next 1-5 years, I think natural language processing is going to really start identify where human lawyers provide real value. Advances in e-discovery and fact finding will get faster while simultaneously more complex. In terms of the next decade, I think blockchain and digital ledger technology will completely reshape what a contract is. So called “smart-contracts” will start automating the writing of laws and contracts so that the execute automatically.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as a game-changer for law. What do you think?

AI is already a game-changer. The ability to do complex searches quickly across millions of documents is improving daily and the role of the lawyer is becoming increasingly technical.

Cybersecurity is often quoted as being both the next greatest risk and also the greatest revenue opportunity for legal services providers. What are your thoughts?

Law firms are sitting on immense amounts of confidential documents that can bring high prices to hackers who encrypt them for ransom (sometimes in bitcoin) or for the good of the public like we saw with the Panama Papers. Law firms are way behind on recognizing the importance of cybersecurity and service providers like Turtle Bay have a major opportunity to help them modernize.

Is Automation a “silver bullet” for law – or is law more complicated than other sectors?

Automation is incredibly helpful for legal practice and will certainly change the law, but it won’t completely replace it. This is because the law is as creative as human thought and it can also serve illogical purposes. For what 8of9 does, automation of the regulatory rules makes it easier to see clearly where the disharmony is among regulators exists. But it doesn’t change the need for complex judgement calls.

There is much more data available for both lawyers and their clients? Is more better – or just more?

The increasing amount of data is making it impossible for lawyers NOT to use automation techniques. No single person could be expected to follow all the bodies of regulation out there, yet businesses seem to think that is what lawyers do is study “all” the laws. But those of us trained as lawyers know that we learn the law where an issue arises. In financial regulation, the sheer number of regulators is making it almost impossible to operate in compliance at all times.

We see a push for greater “value” and “innovation” in both legal products and price levels, structures? Is there more to value than the price tag these days?

From what I’ve seen from the buyers out there, a huge demand exists for SAAS (software as a service). Institutions are less and less willing to pay huge price tags for subscription content like Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg because so much of it is available for free on the internet. And as start ups continue to disrupt incumbents in so many areas – in FinTech and RegTech and InsureTech and LegalTech – we will see a price drop for better value.

There’s a growing trend toward litigation funding and other forms of legal financing. What are your thoughts on that?

I think Blockchain will ultimately become a big enabler of these financing techniques because it provides a method to securitize many creative things much faster and more accurately. To securitize means burdens as well as gains can be shared by wider berths of people.

We see more pricing data and a push for greater transparency in legal procurement. What do you see as the implications of this?

Law firms are going to have see to it that the billable hour produces far more than what it could with humans alone.

What’s the one shift or change you think will catch the industry un-prepared in the next decade – whether good, bad or downright ugly?

At some point, the ABA is going to allow non-lawyers become partners at law firms and when that happens, the entire role of the lawyer is going to transcend anything we’ve ever seen before. It will be eat or be eaten if law firms don’t innovate quickly, they will be eaten by the other law firms who do.

Mary Kopczynski, J.D./Ph.D. is CEO and founder of 8of9. 8of9 is a RegTech company focused on simplifying the complex world of financial regulation.  8of9’s regulatory rules engine integrates with software platforms to clarify which data points are required to meet rules for regulatory compliance and reporting. Mary is recognized as one of the country’s leading financial regulatory consultants, having advised some of the world’s largest financial institutions navigating through the technical requirements of complex global regulations such as Dodd Frank, FATCA, Basel, EMIR, AIFMD, Margin Rules and more. Prior to founding 8of9, Mary consulted with the Legal & Compliance Department at Credit Suisse.