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Introducing The Museum Of Obsolete Legal Tech! 

During your time at the Over the Law Non-Event, you may have attended a non-event cast panel, read our Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary, or investigated a tech upgrade with the best buying guides in the business.

Now we are happy to present the latest offer of the non-event: The Museum of Obsolete Legal Tech!

Here we present devices from past years and centuries and at the same time bring them up to date with their current counterparts.

Read on for the first episode where we detail how you might have used the arithmometer as a 19th century practitioner. The tool is a forerunner of today’s applications for Artificial Intelligence and Time, Billing & Payments.

Enjoy the tour!

The case

The year is 1854. You may be a lawyer, but you have a rudimentary education and math is not one of them!

This is a big problem because your prospector client has just struck gold. He stumbled upon a mine worth millions of dollars and everyone wants a piece: investors, the government, workers, and various love interests old and new.

Your task: find out who gets how much. Get the numbers right, you are rich. Get them wrong, you are toast.

The solution

Wikimedia Commons

Your tech-savvy paralegal presents an arithmometer – a newfangled computing device.

Humans have been using adding machines for centuries. The abacus was first created in 2700 BC. In Mesopotamia; Blaise Pascal created this mechanical calculator with watch-like dials in 1642. But the arithmometer is a whole new ball game – it has sliding mechanisms and rotating cylinders that can add, subtract and multiply! Impressive!

Your paralegal tells you that a French insurance mogul named Charles Xavier Thomas invented it in 1820 but was too busy making his own money to commercialize it until 1852. (Must be nice to be so rich.)

Now governments, lawyers, and other companies are taking it over like crazy because it’s the first calculator that’s reliable and sturdy enough to go from office to office, city to city without breaking. And so it came here: California for the gold rush.

Anyway, with a little help from your paralegal and a whole lot of double checking, you have the breakdown of who is getting how much gold from your client’s new mine.

Huzza! Rich, rich – you will all get rich! Oh. Wait. This is fool’s gold. Well, violin sticks!

The rotation

Over 5,000 arithmometers were made between 1851 and 1915.

Then the American inventor James L. Dalton created a new push-button model that usurped the role of the arithmometer as the number 1 number breaker. Of course, Dalton’s invention was replaced by electronic calculators in the middle of the century.

These, in turn, were overtaken by graphics computers that eventually fell on smartphones – just as SkyNet intended.

Today’s technology

With Time, Billing & Payments technology today, tracking every minute of your professional life takes virtually zero minutes. And legal AI software also promises to streamline everyday tasks, dramatically boost research capacities, and much more.

Return to the non-event for the technology to help you avoid 21st century pyrite.

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