AI & Law: Legal APIs

Lance Eliot
6 min readApr 26, 2021
Supreme Court ruling on APIs handily brings up the topic of emerging Legal APIs

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

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Key briefing points about this article:

  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been in the news recently
  • SCOTUS handed down a ruling in the decade-long case of Google vs. Oracle
  • Rather than focusing on the decision, let’s consider API’s all told
  • APIs are essential to the future of LegalTech
  • And APIs will also be crucial to the advancement of AI and the law


API’s have gotten their moment in the sun, as it were.

Hard to believe that the topic of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) managed to get worldwide attention, but it did. This rather nerdy topic garnered some bold and brash headlines recently when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the infamous case of Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc. (№18–965, decided on April 5, 2021), which pertained to the use of the arcane and ostensibly vaunted Application Programming Interface matter.

Dating back nearly a decade, this frolicking case has been bandied back-and-forth and generally hidden from view for anyone other than pure techies. Those within the tech world have fervently watched the case with intense interest, on the edge of our seats, and anxiously endured the roller coast ups and downs that have taken place during this ten-year-long elongated and bumpy path. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world has not given much ado over the apparently obscure considerations involved.

That being said, there was unquestionably a lot at stake since the technology underpinning much of today’s apps and advanced computer systems are reliant upon APIs. Believe it or not, you could construe those APIs as the potential Achilles heel or as the Herculean hero of modern-day computing.

What is an API, you might be wondering?

The SCOTUS ruling defined API’s this way: “An API allows programmers to call upon prewritten computing tasks for…

Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.