There were a number of SNAFUs the past couple of weeks here at The Geek in Review, but even with scheduling difficulties and personal emergencies, we wanted to get an episode out this week. In order for everyone to “get their geek on,” we created an “Information Inspirations” episode. We’ll be back next week with more traditional content, but we hope you enjoy our musings on news and ideas around the legal industry.

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Information Inspirations
Bill Henderson’s State supreme courts and the challenges of PeopleLaw discusses the power that state supreme courts have in the regulation and delivery of the legal industry and access to justice. These courts have the power over the market structure, dispute resolution, and licensure of the practice of law. However, the Justices are reluctant regulators and Henderson suggests that they need to shake off this reluctance and fix a system that is in serious need of change.
The American Bar Association is poised to change a series of law school accreditation rules and the change could go into effect as early as this fall. This round of changes deals with anti-discrimination training that law students need to take before they can graduate. 
The ROSS v. Westlaw battle continues with ROSS recently crying foul that Westlaw is using copyright arguments to maintain what they claim to be a monopoly on legal information. Julie Sobowale dives a little deeper on one issue that affects both US and Canadian legal research innovators, and that is access to primary materials like case law. 
Law School 1Ls and 2Ls shouldn’t just look at BigLaw for their summer associate work. Working with startups or venture capital firms may be another option out there. 
The legal industry looked to the NFL’s Rooney Rule to help guide our own version through the Mansfield Rule. While the NFL gave a good blueprint for how to expand the search for minority talent, a recent lawsuit by former Miami Dolphin Head Coach, Brian Flores, alleges that it is also a blueprint for how to claim we are doing great things for minority hiring, but the reality is that it is a check-the-box and continue-as-normal process.
The era of COVID produced a major shift in the concepts of virtual court proceedings. While we’ve had bumps in the road, it seems that virtual courts are here to stay. 
Bonus Inspirations
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270

Marlene Gebauer  0:16

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

Greg Lambert  0:23

And I’m Greg Lambert. Well, Marlene, we had a well, a significant number of SNAFUs the past couple of weeks. But yeah, we really wanted to get an episode out this week. So you don’t have to wait too long to get your geek on.

Marlene Gebauer  0:37

Speaking of getting your geek on, we have some cool ideas for T shirts. So we’re hoping to make that happen. And let us know if you’re interested. We have a very special episode today. But we will be back with more awesome guests next week. So go ahead, Greg and tell them.

Greg Lambert  0:51

So this week, what we’re decided to do is an entire episode of information inspirations

Marlene Gebauer  0:58

It’s inspiring.

Greg Lambert  0:59

So let’s just jump right into this week’s information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  1:08

I’ll go first Marlene. So Bill Henderson has a an awesome article that touches on an issue that, you know, it doesn’t just affect judges, but is a bug /feature of the whole legal industry.

Marlene Gebauer  1:23

A bug or a feature, it can be both

Greg Lambert  1:26

hands on how you look at it. And that is that in our self-regulated industry, we have people who are both the workers and the leaders. And this creates a situation where, you know, there may be a conflict, or where leaders just don’t have the time and the energy to do the necessary tasks to drive the needed changes. Because they’re so busy doing.

Marlene Gebauer  1:52

I would imagine if you talk to leaders, you know, in the industry, I am sure that you will hear that from people.

Greg Lambert  2:02

Yeah, I don’t know, don’t think anyone denies it. Well, Henderson points out in his article that the justices of state supreme courts are indisputably the legal sectors, regulators. However, because they are primarily jurist for the legal issues that are in front of them, those regulatory duties can fall far behind. And just like I said, many, many times before, when it comes to law firm leadership and change, you know, sometimes it takes something completely blowing up before they becomes this need, they see a need to actually implement some necessary changes. Add you see it again, it’s not just judges, it’s law firms. It’s I’m sure it happens in academics as well.

Marlene Gebauer  2:48


Greg Lambert  2:49

So Henderson points out that the power that the state Supreme Courts have, and just think about this, they control how the market is structured by setting how ownership and legal fees are allowed. They step in and act as mediators for all legal matters, on how those are handled within the state, including who’s allowed to represent litigants. And finally, they control the inflow of new lawyers into the practice of law in each of their states. So the regulatory power of the state Supreme Court is just massive. And it’s not the primary driver of those courts.

Marlene Gebauer  3:24


Greg Lambert  3:26

So Bill points out that some major problems with the courts themselves are, you know, according to the National Conference of State courts, 76% of all cases in state courts have at least one self-represented litigant. And more recently, the self-represented litigation network, estimated that 60 to 100%, of family, housing, and consumer matters involve at least one pro se party. So if you’ve

Marlene Gebauer  3:56

ever if you’ve ever been in family court or housing court or something like that, you know, you just kind of have to walk in and you could, you can see that right away. It’s like they basically line up, you know, well, back when we were in person, like, you know, you would line up the attorneys like all right attorneys, and like they would all get to go first. And then you’d have the rest of this this room full of people that, you know, would would go after and you know, none of them were represented.

Greg Lambert  4:23

Yeah. And you know, and I think we all know that the legal landscape when it comes to access to justice, that that landscape is on fire. But most of the state Supreme Court justices are sitting on a barstool drinking coffee and saying, This is fine. So Henderson stresses that courts have to step up and realize that they need to embrace their role as regulators for the industry and start rectifying the problems that only they can change.

Marlene Gebauer  4:52

You know, and I’m wondering if it’s just, you know, kind of not seeing it like the whole this is this is fine or whether it’s It’s gonna be complicated. And the feeling is like it’s just too complicated to address because this is this is a clear area where, you know, access to justice would be, they could make a significant difference.

Greg Lambert  5:13

Yeah. And and I saw a tweet earlier today from Cat Moon, that and I’ll have to paraphrase because I don’t have it up in front of me. And it’s like, you know, the legal industry can run itself however it wants to. But if that means that this many people can’t get representation that they need to allow someone else to do to step in and give that. So it’s a matter of we self regulate. If we can’t figure out how to how to run it. Maybe we need somebody else to regulate it. And I don’t think they want that.

Marlene Gebauer  5:49

No, probably not. So my first inspiration is about the American Bar Association. The ABA is looking to change a series of law school accreditation roles, and the change could go into effect as early as this fall. On Valentine’s Day, the ABA house of delegates will vote on whether to require accredited law schools to provide students with at least two opportunities for bias training, once in the beginning of studies, and once before they done the tam, hood and gown. So there’s been some blowback and back and forth about this proposal from law school deans and professors. Now 150 schools are in support and want to make it part of a larger diversity and inclusion program. Others say that the measure is too vague, or that it will support a particular ideology. Some professors at Yale believe the requirement unfairly infringes on the autonomy of law schools. Now, the requirement can be satisfied by guest lectures during orientation and courses and other educational experiences. I like that that’s the you know, and other duties as required. And other educational experiences

Greg Lambert  7:02

I think that falls into that this is a little vague.

Marlene Gebauer  7:05

Yeah. So yes, it is vague. And I, you know, I hear what people are saying about that. It is vague, but you know, I think that’s intentional. And it’s to allow the schools the flexibility to determine how to satisfy the requirement. You know, and it doesn’t seem that this requirement is going to turn Law School process on its head. I mean, you know, guest lecturers come to campus regularly. You know, orientation is full of the things you should know, presentations, and you know, how bias works. That’s, that’s really not a bad thing to know, when you’re on a new campus with a new group of people. It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be a lot of hard opposition to the proposed rule. So we’ll see what happens next week.

Greg Lambert  7:44

Yeah. You know, and now that now that we’ve talked us out a little bit, you know, having a spouse who’s a teacher, you do want that flexibility. Yeah, so I can see that. So I’ll take I’ll take back my smart alec key. Well, it is.

Marlene Gebauer  8:00

I mean, it’s vague. It’s vague, but, you know, I’d like different things will work for different schools. So you know, give them give them the opportunity to do that.

Greg Lambert  8:11

Yeah. All right. My next one is, well, just when you thought it might be over, the Ross versus Westlaw struggle continues. And it seems like the battle between Ross intelligence and Thomson Reuters Westlaw may not end anytime soon. The court has the federal court actually hasn’t ruled on TR his motion to dismiss that they did back in October. And the lawyers for Ross are arguing that West is using copyright law to expand its monopoly like powers and keep out competition. Whereas west on the other hand, is saying that Ross is using a shotgun approach to dig itself out of the issue that they allegedly use a third party to download protected IP from Westlaw, and that their antitrust claim won’t magically make that go away. There’s an article from Canadian journalists, Julie Sobowale. Wally, which dives into one of the issues that Ross is pointing out in our argument is that the whole process of innovation in the legal research field depends upon having access to the actual case decisions, and that companies like West have an unfair advantage when it comes to access to these decisions. And, you know, one argument is that West should split its database into two with the cases being separate from the search tool. They you know, well, I’m not exactly known to be a huge defender of West Law. You know, my thoughts are, you know, this is a bit of a red herring in this case, you know, there, there are numerous legal information providers who have compiled cases and created search tools on their own. And, you know, and I don’t think that at least not in 2022 that Westlaw has type of super competitive advantage in the primary law? No. But that did get me to thinking of, you know, something that we did in Oklahoma way back in 1997. Wait. And, and that was, that was a while ago, 2025 years ago now. And that was that the courts were to become the official publisher of the state and produce all of our cases online, for anyone to access. You know, we also worked with many of the vendors to allow for bulk download of all the cases as well as notification on release of the new cases. Thinking back on it now, you know, we thought, well, it’s kind of like what Alma said, a couple of weeks ago, on our podcast is, you know, we weren’t wrong. We were early. Mm hmm. I didn’t think we were that early.

Marlene Gebauer  10:49

He thought everybody was gonna come follow. Yeah, we

Greg Lambert  10:51

thought we thought everyone was gonna jump on board. And then we were leading the way so. But I don’t think that Ross is going to be able to win with this argument. But it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, you know, when it comes to how difficult it is to obtain the primary law to use as the foundation for potential innovation. And I think state and federal courts need to do a much better job of making those accessible to all of the innovators that are out there,

Marlene Gebauer  11:17

indeed. So remember how we spoke with Edson and Michael Collier, about tech professionals being trusted advisors to legal professionals? So the article I read kind of turns the tables a bit when the legal professional is the adviser to the tech startup, which, you know, sort of intrigued me because I mean, isn’t that what attorneys are paid for? I mean, to give legal advice, and in this scenario to tech startups. Well, there are a few takeaways that I thought were interesting from this article. Um, you know, one is the advice to law students not just to take the clerkship or the summer associate role, but to split it out and incorporate working in a startup or a venture company. And I just think to myself, you know, it’s like, oh, my gosh, all the people that are bringing the summer associates on board are going to like their heads are going to explode. It’s, it’s just, they’re just here for a shorter amount of time. I think this is pretty good advice. And it gets you into how these startups operate along with what’s important to them. And the second takeaway is that lawyers need to think more entrepreneurially entrepreneurial is a word you did, I made it a word. And that things like the crypto movement provides a perfect opportunity for this. And I think this is also good advice. You know, crypto is still in its infancy. So it’s a really great space to come up with creative legal solutions to client concerns. The article was based on presentations from a recent Technology RoundTable hosted by the University of Miami Law Review.

Greg Lambert  12:46

Yeah. And I think the might be the recordings of, of the Emory Tiger

Marlene Gebauer  12:55

conference thinking about that when I read this, because Nicole

Greg Lambert  12:58

Morris, those are available. And I’ll see if I can dig that up and put it let’s put that in the notes because that was specifically covered

Marlene Gebauer  13:06

it Yeah, that was a great conversation that was covered there. And some of the things that they were bringing up that people are all sort of in basking in the glory of making you know money and they’re not coming to, to attorneys with like questions, but sooner or later, some of these issues are going to come up and I can tell you the people on that panel, they were just great. They had some really cool, interesting concepts about you know, what ifs.

Greg Lambert  13:31

Yeah, yeah. My, I’m gonna end with the three inspirations this week, and this one is probably the one that has ticked me off the most. And so, you know, the we’ve talked a number of times on this podcast about the Mansfield rule for law firms that require a certain level of diverse candidate interviews for certain positions within law firms. And this rule is a variation of the what the National Football League came up with. And 2003, I believe, named the Rooney rule after the Rooney family for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The concept was that while there was not an actual quota on the number of minority coaches that need to be hired, in the league, NFL teams were required to at least interview a certain number of minority candidates. And the you know, the whole idea was that, you know, if the door open to minority candidates to interview, they would have a much greater chance of actually being hired, you know, give him a chance to walk in the door for themselves and take, you know, take a chance on them. So in 2003, when the Rooney Rule was implemented, there were three minority head coaches in the NFL, and 2021. Guess what the number is? Three. Still at three, and in fact, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a claim Last action lawsuit a couple of weeks ago claiming that the Rooney Rule was nothing more than a sham method of allowing NFL teams to claim they were seriously looking at minority candidates for position. But that the reality of the rule was it merely allowed them to check the box and then go on as business as usual. Yeah. So that got me thinking,

Marlene Gebauer  15:21

you’re in the dark place?

Greg Lambert  15:22

Yeah. Yeah, I’m wondering if the Mansfield rule will allow the legal industry to basically do the same thing? And I know, yes, there’s a lot of PR going on around this. But is the hype going to match the actual output over this next decade or two decades? You know, the NFL gave us this really good blueprint for expanding minority hiring at law firms. But that same blueprint also seems to allow for little to nothing actually changes like a rubber stamp. Yeah. A you know, as mentioned earlier, the legal industry is self-regulated. Going back to Bill Henderson’s article, you know, this situation is right for doing exactly what the NFL is claimed to have done. And that is, you check the box, you pat yourself on the back. And then you remain exactly the same. And I’m hoping that, you know, those who are monitoring the Mansfield rule, are watching this, this lawsuit by Brian Flores, and taking a look at our industry to find ways of making actual progress on minority hires.

Marlene Gebauer  16:33

Well, like you said, you know, this, this may be one of those situations where things might change as a result of this things may, you know, bite up in based on this lawsuit. So it’s going to be really interesting to watch.

Greg Lambert  16:46

Well, yeah, and I hope it does. Of course, I’ve got some doubts. And sorry, I’m still in the dark place.

Marlene Gebauer  16:53

I know. I know, play the music. We’ve covered courtroom tech in the era of COVID on this podcast, and I’ve actually done a separate podcast for ilta on this as well. I liked the the article about COVID technology law update the law of virtual court proceedings, because not only does it provide a summary of what’s happening in courtroom tech, it gives a history of how tech slowly was allowed into the courtroom. And it really sets the stage for how far things have come and how quickly before the pandemic many federal courts still didn’t allow video and photos. states on the other hand, were were much more liberal even pre pandemic, the Cares Act, which is Corona aid relief and Economic Security Act that was only passed in March 2020, and allowed for temporary teleconferencing for civil and some criminal proceedings. Now, these provisions were set to expire in 30 days, but they’ve been extended twice and likely to be extended again this year. So, you know, in many instances, this was like the first time you could use video. I mean, and I think before people were thinking video in the courtroom, as opposed to teleconferencing, the whole thing. So the report says the reception to teleconferencing has been mostly positive. You know, it’s easier for families and the press to attend it brings more attention to certain trials, for example. But you know, as we’ve noted before, teleconferencing is not without its challenges, there have been constitutional challenges in criminal proceedings based on the right to be present, to confrontation, to a public trial and to the effective assistance of counsel. Other problems that have surfaced include how virtual proceedings, alter fact finders perception of witnesses, the inability to make eye contact in certain cases. So where are the camera and the display are in different places you have that problem? And video conferencing technology disrupting the effects of the physical courtroom atmosphere, taking away from parties appreciating the importance and gravity of the proceedings. And I’ve heard this and I think you have to from attorneys and and arbitrators, you know, people, you know, they are saying no, people really have to be reminded of the dress code on camera, you know, they get really too comfy at home.

Greg Lambert  19:22

That’s when they’re not turning themselves into cats.

Marlene Gebauer  19:25

Yes. No, they’re propped up on their sofa, you know, with the blanket on Yeah.

Greg Lambert  19:33

Well, you know, I know we trade one set of issues for another set of issues with this, but I think that video and remote trials especially on the civil side, criminal side is a different animal because the Constitution, but on the civil side, it’s here to stay. So I think they, you know, those same justices that are setting the rules that earlier and regulating This is another item on on their plate that you’re going to have to

Marlene Gebauer  20:03

take. You’re gonna have to get used to this. I mean, the financial ramifications are just too great.

Greg Lambert  20:08

Absolutely, absolutely. All right before, before we end I’m going to I’m going to, since we talked about the NFL, I’m going to call an audible here. Mostly because I think I’m still in a dark place. But give me a non legal podcast or something that you that you’re watching that you would encourage other people to listen to or watch.

Marlene Gebauer  20:29

But you’re asking me or you’re asking them? Oh, you’re asking me? Oh, you caught me off guard here. That was the whole idea. That was the whole idea. Repeat. Mike repeat the question again.

Greg Lambert  20:41

He’s off on legal podcast or TV show or something that you’re listening to or watching that that you suggest to others?

Marlene Gebauer  20:51

Oh, my God, I’m Oh, oh, I know. I know what all right. What was it called sacred Hang on. Look it up. Scandal sacred scandal. Alright, so I was listening to that. And that’s basically about private Catholic school, a nun is murdered. And sort of how that all came to be this. This is in Miami. And it’s very good. There’s a former student that is actually putting this together. And you know, she’s interviewing the killer, and it’s very good. Is it

Greg Lambert  21:32

true crime or is your crime? Okay? Yeah, that sounds scary.

Marlene Gebauer  21:37

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s less scary and more intriguing. Okay. Like, it makes you think about, like, all of what happened to get to that point.

Greg Lambert  21:48

Gotcha. I am not a fanatic. But I do like some true crime.

Marlene Gebauer  21:53

It’s like some true crime. I don’t like all like, if it’s too creepy, gory, certain type certain types of things. I’m like, Nananananana. Yeah. doing that.

Greg Lambert  22:05

Yeah. Oh, no, I think it’s funny because the podcasts that I think you know, what I’m gonna say, on which podcasts I’ve been listening to, but they talk about, they like the true crime that deals with the facts, but doesn’t like sensationalize the victim, or kind of make a pseudo hero out of the bad person. And, and so you have to be careful. Nessman, I guess, has been an art that, like back in the 80s and 90s. There, we used to have these things and they were horrible, because they sensationalize the wrong things. So yes, it’s gotten much better. All right. So I real quickly, I may have mentioned that. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but I am totally going back to my childhood and I’m rediscovering my comic book collection, which I still have. Good. I have like 2500 comic books. And I ran across this. Keep them all in in the closet and storage bags. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what my wife says to you. Why do we still have all these? There’s a podcast I’ve been listening to called the comic book, couples counseling, which is great. It’s a married couple out of believe Virginia somewhere in the DC area that they take a comic book couples say, Read Richards and Susan Richards from the Fantastic Four. And then they take say, a relationship book. So or some type of self help guide. So maybe like The Five Love Languages, or you know, a word by Brene Brown, and they apply it to that couple. And so they actually walk through and is like, here’s Reed’s love language, here’s Sue’s love language, here’s how they interact, and they’ll take a storyline and apply that in it is so much fun to listen to because the one I think, you know, it kind of, for me, it reintroduces me back to characters that I haven’t read in, you know, 30 years 40 years. And, and then also it really lays out some good communication skills. You know, not just for couples, but just in general. So, comic book couples counseling is it’s a great podcast if you’re looking for some fun. That’s not legal.

Marlene Gebauer  24:31

Yeah, I like them because they’re like really nerdy. They’re both creatives. The wife is is an actress and singer. I love her. Her her intro her intro song. It’s just brilliant.

Greg Lambert  24:45

She She recorded for those that the acapella listened to it’s a remake of the 90s X Men cartoon, you know, edited on don’t don’t. But yeah, it does a much better

Marlene Gebauer  24:58

yes. She’s a professional. She is. And that wraps up this episode and our information inspirations.

Greg Lambert  25:12

All right, well, thanks everyone for tuning in this week. We promise we’ll be back next week with a with a more traditional episode. But we hope you have enjoyed this as much as we have.

Marlene Gebauer  25:21

And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at Gabe Bauer am on Twitter

Greg Lambert  25:35

and I can be reached at Lambert on Twitter or you can

Marlene Gebauer  25:39

leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270 and, as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you Jerry.

Greg Lambert  25:50

Thanks Jerry. All right, Marlene, I feel inspired alright. Later

Marlene Gebauer  25:55

I’m going to go I’m gonna go watch some TV