When mega-legal publisher, Thomson Reuters, acquired regional legal publisher, O’Connor’s in January 2018, there were many Texas lawyers and law librarians who worried about what would happen to this very popular publisher. Greg sits down with former O’Connor’s Vice President, Jason Wilson, and talks about the history of O’Connor’s, why they focused on information design, and the plain English style of writing of their books. Wilson says the secret to good publishing, is spending a good amount of time preparing the material, and a systematic approach to organizing the material in a way that makes sense to the attorneys. While O’Connor’s has be gobbled up by Thomson Reuters, Wilson thinks that there is still a lot of room for small and regional legal publishers. In fact, he says it makes perfect sense for large publishers to license some of their more regional or niche materials to smaller vendors so that they can give it the attention to detail those topics need.

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Information Inspirations
In a world where you can’t swing a swag back at a legal conference without hitting a vendor claiming to have AI which will transform the industry, is ROSS Intelligence pushing it a little too far when they claim that they’ve pulled legal research out of the “dark ages” and that they’ve eliminated the need for humans to compile information found in traditional secondary sources (AKA treatises)? Greg suggests that when you read PR like this, have your law librarian test it to see if it really is transformative, or if it is purely PR speak.
Thomson Reuters recently published a white paper called The Next Gen Leadership: Advancing Lawyers of Color (pdf). In a legal industry which is 85% white, and 64% male (compared to US stats of 76.6% and 49.2% respectively), TR sets out to interview 23 attorneys of color across the country to find out what they see white/male attorneys are doing to advance and retain lawyers of color. There are three themes picked up by TR in the interview which cover:

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 48 – Jason Wilson on Small and Regional Legal Publisher Survival in Today’s Market

One of the things we hear a lot in law firms is that each firm has its own culture. Leaders within the firm strive to maintain that culture. Lateral recruiting focuses in on making sure that new hires understand the importance of the firm’s culture and that they fit in with that culture. Growth plans are centered around whether or not the plan will change the culture. We all know the Peter Drucker quote that “culture eats strategy for lunch.” The problem of giving firm culture an almost cult-like status within the organization, is that it can be used as a weapon against the people the firm needs the most. Those are people who are great at what they do, but may have different life experiences from what the firm’s culture expects.

The question to ask ourselves is “are we unfairly judging others based on the concept of how well they perform under our idea of firm culture?” Is that an honest way to evaluate people, or does it create an implicit bias which sets people up to fail simply because their life experiences are different from those who established the culture? This idea of unfairly judging people with different life experiences with the concepts of following firm culture hit me like a ton of bricks when I was listening to an episode of Thi$ is Uncomfortable called “Crying at Work.Continue Reading Are We Using Culture to Help Others? Or Judge Others?

Ian McDougall is the General Counsel for LexisNexis, as well as the President of LexisNexis’ Rule of Law Foundation. According to the Foundation, The Rule of Law is made up of four parts:

1. Equality Under the Law
2. Transparency of Law
3. Independent Judiciary
4. Accessible Legal Remedy

For there to be a true existence of Rule of Law, all four parts must be present in the governments which rule the people. McDougall says that no country has mastered the Rule of Law, and that ideals like democracy and justice can cause significant barriers to the Rule of Law. Without the Rule of Law, there is no true access to justice. Without the Rule of Law, commerce doesn’t flow. McDougall is working with partners, including the United Nations, NGOs and corporate operations to establish stable environments, for people, as well as commerce.

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Information Inspirations:

We live in an age of massive data, analytics, business intelligence tools which allow industry leaders to gain insights on their organizations, industry, and competition. With all these resources, data, analytics, and insights at their fingertips, Deloitte’s recent survey of over 1,000 industry leaders exposes that a majority of these leaders still desire the simplicity of spreadsheets. To borrow from Henry Ford, they desire a faster horse. Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 47: Ian McDougall on LexisNexis’ Rule of Law Foundation

On this episode of The Geek in Review, Anusia Gillespie, the US Head of Innovation at Eversheds Sutherland, sits down with us this week to discuss what she refers to as the “New Big Law” market’s inverted approach to innovation. In a market filled with problem solvers, sometimes the innovation we create solves a problem first, and then sets out to find the problem for this solution. Gillespie finds that innovation is disciplined and structured in its approach, but broad and creative in its thinking. Innovation definitely doesn’t live in any one discipline. Innovative solutions might require technology expertise, but it could just as well only require professional development expertise or strict legal expertise. She’s convinced that we need to move away from this type of anchoring bias to ensure that, in this time of rebuilding law into New Big Law, legal innovators finally design and implement correct and smart solutions. With the various professionals needed to identify problems, and create solutions, you need leadership, structure, a bit of fun mixed in, and a champion-forward approach. We dive into issues ranging from an overview of how Eversheds defines innovation to case studies of Gillespie’s publication on smart solutions for lateral recruitment and lateral onboarding.

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Information Inspirations
There are five very good podcast recordings from Legal Talk Networks “On the Road” series from the American Association of Law LIbraries (AALL) conference in Washington, DC. Interviews include a number of AALL members, such as, DIana Koppang, Jean O’Grady, Steve Lastres, and Catherine Monte, and other innovators like Dean Sonderegger, Gabe Teninbaum, and others. Check it out! Subscribe to it (and to The Geek in Review whle you’re at it!!)

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 46: Anusia Gillespie on the New Big Law’s Innovation Confusion Disorder

The Geek In Review Podcast – Episode 45

After a week of Washington, DC heat and humidity, we are back to discuss all things legal information with a slant toward technology and management. We have a recap of the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference, #AALL19, where Marlene runs through her packed schedule of events which she attended, presented, or wished she’d attended. Greg was just happy to rotate off the AALL Executive Board, which he’s been a part of for most of this decade. Don’t worry…. there’s still plenty of other AALL work for him to do.
On this episode, Marlene and Greg go international for the topics. We talk with Lluis Faus and Masoud Gerami of vLex about the recent merger of Gerami’s longtime foreign legal information platform, Justis. Faus and Gerami tell us the story of how they were able to blend the two platforms together, and the process of how they are able to pull together information from over 30 different countries, all with different levels of transparency and access to their legal information.

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Information Inspirations
France recently outlawed the use of judicial analytics which allows for the searching and identifying the names of the judges. We reached out to Tara Tubman-Bassirian, a French lawyer practicing in the UK, about the reasoning behind France’s criminalization of judicial data. Tubman-Bassirian says that the reasoning rests somewhere between the country’s effort to protect its Civil Law structure and the anonymity of the judges, and a flat out fear of what technology might be bringing in the ways of analytics, AI, and other unknown advancements.

Continue Reading Ep. 45 – vLex’s Lluis Faus and Masoud Gerami on Foreign Legal Research – France’s Judicial Analytics (Over)Reaction – AALL Recap

AALL 2018 Capitalizing on Our Strengths banner

I am already checked in for my flight tomorrow to fly to Washington, DC for the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference. As an executive board member (who rotates off at the end of the conference), I get to show up early, and stay through the very end of the conference. My favorite part, without doubt, is seeing my colleagues. These conferences are great for networking, and catching up with friends I have made since my very first AALL conference in DC way back in 1999. So, we thought we’d ask for others who are attending the conference to give us some feedback on why they attend year after year, and leave us a voicemail for the podcast. We’ll try to get this out in a couple days so you can listen before the conference officially begins.

Call us at 713-487-7270 and give us your story on what you are looking forward to doing in DC. There’s a 3-minute time limit on the voicemails… so try to stick to one or two things in your message. You can also record your own message on your phone or other recording device and email it to geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.

Here’s a few ideas, but don’t limit yourself to this:

  • Networking with colleagues and why that’s helpful throughout the rest of the year.
  • There’s a particular educational session that you’re interested in seeing. What session, and why?
  • The vendor hall. What do the vendors bring to the conference that you don’t necessarily get locally?
  • Dinners and social events.
  • PLLIP Summit.
  • Sightseeing in DC.
  • The keynote speaker.
  • The AALL Business meeting.
  • Taking time off from work.
  • Something else??

These types of Elephant Posts are fun to compile, and they allow us to hear more from you. Call the hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us a voice recording at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com and share your story!

Somewhere along the lines over the past couple of years, “failure” has become somewhat of a badge of honor. In the world of TED Talks, it makes for a good snippet when you hear people like Will Smith and John C. Maxwell say things like “Fail early, fail often, and fail forward.” This concept of “failure will make you better” is in a lot of discussion in the legal industry as well. Our friend and podcast guest, Cat Moon, has even created a whole theme around failure for her upcoming Summit on Law and Innovation conference where she’s created #failurecamp with the concept of failure being “the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

So what makes failure such an attractive concept in innovation and entrepreneurship? The idea behind the “fail fast” movement is that it allows you to grow. It makes you curious as to why things didn’t work, and motivated to find different paths forward. It makes you better. All of these are true, but there is something even more transformative that happens when you fail, and that is that it creates a demarcation line in your life that pushes you past the person and identity that you were, and creates a new path and identity of the person you are now. It became clear to me while listening to a story about the massive failure that occurred at Jamestown, Virginia.

I know, that’s quite a jump from talking about the legal industry and then moving some 412 years into the past, but bear with me. In American history, we often discuss Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims, but if you step back, the real story of American expansion, including the ideas behind Manifest Destiny are more closely tied to the massive failure at Jamestown, and how that failure changed the way the British explorers no longer thought of themselves as simply explorers, but as colonists. Continue Reading It Is Failure, Not the Recovery From Failure, That Changes Who We Are

The law is the law, and should be in the public domain, right?? Well, you’d think so, but it may be up to the US Supreme Court to make that determination in its next session when it takes up The State of Georgia v. Public.Resources.org. We talk with Tom Gaylord, Faculty Services & Scholarly Communications Librarian at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, about his thoughts on why the Court granted cert. on an issue that hasn’t been on its radar, and how he thinks a minimum of five justices may align on the issue. Tom breaks down possible arguments and what could happen if the Court rules in favor of Georgia’s claim of copyright of its statues, or if it creates a bright line rule that statutes are not copyrightable. This is going to be one interesting case to follow.

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Information Inspirations
Marlene discusses Carolyn Elefant’s article on Whose Data Is It Anyway? and brings up the age old question of just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, when it comes to data collection of client information. Lawyers have a special relationship with their clients and must be careful not to damage that relationship through the use of data collection (even if that collection is ethical, and with client consent.

Continue Reading Ep. 44 – Tom Gaylord on SCOTUS Taking Up Georgia’s Copyright Claim Over Its Statutes


It seems that the current workforce is looking for more flexibility in where they work, and how often that means in an office setting, a home office, or in some other remote location. We conducted a semi-Elephant Post episode this week and asked our listeners to call in and leave their stories about the pros and cons of remote working. We have a diverse group of 13 stories ranging from marketers, librarians, attorneys, techies, and more from North America and even from Europe. Key factors are trust, transparency, flexibility, and a fast Internet connection. Walk with us as we celebrate The Geek in Review’s first anniversary of podcasts by listening to a baker’s dozen of stories of why working remotely works, or doesn’t work for people.

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Information Inspirations

By demand, we bring back the Information Inspirations to the beginning of the episode. Continue Reading Ep. 43 – The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

We are looking for some feedback for the Geek in Review Podcast on working remotely. If you work remotely, or think that you would be more productive if you were allowed to work remotely, we want to hear your story. Take a look at the questions below and give us your answers in a voicemail by calling 713-487-7270. You can either leave your name or leave it anonymously. Tell us the type of work you do (lawyer, marketing, librarians, tech worker, etc.), and the type of organization in which you work (law firm, vendor, law school, government, etc.). We’ll compile the feedback for an upcoming show. (It’s kind of a new spin on our old Elephant Post days.)

Do you work remotely?? Tell us more!

We hear anecdotal stories of how Millennials and now Gen Z employees desire more flexibility with their work. One common issue revolves around the ability to work remotely.

  • Does your organization allow for people to work remotely? If so, is it on an as-needed basis, or is remote working a part of your work schedule?
  • What do you find attractive about working remotely?
  • What are some of the downsides of working remotely?
  • Do you feel like you are more efficient/effective when you work remotely?
  • Does working remotely put you at a disadvantage within your organization?
  • If you were in charge (or if you are in charge), would you expand the ability for others to work remotely?
  • Would you consider leaving your current position for another job that offered the ability to work remotely?
  • Other comments?

Call 713-487-7270 with your story. Thanks!!