The rule of law is a great boon to liberty, enabling us to plan our lives. Making law more transparent and less expensive to use also increases liberty because then more people can take advantage of that stability at lower cost. It is a particular boon to the poor and middle-class who cannot afford high-priced lawyers to help them see through a fog of law.
Fortunately, the ever increasing power of computation is creating new mechanisms to improve access to law. As I described in my presentation this week at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, machine intelligence is transforming legal practice. It is making discovery of facts easier through predictive coding, permitting search by semantic concepts rather than just legal terms, generating simple but personally tailored legal documents, like wills and trusts, and helping predict the outcome of legal cases. Discovery, search, document generation, and legal prediction constitute a large part of legal practice.
The single most important structural change to accelerate such innovation is to permit non-lawyers and corporations to earn income from the practice of law—something that is forbidden by ethical rules in all our states.