David Kamien is the CEO of Mind Alliance and is someone who understands that in order to truly collaborate with your clients, you have to understand their needs on a granular level. That means capturing the data in a way that proactively predicts legal and regulatory risks that companies like them are likely to face, but also list the probable impact that those risks are likely to impact them specifically. While this may sound like a pipe dream to some, and a delusion to others, Kamien thinks that improving the state of data in law firms through knowledge graphs and taking concrete, and logical steps toward improving and leveraging data, will help get law firms to where they can leverage the data in ways that will truly turn them into counselors to their clients. It means creating a data strategy for the firm that creates higher levels of sophistication so that the data turns into answers, and those answers turn into the types of action that clients are willing to pay for. Law firms should not sit back and wait for this to magically happen. If you want to generate value, you are going to have to collaborate very closely with clients. And in this day and age, that involves data.

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Information Inspirations
Most of us in the information profession have touted our skills as fact finders. In this time of misinformation on the Internet, that skillset is needed more than ever and seems to be showing up more and more in the media as they look for Misinformation Experts like the University of Washington’s Information School, Jevin West. West appeared this week on one of our favorite non-legal podcasts, Make Me Smart, where he uncovered some of the reasoning behind the cult that is QAnon, and why its ability to manipulate information makes it so popular, and so hard to convince those believers in the conspiracy that it really is misinformation.
Staying in touch with clients and others isn’t simply about setting up the next Zoom meeting. Julie Saravino produced a great list of ways to have that personal interaction with others in a way that “ups your game” and makes you stand out from those who still rely upon Zoom, email, and phone calls.
Listen, Subscribe, Comment
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.


Marlene Gebauer:  Welcome to the Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert:  And I’m Greg Lambert.

Marlene Gebauer:  So Greg, I was reading the other day that chess has become a really hot e-sport. Believe it or not.

Greg Lambert:  Of course it has it’s 2020. What else would you expect?

Marlene Gebauer:  Right? So you know, you have these younger chess masters who are signing on and having their own eSports channels. They have hundreds of thousands of followers that watch them play chess, and this has been a big thing since COVID. The one thing I was reading about it is that they don’t play the sort of like a regular game of chess, they play what’s called Blitz chess. And so they move you know, it has to be really fast. There are times and so I think that that’s kind of a nod to the video that you know, you got to keep these things moving in. And you know, one of these guys, in particular, they were talking about, he was he you know, he talks while You know, he sees that they love him because he sees talking to his audience while he’s dead. I was like, that’s pretty impressive.

Greg Lambert:  Well, you know, one of the things and I and while you were talking, I googled it. I’d heard that you know, chess is really kind of a calorie-burning event. So it says here, chess grandmasters can lose 10 pounds and burn 6000 calories just by sitting. So apparently, you can really put your mind to work and burn off those calories too. I don’t know what we’re doing wrong.

Marlene Gebauer:  What are we doing wrong?

Greg Lambert:  Well, we got a good conversation this week. We got David Kamien from Mind Alliance that’s joining us and we go deep and we go geeky on some data this week. So But enough of that, let’s jump into this week’s information inspirations.

Marlene Gebauer:  Welcome to the Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m more than gave hour.

Greg Lambert:  And I’m Greg Lambert.

Marlene Gebauer:  So Greg, I was reading the other day that chess has become a really hot e-sport. Believe it or not.

Greg Lambert:  Of course it has it’s 2020. What else would you expect?

Marlene Gebauer:  Right? So you know, you have these younger chess masters who are signing on and having their own eSports channels. They have hundreds of thousands of followers that that watch them play chess, and this has been a big thing since COVID. The one thing I was reading about it is that they don’t play sort of like a regular game of chess, they play what’s called Blitz chess. And so they move you know, it has to be really fast. There’s times and so I think that that’s kind of a nod to the video that you know, you got to keep these things moving in. And you know, one of these guys in particular they were talking about, he was he you know, he talks while You know, he sees that they love him, because he sees talking to his audience while he’s dead. I was like, that’s pretty impressive.

Greg Lambert:  Well, you know, one of the things and I and while you were talking, I googled it. I’d heard that, you know, chess is really kind of a calorie burning event. So it says here, chess grandmasters can lose 10 pounds and burn 6000 calories just by sitting. So apparently, you can really put your mind to work and burn off those calories too. I I don’t know what we’re doing wrong.

Marlene Gebauer:  What are we doing wrong?

Greg Lambert:  Well, we got a good conversation this week. We got David Kamien from Mind Alliance that’s joining us and we go deep and we go geeky on some data this week. So But enough of that, let’s jump into this week’s information inspirations.


Information Inspirations

Greg Lambert:  Marlene, you’ve heard the saying that once is a fluke, twice as a coincidence, and three is a trend?

Marlene Gebauer:  Hmm.

Greg Lambert:  Well, I’m seeing a trend in the media lately when it comes to reaching out to library school faculty to cover misinformation. Which you know, if you think about it, it totally makes sense. But it does seem to have expanded recently. So you remember, I think it was last week I mentioned. Dr. Tufecki, from the University of North Carolina library school. Well, I’ve seen a couple of additional interviews from other library professors, including one on this week’s Tuesday episode of Make Me Smart, where they tackle the QAnon conspiracy. So this time the person interviewed was from the University of Washington’s library school Professor Jevin West, who is also the director at UW Center for an Informed Public. So how would you like to run that department Marlene?

Marlene Gebauer:  You know, I think that would combine my librarian skills and my broadcasting skills. I think that would be fantastic.

Greg Lambert:  My other thing was he was he was introduced as a disinformation expert. So

Marlene Gebauer:  see now that the T shirt I want.

Greg Lambert:  So the episode does a good job of explaining the beginning of the QAnon conspiracy and how it apparently convinced hundreds of thousands maybe even even over a million people that there’s some elaborate conspiracy to sex traffic children by the powerful and politically connected here and in the US. But one of the things that they talked about in the episode, which I thought was interesting from an information angle on it was that it talked about you you can’t really convince people by giving them facts on that it’s wrong. And part of that is because and this was what surprised me was that Members are being pulled in because they’re being led by their empathy. So which is something that really I hadn’t really thought about. But you know, when if you use it,

Marlene Gebauer:  it’s a brilliant tactic.

Greg Lambert:  So, you know, at first, this caught me off guard. But again, it made sense in many of the QAnon folks are sincere in their belief, because, you know, they’re really, the principle of it is they’re trying to save children from this big sex trafficking ring.

Marlene Gebauer:  Right, right, of course.

Greg Lambert:  And the internet just plays into that by giving them some kind of sliver of truth and then shooting them down a rabbit hole. So

Marlene Gebauer:  Because we know these things are happening, and then they’ve tied it in a shadowy sort of way to people because we want accountability.

Greg Lambert:  Yeah, yeah. Well, and it’s just one of the things about you know, and I think this is good again, it’s probably more than just a T shirt but you know, to be a disinformation expert. I think we need more experts on this. On how things are being generated, and the disinformation is being sent out into into the world. So, hey, again, kudos to the library schools out there.


Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah. So you know, it’s a funny coincidence. You mentioned trends, because I see

Greg Lambert:  Oh, I see what you did there.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah. I tied it in. Because I got skills, man. Because after talking about having an online client communication plan on the last episode, now, I’m seeing a lot of posts and hearing podcasts all about this. Yeah.

Greg Lambert:  And like when you buy a new car that you’ve never thought you’d never seen before, and then and then suddenly, they’re scattered, they’re all on the road?

Marlene Gebauer:  Exactly right. So what I saw the other day is from Julie Savarino. Thank you, Julie. Who laid out some very simple ways to stay connected with clients when you can’t meet face to face. I will give you a taste of the list she posted but I would encourage you to check it out for yourself. So sending a text message and iMessage by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Hangouts, or you could use encrypted message apps you know, as approved by your organization. I think that’s important to note. I will add VOXER to this list and what’s a little different about this one is that it offers walkie talkie type messaging, so you basically push the button you speak and then you’re communicating in real time. So it’s kind of fun and pretty cool. And another suggestion is to do a video meetup but you know, have something to do have a theme to it. So you know, have a wine tasting or you know, you’re all cooking something or you know, book club or you know, some sort of shared hobby activities. And finally, the one that I really appreciate and honestly I need to work on myself. Is old fashioned way. Writing. It really is special when someone takes the time to write and send you a note.

Greg Lambert:  So I don’t understand what what is it? I haven’t done that since 1995. Since I got my first yahoo email.

Marlene Gebauer:  I can tell you from my perspective, it makes a big difference. So, and I don’t think everybody else is like Greg either. So see what you can do to incorporate from Julie’s list. And that wraps up this week’s information inspirations.


Guest Interview

Marlene Gebauer:  Okay, everybody buckle up and get ready for a deep dive on the data strategies within law firms, or lack thereof, as we address the issue of leveraging data to better collaborate with clients with David Kamien of Mind Alliance.

Marlene Gebauer:  Today’s guest is David Kamien, CEO of Mind Alliance systems LLC, a technology consulting firm, David works with Fortune 500 and AmLaw, 100 and 200 firms on tech solutions for business development, research and knowledge management. David, welcome to the Geek in Review.

David Kamien:  Thank you Marlene, it’s great to be here with you and Greg.

Marlene Gebauer:  So David, when we spoke about this podcast idea a while back, we were batting around some different ideas, and we settled on companies emerging legal risks and the need for risk proactivity and how law firms in-house consultants and alternative legal service providers should be positioning themselves to help. So that’s a pretty big topic. And honestly, you know, I’m not hearing this bandied about too much.

David Kamien:  It’s easy to say the words proactive risk management. The question is, what does it actually mean and what do you do once you grasp the concept?

Marlene Gebauer:  Right. So let’s start at the beginning. What emerging legal risk are we talking about?

David Kamien:  Well, we’re living through an obvious example of a risk that could have been anticipated, was anticipated by many public health officials and scholars, but probably was not in focus for most law firms and legal departments. It doesn’t take. I mean, COVID-19 pandemic is an extreme example of a risk at a scale that hopefully we won’t encounter again in our lifetime. But certainly there are many other types of risks that can and will impact law firms and their clients.

Marlene Gebauer:  I imagine a lot of this has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Kamien:  Every time there’s a major incident, whether it’s 911, Hurricane Katrina or financial crisis, it wakes some people up for some of the time and then you start seeing more money and hiring around risk management. And there are some industries where it’s not a nice to have, you know, the regulatory requirements, force industries like financial services to spend a boatload of money on compliance, much of which has to do with risk. But law firms and legal departments are not as oriented towards proactive risk management, certainly not as much as they could be.

Marlene Gebauer:  So do you have some specific examples about some of the risk we might be talking about for companies?


David Kamien:  Sure. So let’s take a common use case. You are a technology company, and you’re growing and you’re starting to operate in more and more countries. And one way or another what you do impacts on people’s privacy or potentially impacts privacy. So by the nature of what you’re doing, think about, you know, wearable health technology or anything having to do with health is usually immediately going to fall into the fall under requirements to comply with privacy law. So this is an area where there’s a constant flow or appearance of new regulations, potential new regulations are emerging all the time. And so most law firms think about this in the context of Okay, how do we set up monitoring for new regulations, you know, bills, laws, rules, and also litigation pertaining to fill in the blank. But if you really want to be proactive, you don’t start there because the indicators to use the intelligence terminology, the indicators that regulation will appear, that new regulation will appear that regulation will intensify that compliance demands will intensify those indicate are visible way before there’s a draft bill or notice of proposed rulemaking.

Greg Lambert:  Yeah, one of the things that I was thinking about as a knowledge professional is I think we attempt to do these things, we tend to try to be proactive and identify certain risks that are on the horizon. But I can tell you a common stumbling block that we have is the old perfect is the enemy of good in that you can lay out the information and say, Hey, here’s this big thing that’s coming. You need to pay attention to it, and then they go, okay, but only tell me when it affects my region, my particular legal issue and my particular clients. So it’s that whole proactivity seems to go out the window, and it says, okay, don’t bother me and until it actually happens too. I don’t know, Marlene, if you found that in the past, but what do you think is the best way to address these types of getting prepared to be proactive without waiting too long?

David Kamien:  I think the first step is to understand the causes for the lack of proactivity. And they’re going to be different for different types of lawyers and for different types of risks. If we generalize, we can say that there’s sometimes a lack of proactivity. That’s due to people being overworked and burdened with kind of putting out fires here and now. So it doesn’t leave attention for over the horizon risks. Obviously, there are cases when it’s not about the workload on the shoulders of a particular attorney, or the department or a practice group. It has to do with the culture of the industry and the organization. And if you were going to model this out properly, as analysts should do, you’d need to look at things like the amount of litigation and what the penalties are, what does the downside look like? And if you’re at risk, because you have an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not the same as if you’re operating a bodega, and someone would slip on a banana. So you have different scales of downside risk. And that’s going to affect how much time and money people are going to be willing to spend in proactivity. And also, obviously, insurance can play a role here because if someone is insured, that may reduce their willingness to mitigate risk proactively. And then another dimension is like, how do you, practically speaking, start to wrap your hands around managing the risk proactively? One of the key leavers you’re going to have is probabilistic thinking. You’re going to have to start scoring one way or another in terms of probabilities. And no, you’re not going to get it exactly right. But you should be able to base on the baseline incidents of the types of hazards you’re dealing with, know where you should focus. For example, we have a client now that wants us to focus on helping them with risk intelligence related to wildfires and hurricanes. Why wildfires and hurricanes? Because they happen a lot. Because they have been frequently sure there are terrorist attacks and their plane crashes. And there are all sorts of other hazard incident types, but it makes sense for them to focus on the ones that are most frequent.

Greg Lambert:  When we’re looking at this issue. What are some of the industries that you think are going to be the most affected? And are they all going to be affected at the same time? Or is it just like everything else? It’s, you know, it depends.


David Kamien:  So um, I think the real question behind the question should be, where can law firms make the most money?

Greg Lambert:  Well, let me restate that, then.

David Kamien:  Let me get to your question.

Marlene Gebauer:  We’re gonna get to that.

David Kamien:  But I think the industries that are going to be interested in proactive risk management and be willing to pay for it are industries that are growing and making money. And industries that are growing and making money include, for example, technology, right? Not all technology companies, many of them will not become huge companies, but certainly big, rapidly growing global technology companies. They’re going to be good candidates. Healthcare, I think in the COVID era, we’re going to see awareness and…

Marlene Gebauer:  Probably going to be a ton of regulation coming down and as far as that’s concerned, too.

David Kamien:  Absolutely. So many people have died, sadly, and in circumstances that perhaps could have been avoided, that I think we will see a lot of regulation. And I don’t know about you guys, but you know, almost every device I use in the context of my personal health, you know, my bathroom scale, obviously my phone and various other things. They’re all connected. And it’s all mining our data, and in some cases sharing it. And so I think increasingly people are going to want to see what’s happening with that data. And that is going to drive greater regulation and greater spend to comply with that regulation.

Marlene Gebauer:  Like I you know, like it’s ethics and privacy types of concerns. That’s what you’re thinking?

David Kamien:  Absolutely. There’s no shortage of examples, but to answer your question once more of the industries are going to be affected if they have a global scope, because they have a global supply chain. Think of all the hardware companies that manufactured in China or manufacture in China and other countries around the world that were disrupted. And obviously, there’s no shortage of data and information providers that will happily help you look at your supply chain, and will assign risk scores to your vendors. But that kind of supply chain risk management thinking doesn’t. There’s no corollary in law firms in a kind of very systematic sense, like, show me a law firm that can pull up on a computer screen one of their clients, and not just see the matters that they have brought to them in the past. But a list of all the types of matters that they are most likely to encounter given the type of company it is based on comparison to other companies like it. And now go to an even more advanced place and say, Show me a law firm that can pull up the name of a client and do that at the level of a particular business unit or product line. And then you know, show me the law firm that can fill up a profile of a client company, and see not only just a list of the emerging risks that their industry is likely to face, but the probable impact, that the likelihood of that trend impacting them specifically. Law firms are not there yet.

Marlene Gebauer:  No. So, if a firm is sort of doing their due diligence is doing their research on this, what sort of impediments should you know, they are looking for, you know, when you’re talking about looking at an industry or particular business units or a product line? What should they be trying to find in terms of impediments, that are in the way of companies dealing with potential risks so that they basically know where they should be targeting their message?


David Kamien:  Well, this may be a controversial answer, but I think that one of the biggest impediments, it’s hourly billing, right? Because with an hourly billing model, it can feel to the client like a fishing expedition, like there’s no shortage of risks in the world and go burn a million dollars on looking for risks that we might be exposed to. I don’t want to pay for that. A client might think. But once there was a dream of a different kind of health care system where your doctors didn’t just kind of treat you when you were sick, but try to keep you healthy. And when you look at the trend about the devices we’re using, and how we’re living, and we’re more conscious of what we eat, and we’re counting steps and so on

Marlene Gebauer:  wellness checks, and you know, coverage for things like that.

David Kamien:  Yeah. And it’s even becoming a benefit and employment benefit in many large companies, right? And so, productivity and mitigation and lifestyle that ultimately reduces costs to the company and to society. It just makes economic sense. But pricing, your sort of risk analysis on an hourly basis may not make sense. So I think that there will be some innovative law firms that are capable of determining how to price, you know, proactive risk mitigation in such a way that the cost doesn’t fall on any one client in an uneven manner. Right. So, if I’ve got lots of financial services clients, and between all those clients, they operate in, you know, 80 countries in the world, right, maybe any one financial services company only operates in 30 or 20. But if I want to provide a global service to all the financial services companies, I support them because I, between all my clients, they all care about, you know, all the countries that matter. So once a law firm starts thinking Along those dimensions and starts modeling it out, they may realize that economics could work for them. And they don’t have to charge on an hourly basis. They can come up with an information product or service or combination of knowledge as embodied in a report or alerts plus consultation, not charged for an hourly basis, all the clients benefit because they get that global coverage that they wouldn’t ever afford to pay for if they had to do it on an hourly basis.

Greg Lambert:  The holistic model of legal practice, and I think everything that you said law firms are doing pieces of that. I think you’ll see law firms that put out client alerts, they do webinars and that I think they tried to fit that under that umbrella. But there’s been this whole push to know your client for a dozen years, at least But I think you’re right. One of the things that we run into is that hourly billing, is that they say, Oh, well, we want to do this. But I don’t want to take my lawyers time to do this. Let’s get somebody else to do this. Pull it together. And of course, then you run into the traps of, well, I don’t know what you know, you’re not telling me what it is that I really need to focus on. So I’m going to give you this, you know, generic report back on an issue that may or may not actually be what you want.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yeah, that and this isn’t my day job. You know, it’s like I’m doing I’m doing on all these other projects. And you know, now you’re asking me to do this special thing where there’s no revenue coming back.

Greg Lambert:  Yeah. And David, I can verify that I have seen examples of when lawyers have gone out to the clients to say, look, we want to be your advisor and we’ll set up a way to Come talk to your employees, your HR department, train up your GC on these things that are coming. And literally the client will come back. So that’s nice, but I don’t have to pay for that. Right?

David Kamien:  Exactly.

Marlene Gebauer:  You know, and at the same time if they subscribe to something that did it, it didn’t, you know, provided similar information, but certainly not to the extent of having a legal adviser on call. They would pay for that.


David Kamien:  And you want a combination, right, you want to send them those alerts. You want to sort of spread the risk, the cost of producing those alerts across multiple clients, but you want to have your attorneys, you know, right there at the ready to answer questions that are really hyper specific and also interact when we help clients connect with their law firms and vice versa. Increasingly now, in the COVID era, we’re looking to support it by video and audio and not just text because now everyone’s used to working on Zoom. And it doesn’t always have to be synchronously the way we’re talking now. It can be asynchronously, and yet still via audio and video, which kind of lightens it up.

Marlene Gebauer:  Now, do you feel that sort of having that video connection that there’s sort of a better connection between practitioner and client or, you know, I think I think about sort of the younger generation where it’s just like, they text everything. And so it’s not necessarily a visual that they need. But, you know, I know from my own perspective, I think seeing somebody does increase the connectivity between the two parties

Greg Lambert:  You can put it into a Tik Tok, Marlene.

David Kamien:  Why don’t just give people the options and they can answer by text or audio or video as they see

Marlene Gebauer:  whatever they want to do. Right.

David Kamien:  Right. Just give them the full range of options. You know, another impediment to proactive risk management is, you know, we talked about being willing to pay for it. Coming up with a business model to make it work. But there is another kind of technological impediment, which is the state of data in law firms. I’ve spoken about technical here, but I do want to make a little plug for this new approach. It’s not proprietary to my company. It’s just a general idea of knowledge graphs, right?

Marlene Gebauer:  I’m just gonna do a shout out. I love knowledge graphs.

Greg Lambert:  Before you dive in, asking for a friend, what’s a knowledge graph?

David Kamien:  Right? So everybody encounters a knowledge graph. Or there is the benefit of a knowledge graph in a certain sense when they do a Google search, and they get an answer to their question in a box, as opposed to a long list of websites that they need to check. The answer in the box only appears when you ask Google certain questions, which they can answer because they have structured the data in a knowledge graph. Where the meeting principally of the metadata is defined semantically. Meaning that if you connect IMDb, the Movie Database, you know that movies have directors that movies have actors that movies come out in certain years, you know, have dates when they’re released and so on. And so if you feel enough queries about movies, you’re going to be able to figure out how to actually answer those questions by surfacing the answer, as opposed to just saying, go search IMDb, you’re going to actually be able to show the actor or the director of the name of the movie that you’re looking for. So that is made possible when the metadata in the data model is defined in a very rigorous way that supports machine reasoning. And I’m not going to go into ontologies and machine reasoning. I’ll just say that sometimes. And this is sort of another way of answering your question. Sometimes knowledge graphs are depicted visually, you think of the Carrie Matheson wall with the pictures of terrorists connected with string, right? The six degrees of separation. Yes, knowledge graphs are sometimes depicted as a visual graph. But the essence of the graph is the fact that there are entities usually nodes that are linked with edges. And the types of things that the nodes are and the nature of the relationships that are reflected in the edges or the lines connecting those nodes. They’re all defined in a machine understandable way. Now, what does this have to do with law firms? In law firms, you have, and in legal departments, you usually have many, many different sources of data, different applications, different databases, and the meaning of the data in those various sources has not been defined in one coherent normalized ontology. Or if Let’s just say it has not been defined semantically in a machine understandable way. And so consequently, you cannot query all of your data at all, let alone ask it natural language questions and get an answer that depends on inference or reasoning across the different data sources and what the data means in each place. Long way of saying that if you really want to manage risk, you need data about risk and an order and that data exists in different places. And unless the data is described in a really clear way, you’re going to be stymied in your effort to have to have true risk awareness informed by data.


Marlene Gebauer:  So it’s, it’s very interesting what you’re saying, because so oftentimes, you know, I’ve heard people say, look, you know, I need to be able to find the answer, like I’m on the phone, and I need to turn this around and like 60, less than 60 seconds, you know, basically, I’m chatting and while I’m doing that, I have to find the answer to be able to give it to them. And you know, it sounds like a knowledge graph. would be something that would be quite useful to satisfy those types of just in time requests. Now, I know Google is using them. But is the legal industry using this type of technology or other types of technology that can help them in this regard? On a scale of one to 10, how prepared is the legal industry to assist?

Greg Lambert:  You can’t use negative numbers.

Marlene Gebauer:  No

David Kamien:  I would say law firms are at a one. Law firms, there are some tech forward law firm CIOs, and CKO’s and so on, that are starting to read about knowledge graphs and are starting to become more aware of what they can mean for data management and knowledge management in law firms. But at the end of the day, it’s often about a particular use case and solving a particular point. problem, although realistically, that’s not the right way it should be approached like there should be a data strategy in a law firm that has on its pathway going towards, you know, higher levels of sophistication, i.e. semantic data management. But what use case could be compelling for a law firm? Well, one law firm recently talked about the Pardon the Interruption emails, the ubiquitous Pardon the Interruption, emails, and part of the ready statement, they waste so much time. And part of the reason people need to send out these Pardon the Interruption emails is, well, there are multiple…

Marlene Gebauer:  Because they can’t find anything.

David Kamien:  Why can’t they find anything? Well, first of all, because let’s say you’re an attorney at the firm, how do I know what you know? How do I know that you’re the right person to ask? Well, if I really wanted to do a great job profiling, who you are, and what you know, what data sources do I need to use to fingerprint you? I need to use the documents that you’ve worked on your time notes, you know, billing time notes, your email, your bio, obviously, your thought leadership publications. Who are your specific clients? Absolutely right. What industries have you worked in? What deals Have you worked on? You know, so do you guys think that all of that data is in one place? In one sense?

Marlene Gebauer:  Gee David, let me think.

David Kamien:  It’s not. So here, too, you have a use case for Hey, you build a knowledge graph to describe the attorney and her experience. Okay, that’s one side of the matching equation. Right. Now, on the other side, we’ve got the question, or the matter or the thing that is driving you to send out that Pardon the Interruption email. Right. So where does that usually get started? Right, a client asked. Question. And that may or may not be formulated in one nice little concise question and maybe like a paragraph of text and maybe in an email. Okay, so when faced with that, what do you need to know what you need to do? You know, from a technology perspective, and just from a human information interaction perspective, what do you need to do to move towards the point where you can now do the matching to that knowledge graph that we talked about before the lawyers expertise graph? Well, one of the things that you could do to help the machine along and doing better matching is first of all say, Well, what area of law is this even talking about? Right? Is this in the realm of intellectual property? Is this in the realm of technology M&A? Now, obviously, if you had enough of those examples, like enough of those requests or questions from clients, you would have the ability to create a label training set and use machine Learning and you’d automatically categorize that question as this is an IP law question. This is a tech M&A question. But usually, there aren’t going to be enough of those to train on. That doesn’t mean that you can use automation to suggest things to the attorney to classify that request. We’re certainly aware, right? We don’t want to make that attorney jump through 15 hoops to characterize that request at the outset of the matching exercise. But if the machine can just say, Oh, that looks like an IP question, correct? Yes. And let’s say there’s a name of a country mentioned in the question. Oh, that seems to pertain to Japan. Yes. Right. So you’ve already just tagged that question with two very critical pieces of metadata. And if you can provide a user interface where the lawyer does not have to spend 15 minutes, adding a lot of tags to characterize the question, you can help the software system that you build to do This kind of thing, you can help it achieve much higher precision. So once you’ve said oh, this is a question pertains to this area of law and this geography and maybe a few other parameters, boom, now you have enough to do a match to Marlene’s expertise graph. And that way instead of sending out a Pardon the Interruption, email to everybody, just do it to the highest matching attorneys. Circling back to the Knowledge Graph point. This is another use example or use case where having the knowledge graph will enable you to do other things much more efficiently. Pardon the Interruption email reduction being just one of, you know, numerous examples.


Greg Lambert:  So most of the I would say most of the audience for this podcast are going to be knowledge professionals. You know, one of the things that I’m hearing I think we have a number of some raw tools that we have. Whether it’s KM systems, we might have ERMs,  CRMs. So we’ve got a lot of tools out there that may capture bits and pieces of the information. But we’re also, you know, well, let me let me ask you this. Who should own this? And how do you make it a, a product or something that’s worthwhile that you actually can get the attorney buy-in? Because we can create all kinds of wonderful things. And I think we probably have, but getting that getting the end users to use it in a way that really changes the dynamic of how they do day to day operations. That’s a whole different game. So you know, who should own it and how should we promote it?

David Kamien:  That’s a great question. So I think that there should be sort of a horizontal owner who owns the infrastructure that is going to be used again and again by the law firm, regardless of the use case. And think of people like Dave Cunningham and Winston and Strawn who have built sophisticated infrastructure based on search technology. And then you have the owners for the use case, right? That could be a business process owner, like a head in marketing, or it could be a practice group chair who has a very, very particular client need in mind. The main thing is to, instead of creating yet more fragmented pieces of software to have that horizontal reusable layer of semantic data management so that you can very quickly efficiently reach in and use whatever data you need from whatever wherever it needs to be sourced. Now that I’m still I’m not arguing that you should integrate all the data systems in and outside the law firm into one big pool right from day one. No, of course, you’re going to be doing this driven by those use cases that you know, business process owners and are willing to sponsor. And then you’re going to just be reusing that for the next project. So let’s say a chief marketing officer says, I want the CRM to be integrated with these other four systems, because I am unable to produce these three reports today, which need to pull from all those systems. Three months later, the head of pricing or the CFO wants to do some other report and there’s, you know, an 80% overlap in terms of data sources, but he or she needs one more data source integrated in order to make it work for them. Well, you’ve already integrated the other data sources, so you’re going to be leveraging that and in that way, organically, you’re going to develop this capability.

Marlene Gebauer:  Alright, so clearly, there’s opportunities out there, David, and so how should legal organizations approach their client base to kind of get this synergy going, you know, or should they kind of sit back and wait?

David Kamien:  Absolutely not. They should not sit back and wait. I think that now I’m seeing this more and more in the COVID post COVID Arena. clients, some clients, by the way, are cutting back on headcount. And they are looking for more value from law firms. And very often, if you want to generate value, you’re going to have to collaborate very closely with the client.

Marlene Gebauer:  And just I just heard this on a webinar that I was on yesterday where they’re just like, we you know, in house was saying, We are expecting more, even though you have less.


David Kamien:  This is Greg and Marlene’s podcast. So no, we’re not just going to stop and say, yes, you should collaborate with clients. We’re going to take it two or three levels deeper than that.

Greg Lambert:  That’s right

David Kamien:  And add more value to your listeners. So what do we mean by two or three levels deeper? Yes. Of course you should collaborate with your clients. But what does that mean? How do you do it? How do you make it successful? Let’s explore that. I’m happy to jump in first and throw out a couple of ideas. So first of all collaborating with clients, in this day and age is often going to involve data. One way or another. It’s going to involve data, it’s going to involve documents from the law firm side, or content on the left hand side, content on the client side or both. And when you look at most law firms, they don’t have a model for doing this. Like, smoothly and like clockwork, and in a very agile fashion, they just don’t, right. The IT department has been busy for years just keeping the lights on and having just sort of the operational systems of record working. Same with every particular line of business owner. They’ve been working with IT to get the particular systems that support them to work, feeling…

Marlene Gebauer:  Getting tied up with information security issues and that slows things down.

David Kamien:  All of that business as usual stuff that’s been going on for years is not this new thing we’re talking about, which is how do you deal with, you know, 20 different clients every week that each one wants to do a project with you that’s going to involve some data related activity. Do you really have 30 project teams sitting around waiting to take those on? Do they have agile project management skills? Do they have an onboarding process? Do they? Do they even know how to do that? Most law firms answer is no. So that’s level one. Beyond saying, Oh, yeah, collaborate with your clients, you need to develop the culture, the skill set the human footprint needed to engage in Agile Project Management with them at scale. And then of course, to manage many of those projects.

Greg Lambert:  Yeah, one of the things that I hear mentioned from time to time is that you can’t just take the lawyers to the meeting that you have to take some of the support that you have to those meetings and have your client also bring their teams in. And so the nice thing is usually we don’t charge for those project managers, folks right off the bat, they may be built into an AFA later. But very rarely do you see that, but I’ve heard great success from attorneys who think beyond just the Attorney/GC interaction, rather more and go back to…

Marlene Gebauer:  sort of all that transparency and the questions that might come up, you know, get answered right away, because you know, the experts that deal with all of these things are in the room, so to speak.

David Kamien:  Right. Now, I’ll add another sort of point about how you build effective collaboration with the client. We talked about some of the organizational elements. Let’s get the technology elements out of the way. If the law doesn’t have the infrastructure and the approach to managing data that lends itself to just agile new products, new projects, and so on. It’s going to be like pulling teeth, right? The IT department won’t have the resources to move quickly. The law firm probably doesn’t have a team of UX designers that can quickly mock something up to show to the client to say, Hey, is this what you were thinking? Or this is what we’re thinking, what do you want as a starting point, and sadly, most law firms and I don’t want to make the mistake of naming any particular extranet technology providers. But most law firms are still banding about the name of the same two or three extranet or internet technology providers that simply don’t have the capability to manage data semantically, and to reuse data at the most granular or atomic level. Knowing what that thing is about. So they don’t have the fundamental technology infrastructure to build systems that will support AI. I mean, because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about. Everything I was saying before about knowledge graphs, is a key component of AI. You know, there are different kinds of AI, right? Machine learning is finding patterns in the data, hopefully meaningful patterns that help you predict stuff and tag stuff and classify stuff, great. But AI, in many cases, requires formal semantics that define the world, a domain ontology, what is this stuff that we’re talking about? And most law firms lacked that. So whatever they build now in collaboration with their clients, you’re gonna have to throw it away very soon because the clients are living in the AI, forward world. Now. Yes, there are legal departments are probably a couple of years behind, but not all of them and they’re going to catch up a lot faster than the law firms

Marlene Gebauer:  And they’re looking to their to their partner firms to move in that direction, I think, yeah, it sounds from what you’re saying that clearly we are at a juncture where we need to reassess our platforms and you know, maybe we need to pivot rather quickly in order to deal with sort of this influx that that’s going to be coming. Well, David, this has been a great conversation.

Greg Lambert:  Yes it has.

Marlene Gebauer:  And thank you so much for coming on the show today.


David Kamien:  It’s my pleasure. And I just want to invite anyone who wants to subscribe to our free, completely free.

Marlene Gebauer:  We like free we love free

David Kamien:  Free weekly newsletter about innovation in legal tech. So whenever we see a press release, or a news article, talking about a law firm or a vendor, or an ALSP, doing something new doing some new deal, we write about it on Fridays, and we push it out to whoever wants to subscribe to it.

Marlene Gebauer:  I’m subscribing, I’m subscribed.

Greg Lambert:  How do the listeners find that?

David Kamien:  Oh, it’s on our website, mind-alliance.com. And in another two weeks, we’re probably going to be announcing a Knowledge Graph based knowledge base of legal tech. So you’ll be able to come in and say, show me all the news items you’ve written that pertain to this area of technology, this law firm, this geography, show me everything you’ve covered over the last year on contract review software, and then you’d be able to see all that at a glance.

Greg Lambert:  Excellent. I’ll make sure that we put a link to that on the show notes as well. So David, thanks, always a pleasure talking to you.

David Kamien:  Likewise, take care, Greg, and thanks Marlene.



Greg Lambert:  Marlene, I think this may have been one of our more truly geeky conversations. Since maybe maybe I was looking back maybe Heidi Gardner and Brian Stearn’s you know, that episode on collaboration tools in psychology,

Marlene Gebauer:  Psychology. Yeah. So I think you might be right. It’s nice to get back into the geeky feel of things. It is it

Greg Lambert:  is. So you know, it’s what we do.

Marlene Gebauer:  It’s how we do.

Greg Lambert:  David was great person to dive into the rabbit hole of data with I mean, let’s let me review some of the things we covered probabilistic thinking, proactive risk management, normalized ontologies, semantic data managementm knowledge, graphs and my personal favorite Carrie Mathison Walls. So this is this is fun. I mean, where else are you going to hear this type of conversation? Am I right?

Marlene Gebauer:  I don’t think there’s any place. I really don’t. This is the place to be if that’s what you’re looking for folks,

Greg Lambert:  That is exactly right. And and I appreciate David coming on and talking with us and letting us go deep on the on the gift this week.

Marlene Gebauer:  Yes. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, rate and review us as well. If you have comments about today’s show or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or you can call the Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert:  Thanks, Jerry. Alright, Marlene, I’ll talk to you later.

Marlene Gebauer:  All right. Bye.