At ILTA 2009, John Alber, a partner at Bryan Cave, described a system his firm developed to give advice on certain export and import questions that many companies encounter. For an annual fee of “a couple of $100,000,” subscribers can query the system and find many of the answers they seek. Presumably if the system does not answer the question, the firm stands ready to deal with those unusual issues.
It seems to me that a handful of legal departments that face with some frequency questions in a certain area of law might band together and retain a technologically savvy firm to develop such an expertise system. The software is available; the need is apparent; law firms ought to be receptive. Specialized legal knowledge embedded in the software would be codified, more widely available day or night, cost less (perhaps), and grow in robustness with use. Of course, such an endeavor challenges the business model of law firms and the job security of inside legal specialist.