Sometimes when you drop by Greg’s office, he will ask if you’ll sit down for an interview for the Geek In Review Podcast. This week, Scott Mozarsky, Managing Directory for North American at Vannin Capital fell into that trap, and even Marlene jumped in on Skype and joined the conversation. Scott was the former President of Bloomberg Law and has been in the legal media industry for decades. During the discussion, Mazarsky talks about how the Knowledge Management skills found in law firms can be applied to some of the same analytics and processes found in Litigation Finance. He also walks us through how Litigation Finance is changing, and that a lot of business is being driven by the needs of large law firms… not just plaintiff work.

In the segment that Marlene and Greg are now calling Information Inspiration, Greg discusses how, even after multiple years of security training, it took a episode of the Reply All podcast to finally scare him straight and up his security game. Hackers are no joke, and using strong passwords, encryption, and password managers are a must in today’s scary… scary world.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 17 – Scott Mozarsky on Litigation Financing and Its Ties to Knowledge Management

On this episode of The Geek In Review, we talk with the new Executive Director of the American Association of Law Libraries, Vani Ungapen. Vani discusses her initiation into AALL and having to learn all of the different acronyms that Law Librarians like to use.

Greg was inducted into the College of Law Practice Management as a Fellow. While at the CoLPM meeting, former Harvard Law School President, Martha Minnow discussed her mission as the Vice-Chair of the Legal Services Corporation, and the need to help those who cannot afford legal services to not fall through the cracks.

To dovetail with Martha Minnow’s topic, check out the work that is going on with The Bail Project, which created a rotating bail fund to help those who are sitting in jail, primarily because they cannot post bail. Greg ponders if there is something that legal associations could do to support these types of projects in support of access to justice issues.

Marlene went to the latest Ark Group KM meeting (apparently there was a Fortnight dance involved?) While she was there, she asked Vivian Liu-Somers, Ron Friedmann, Phil Rosenthal, Phil Bryce, and Meredith Williams-Range about how does Knowledge Management impact innovation.

Perhaps the most exciting change this week is that we have new music from Jerry David DeCicca. Jerry is a well-known Americana musician and former lead singer of The Black Swans. There is a law library link in this music in that AALL member, Eve Searls, sings back up, and plays keyboard and Wurlitzer on Jerry’s latest album, Burning DaylightWe are very excited that Jerry is letting us use his fabulous music on the Podcast. Check out his Spotify, and iTunes channels.

If you have comments or suggestions, please tweet us at @gebauerm or @glambert.

 

I’ve gotten a bit of grief from friends and colleagues for starting a series of blog posts on lessons I learned from my time as a musician and composer that I now use every day in my capacity as a legal technologist, then building to the announcement that I’m starting my own consulting company, and then immediately dropping off the face of the earth again.  I will come back to that series shortly, I promise, but as you can imagine I’ve been all consumed with the new company for the last few months.

As I write this, I am sitting on a train from New York to Boston to attend the College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference, where I and Geek #1 will be inducted as fellows.  Toby and Casey are already fellows, so we’re quickly approaching Phase 2 of 3 Geeks World Domination, (ed. – First rule of 3GWD: We don’t talk about 3GWD, Ryan!) but my 4-hour train journey gives me a bit of time to reflect, regroup, and rewrite.

The interesting thing about starting a company in the midst of a series of posts about lessons from a past life, is that it makes me think a lot about how I’ll use the lessons I’m learning today in my future endeavors. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in recent weeks that I’m planning to keep in mind as I go forward.

1) Approach new opportunities as if you know nothing.

This has been really easy in the last few months, because while I know a quite a bit about what Sente Advisors does for our clients, I started the company knowing very little about actually running a company. Knowing nothing, and knowing you know nothing, allows you to sponge up experience and gain an understanding very quickly.  In some cases, knowledge – or the self-perception that you are knowledgeable – can blind you to new learning opportunities.

2) Starting a business and working for yourself, is like having 2 jobs and no income.

I had been a freelancer for years when I worked as a musician.  I often held multiple jobs and temp jobs, and I scraped together income to pay for my music habit. So I figured working for myself would be kind of like that.  I joked for the first month or so that I was finally unemployed again.  But the reality is owning your own business is like having 2 separate jobs.  One is the job you want to do; the work that your company was created to do, and the other is actually running your company.  Oh, and for the first few months, you won’t have any income.  Good luck!

3) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

It’s easy to get into the mindset of ‘it’s us against the world’ when you’re starting a new business.  But you’ve got friends, former co-workers, fellow startups, and even former employers that will likely offer guidance, support, and if you’re lucky, even office space. People that have started their own companies know how difficult it can be and, in my experience so far, they are eager to help others succeed too.

4) Surround yourself with smart people that have compatible and complimentary skills.

This is probably the most important lesson of all.  Don’t do it alone.  When I was first thinking of starting a company, I thought I’d just ‘go out on my own’.  Thankfully, I had a few people that liked my idea and said, “would you be interested in working together?” I can finally announce my partners in Sente Advisors.

Shashi Kara, formerly VP – Solutions Consulting at Neota Logic, is the Chief Technologist at Sente.  I’m pretty good with technology.  Shashi’s better.  And tenacious, and frankly a bit OCD.  He’s currently meeting with vendors daily building out our sandbox of legal innovation tools.  (Also, he came up with the name Sente when I was hopelessly stuck. Anyone want to hire Super Magic Legal Techno-Wizards?)

Dan Pryor, formerly Sr. Consultant and Account Manager at HighQ, is the Chief Revenue Officer at Sente.  In addition to being a smart and talented technologist in his own right, Dan is commercially minded in ways that Shashi and I never will be. Without Dan’s skill in managing the pipeline, negotiating contracts, and speaking in a British accent, Sente would just be another techno-nerd consultancy struggling to make ends meet.

The primary extra-technical skill that I bring to the table is my interest and ability to get up in front of large groups of people to talk about technology and try not to make a fool out of myself.  While that is quite a useful skill to have in general, it turns out to be a lot less helpful than you’d think in the early stages of starting a business.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for solo consultants, solo lawyers, or anybody trying to do anything by themselves, but having a talented team of people with a diversity of skills and capabilities who can shore up each other’s weakness and further strengthen the company’s core offerings is a much better way to do things.

At least, in my admittedly limited experience thus far.

Brandi Hester, Applications Development Manager for Hunton Andrews Kurth, discusses how the modern Applications Development team focuses less on actually developing applications from scratch to providing a services, security, access, and connecting the dots on all that data. She walks us through the plethora of “AAS” (as a service) options which law firm IT departments use, and she talks about “Shadow IT” groups found in law firm departments and practice areas. Brandi also shares some great insights on being a woman in a field that historically has favored men in app dev roles.

 

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 15 – Brandi Hester and the Modern Role of a Legal Applications Developer

On this episode we will talk with Jeff Marple, Director of Innovation, Corporate Legal at Liberty Mutual Insurance company. Plus, we have our monthly update on government action in legal information from AALL’s Director of Government Relations, Emily Feltren. So, it’s an action packed episode, so grab a drink of your choice and settle in for a good one.

 

15:13 – Jeff Marple, Director of Innovation, within Corporate Legal at Liberty Mutual discusses what it is like to be the innovations guru within a large corporate legal environment. The key is incremental change, lots of communications, having the customer in the room, and publicly executing poor performing processes or projects in the town square.

 

07:22 – Emily Feltren, Director of Government Relations at American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), gives us her monthly update on happenings in the legal information field in regards to government actions. AALL submitted an amici curiae brief in the recent PACER class action, National Veterans Legal Services Program et al v. United States of America, which is currently on appeal. AALL made the points that PACER Fees Harm Patron Access And Legal Research Instruction and that PACER Fees Impede Law Libraries’ Responsibility To Preserve Legal Materials.

There are a number of bills at the federal level focusing on opening up access to PACER. Is free access to PACER on the horizon? Seem that there are a number of politicians looking to do just that.  Continue Reading Podcast Episode 14 – Jeff Marple and the Art of Incremental Change; Plus “Free PACER”?

On the latest episode of The Geek In Review:

Laurent Wiesel, Founder and CEO of Justly, talks with us about leaving his BigLaw partnership to create a startup focused on litigation analytics. Wiesel discusses how he saw that there was a growing gap between what clients were asking on issues of pricing and process, and what law firms were able to deliver. Greg (@glambert) talks about his ability to post an actual written blog post this week about who is the customer.

Legal Startup CEO, Laurent Wiesel

Continue Reading Podcast Ep. 13 – Litigation Analytics with Laurent Wiesel of Justly

I live in an environment which there is a passion to drive innovation. We want to make things better, cheaper, faster, seamless, more intelligent, and a hundred other adjectives to support our goals. When I read an article this morning from Mark A. Cohen on Forbes’ website this morning, I felt like he was speaking my language. Cohen starts off by saying that one of the reasons law firms struggle with keeping pace with business innovation “is that there are too many lawyers involved in legal delivery and too few logistics, supply chain, and management experts, technologists, project managers, data analysts, and other professionals/paraprofessionals.”

Operations is where it’s at! Right? Just ask a group like CLOC. Operations is in the title for Pete’s sakes.

Then I saw Jeff Carr’s tweet regarding the article, and it got me thinking in a completely different direction. Continue Reading Law Firm Innovation: When the Client is Not the Customer

On this episode, we interview Alameda County Law Library Director, Mark Estes, and get his insights on how modern county law libraries support their communities, and how their communities support them.

Marlene and Greg were interviewed by Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway for The Digital Edge Podcast.

Should vendors put out surveys which they directly sponsor and write? If they do, it might not pass the sniff test.

Marlene (@gebauerm) discusses the creepy ideas behind Augmented Eternity, as well as the proper methods behind YouTube apology videos.

Marlene is also speaking at the ARK Group Knowledge Management conference in New York, October 23rd-24th.

Greg (@glambert) recommends listening the CBC’s new podcast, Undercover: Escaping NXVIM, and the ideas behind a manipulation process called “Engineered Epiphanies.” Plus, why you shouldn’t name buildings after people who are still alive.

Marlene (@gebauerm) and Greg (@glambert) talk with Legal Rebel, Jae Um (@jaesunum), Founder & Executive Director at Six Parsecs, about her unique writing style (it involves the use of emojis), and her ideas behind her series on Legal Innovation Woes.
Greg breaks

down a conversation which amplified the idea of why it’s important to be seen as a driver for the firm’s bottom line, and how he deleted Facebook and twitters apps from his phone, as well as how didn’t melt while in Arizona over the weekend.

Marlene talks about CIVIL, a new cryptocurrency model helping to rebuild trust and integrity in journalism. Marlene also needs some suggestions on multi-player mobile games. Ones in which she can win.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 11 – Jae Um on Legal Innovation, Emotions, and Emojis

This episode of The Geek In Review has it all. We talk with Kyle Doviken, Senior Director at Lex Machina about their legal analytics tool, and about Kyle’s passion for helping out in the Austin community through substantial Pro Bono efforts. (17:05)

Greg disturbs a recent third-time father, Noah Waisberg, CEO of Kira Systems to see how the acquisition of $50 million in minority funding will help Kira expand its reach into the legal market and, according to Waisberg, well beyond the legal market. (5:35)

We are adding a new (hopefully) installment of updates on government actions, public policy, and other actions affecting the legal information profession. Emily Feltren, Director of Government Relations at the American Association of Law Libraries fills us in on potential actions coming before the midterm elections, and AALL’s push to fill the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. (11:10)

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 10 – Lex Machina on Analytics, Kira System’s $50M, and a Gov’t Update