The OlyverApp Blog

Externally Imposed Standards Upon Industry Regulators

We take a break from the entrepreneur tip lists to look more closely at the legal industry and how it's failing the people it's supposed to protect (i.e., you). There is a buregoning movement comprised of attorneys and other professionals seeking to overhaul an increasingly outdated justice system. Lawyers are still regulated as though it's the 1950's, and while that keeps the judges and bureaucrats who've been running the show "fat and happy", more and more Americans (up to 90%) are priced out the system altogether.

Today's guest blogger is Johann Drolshagen, who served as an Alternative Dispute Resolution professional in Washington State and on the State Bar of California's Access Through Innovation of Legal Services Task Force. He has extensive experience in programming and systems management.

In this day and age, it is not hard to find an example of a government agency that fails to fulfill its obligations, designated goals, and purported purpose. Most of these organizations gain their authority second hand and retain both their budget and autonomy under the false auspice of ‘protect the public’. The large number of these topically disparate and logistically siloed organizations produces inherently complicated scenarios for basic administration and effective oversight. Thank goodness for the Information Age and technology.

Here are the fundamentals of how technology can be used to impose regulation on an industry that otherwise refuses to effectively police itself:

  • Standardization. An “apples to apples” comparison has got to be of the highest priority for any effort towards standardization. A simple lexicon of terms and their respective definitions is relatively easy for an organization to compile - the challenge comes from attempting to merge the lexicons of two (or more) organizations as it requires at least one of the organizations to rescind their own discretion as the solitary authority. This is a direct inversion of their traditional thought paradigms. External access and visibility will (re)enforce the standards, their definitions and implications, and improve accountability.
  • Transparency. More easily requested than received, transparency includes: the adoption of common criteria [standardization]; full knowledge of workflows [process evaluation]; and direct immediate access to raw data [metadata evaluation]. Only full compliance along these lines will ensure inter-rater and intra-rater applicability. Transparency also allows for common conclusions to be tested at the metadata level in order to confirm the otherwise implied conclusions. The inverse of transparency is discretion. Discretion is the authority that is held by individuals in positions of power and the core asset of an administrative bureaucracy. Discretion is also the most often cause of regulatory abuse and negligence.
  • Quantification. With adequate technology, quantification can be automated and thus immediate. Inter-rater and intra-rater variances can be essentially eliminated, if not - simplified to predictable [bias]. Quantification of data can also lead to second generation comparative and relative valuations which are often more valuable than raw data. Only the application of technology can accomplish this task in a timely manner and at scale.
  • Timeliness. Information has an expiration date and it is sooner than most decision matrices can accommodate in a simple workflow. All data incorporated through technology should be via direct access with minimal workflow interference, and result in immediate (re)action and (re)quantification. In this way, technology has the ability and intent to deliver a known outcome based on an autonomous valuation.
  • Third-Party Oversight. Too often ‘stakeholders’ have an inability to identify bias in decision making processes, lack the inclination to accept criticism that contradicts their autonomy, and refuse course corrections that do not threaten their budgets. Third party oversight, with the application of technology, can nullify the otherwise personal influence that outweighs the goals of common interest.
  • Accountability. While technology need not be the proverbial ‘stick’ of accountability, it can serve as the vessel by which all relevant information is gathered and measured. The inverse is also true…any system that has no record of investigations and coinciding findings is almost certainly lacking in any meaningful accountability.

The challenges of today require technology. They require scope and scale and an understanding of mathematics. The needs of the many are immediate, serious, and beyond the well-meaning individuals that seek incremental change. Technology is the only solution, tool, and stick that can elevate and enlighten our society to a place where we can attain a mindset that is fair and sustainable. Our institutions, industries, and regulators must accept the yoke.

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