Over the past year, many of us have said “I guess all law firms are virtual law firms now.” While that may technically be true, there are many firms whose business model is based on being a virtual firm. Dan Packel from The American Lawyer gives us a primer on Distributed Law Firms like Fisher Broyles, Ramon, Taylor English and Duma, and Culhane Meadows and how they operate without a physical environment. While many of these firms may fly below the radar for many biglaw firms, distributed firms like Fisher Broyles may be poised to break into the AmLaw 200. And if that happens, and it might happen this year, many big firms will start to take notice.

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Information Inspirations

While we don’t want you to replace us as your favorite podcast, we do think that Stephen Poor’s new podcast from Seyfarth, Pioneer and Pathfinders, provides some good sit-down discussions with legal innovators like Dr. Heidi Gardner, Dan Linna, Nicole Bradick, and more to come. Go check it out.

There are only eleven states now which do not require lawyers to have a competence level when it comes to legal technology. California is the latest to make such a requirement.

Our fellow geek, Casey Flaherty is the last of the Baker McKenzie dream team to finally leave Baker and go back into the legal innovation consulting world. Casey is now the Chief Strategy Officer at LexFusion and is bringing his talent back into the open legal market to help legal departments and law firms implement technology to improve overall legal processes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly brings us a new blockchain sheriff in Texas. The Texas Blockchain Council is a nonprofit trade association with the objective to make Texas the center of the universe for blockchain technology.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 112 – Dan Packel on the Rise of Distributed Law Firms

For those who went to law school, do you remember that class we all took on creativity in the legal work environment? No? We don’t remember it either. That’s why Adam Tsao decided to write The Creativity Playbook for Lawyers: Strategies for the Business of Legal Practice. Adam sits down with us and discusses how he integrated creativity into his own legal education at Penn Law School, as well as his legal work at Skadden and Covington before starting his own business, At Philosophy. He stresses that creativity is a vital process in a person’s legal career, and why we each need our own playbook to help us build creative processes into our professional activities. Adam also co-hosts a non-legal podcast on creativity called Double Agent.

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Information Inspirations

Baseball season is upon us. If you are a fan, you most likely have a favorite team. Darren Siegle from Specops Software reminds us that it is okay to root for the home team, just don’t use them as your password.

While law librarians can take a joke as much as the next profession (maybe even more), a recent American Lawyer article that runs comparisons between lawyer’s spouses, kids, and pets to secretaries and law librarians didn’t land well with Greg. Legal reporters seem to lack an understanding of what amazing benefits law librarians brought to their firms during COVID. We take the time to educate them.

It seems that the law firm librarians aren’t the only ones taking a hit from the press. The latest US News Law School rankings admitted to some flaws in its initial numbers for this year in how it measured law library metrics. In a portion of the ranking that only made up .25%, the change in the statistics caused nine schools to have their rankings altered.

While officially, Womens’ History Month came to a close yesterday, it’s always a good time to honor women in the legal industry, and we bring you a couple of good podcasts that do just that.

 

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 111 – Adam Tsao and The Creativity Playbook for Lawyers

For those of us in large law firms, we understand that Practice Group Leaders have the following responsibilities:

  • Develop a strategy for the Practice Group (PG)
  • Advance the business development of the PG
  • Ensure equitable distribution of work among the more junior PG attorneys
  • Identify attorneys within the practice who are struggling and find mentoring and coaching opportunities for them
  • Practice law at the same time

For Lathrop GPM’s Intellectual Property Group, Kate Tompkins can do all of these, except practice law. That’s because she is not a lawyer. She’s a business professional.

We’ve heard the phrase “law firms should be run more like a business.” Well, Lathrop GPM and Kate Tompkins are putting that phrase into action. Kate tells us how she landed this role, and how we may see more business operation professionals stepping up to lead the legal practice as other firms look to run more like a business.

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Information Inspirations

If you’re looking for the future of search, CaseText may have the answer with the help of BERT. In their new WeSearch product, CaseText’s Pablo Arredondo says that the conceptual search product will leverage the open-source neural network framework developed by Google called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or simply BERT, to find related results not based on keywords, but through actual concepts. Bob Ambrogi runs through a few examples in his Law Sites Blog.

The patent office in China pulled about half of 2020’s applications recently due to irregularities. Many are saying that it is downright fraud and that it may have a worldwide impact on patents.

Slack rolled out, and then quickly rolled back a new feature that allowed anyone on Slack to DM anyone else on Slack. After a swift public rebuke on the potential harassment issues that this “feature” opens up, especially against women, Slack is rethinking the changes. Perhaps Slack would benefit from listening to lawyers like K&L Gates Partner Elisa D’Amico who specialize in understanding and fighting abuse on the Internet.

Video games are expanding into what is known as Synthetic Economies where gamers’ actions have economic effects both within the games and outside the games as well.

Bonus Inspirations

In support of March being Womens’ History Month, as well as the start of baseball’s Spring Training, check out this Twelve Six Podcast interview of Yankee’s beat reporter Lindsay Adler.

Also, check out how Kelp may save us all on the How to Save a Planet.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 110 – Kate Tompkins on Being a Practice Group Leader But Not a Lawyer

For nearly the past twenty-five years, Jeroen Plink worked on the cutting edge of innovation in the legal market ranging from creating software to help with project management and process improvement, to being the CEO of Clifford Chance Applied Solutions. His passion for looking at issues from unique perspectives, as well as his dislike for inefficient processes and waste, has led to a number of successes in legal innovation during this time. As he moves on from the Alternative Legal Service Provider environment and begins his new journey, Jeroen sits down with us to talk about his efforts going forward in Access to Justice, commercial ideas, consulting with law firms, and in-house operations.

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Information Inspirations

The idea of law firms going with a “single provider” on legal information platforms like Westlaw or Lexis may sound good on paper, but Victoria Hudgens points out in a recent LegalTech News article that these ‘one-stop shops’ limit the ingenuity and capabilities of law firms.

It takes a brave person to get between an appellate lawyer and their citation formatting rules. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas apparently is one of those brave souls. With the use of “(cleaned up)” in the recent Brownback v. King decision, Thomas has created a stir in the legal citation world the likes that haven’t been seen since the Court’s first Internet citation changes in 1996. Blue Book Rule 5.2 and Brownback are at odds and according to a Law360 article from Carrie Garrison from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, appellate lawyers may be taking sides.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 109 – What’s Next for Jeroen Plink?

Karl Harris, CEO of Lex Machina, took an interesting path to legal analytics. Initially working on sonar systems taking streams and signals and converting those into data, then on to mobile application analytics, then on to law school. Pulling these three skills together, the idea of legal analytics came together. With Lexis+ Litigation Analytics becoming the fourth pillar of the Lexis+ ecosystem, along with legal research elements, practical guidance, and brief analysis. Harris walks through the progression of legal analytics over the past decade, and even projects some of the potential analytics has in the assistance of practicing law.

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Information Inspirations
Bryan Parker and Jon Greenblatt have a wonderful interview with Locke Lord Partner and former ABA President Paulette Brown. Brown gives an honest view of her experiences as a black woman lawyer in a BigLaw firm, and the reality of how little has changed over the past twenty years.
Distributed law firms like FisherBroyles are approaching AmLaw200 status and might be the hot new structure for law firms to disrupt the BigLaw model. 
With the use of Zoom for trials, there are some logistical problems that not only make trials difficult, one situation in St. Joseph County Michigan shows that what (or who) you can’t see on camera might create a dangerous situation. Luckily, Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Davis’ skills to know when a witness was showing signs of distress when the defendant was just feet away when the witness was testifying. 
It turns out that teachers aren’t the only professionals who have to buy supplies because the schools don’t have the funds. Some Judges are having to pay for their own Zoom accounts in order to conduct online trials.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 108 – Lex Machina’s Karl Harris on the Past, Present, and Future of Legal Analytics

Attorney Sophia George has one strong suggestion for those looking to increase equity in the legal industry: Hire minority lawyers! In order to help individuals find diverse lawyers, Sophia joined in the project created by Jackson Walker Partner Chevazz Brown called DiversePro. The online database works to connect diverse lawyers with potential clients who are looking to find lawyers from communities where they share a culture, language, or life experience. With a starting list of 250,000 lawyers in the DiversePro database, Chevazz Brown created an environment for diverse lawyers to go in and claim their profile, or create a profile, identify your practice area, specialty, school, and what makes them unique. We discuss how Chevazz and Sophia use DiversePro to help others find them, and the way they are working to get other diverse lawyers to do the same.

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Information Inspirations

James Goodnow talked with Bill Henderson about what they see as a flaw in the ingenuity incentive of law firms. In a normal business environment, ingenuity creates opportunities for everyone. In the legal industry, the opportunities are significantly limited to lawyers.

There is a quiet hiring boom going on in legal. In the fight for talent, the Harvard Business Review has some suggestions so that you line up the best people based on potential, not prior experience.

Sometimes a dress code or required uniform is a bad idea (bar exams), sometimes it can create equity (British Barristers.)

Sticking with dress codes… Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford wrote an entire book on it.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 107 – Sophia George and Chevazz Brown: Finding Diverse Lawyers via DiversePro

Most of us in the legal industry did not think of the employment market as being anything close to stable in 2020. However, as we are witnessing from the AmLaw 100/200 firm revenue numbers being released, many firms had record revenue and profits. In fact, recent reports show that the industry actually added some 5,000 jobs recently. Geoff Zodda, Chief Solutions Officer of IT Search at PearlCare Search Group, talks with us about what happened in the legal market surrounding the technology, information, analytics, and knowledge workers in 2020, and the projections for these types of professions as the industry refashions itself for a post-COVID economy. For those who are flexible, can wear multiple work hats, and can analyze data, the world may be your oyster.

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Information Inspirations

If a human adds some words into a computer, and that computer uses AI to produce art based on that human input, who owns the rights to that art? Charlotte Kilpatrick from ManagingIP talks with three experts to answer that question.

There is a topic that a lot of us avoid and that is succession planning First, it is uncomfortable, second it is uncomfortable.

We have discussed T-Shaped and Delta-Model lawyers in the past. However, easyJet is making its outside counsel show how O-Shaped they are by creating innovative questions on their request for proposals and law firm pitches for business.

Ken Crutchfield points out some of the traps that innovators fall into when they don’t listen or interpret customers or seek feedback. His experience showing his father about the Trapper Keeper when he was 15 helped him understand what customer feedback meant for success.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 106 – Geoff Zodda on Legal Industry Employment Trends in a Post-COVID World

For the first time since the beginning of the year I have some quiet time to reflect and write.  I feel like the end of 2020 and early into the new year, there was a deluge of stimuli on the daily.  Between traditional press and social media, something was always buzzing somewhere. There were cases before the courts, nonstop talk of COVID numbers and mitigation, Tik Tok challenges and the US election. Sometimes I read what’s happening, sometimes I don’t and I when I think about why that is, it’s the same reason we read some Legal Blogs and ignore others…it’s about trust and influence.  Trust is not something that comes easily, it’s earned, it’s rewarded, and in some cases, it’s very hard to achieve and sustain. But at its core it’s a point of connection.

Last week, I hosted a webinar about the legal issues in addressing social media in the Workplace for the ACC in Alberta.  Most of the issues surrounding social media pitfalls revolve around trust and the strength of relationships between employee and employer, relationships which are built on trust.  You have to trust that employees will use technology appropriately. You have to trust that social media will be used for good and not evil, that firm provided technology will be used to connect rather than to detract. And you have to believe that there is a social contract that is the general baseline of suitable social conduct.  As we’ve seen in many examples over the years, social media has the power to influence.

Yesterday, I participated in the Canadian Lawyer –  Women in Law Summit on a panel discussing the role of mentors, champions and allies in directing the careers of women in the legal industry.  There is nothing scarier than putting your trust and career in the hands of the people who stood before you and hoping that they will usher you to success. Mentorship too is about influence and trust, it’s about being able to be vulnerable even when you feel like you might not fit in or find your place and hoping that someone else will help you define your value and champion your progress. In the legal industry especially, that’s a lot of trust.

Trust and influence in the legal industry goes beyond social media and mentoring to upholding the rule of law. To effectively practice law, you need good sources to help you reference and research the law along with secondary research and citations. You need to trust in your sources and the data you have on hand to build your arguments and draft contracts with conviction so you can influence, build trust and persuade.  With information parity in the internet age, leading to information ubiquity and eventually information overload, how do you know what sources you can trust?  How can you establish the veracity of the information you seek/need?  The last several months with people sheltering in place it has been too easy to stay isolated and to access what you know and love without asking too many questions. But in good intelligence practices (for the legal industry and beyond) it is incumbent upon us to ask lots of questions of the sources we read and of the information we share and use on a daily basis. I know many of my librarian colleagues would agree that especially now, trust in information is mission critical.

So how can we be sure? What can we do to make sure the sources we use are trustworthy? If trust is hard, how you test information credibility can be easy. It’s all about the A, B, C’s – Authority & Accuracy, B – Bias & Beneficiary, C- Currency & Coverage .  It’s really quite simple, but not really. Trust is hard. Accuracy is hard. Coverage and Currency are hard, but Bias is the most difficult part and the part for me that bring its all together.  Trust and being a positive influence are ultimately about the seeing past bias or removing it completely; bias is a strong actor that plays the most important role. Bias, especially our own, is the thing we can’t see or measure that makes us think it is ok to share photos online that should be kept private, bias is the unseen hand that encourages us to support and mentor some while others are left to struggle alone, bias is what makes reporting fairly difficult.   The awareness and ability to check bias is what builds (or breaks) trust.  The rule of law should be free from bias, making it easy to trust. So too should the news that we read and the sources that we cite be free from bias. Finally, the ways in which we encourage others to matriculate through the legal world should too be free from bias as we develop and strengthen the legal industry with positive influence one story, one mentee, one social media or blog post at a time.

Law360 has long been an excellent resource in covering the news when it comes to legal issues. In January, they expanded to also begin looking internally at the legal industry and the business of law. Rachel Travers, Law360 Vice-President, and General Manager joins us to talk about the recent launch of Law360 Pulse. This news coverage of large and mid-sized law firms, in-house corporate counsel happenings, as well as regional coverage of the legal industry is giving many of the established news outlets some new competition. Travers mentions that Law360 Pulse will also release additional industry rankings as well as comprehensive industry surveys. In addition, the integration of Law360 Pulse along with Lexis+ will create unique analytics tools by connecting research and news resources.

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Information Inspirations

We mentioned Coca-Cola’s memo to their outside law firms last week, but Bob Ambrogi sat down with Coke’s GC, Bradley Gayton for a LawNext Podcast interview to dive deep into the reasoning for the memo and how Gayton’s own experiences lead him to press his law firms, and even his own department to push for more diversity.

When it comes to concise writing in the military, BLUF is the word. Bottom Line Up Front. The Harvard Business Review covers some rules that the military uses for email precision that gets right to the point.

The Beverly Hills Police Department is using some unique methods to try to prevent Instagramers from live streaming interactions with police officers. It happens to involve copyright protections.

The National Network for Safe Communities released a study at the recent American Society of Criminology’s annual conference which stated that 50% of community crime may be linked to 1% of the community’s population. That finding made them come out with some suggested changes to how communities are policed.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 105 – Rachel Travers on the New Law360 Pulse

No alt text provided for this imageIf you’ve listened to The Geek in Review podcast the past couple of weeks, you heard that Marlene and I are enjoying the discussions we’ve joined on Clubhouse. Well, we are going to each host a room this week, and we’d love to have the readers of 3 Geeks and the listeners of The Geek in Review join us.

So grab your iOS devices and listen and discuss the following topics this week:

For those of you not on Clubhouse yet, here’s a few suggestions we have for getting on the platform, and finding good content.

  • It is iOS only, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, you’re good. If you have an Android, you’re out (for the moment.)
  • While it is an invite-only platform as of now, we suggest that you download the app and sign up. It puts you on a waiting list, but if you have friends that are already on, they will generally invite you in within a few minutes.
  • Follow people you like.
  • Follow people who have similar interests.
  • Join groups that discuss your interests, and then find people within those groups to follow.
  • Meet new people!!
  • Don’t be afraid to start your own discussion room. (That’s what we did!!)
  • Raise your hand to be invited on stage when you want. Don’t be afraid to just sit back and listen as well. If you get invited to speak but don’t want to, just decline. It’s okay.
  • Don’t be afraid to click the “leave quietly” button if the topic isn’t to your tastes.

The biggest thing is to try new things, and see if something interests you.

We hope you try our sessions this week. See you there!!