This week, we have a jam-packed episode featuring five of our colleagues from a 2022 American Association of Law Libraries panel on APIs.
  • Emily Rushing, Director of Competitive Intelligence, Haynes and Boone, LLP
  • Pam Noyd, Information Resources Manager at Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Erik Adams, Manager of Library Digital Initiatives Manager of Library Digital Initiatives at Sidley Austin LLP, and Chief of Technology at Golden Arrow Publishing LLC
  • Keli Whitnell, Director of Firm Intelligence at Troutman Pepper
  • Christopher O’Connor, Senior Director, Product Management at LexisNexis
APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, have become an increasingly important tool in the legal industry. The panel included members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, including both librarians and non-librarians. This diversity provided a holistic view of the topic, covering everything from the technical aspects of using APIs to the importance of data quality and vetting vendors.
APIs are like building blocks for legal solutions (think: LEGO Blocks), allowing for the flexible sharing of data between different computer environments. This enables more creative solutions than vendors could create on their own and has led to a range of innovative legal solutions.
Overall, the panel provided valuable insights into the use of APIs in the legal industry and highlighted their potential for facilitating more efficient and effective legal work. As the use of API’s continues to grow, it will be important for legal professionals to stay up to date on the latest developments and best practices in this area.

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Crystal Ball Question:
Brad Blickstein discusses the potential for a recession and its effects on the legal industry. He speculates that Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) will benefit from the downturn, as law departments will be unable to increase headcount. He also discusses the question of where the work done by ALSPs will go once the recession ends and whether law firms will be able to regain the work.
Contact Us:
Twitter: @gebauerm, or @glambert Voicemail: 713-487-7821 Email: Music: Jerry David DeCicca

Marlene Gebauer 0:08
Welcome to The Geek in Review, podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert 0:14
And I’m Greg Lambert. But Marlene, I think we may have our most JAM PACKED episode ever this week. I think I was counting, including our crystal ball guests. We have six people on the show this week.

Marlene Gebauer 0:28
I know because you know, we’re not overachievers or anything like that at all.

Greg Lambert 0:32
Not at all. So I know it took us a while to line up our API guests. So the more the merrier on on that one. But first up, we have Brad Blickstein is back with us to answer our crystal ball question. And on this he not so subtly Hence, if there is a recession coming, you know, ALSPs, the alternative legal service providers are going to pounce and take on these opportunities instead. Sounds like he thinks it’s gonna be a double whammy toward law firms.

Marlene Gebauer 1:05
Yeah, that will be interesting to see what happens next year. So for our main portion of the show, we brought in an entire panel of guests to talk about the opportunities that API’s are going to bring to the legal industry, and how law librarians are positioned to be valuable pieces and what our panel calls the Lego Land of API’s. Yes,

Greg Lambert 1:26
I had to hold your Lego Lego. Yeah, apparently it’s late API’s of API’s. So I had to really kind of hold back on the Lego references and go well, as long as I don’t step on these API’s I’ll be because it’s painful, what is painful, it is painful. So let’s go ahead and jump in and listen to Brad Blickstein. And then we’ll get right into our panel.

Brad Blickstein 1:53
Thanks, Greg. Again, I’m Brad Blickstein, Principal Blickstein Group and Partner and co-head of the new law practice at Baretz+Brunelle. I think we may be heading into recessionary times. And as we do, I think that’s going to be really good news for the ALSPs and the other folks who are non law firms and interested in taking on some of that work from law departments that they will not be able to do themselves because they can’t add headcount. And I think the very big question is maybe looking at hopefully not too long into your two to five year window is as we emerge from those recessionary times. Where will that work go? Will the ALSPs be able to keep it? Will it come back in house as it’s historically done from law firms? Or will law firms be able to get back in the game and get and get,they’re never going to leave the game? But will law firms be able to say okay, now that you can afford law firms, why don’t you send that work here? I think that is the biggest question. Actually. I think that’s the the answer to that question over the next 10 years, is probably the single biggest question facing our industry for the next 50.

Greg Lambert 2:53
Do you think regulatory wise that there will be a lessening of the lawyer run, you know, completely lawyer owned and operated ALSPs? Or do you see what’s going on in Arizona and Utah expanding?

Brad Blickstein 3:11
I think that’s it’s I think it’s definitely expanding. I don’t think it’ll expand in a huge way during the two to five year timeframe that you presented. But I feel like you know, California and or New York drop in a real way I know, there’s some talking in California, I think that’s gonna make a big difference. And, and yeah, but I think over a longer horizon. Absolutely. We are headed there.

Greg Lambert 3:31
Thank you, Brad.

Marlene Gebauer 3:35
We’d like to welcome Emily Rushing, Pam Noyd, EriK Adams, and Christopher O’Connor to The Geek in Review. Keli Whitnell, who is also part of our panel today is having some technical difficulties, and we hope she can join later. Everyone else. Welcome. And thank you for joining.

Greg Lambert 3:50
All right, well, let’s go quickly around the horn here and let everyone introduce themselves, we get a full house. So what I want everyone to do is just introduce themselves. Tell us where you’re working and what city you’re in. And that will allow our audience to put a voice to your name. So Emily, let’s start with you.

Emily Rushing 4:10
Hi, everyone. Thanks for having us. Emily Rushing. I’m the director of competitive intelligence for Haynes and Boone and I’m in Dallas, Texas.

Greg Lambert 4:20
Pam Noyd.

Pam Noyd 4:21
Okay, again, Thanks, Greg and Marlene for having us. I’m really excited to be here with you all. I’m the Information Resources Manager with Foley and Lardner and I’m coming to you from Madison, Wisconsin.

Greg Lambert 4:36
Keli any chance that you can hear us?

Keli Whitnell 4:48
I’m Keli Whitnell again, just like Pam, so happy to be here. I am the director of firm intelligence at Troutman pepper.

Greg Lambert 4:56
In what city are you out of?

Keli Whitnell 4:59
Atlanta? Forgive me.

Greg Lambert 5:02
Erik Adams.

Erik Adams 5:02
I’m Erik Adams. I am the Manager of Library Digital Initiatives at Sidley Austin. I’m also the co founder of golden arrow publishing. And I am based in while I’m currently in Pasadena, California.

Greg Lambert 5:17
All right. And last but not least, Christopher O’Connor,

Christopher O’Connor 5:20
I again, delighted to join. My name is Chris O’Connor. I’m a Product Director at LexisNexis. And I’m based in London in the UK.

Marlene Gebauer 5:29
We’ve all been hearing more and more about API’s and how, after a couple of decades, there seems to finally be more access to information out there in the legal information world, which we can access via API’s. And this panel had a panel on API’s and quite a few legal tech articles about it. So tell us about the panel and how you approach the topic. Emily, do you want to start?

Emily Rushing 5:55
I’ll start us off, thank you, if I may say, so I thought the panel was very well received. Chris is stepping in for Dave DiCicco from Lexis, who was on the original panel. But as you said, we had some good media coverage, discussing what is still I think, relatively new in the law library world, to have librarians talking about API’s to have librarians utilizing API’s coming to understand the technology, advising their institutions on their use, working through licensing and acquisition of API enabled content. So we approached it from a very multidisciplinary standpoint, we each as you heard from our various job titles, various locations around the world, various firms, from sizes from kind of practice area of focus, it’s a diverse group, this panel brought a lot of different perspectives, and backgrounds. And as Pam and I were talking about, range or spectrum of technical proficiency, right, some of us are actual developers and programmers, some of us are really good at knowing about the content, and vetting a vendor and saying, This is somebody we like working with, we trust their data, we can recommend this product. So we wanted to bring a more holistic perspective to this topic to the AALL audience last summer, and I feel that that was pretty well received.

Marlene Gebauer 7:24
Yeah, I perfect. Forgive me, I forgot to note that this was a AALL panel at the conference this past summer.

Greg Lambert 7:30
So what what kind of topics did you cover at the conference itself? And what were the reactions or questions that you got from from the audience?

Erik Adams 7:38
The panel title, and I fear, I’m gonna get it wrong, because it was very, very long was, I think the role of the law librarian in library or in law firm automation API, I think there were a few more buzzwords.

Greg Lambert 7:58
That sounds like an academic set that one.

Erik Adams 8:03
So so the panel itself began with a quick overview of what an API is. And Dave handled that. And then we sort of jumped into a lot of these, a discussion of the projects that we’ve all been working on. And also, frankly, a lot of just like the title of the program where the law librarian in the law firm fits in. I think Emily kind of hinted at that, because these are all a lot of the newer API’s that are coming out now are coming from vendors that law librarians have already been working with, literally for decades. And so we as a profession have a role in the selection and the recommendation of these products, and should not shy away from them just because it’s Ooh, scary technology stuff.

Greg Lambert 8:49
Right. And, Chris, do you mind just giving us a brief kind of description of what an API is? And what that means for the vendor and relationship with the with the client customer?

Christopher O’Connor 9:04
Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll do my best to do as well as they did, I’m actually going to steal his metaphor that he used, I think it’s a good one. But API stands for Application Programming Interface. And it’s basically a pipeline between two different computer environments. And it’s a really, you know, the best practice way of sharing data at scale, and sharing data on a repeated basis. And you know, you can you can share data with a one off data load, but really, when you want to interconnect systems, you need an ongoing flow of data. And what that means in practice for legal solutions, and this is where I’ll use Dave’s analogy that he shared at the panel is API’s are like Lego, and he obviously it’s American said Legos but spirit. I can’t bring myself to say Legos. It’s LEGO. We mentioned in Europe But but API API’s are like Lego, in that They’re the building blocks of various legal solutions. And you can use them wherever you like. So in the past, companies like LexisNexis, and other vendors would build products with their own LEGO. And effectively, what we’re doing with API’s is we’re sharing the box of Lego with all of our customers with all law firms, so they can build their own custom solutions. And exactly like Lego, what that empowers is a huge range of really creative solutions far more than we ourselves as a vendor could envisage. So it’s, it’s really vendors like LexisNexis, and many others, making their data, their content, that in some cases, their analytical tools available to their customers in a really flexible way that they can build them into their own systems and customer applications.

Greg Lambert 10:51
So it’s really kind of a simple way of getting back behind the paywall of the product, and instead of it’s kind of like, you can connect my internal information with Lexis’ external information. Am I reading that right?

Christopher O’Connor 11:08
Yeah, absolutely. I’m in a consistent way, and in a way where you can you can bridge together different data sets, and in an ongoing way, as well,

Keli Whitnell 11:16
And I just wanted to I think, you know, I’m not a librarian, I’ve never been a librarian, it was an interesting choice, I think, for this panel, because I really look at API’s as data sources, you know, at Troutman, we’re trying to do this, you know, move to this firm, wide data ecosystem where everything’s connected. And at the core, what that is, is crowdsourcing crowdsourcing information from lots of places, using lots of different methods. So I’m brought in a lot to assess vendors, validate data, data quality, kind of really decide what that workflow looks like. So, you know, it was really, I think, interesting to hear about it from the research side, because we work so closely with the library in terms of where are you finding these little Legos out in the wild, because they’re everywhere. And there are a variety of sizes and shapes and some fit together, and some don’t, and some are the, you know, some of those LEGO sets, the pieces were last 10 years ago, so it was not awesome experience. And I’m gonna stop there before I keep mumbling,

Pam Noyd 12:24
I’m gonna, I’m gonna jump in. This is Pam and counter to Keli, I am a librarian, I’ve always been a librarian. I’m not a developer or a technologist. And so I’ve often joked, like, I don’t know how I found myself on this panel. But I’m grateful because I’ve, I’m learning so much from Eric, Emily and Keli. And, you know, Dave, and now Christopher, as a law librarian, and I think Emily touched on this API’s, you know, they’re not, they’re not new, but they’re sort of new to our world, in the sense that librarians are looking at them now and working with other people in our firms, and how can we use this? Looking for use cases answering the questions like Keli was saying, we’re familiar with the vendors. We know the data, you know, we’ve been working with that data, in our research for years. Right. So, you know, that’s where we come in. I also think, as far as the panel goes at AALL, trying to represent a range of experiences and where we fit in, I think I represented a large portion of our audience, who as well, librarians keep hearing about API’s, but we don’t know what to do or what it means. And that’s how I feel my role has has been on this panel is, you know, like, it’s okay, I’m here, you guys can be here, too. It’s legit. And, you know, finding our place in this scenario, I guess.

Greg Lambert 14:01
Yeah. In an Eric, I know that Lexis has kind of a sandbox that for API’s, I believe that customers can kind of, I guess, can play around it. Because I think a lot of times what the biggest issue is, is just kind of getting started testing a few things, trying to determine what what would be kind of an easy win of connecting the Lexis information to an internal information or some kind of output. That would be a quick win for for them. So does anyone have any examples? Or where someone should should start, or something that they can test out with API’s?

Emily Rushing 14:45
There are a lot of examples out there. This is not quite on point. But one thing I think more folks can do than they realize. If you’re not in the library, or have access to your library team, get with that team. But go through your existing contracts. We found an absolute goldmine. unbeknownst to us, Lexis Thank you Lexis Lexis through in the LEX machina API in our license renewal. We didn’t know we had it, we did not know we owned that. But at no extra cost to us with our existing license, we just got a software key and started poking around because it was something we already had. In that instance, I think more to the point of your question, and that instance, we have an Appellate Practice Group, and we wanted to slice and dice. I forget rates of appeal from certain district courts to certain appellate or circuit courts, involving certain firms, you know, kind of classic litigation analytics. And I think, Greg, you touched on this, yes, we can go to the Lexmark you know, web app, we can log into a browser page and do a lot of slicing and dicing there. But in this case, we wanted to combine that with our client data. So by keying certain corporate names and identifiers to our client identifiers, we were able to filter that vast amount of data down, combine it with our internal records. I’m sorry, you’re getting Corgi serenade?

Marlene Gebauer 16:16
Dog this time?

Emily Rushing 16:18
Yeah. Sorry. But that was, you know, it sounds super complicated, sophisticated, what a big cost is no money. It cost us a little bit of time. And it proved the case. Do we have a fully operational app as a result of that? No. But it demonstrated the value in the usability like, is it possible? Yes, using things we already have, we can get a long way down the path towards something that provides a business answer and help shape maybe our appellate teams marketing strategies, right, or client communications. That was something that just because we went back and looked at contracts, and so what do we have? So almost anybody can start there?

Marlene Gebauer 16:56
Did the panel cover like potential blockers and kind of how to avoid those things like, you know, possibly like, you know, hosting, or responsibilities or something like that. Maybe the inverse,

Emily Rushing 17:08
but Eric can talk about a really helpful like checklist of kind of where things to work out kind of upfront and go through in order.

Erik Adams 17:18
Yeah, we did talk about that we had a checklist of things that a librarian can check to evaluate whether or not an API is worth pursuing. And it’s spelled out also, here’s a role that a librarian can fill. Here’s a, here’s something that maybe you need a little more technical knowledge. Here’s something where no, you know what, you’re going to need a programmer to really dig into this level of detail. And at each stage, there were things like, as Emily suggested, or do you already have that have access to the API in your contract? Right. And that’s a question that in the library, or whoever’s meant negotiating those contracts, that’s a question for those people to deal with. But there’s also things like, is the API documented? I would assume that any librarian knows how to Google and confined? Oh, yes, here’s the documentation, you don’t have to be able to read it and understand it. But just verifying that it’s there is an important first step. And then down the road, you can find I am a fan of the show, Top Gear, and they used to have their team racing driver on top gear, and I like to think yeah, we if you can find a team programmer who will take some time and read your documentation. And tell you yes, this is well documented or no, you know what, this is missing a lot of things. And I have questions. Yeah. And that kind of feedback would be very useful before pursuing a project.

Greg Lambert 18:49
So the it team’s version of the Stig? Yes, exactly.

Christopher O’Connor 18:55
Similar to Eric’s checklist, Lexis, we tried to use a framework with potential customers or API’s. And really what we recommend is start with the use case. Then think about the API’s that you need to fulfill that use case. And then think about the implementation and the systems you’re going to integrate with and you’ve got to work in that order. And I think very often, we see Marlene, to answer your question about blockers or potential unnecessary blockers, but challenges in deploying API’s, that’s one of the two I’d call out is missing that first step. And not thinking about the use case, not thinking of actually what’s the problem we’re trying to solve? What’s the benefit? We’re trying to deliver to the firm? And getting straight into what what what API’s exist? And which systems are we going to work at. And that’s where you tend to get unstuck. The second challenge I think we often find is resource and available resource. And I had an interesting conversation with the CIO of the law firm, a couple of weeks ago, and he said that they have data science resource, but often they’re not available for library projects, that any data science resource that’s used is used in financial analysis. It’s used in business development applications, because it’s easier to see the direct revenue there. So even if it’s notionally have a team of data scientists or developers, data engineers who work on API projects, getting a share of their time to work on a library project can be challenging. But for me, the answer is to go back to the use case and have a compelling idea of what it is you’re trying to achieve, have a compelling articulation of the benefits so that you can go and fight for that internal resource to support the project.

Greg Lambert 20:30
Is anyone using a platform, say, for example, like foundation to create API’s and just test them without the need necessarily of having the IT development team having to be there every step of the way?

Keli Whitnell 20:45
I can speak to this how much time? You know, that was our first use case is how to populate foundation how to use API’s. Is that information directly integrated? Is it migrated? What are those workflows look like? So we started with client data, bring it in, what is the best way that we can capture and manage data for 10s of 1000s of clients? That is the freshest, some most up to date. Understandable, you know, for the user friendly, it makes sense for your casual user, you have also given the information that the data scientists need the pricing people need. Same on the matter side, we look at API’s, you know, we use actually as foundation kind of as the place where we do our data validation or data checking, we kind of bring everything in the foundation, line it up one by one, as well as manually cultivated data, I think it’s very important to not just compare API’s against themselves, but compare it against, what does it look like, in your firm? What are your firm’s needs? What does that type taxonomy look like? How do you make that information? Not just make sense on a profile, but various accessible for users? How do you ensure that they’re, you know, you’re gonna, I’m gonna sound like a control freak. But, you know, it was very important for me if data needs to be massaged, a little bit manipulated, augmented, if it’s missing, you know, what do you do if you disagree with how a third party has categorized something or tagged something we very much look at it is against a sort of another Lego another piece of the puzzle. And that is, I think, the firm’s that use foundation and look at it as a data tool, where the your end users are your marketing team, your pricing team or diversity team. It’s a data tool, because when the data is right, all of those teams will have what they need to write the narratives to do the staffing. And API’s have become for us an integral part of the sourcing and management of that information. In foundation.

Emily Rushing 23:04
I’ll chime in because I’m also a foundation admin at my organization developer. I would comment as well, if it can be really simple. Keli mentioned like didn’t normalization. A great example is court names. We don’t want anybody anywhere, walking in off the street and trying to type in a court name. We all know how convoluted misspelled you know, with periods, acronyms di s t period, that’s not even how you do that. What it who wrote that? Right, though, it sounds simple, but we just wanted a drop down list of third party vetted, verified official list of US courts, federal and state. We just wanted that free Law Project has open API’s, they have judges, and they have CT data. It’s really well documented to Eric’s checklists, very well documented. You can go on gut GitHub, you can read up all about it. And it can plug directly into foundation and you have a nice clean drop down, and no more. And I think about API’s really it’s like ai, ai generally stuff is automation, right? No more finding and cleaning misspelled things, no more bad reports full of janky data that don’t sort correctly, you’ve eliminated that you’ve automated that away now. So it can be something relatively small, like just a checkbox or a drop down list full of good data. Foundations are good example. I’m working now also on in tap. So we are implementing in tap Open and then tap conflicts and another place we don’t want people typing things in please just use this controlled list. And having a central data repository and firm, unified data strategy is really helping us to say wait a minute, I need industry codes. Here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Why don’t they all just use the same Dorst data? Why don’t we just go by the best list and put it one way and use it everywhere. Plus to Kelly’s point, any tweaks we want to make, you know, we don’t want to say nuclear energy, we want to describe something that we you know, right. So control that though and have every single firm system that needs it, pointing to that. So we’re really getting a lot of efficiencies and automation across the firm and fashion.

Keli Whitnell 25:19
And I’d like to jump back in to piggyback off the piggyback. You know, I think it only touches on an important point, we have leveraged API’s to help us with taxonomy buy in, you know, we’re using the Hoover’s industry code list. So we don’t end up in a debate with 1200. Lawyers on what is our industry taxonomy. The same with courts. And that I think is, you know, during the foundation implementation was instrumental to redirecting focus on what we actually need opinions on as being able to say, here’s an industry standard, we can bring it in. Now, we don’t have to cultivate, you know, the Hoover’s codeless 500. Plus,

Emily Rushing 26:00
that’s a great point get past that low hanging fruit Nope. Decided moving on.

Erik Adams 26:04
You know, it’s it’s funny, though, because, I mean, you’re absolutely right, that bringing in controlled lists from outside outside vendors, is the smart way to go. I also feel though, that it’s a very, very librarian way to do it. Right, let’s find somebody else who’s already made that controlled list that controlled vocabulary, and let’s just use theirs.

Emily Rushing 26:24
We do know about authority, that is kind of what we do.

Christopher O’Connor 26:29
I think it’s also a great example of library driven use case, right. I think often when people think about API’s, they think it needs to be some huge big bang transformational project. And but identifying the smaller use cases, which are very, very powerful. And we like the way we like to organize that have leverage, making an improvement there will have a big leverage over the quality of the data in your systems, which is a much, much bigger investment as much more important to get right. I mean, LexisNexis, one of the products it offers is a DMS enrichment service. And the number of times we hear about, like, the most common country put down on a document is Afghanistan, because the first one in the list, or the most common matter type or document type we get is other because people don’t do the work to categorize it. And the TMS is one of the single biggest investments that a firm makes. So making a comparatively small project to clean up that data to standardize on a go forward basis, has enormous leverage over that much larger investment, much bigger project, because the hours you spend on DMS, even just the Theon hours they spend in the DMS. And I think that’s what it was great bringing this panel together, was bringing together that insight from the librarian community and shining a spotlight on these kinds of use cases, because they can very easily be missed, but they’re incredibly profound.

Keli Whitnell 27:46
And I’d like to just one more point on the foundation’s specific part of this, when using the taxonomy building, great platforms like foundation will allow you to sort of augment within itself. So when we’re bringing in industry lists, if we really need to add something we can and you know your blade, your great platforms are flexible like that, regardless if it is a direct integration,

Emily Rushing 28:11
to your point, you need the subject matter expertise to comfortably make those modifications and turn into your library team to say you guys know better than anybody have looked this up how to verify it, how to advise us, let’s not just make it up. Let’s go to the authority. Great role for a librarian.

Marlene Gebauer 28:27
We noted earlier that API’s are not new. What do you all think has shifted API acceptance in the market lately? And what does that say about the maturity of API’s and legal information?

Pam Noyd 28:38
Well, if you live, I think it’s been a Go ahead, Pam, you start, you know, I was just gonna say if you if you’ve been listening carefully, up until now, the word data has been dropped probably 100 times already, right. It’s it’s that you know, need or desire for data driven decision making. And so the drive to have our systems more integrated with that data and automated as much as possible, I think is driving that bringing that in, but I’m going to turn it over to Keli. Jumping into

Keli Whitnell 29:12
Pam’s is actually much more thoughtful. I think it’s visibility. You know, we hear about it more. It’s almost like a rebranding. You know, I think that there’s just more awareness about it.

Greg Lambert 29:23
Because I was using API’s in 90s. So it’s not new. Yeah.

Emily Rushing 29:28
Yeah, more vendors are offering them I think in response to market demand. And things like a sandbox, you know, becoming more available, sort of lowering the barrier to entry. You have more people who have a little bit of training and have to be dangerous and get in and play around, poke around. It’s very easy to get up to speed on some of these techniques and tools with working with API’s. It used to be a lot harder to learn how to program and code and a lot of it’s low or no code these days. So you have more folks with a little bit of skill and and a little bit of hutzpah getting out and trying to do stuff, that’s for sure. I would also add it to my title. So I always have to talk about competition. Most of us are law firms or law firm facing, you know, the big for the LSPs. they’ve solved for a lot of this, you know, they are addressing efficiencies and dealing with large data volume and producing data, integrated data enabled solutions for our clients for our law firm clients. So we’re either in that space playing that game, or we just sacrifice that to our competitors, the competitors of law firms, we either jump in and say, yes, we want to innovate, we want to bring data and technology solutions to you, the client, package that up with our legal services, have a good clean DMS, right, be able to tell you right away what great experience we have, in our matter foundation system, right? Either we’re delivering those solutions to clients and adding that value that they can and should expect, or we’re saying, you know, what, we were not going to try to do that you’re going to need to call an LSP, you’re gonna have to call our instant knowing if you want that kind of service. And I don’t think firms are gonna go quietly, and give that up. I think we see too much opportunity to add that value for clients.

Erik Adams 31:09
I think there’s also a certain amount of opportunity on the part of vendors that Chris alluded how vendors have been developing these API’s and using them internally, for forever, right, effectively, forever. Now, there’s a market for that. Right? It’s as simple as that, that law firms are willing to pay to have this lower level API kind of access. So Well, if you’ve already done the work to develop an API, why not clean it up a little bit, and then make it available to the public? I make it sound like it’s really easy, Chris, I see you rolling your eyes. I know it’s not.

Christopher O’Connor 31:46
Absolutely not. I think you’re absolutely right. I think one of the things we’ve definitely seen is, you know, to both your point, Eric and your point, Greg API’s have been around for a long time, and had been used by developers. And I think historically in like, where law firms were using API’s, it was in systems integration, like getting databases to speak to one another on the back end. And it didn’t necessarily, although that’s supporting some front of Office applications and things, it’s not necessarily driven by, by by lawyers or librarians, what we’re seeing a shift to is in the market is lots of those back end integrations are now expected by the vendors. And we’re seeing some of the big platforms build these integrations out of the box. So you don’t need to necessarily have developer time on getting different systems to speak to one another, which means that the focus, we hope, and suddenly we’re starting to see the focus for that API effort. And the use cases can shift. And we’re seeing like maybe a lifecycle that is going from the back end data services into maybe some of those supports functions. And so Emily mentioned in competitive intelligence, I mentioned previously business development. And I think eventually getting through to knowledge and law lawyer or even client facing applications.

Keli Whitnell 32:55
And we I can actually say we, we do use API’s to populate data in high queue for clients to see so I think firms, a lot of firms are already doing that.

Marlene Gebauer 33:07
Where do you see API’s having the biggest effect in legal information or in the legal market as a whole? And let’s try and limit it to like one or two things, if we’re going to go around,

Keli Whitnell 33:18
I’d say I mean, it all comes down to money, right? profitability, the more you understand about anything, the more efficient you can be in the future.

Erik Adams 33:28
I think about this a lot, I think the biggest impact is going to be in automating processes and reducing duplication of effort. If you think about, like the typical New Business intake process, where somebody types in the types and the potential clients name once to into Foundation, or some other CRM to see if we’ve done any business with them, and then again, into some other system to see, okay, what’s their litigation pattern and then into a third system. And that repetition of effort really can be automated away. Right?

Emily Rushing 34:09
I talked a lot about with our CI team, I’m automating away your job with things like foundation with utilizing API’s, and don’t be scared, we still have a place. But if the thing you do right now, where you type it type exactly what you’re describing are, it’s gonna go away, that won’t, that won’t happen anymore. Those tasks won’t exist,

Pam Noyd 34:27
right? It’s just the data flow, I think between our applications, right will be much improved. And, you know, information is going to be more up to date and at the ready for our end users. Right. That’s what we’re doing it for, you know, right there and up to date.

Marlene Gebauer 34:44
I imagine it has some impact on risk as well.

Keli Whitnell 34:47
And all of this efficiency is going to equal money, you know, generating revenue money

Christopher O’Connor 34:59
in drafting I think there’s a huge role for bringing more legal information into the drafting process. And I think very often, the information you need to optimize your drafting get to a better first draft, get it get to a better result for your client exists within the firm’s information stores. But even if they’re aggregated, they then need to be brought to the point of need in the drafting workflow.

Greg Lambert 35:24
Well, Emily, I know that the 2022 panel was just the beginning for this, what’s the plans going forward for? For the group here,

Emily Rushing 35:34
you’re not rid of us yet. As you can see, we love to talk about this stuff. And if I may say, so. We’re all pals now and had a really fun time hanging out and working on this. So we met after the 2022 conferences. So let’s keep it rolling. Let’s do that. Let’s keep going. So we’re really, really pleased to have a follow on thanks to Eric for taking lead with our proposal, which I believe is under review. For the 2023 conference in Boston.

Erik Adams 36:03
Yeah, the proposal has been submitted and the first round of reviews actually was completed on November 29th. We won’t have any results for a while yet I think we would hear in January is when they will announce the actual programs. But we have our proposal in

Emily Rushing 36:20
and I think we landed on Is it real world examples. I’m looking at my notes real world API’s. I think some of the questions Marlene and Greg, you guys have asked, you know, kind of like, Tell me about that. And out in the wild. You know, like, what does that really mean? Not just the hype, not just the, you know, stuff you read in the headlines, but the real stuff?

Marlene Gebauer 36:40
They go Lego in the wild?

Emily Rushing 36:42
Yeah, yeah, that’s been the theme. And we started

Greg Lambert 36:45
just a step on it.

Marlene Gebauer 36:46
That’s what that’s what you should title it, like, go in the wild.

Emily Rushing 36:52
Come to Boston, come check it out. Come hang out with us. Come talk to us after the panel. Hopefully, we’re approved. And can we just see everybody and hang out then?

Greg Lambert 37:01
All right. So get to the part now where we ask our crystal ball question of all of our guests. Now we have a lot of guests here. So we’ll probably have to do consolidate some of the answers here. And tag team as so what do you guys see as some challenges or changes in the legal industry over the next three to five years? And how do you think API’s will play a role in that?

Erik Adams 37:27
I want to focus on the second part of that, because it’s what I’m interested in. And actually, I don’t so much have a prediction as much as I want, what I want to happen over the next five years. Emily, you mentioned no code automation, I would really like to see API’s evolves to a point where integrated with no code automation is easy as just click, click click and you’re done. Because right now, I think it’s still very early days with a lot of these API’s. And they are, frankly, and speaking as a developer, a lot of them are really hard to use. Not that I want to see simplification and integration with these easier to use applications and systems.

Marlene Gebauer 38:07
Alright, ease of use. What’s next?

Keli Whitnell 38:10
I think everybody talks about API’s, I think the new buzzword is sort of direct connection. I don’t necessarily think that’s where the future is. It’s where can we bring information into a place and it’s not just, you know, a sandbox for kind of picking and choosing but really translate complex things into digestible data? I think it’s integrating the data within it, you know, but before it comes into your system, sort of, you know, we get a lot of interest in clause identification 50 clauses to certain clauses aren’t as useful as how do you make that really digestible? Put it into a into a chart that someone could understand not, you know, instead of 100 pages, five pages of

Marlene Gebauer 38:53
connection and translation, legalese,

Greg Lambert 38:55
or direct connection. So DC power is how I did that. Yeah. All right. Anyone else?

Christopher O’Connor 39:02
Yeah. From our perspective, and LexisNexis, when we’re thinking about the next couple of years, we kind of think about that in terms of a connected world of legal applications. So I think it’s clear like there’s not going to be one platform that rules them all. Like, there’s going to be a coexistence of a number of platforms, we may see some consolidation. And I certainly think we see, there’s demand for fewer point solutions. But you don’t want to clutter up, you know, lawyers workflow with something that just does a single thing. So that we might find the startup vendors and things need to go and work with multiple of the different platforms to deliver their solutions to the end users. But there’s not going to be a single thing. So we’re thinking a lot about how do we build this connected world between LexisNexis applications and the other core applications employers use in Microsoft, the DMS business intelligence systems? And I think a lot of that is, as Eric kind of alluded to, is pre configuring some of this stuff too. Pre if we pre build integrations of our content in other useful third parties, then we can solve two of those challenges that I referenced earlier, my custom audience question that’s pre identifying the use case. And we can take the common use cases we see in the market, and pre build those. And it also gets around some of the results challenge. And if that works out at the box, then it’s going to be much more useful and addressable to far more firms.

Greg Lambert 40:25
Excellent. Well, we’ll end it there. I’m looking forward to seeing this panel in 2023 in Boston. So Emily Rushing, Pam Noyd, Keli Whitnell, Erik Adams and Chris O’Connor. Thank you all very much for coming in and sharing your experience on the panel and good luck going into next year.

Marlene Gebauer 40:45
Thank you so much.

Greg Lambert 40:52
Marlene, I wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to pull off having five guest on it one time,

Marlene Gebauer 40:57
but it was tough it? Well,

Greg Lambert 40:59
I you know, I think that the I think they’ve worked together long enough that they understood, who was going to say what and how to bounce ideas off of one another. And it was really interesting, because they all came in discussing the API’s from a different perspective. And so each one of them has their own individual piece that they deal with whether it’s looking at the contracts, whether it’s doing the data analysis, or putting it into action. So it’s really interesting. And I think this is just going to be one more thing that we’re going to have to use in order to kind of combine that external information and really use it as valuable tour, internal information, which has been something I’ve been wanting to do for 25 years.

Marlene Gebauer 41:51
Yeah, I mean, I think that the fact that everybody was coming from a different angle is what made them such an interesting panel and why I can see that they were very popular at the AALL conference in the summer and why they are being asked back because again, this as you’ve mentioned, this is a very pertinent topic. This is something every firm is looking at, and getting involved in. So and it’s nice to see that, you know, we have a, you know, a library panel that’s, that’s doing these things.

Greg Lambert 42:20
Yep. Yeah. Well, it’s definitely something that I think if you if you’re listening and your law librarian, this is a golden opportunity for you.

Marlene Gebauer 42:30
So, so many of the information vendors offer these options that it makes perfect sense that that law librarian should be getting involved.

Greg Lambert 42:40
Yep, I agree. So thanks again to our panel of API gurus, Emily Rushing Pam Noyd, Keli Whitnell, Erik Adams, and Chris O’Connor. Thanks, guys.

Marlene Gebauer 42:50
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 @gebauerm on Twitter.

Greg Lambert 43:03
And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter,

Marlene Gebauer 43:06
like I guess for now we can be for now.

Greg Lambert 43:10
I’m also a @glambert on what’s the other one?

Marlene Gebauer 43:14

Greg Lambert 43:15
Mastodon, but man, that’s not easy.

Marlene Gebauer 43:17
I’m on that too. So it’s it’s day by hour. I’m on Mastodon but it’s yeah, I’m still getting used to it. Yeah, it’s a little different. But if you don’t want to take that route, go the old fashioned way. Go the old fashioned way. You can leave us a voicemail on our Deacon review Hotline at 713-487-7821 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert 43:42
Thanks, Jerry. All right. Marlene, I will talk to you later.

Marlene Gebauer 43:45
All right, bye bye.