I’m wrapping up the end of my summer internship at ROSS Intelligence, and I’m asked to write a blog post describing my experience. I’m smiling because I haven’t written anything informal since I began law school a year ago, but I say yes, I’d just love to. I try to reassure myself that I have, in fact, done some creative writing over the past year (contrary to popular belief, law school isn’t just scary legalese and formulaic hypotheticals, it’s a way to express your understanding of the law, and with the right professor, do it as creatively as possible). Which leaves one question: how does one write a blog post?
In the Fall of 2018, I began law school at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. I had just come from the University of California, Davis, where I pursued a degree in civil engineering. People who go into civil engineering are curious about how they can help build and better the modern world, so in a lot of ways, we’re similar creatures to the typical law student who comes from a Liberal Arts background. As an engineer, I wanted to be around companies working on interesting things—a school in the most tech-centric area in the world was a perfect fit. I was looking for a 1L summer internship that would introduce me into the world of artificial intelligence and intellectual property.
I had always been fascinated with artificial intelligence’s influence on the law, with special regards to how A.I. could help contribute to the evolution of the written law and efficiency of the legal profession. ROSS Intelligence was a dream come true — ROSS was founded by attorneys and A.I. researchers, who created a Y-combinator backed company (see here) which sought to use A.I. breakthroughs to increase efficiency and accuracy in legal research. I would get to be part of a team that would undoubtedly transform the landscape of legal research.
ROSS’s clients include large, full service national firms like BakerHostetler and Latham & Watkins. Recently, however, ROSS has been focusing on reaching out to small firms and solo practitioners. ROSS’s goal has always been to create transformative, affordable software that can be used by any and every attorney to research the most relevant, pertinent material. In doing so, ROSS has challenged costly, traditional legal research options.
I’ve watched ROSS gain an astounding amount of traction in the short three months spent working in its San Francisco office. I remember working tirelessly with Thomas Hamilton, VP of Strategy and Operations, to prepare for the annual meeting of The Florida State Bar where we made the historic announcement that we were now an official member benefit. Since then, as we continue to add partnerships, speak on podcasts and share customer testimonials, it’s been incredible to watch the growing ground swell of users and excitement around what we’ve built. You can’t help but think, “we’re going places.”
Being even a small part of a company’s growth is a rewarding experience. I spent much of the summer writing legal memos regarding copyright considerations, and conducting legal research on various developmental versions of the ROSS software. I observed user analytics, and helped brainstorm potential new partners. In engineer speak, I was involved in smoke testing iterative deployments of code to the staging app, in order to advise the team of developers, A.I. engineers and attorneys whether the code base was ready to be pushed to production.
My experience— and I cannot stress this enough— was incredible. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I walked through the office doors, and I had no clue what I would be doing. I began slightly terrified of the responsibility that my work might have actual implications for company well-being, but quickly grew to fall in love with ROSS’s mission: to use A.I. to build the world’s best legal research system.
This summer was so much more than just a job to list on a resume, a box to check on the “IP law student” resume. It was an experience.
Working with startups in the Bay Area is the best of both worlds. You get the kind of on-the-grounds, practical legal experience from working with a small company, so you really understand their business needs. At the same time, startups in the Bay Area can grow into Google-sized entities, so you get to be involved in the client’s journey. Witnessing the evolution of a company is wondrous, and actually being able to partake is breathtaking.
Thank you, ROSS, for introducing me to a world of how artificial intelligence and the law intersect— and what a wonderful world it is.
Nora Titus is a 2L at UC Hastings, College of the Law in San Francisco. She is interested in intellectual property, space law, and is passionate about how A.I. can be utilized in different facets of society. Nora enjoys traveling, cooking, fashion, art, and true crime Netflix series.