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Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council welcomes 116th Congress …


Here is the official news release of the SBE Council president, Karen Kerrigan:

Advocate for Entrepreneurs Welcomes Members of the 116th Congress

What should some of the priorities of the new Congress be, for purposes of encouraging small business creation and growth? Are the initiatives we are hearing much about in the news likely to help small businesses? Why or why not?

Different Take on Reusable Bags

Building off of the presentation on Tuesday about reusable bags, this article talks about another individual who decided to try and make a dent in plastic bag use by creating high end designer style reusable bags.  I personally like the idea presented in class much more, because the idea in the article doesn’t address the huge problem of constantly forgetting to bring your bags to the store.  However, it looks like the creator of the company is currently in 28 stores so apparently there is a market on the high-end range of this issue as well.

Another Post about the Homelessness Project Presentation

Like many others have said, I think the presentation about the homelessness project was wonderful. A couple things that stood out to me were the commitment to make an individual investment in people and realizing that not everyone can be helped. I believe it likely takes that type of commitment, and hopefully when there are success stories, those can help those that are still in bad situations. The individual sacrifice and commitment aspect reminded me of the specialness of Notre Dame – it truly represented selflessness, and commitment. Another good point was made – that these people are surviving. If they can get help, they easily might have several good qualities to bring to their new contributing societal role.

The link I provided below is to a national homelessness organization. One thing I was thinking about as the presentation was being given was whether it might be possible to communicate across borders and even transport participants, if there was work in other areas. It does seem like certain jobs are becoming more open than in years past – generally lower-level paying jobs. That could be a good start and being able to move where the work is might be beneficial.

Regardless, that was a really good presentation based in selflessness. Nice job.

link: http://nationalhomeless.org/

How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit From Their Fears

It seems that many startup theories, most prominently the lean startup method, almost embrace failure. Thus, I got the impression that in these theories and entrepreneurial “handbooks,” fear of failure does not seem to have much room. This article, however, points out that fear is not only something every entrepreneur most likely will have, but also something that can be a strongly motivating force. Thus, the existence of should not necessarily be neglected or ignored. I found that this recognition might be useful for those of us who will in fact become entrepreneurs themselves, thereby most likely being confronted with the fear to fail. I especially liked that the article acknowledges the fact that, despite all efforts from various theories and motivation coaches, we all will likely be afraid when becoming entrepreneurs. In addition, I found the article’s specific techniques for dealing with fear very helpful:

– Try to limit the impact of emotions and stress on decisions by being self-aware of feelings and moods intruding into your consciousness.

– Take anxiety as a motivator to proactively seeking out flaws and weaknesses in your business idea and take this action-centered approach to avoid inhibition.

– Gain new knowledge to decrease fear and doubts by increasing your own capabilities.

– Seek support (for example from mentors).

Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession

I found our discussion on the effects of artificial intelligence on the legal profession very interesting. Personally, I assume that the legal profession is less threatened by AI than other areas. This article gives one explanation for this. It reviews a book in which three economists argue that AI will, despite all current fears and expectations, mainly change and rationalize the way of making predictions but not provide a substitute for judgment. This argument would support the assumption that AI might—to some extent—put the jobs of paralegals and other research-focused professions at risk, but not the jobs where judgment plays a prominent role. I would argue that lawyers need judgment in every instance when they assess the outcome of a case. Outcomes of cases are often based on multiple factors (political opinions of judges, individual preferences of jury members, and so forth), which cannot all be translated into numbers that could be analyzed by a machine. Thus, I believe that the judgments of lawyers, based on their experience, are not likely to be replaced by AI.

Training the Homeless in Boston

After the S.E.R.V.E. presentation today, I was interested to look around and see if I could find any other organizations that provide comparable services. Among the other options, Boston has had an organization called “Friends of Boston’s Homeless” since 1995. The organization provides “vocational training,. . . [and placement to] carry [people] into independent employment in the community.” Furthermore, they claim that “72% of participants into permanent competitive employment and permanent housing in the community.”

I believe that the proposal from today’s presentation was well considered and could bear more success than this organization, but I was happy to see that others have tackled the issue of homelessness through a similar lens.

Here is a link to the site: https://www.fobh.org/what-we-support/job-training/

LinkedIn CEO warns of tech’s “unintended consequences”

In the ongoing power struggle between tech and government, here is an excellent article from my favorite daily news source (Axios, which is innovative in it’s own right). This article gives great insight to the ideological divide between lawmakers and tech titans. One of the things that has struck me about this showdown is the thought divide – tech doesn’t understand government, and vice versa.

Artificial Intelligence Used in Reviewing, Updating, and Rewriting Contracts

As our course wraps up, I have been reflecting on the past semester and the ways we have been challenged to think differently about the law and our professions. My former employer, an alternative legal services provider, has been building a business in leveraging Artificial Intelligence to help large financial institutions manage their large contract portfolios in the wake of Brexit. In the article below, one of my former colleagues explains how Artificial Intelligence can be leveraged in a transactional setting to organize and manage a large volume of documents or to visualize contract terms, including those that need to be renegotiated or updated, as well as finding similar contract terms across a portfolio of contracts.

Per the article, here is one way the AI can be applied: “A single document for a bank is usually a series of inter-related documents including amendments, schedules, and appendices. AI can search, read and understand how those documents are created, cutting out thousands of manual hours.”

Also: “AI can also understand what is in contracts, which clauses need to be updated and what sort of update is required.”

The article also points out that “traditional law firms were increasingly using AI, [but] they tended to overlay it onto ‘legacy ways of handling legal work’, which could produce an ‘uncomfortable combination.'”

See the article here: https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/axiom-launches-brexit-ai-product-to-help-companies-update-7-5m-contracts

Attending conferences as a low level entrepreneur/law student.

I love this article about the usefulness of attending conferences, where you’re able to meet (in person) many of the individuals within your industry you might never otherwise be able to rub elbows with.

I like the authors comment on the ridiculous prize attached to having a booth at one of these fairs (it’s always ridiculous) but I think the takeaway for us, as students, is that we should be attending the conferences available to us now, while student prices are fairly reasonable (also you can usually volunteer for free admission).

Here’s actually a list of a ridiculous amount of legal conferences that are hosted worldwide, I’m going to the Cybersecurity summit this summer for free in return for volunteering (great deal!) So go out, network, and engage your entrepreneurial side.