In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer engage in a fascinating conversation with legal technology experts Pablo Arredondo, Evan Shenkman, and Darth Vaughn. They discuss their proactive approach to incorporating AI technology, specifically CaseText’s CoCounsel, into their legal practice and business operations.
Pablo shares, “I think the law is such a fascinating space for this kind of AI because it really brings together two things that are really deep in the human experience, which is language and rules.” The guests discuss their experiences in using CoCounsel and its features, such as the ChatGPT feature, which enables them to draft and review documents more efficiently. Evan emphasizes, “The tools are there, and the more that we can sort of get folks up to speed on this stuff, and really help them understand how to use the tools, the better we’re all going to be.”
They explain how the integration of AI in their work has led to improved legal outcomes, happier clients, and better work-life balance for attorneys. Darth notes, “The legal industry tends to be a bit of a slow adopter of technology. It’s not because we’re not smart or we’re not hardworking. I think it’s because we’re risk-averse.”
Pablo, Evan, and Darth emphasize the importance of being passionate about leading the way in legal technology advancements. Pablo encourages listeners to embrace this technology with joy, rather than fear, to truly make a difference in their practice and industry. This positive approach helps them excel and bring others along on this transformative journey.
The discussion also touches on access to justice issues and how tools like CoCounsel can potentially help bridge the justice gap. By being intentional in utilizing AI technology to assist in pro bono cases, they believe it is possible to make a significant impact on improving access to legal services for those in need. Overall, this episode of “The Geek in Review” offers valuable insights into how AI and CaseText’s CoCounsel can revolutionize the legal industry. The guests’ passion and joy for embracing cutting-edge technology serve as an inspiration for others to follow suit and lead the way in transforming the legal landscape.
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Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.
Greg Lambert 0:14
And I’m Greg Lambert. So this week we have a just star studded episode was some absolute Yeah, we got some power players in the legal technology industry, especially when it comes to practical uses of products like OpenAI’s GPT-4.for everything from legal research to how to scope your legal work.
Marlene Gebauer 0:35
We are so happy to welcome back our longtime friend Pablo Arredondo from CaseText, who was actually our second guest on the show, and with whom we’ve talked about practical uses on AI and legal for more than three years now. So Pablo, it is very good to have you back.
Pablo Arredondo 0:52
Great to be back.
Greg Lambert 0:53
So we also have Evan Shenkman, Chief Knowledge and Innovation Officer at Fisher Phillips, who has teamed up with CaseText and their Co-Counsel product. Hey, Evan, thank you very much for coming in and joining us.
Evan Shenkman 1:07
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Marlene Gebauer 1:10
And to round out our panel, we asked Darth Vaughn, Litigation Counsel and Legal Innovation and Technology Operations Lead at Ford Motor Company to join us as well. So Darth it’s great to have you on the show.
Darth Vaughn 1:20
Welcome. Thank you for having me.
Greg Lambert 1:22
So we really do have a trifecta here of in house legal, outside legal, legal vendors all aligned to bring some practical AI tools to rapidly change how we’re practicing and delivering legal services. So, Pablo, let me start off with you. Like we mentioned in the introductions, we have been having discussions about AI and legal research for years. Now it goes I mean, goes back really five years that you and you and I and Marlene had been talking about it. But it seems like the last six months has just been an you know, just an AI frenzy. It’s so much so that even the legal industry has joined in on the frenzy and you know, it’s got to be a mate, you know, quite a frenzy for the legal to just jump in. So let me ask you How How did your years of preparation position you to essentially be the first to the market with a generative AI product? For legal when you launch CoCounsel?
Pablo Arredondo 2:22
Yeah, absolutely. It has been a pretty crazy time, I’d like to think that it was the panel that evident I did it ILTA that causes national awareness of, of AI in these Large Language Models. Perhaps there was some other factors, I’m not sure. You know, so you know, like you said, we’ve been working with these Large Language Models from their inception. And there’s a few ways that it’s been very helpful for us, as we’ve now kind of start to harness this next generation of AI. First, as we can get into a little more detailed, you can’t just necessarily use these new models on their own, right, you need to actually couple them to something real. And there’s a whole area called retrieval augmented generation, where you essentially couple an AI to a search engine. And once you start doing that, it’s how good is your search engine. And so a lot of the work we did with earlier models, and with training something called Parallel search, which you guys know about, you know, we were basically using earlier language models to be much better at retrieving the relevant information. So that fits hand in hand then with, you know, some of our most exciting features with CoCounsel, which lead attorneys use that approach to do legal research and kind of research analysis to do fact discovery, and things like that. And then, we were also aware of the pitfalls and some of the dangers and the way that these models can, you know, you know, misbehave if you’re not putting guidelines on them. And I think that’s really important. Frankly, also, our earlier work with this led us, you know, we would partner with firms like Fisher Phillips and do sort of development on, you know, a lot of the earlier models, some of which worked better than others. And so I think we just had a lot of experience in dicksterity Kind of what does it mean to try these things and to experimented and to do that? So, you know, there’s been a number of things that CaseText has had, we’ve been quite privileged actually, to have a number of these different things come together. And then of course, being you know, approached by open AI late last year, and shown GBT four before you know, anybody you know, very, very early on all the work we had done with previous models kind of left it let it let us be very prepared to realize just how big a game this was, and just go all in on it when we saw it. So I think a number of factors came together both luck and and you know, some virtue as always, there’s a mix of those things.
Greg Lambert 4:24
Well, yeah, I think you make your own luck and and I’ve mentioned this in previous episodes that you know, and this is not a case text advertisement here, but you guys tend to come up with very innovative ideas, you know, real outside the box, kind of kind of things so much so, and we we joke that you know, once you create something, it motivates all the other legal vendors to be copycats on that so I mean, you’re you’re obviously doing something right. He
Pablo Arredondo 4:55
keep talking, Greg keeps talking.
Marlene Gebauer 4:58
Just like Greg keep talking about Okay. So Pablo, I liked that you were talking about how, you know, there’s there’s sort of different testing and some things work and some things don’t. And, you know, I want to pass the ball to Evan, because I know that you, you both work together. So, you know, Evan, can you share Fisher Phillips experience of partnering with CaseText? And using CoCounsel? You know, sort of, again, sort of what was that process like for you, and how has this impacted your firm, and how they approach the way they research and practice law?
Evan Shenkman 5:29
Yeah, happy to have that on to have that conversation. So we’ve been working with CaseText, now for for years and years. And I’ve been working with them for several firms have been at and they’ve always sort of been ahead of the game in terms of what they’ve been doing in using Large Language Models and using this technology. And I know, you’ve sort of mentioned that, that Pablo keeps coming up with things that other folks have to try to copy. Sometimes he comes up with these harebrained ideas that don’t work. And that’s fun, too. But it’s been so much fun, being able to work with them over the years with various ideas and projects and concepts that really have turned into amazing things that help our attorneys do things better, smarter, faster. And so I guess it was late fall, and I was coaching a soccer game. And I got a phone call, literally while I was on the field from Pablo saying, you know, Evan, forget everything we ever did. You’ve never known something really, really, really extraordinary is happening, but I can’t tell you what it is with you. So that started on this journey over the past number of months now where and this is before ChatGPT came out where the world got to see the possibility of generative AI. This is back when we were you know, knew about lauric Large Language Models, and we’re using them and things like parallel search, but never something nearly as sophisticated. So at that point, we had the privilege of being able to work with CaseText and, and see CoCounsel in beta and help train those skills and help put it in the hands of some of our attorneys who are beta testing it and really seeing the value of what this really can do in an attorney’s day to day life, making their lives easier helping them focus on the better aspects of practicing law, helping them get to the answer, in a better way, in a smarter way, in a in a more appropriate way. So that was sort of before we could ever talk about it now that it’s actually alive and launched. Our firm is using it. They’re using it every day in what they do. So they’re using it for legal research. And I could talk in greater detail about how they’re doing that. Your users probably know sort of how that works. But essentially, you can just ask it a question in plain English, and then it will generate a research memo for you. It will review cases statutes regulations up to date, it’ll give you a research memo, it will cite it sources, it will give you an analysis it will pull from various places. And our attorneys are really blown away by that, by that component of it. We’ve had attorneys, you know, some of our more senior attorneys have begrudgingly tried it out because they want to prove that it’s not good, and it’s not right. And that, you know, there will never be able to come up with something that’s as good as what they can come up with on their own. And it does a fantastic job. And they’re sort of converted now. And there, they told me, there are some things that I still can add to it, I still have aspects of my practice where I know the the attorneys that I’m working with, I know that judge, there are certain nuances, but it gives them a fantastic starting point to get them to the answer in a better, smarter, more appropriate way. And they’re now they now love it. There are some attorneys who say they have never for years now they haven’t done their own legal research. They’ve given it to associates or they knew the answer. But now they’re starting to use this tool. So it’s sort of making this whole research phase of a case more approachable to attorneys, whether they’re Junior attorneys or super senior attorneys, and they love it. So we’re using it for research. We’re using it for document review, and analysis. So when we’re preparing for summary judgment, when we have maybe not a lot of time to review 1000s of documents before we have to provide a response to a TRL it’s coming in handy. We’re able to upload those ask questions, asked for it to to let us know where in the documents, somebody might have talked about a particular key point in the case or key point in the fact pattern. So it’s very helpful for that. We’re using it for for summarizing, there’s a summarized skill. That’s terrific for things like deposition transcripts, we’ve had clients over the years that say, you know, why should it take this many hours to do a depth summary summary of a depth transcript? Is there any way to do that better? This tool helps you do things like that better. So there there really are aspects from day one to you know, writing preparing for a trial where this is coming in handy now. And it’s it’s only been about two months since this went launched live, but our attorneys are really using it in the day to day workflow and they’re they’re finding it terrific.
Marlene Gebauer 9:47
That’s amazing. And you know, I imagine those skeptics you mentioned that have have have turned and Ninja believers are probably your your best evangelists.
Evan Shenkman 9:56
They now aren’t, we just got back from our partner Get together over the past weekend. And it’s amazing how many people came up to me and said, You know, I didn’t believe you. I didn’t believe it’ll be that good. But but it really is. And we actually had one partner who was one of those folks that said, This can’t be that good. The partner is when they’re going into these retreats that get an email with 10 or 15 articles, saying, you know, couple of the sessions would be great if you read these articles beforehand, to get up to speed with whatever it is. And one of the partners replied all to and said, I ran all these articles through CoCounsel, if you want to read summaries of all of them before you read the article. Here you go. And a lot of thank yous to that to that reply all. But it just shows that now that they are starting to use this technology, they’re seeing other ways to use it, they’re incorporating it into their daily workflows, and they’re better for it.
Greg Lambert 10:45
Well, Darth you, you’ve listened to the stories, and I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve you’ve heard how lawyers are adjusting their normal workflow to using these AI technologies. So yeah, and you, you have a unique perspective, as you know, being on the buying side of legal services. So what are your expectations now, both internally for your own legal department, and externally for your outside counsel on how you think that, you know, they need to address legal work when they have tools like this? Now,
Darth Vaughn 11:21
I’ve been on all sides of this equation. So I’m sensitive to all of that. I’ll say this, I think there is a lot of fear that the technology is going to replace lawyers. And my position is it’s not going to replace lawyers, it’s going to enhance lawyers, it’s a tool to make us work better. And I’m envious, that I didn’t have this when I was outside counsel, practicing and trying cases, because I felt like practicing would have been a better experience. This is going to replace tasks, it’s not going to it’s not going to replace lawyers, we are still going to be at the helm, using our subject matter expertise and domain knowledge to make a better outcome for our clients. Lawyers are not single purpose lawyers, they are versatile people who want to solve problems. And my expectation is that this will help us get away from some of the, you know, the drudgery work, the repetitive tasks that we didn’t enjoy doing. And replace that with highest and better uses where we become the problem solvers that we always sought to be in this profession. I don’t know that it changes buying at this point is still very, very new. But I do see a day coming where the expectation for certain things will change. My expectation to Evans point for how long a deposition summaries to take is going to change because of this technology, my expectation, in terms of how quickly you can give me an answer back is going to change because of this technology. And it’s weird, I’ve been in AI since in earnest as 2017. This is the first time that I feel like the technology is finally caught up with the words and we actually have the tools to allow us to take advantage of where we are from a technical standpoint. So I’m excited.
Marlene Gebauer 13:05
So Evan talked a little bit about well actually haven’t talked a lot about research and how CoCounsel, research. Research is great like it is we like it too. But so he talked a lot about how CoCounsel can you know, help the research process and you know, Pablo hinted a little bit at you know, guardrails and things like that. So I want to make the question a little bit broader to the entire group. And say, you know, let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks are things, things to be aware of when using AI tools like GPT, four in the legal research process, you know, if somebody’s looking to say, you know, hey, I’m listening to this podcast, and this CoCounsel thing seems pretty interesting. You know, what can we say? Like, what are like the key points that they need to be kind of focused on? And I’m going to look at my screen, I’m going to go with Pablo first, because you’re on top, I
Pablo Arredondo 14:01
think the most important thing to start with is the difference between asking the model on its own for anything, where what you’ll get is an answer that seems very believable. But as I think it’s sort of now becoming hopefully common knowledge could be completely fabricated. When I first interacted with GPT. For I asked about a case I worked on, and its answer was so believable that I was second guessing myself as a god did we argue that I don’t think we did but man that you know, and then I typed in said, You’re wrong. I worked on this case, and I kid you not it, they came back and said, Pablo, you can sit there and brag about the cases you worked on, but I’m right. And here’s my proof. And then it did a URL to nowhere, a URL that went nowhere. So and I say this lovingly left to their own devices, they’re just little sociopaths. I’m sorry. Like, there’s just, you just can’t use it that way. And so I think one of the most important things to really get across to everyone is using the model just on its own with the public API. It’s not secure, you might be donating your data, you’re gonna see hallucinations, it’s really not a good idea at all. And that is very different, though than using it in a system built from the ground up to ameliorate all of those concerns, right. So one where the servers are secure, where you’re not donating your data to the model, where you’re using this retrieval augmented generation, to anchor it to something real. So if I had like one sort of headline, it would be to not let the horror stories about using the public system deter you from really taking a look at and evaluating systems that were built to work for lawyers. As always, you have to suffer through my analogies. It’s just the part and parcel of bringing me anywhere. It’d be like to me ChatGPT As though a society had never seen cars before. And suddenly cars arrived, but all they did was donuts on the lawn, and then 290 in reverse on the freeway or something like that. And it’s like, wow, look at these cars. They’re amazing. But of course, a lot of folks are like, I don’t know about those cars, I prefer red. So to that end, right, just the proper, responsible, reliable use of these models is possible, you just have to be using a system built for that. And that’s emphatically not the public one.
Greg Lambert 16:00
Pablo, I’m gonna ask you the impossible. Can you? Can you just vary in like telling a second grader? How is it that when I ask CoCounsel, a question that may have sensitive information in it? How does that not get to open AI?
Pablo Arredondo 16:18
Right? So there’s sort of getting to open AI, which is to say being exposed to sorry, you said second grader, okay.
Greg Lambert 16:26
Let’s see. So let’s write in a trend, you’re
Pablo Arredondo 16:29
right, let’s say you gave your homework to the teacher, and they just wrote a grade on it, and then gave it back to you. And they didn’t keep your homework and then didn’t do anything else with your homework, right? That’s the secure system. The other system is if the teacher were to take your homework and add it to a big collection of papers that they’re then doing, that’s then available to everybody. And that’s what you know, understandably, from the viewpoint of these companies, like open AI that are looking for training data, right. That’s how you can build better models. So it’s understandable why they do it in some instances, but it’s simply not something that lawyers can do. I hope that worked. Okay.
Marlene Gebauer 17:03
I thought that was really good. Evan, what do you have to say?
Evan Shenkman 17:07
Sure. So as as for the benefits and drawbacks of AI tools like to buddy for all talk. Pablo already mentioned. And I think we talked about the problems with just a native GBT for application that hasn’t been trained, the hallucinations in the IT style and the dress worthiness and the model of security and all that. So I’ll talk about the risks of using CoCounsel or something that has been trained for legal because I think that still is important for attorneys and people in firms and law departments to sell think about, you need to realize that it is not an artificial lawyer. This isn’t something where we can ask a question and say, Okay, we got our answer, we’re good to go, I’m just gonna go and file it, I’m just gonna go and tell my client or take legal action based upon it. It’s a starting point, it’s a tool to help our attorneys do things and get to the answer in a better, more direct way. You still need to know, if you’re using the research skill, it’s great. But we still need to research and read those cases, and make sure the case does does help our client out read because there always is nuance in those cases. But it gets us to the point where we know which cases to read, which passes passages to read much more quickly. We’re learning that prompt engineering is very important, right? That’s making sure that you ask the AI tool CoCounsel or any other tool, it in the best way providing enough facts and information to help it find the answer. Right. And we have attorneys who are letting me know that, you know, we asked the question and we got an answer that was sort of there or documents were retrieved that were sort of there. But then we asked it in a different way. And then we got exactly what we were looking for. Right, that prompt engineering, we’ll get, we’ll get better at it over time. We the attorneys are the users. But it’s a skill set. And it’s a skill that that people will need to learn and get better at. And I’m sure that we best practices over time that are developed to make sure that the prompts that we give these systems get us what we’re looking for.
Greg Lambert 18:59
Evan one, one of the things where you go on I just wanted to ask you real quickly the one of the things that I’m finding with the prompt engineering is that in like you said, it’s a different skill set. Are you finding your attorneys or librarians or researchers or paralegals
Marlene Gebauer 19:16
are still my question?
Greg Lambert 19:18
Oh, sorry. Are they still my follow up? Are they are they adjusting? Are they can you teach old dogs new tricks kind of kind of thing? You
Evan Shenkman 19:29
can and I think it’s easier with this tool than with predecessor legal technology in general. Because the whole the whole way this this tool, and those like it are set up is it’s in a conversational way. So I think what we’re seeing initially is that people ask the questions in a too terse fashion. They might have asked the question without providing any facts or any detail or any other information and within reason, the more information you provide to this tool in asking your question, the more it has to go on So I think people are picking that up over time. We tried to make that point when we rolled it out. But I think you sort of need to be in the tool and using the tool in order to get and see the results that come out in order to have it really hit him in the face that Yep, that really does make a difference. And I think people are getting better at it. But it’s a it’s a learning process.
Marlene Gebauer 20:20
Alright, so I’m gonna follow up with a follow up. Do you find that people who have been trained in say, you know, doing natural language searches or Boolean types of searches, you know, who are familiar with search languages? Do you find that they take to it more readily? Or not? Can
Darth Vaughn 20:38
I jump in on this one? With this right now?
Marlene Gebauer 20:42
Good, good, good, good.
Darth Vaughn 20:44
Well, if you haven’t experienced, you know, tactician with the traditional platforms, they have to readjust the way they’ve learned how to do searches. And it’s a very difficult habit to break. You’re no longer looking for keywords, you’re looking for concepts, right? This understands the semantics around what you’re asking. So if you’re trying to adjust from a world where Alright, I’m going to toss in, you know, these this range of keywords, and you know, ands or ORS or wildcards erasing all of that background and starting from scratch, you almost have an advantage. If you don’t have that background, you come in and you just ask it regular questions like you would a normal human being. So unlearning that has been a little bit of a task. But these people quickly pick that up once you show him the right way to do it.
Evan Shenkman 21:31
Yet, your anecdote there, Darth is right on point, what I was going to say is, I think it does take a relearning for those who are the Boolean search experts, but it’s easy for them to relearn it because they tend to be tech savvy and appreciate the value of tools like this. And, and like the fact that you know, like conducting research and legal research and so on. Where I’m really seeing the biggest benefit, I think, to this new way of communicating is the for the folks who are not as good at the Boolean searching. Like the gentleman I mentioned the beginning who hasn’t done his own legal research in years and years, because he liked it better when it was books, what he likes to do is be able to come in and pull an associate in the room and give this long winded explanation about this case that he knows is out there about some topic that he thinks he sort of remembers what it was covered in the case. And but he’s not exactly sure. You could put that ramble into CoCounsel, and it will come up with a legal memo that has that case you’re looking for. And I’ve had partners told me that they said I you know, I spent 45 minutes trying to find this case, using the the other legal research tool that we have, and I couldn’t find it. And then I put in my my ramble into CoCounsel, and it knew what I was looking for and found it for me. So I think for those sort of attorneys who aren’t great at knowing that it’s parentheses, sex slash three, harassed, asked direct, close parenthesis, slash six, you know, some people are great at that. But you don’t have to be for this. And I think it makes it a lot more approachable for attorneys from the most junior attorney to the most senior attorney can all jump in and communicate with it and get what they’re looking for.
Greg Lambert 23:02
That’s some library pillow talk right there. I love that.
Pablo Arredondo 23:08
I mean, throw in one other thing. And because this is also great to hear about cookouts of venues like this, I’ll throw in one place where there could be headaches coming, I’m not thinking surmountable ones. But, you know, I remember in litigations for pen litigation, like you could start litigating over what is the exact string that the other side has to use to look through their documents? And I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see what does the neural net sort of Large Language Models prompting look like where kind of fanciful things like artistic things like that says, like, I’m a diligent researcher, you just tell the AI to sort of assume that, and might that might impact the output. So it’s gonna be really interesting to see, you know, the sort of prompt wars that might happen in that context.
Darth Vaughn 23:46
That is fascinating. Because it occurred to me one day, I wonder if you’re going to give me if your requests for production need to be run through this large language model on whatever data set of potentially relevant documents are identified one day like that, that’s a potential reality, where the other side is getting to dictate the actual questions it wants to ask of your document set to try to find relevant documents. I mean, it we really are the wild west right now.
Greg Lambert 24:12
Well, speaking of Wild West, I’m going to come back to you Darth here in a second with pretty much the same question. But Evan, how is this AI technology? And not I’m sure it’s not just CoCounsel, there’s all kinds of other tools that are that are on the market? How is that just fundamentally changing the way that law firms are operating and offering their services out to their clients?
Evan Shenkman 24:35
I think some things are changing, some things are staying the same. I think for four years now. Sophisticated clients like Darth have been expecting their law firms to do whatever they can to use technology appropriately, to do things more efficiently to to use technology to collaborate better. You know, there was a Wolters Kluwer survey that came out I think in October of last year that said something like 95% of all we go have consumers so companies and so on that were interviewed said that they specifically asked their law firms now what technology they use to do things more efficiently and to get better predictions and things like that. And I think that was 97% of them said they would specifically ask about that stuff, right? There was a month before ChatGPT came out, where the whole world now realizes, whoa, technology could do some amazing things. So I think we were already I think the cats out of the bag, we were already in a place where we know that as a law firm, unless we continue to push the envelope and using technology to do things in a better, smarter, faster, more efficient way. And better allocate our smart attorney brains on the tasks that are highest value for them, and try to use technology to get past some of the more mundane busy work out of it, that will be in a better place. And our clients are going to expect that. So I don’t think that CoCounsel or generative AI has changed things, I think it is just massively accelerated the speed in which our clients will expect us to use technology like this, to do things better. And I think the fact that Darth who is a consumer of outside counsel is on this call talking about the use of this. There are other in house counsel out there as well that see the value of tools like this, know the value of it. And we’ll start to expect that their law firms are using technology that’s now available and safe and secure and accurate and helpful to help provide them better legal service. So I think I don’t think this has fundamentally changed things. I think it’s a super acceleration of it. And I think the law firms that see that will be better off, because the clients appreciate it, and the clients will will turn to them, because they have tools like this at their disposal to help they’re already smart, already sophisticated already expert attorneys be even better.
Marlene Gebauer 26:46
Dorothy, you know, earlier, you talked about how you know, AI technology was going to enhance, you know, lawyers abilities, and not replace lawyers. And I’m wondering if you can sort of share like, you know, environmental specifics, you know, it how the technology is altering the way that in house legal counsel operates.
Greg Lambert 27:06
Can I add a sub question there? Because the biggest fear that I’m hearing from partners at law firms, is that this kind of technology is just going to enable outside counsel to do their own work to draft their own contracts to do you know, to have kind of start at point C instead of point A, do you think that’s something that maybe not now but eventually will happen?
Darth Vaughn 27:30
I mean, it could. Yeah, I mean, if you asked me three years ago, where we weren’t this technology, I thought we were 10 years, way from where we are now. Right? So I’m, I’ve walked back my predictions of the future. That being said, we are still at a people who have relationships, we’re still going to need people that can advocate on our behalf, we are going to need to know people that have a intimate understanding of the venue we’re in that are good with the local population, if they’re picking juries, will the work change? Probably the work has always changed when the emerging technologies have come out. Right? But will the relationship overall change? And I don’t think so. workloads are increasing, right? Like the amount of work is a true thing is growing. When the personal computer came out, everyone thought the work we prefer to go to like 20 hours a week, I got my left foot and laptop and I worked everywhere on planes on trains, the morning of my wedding like we there was no shortage of work, I think this technology will actually increase the amount of work that we’re doing, would it be expected to do more and more and more faster and faster and faster. And there’s just no no shortage of issues in the pipeline that you know, are coming down, we can’t get to some of our most important ones, because we’re stuck doing this low end work, right. So my idea is that this is going to kind of reposition me to take better advantage of my outside counsel and get them to higher end work that is at their highest and best use instead of as low end work that we unfortunately necessarily have to do. But I mean, to Ed’s point earlier, like, no lawyer went to law school, so they could be the best or fastest copy and paste person like in their class, they went to law school to solve problems, right? So if we can automate to some extent the production of content and move lawyers to, you know, advocacy and counsel where they would rather I think be, we probably end up in a better place. So to that partner that says, Well, you know, you’re going to take away my contract. All right, I no longer need you to do the first draft. But I still need you to strategically think about the impact of this is upstream at this point. So you’re not a single purpose lawyer. Get that out of your head. I know you’ve been doing it for a number of years. one specific thing that there are better things you can probably do with your time right now. And trust me, we need our lawyers to be focusing on like high end stuff right now.
Greg Lambert 29:51
Who’s going to be driving the change? Is it going to be the technology groups within the innovation groups within the firm? When and the in house counsel? Or is is it going to be demanded from from the attorneys who’s who’s going to be driving the change? Evan?
Evan Shenkman 30:08
I think it’s both it depends on the firm. With something like this, I was privileged to have the opportunity to come to us from from Pablo to work with them on this and generative AI wasn’t wasn’t even known at that point to exist. So that in that case, it was the it km innovation that sort of saw it. I think now, though, that this is out there and a product and sophisticated clients like Darth know what’s out there, and other clients out there know what’s out there. I think now, it probably will be driven more by by the clients and by the attorney saying, hey, we need that to technology like that is going to help us and our clients expect it. But I think early stage with things like this, they’re probably driven by the innovation km it type sides. But now that it’s out there, I think the clients, clients take over and start to say, we expect that from from our firm as well.
Darth Vaughn 30:58
Yeah, I agree with them. And early on. It is the early adopters, and you know, emerging technology, the push it in and tell everybody, this is fantastic. And you get the same level of skepticism that you probably deserve. Because the last few things you put in front of them weren’t earth shattering. But with this, it really feels like there’s a before and after. And I think to Evans earlier point, people who were hardcore skeptics are easily converted after using it in a short amount of time, working with Pablo and his team early on, to help develop some of the features, I think, interesting thing occurred, when you start to get in the hands of the practitioners, they start to use this stuff off label, right, you develop a feature, and you think they’re gonna use it a certain way. And then they repurpose it. And then you start to see like an evolution in how people are adopting and applying the technology. And I think that’s what’s coming next. So once this starts to go mainstream, I expect there to be compounding kind of evolutions and how people are using this and so many creative use cases that I could probably never think of are going to emerge in the short term.
Marlene Gebauer 32:05
So speaking of creative use cases, we had hinted a little bit earlier about how AI could or not sort of change relationships between law firms and in house counsel. But when talking about these, these AI advancements, you know, we’re highlighting all of these different things that it can do. And that, you know, once we get this in the hands of some of the users, they’re coming up with their own creative ways to approach this problem, you’re probably the best one to talk about this sort of sitting between firms and in house counsel and being a vendor. So can you talk about what impact you might see on AI advancements on the relationship between those three entities? You know, I’m thinking again, some of the things that it can do could replace a lot of existing tools that we have, and that you might not have the need for as many as you do. Now.
Greg Lambert 33:01
That’s the dream.
Marlene Gebauer 33:04
somebody’s dream, not everybody’s dream, though.
Pablo Arredondo 33:09
Ya know, there’s a lot a lot to that. I mean, I think one of the biggest differences with this new technology has been, you know, I’m used to a demo to a firm and somebody would see it and go cool, you know, I might bring my colleague and, you know, exceeded two weeks. Now, it’s like, you demo and they get all the managing partners rushing down, like someone’s been embezzling or something like that. And the kind of question that I get asked now is so qualitatively different, you know, it’s sort of like, well, what, what do I need to ask my client about using this? And I was like, Oh, this is do you like to be, you know, consulted directly about how you should consult with your clients? That yeah, I think what there is right now is a lot of eagerness to learn about this tech, and to start thinking about, what how do we navigate this stuff. And what I think companies like CaseText need to do and what we have been doing is trying to galvanize conferences, workshops, things like this podcast, to really start that discussion going. Because you know, whatever happens, it’s very hard to predict what’s gonna happen with all of this. But the one thing that you sort of could predict is, whatever happens is going to be what emerges from a bunch of conversations and thinking about it between these key stakeholders. But I will say this, that, you know, lamenting that your client now has a more efficient way to do something is not in line with zealous advocacy, I’m sorry, like, at the end of the day, ours is a profession. And we deliberately use grandiose words and concepts to describe how we’re supposed to be devoted to our clients. So you should be happy that your client is now able to take care of some legal need without needing to spend more money or without needing to call you and to Darth’s points, right, that energy of being sad about that would be much better spent focused on what are new things and new values that I can create for my client.
Greg Lambert 34:41
Yeah. Evan, I want to want to switch gears just a little bit here. And I know that everyone’s wondering how does this affect how lawyers are currently doing their jobs? I’m curious. Do you have any plan for how you will introduce your summer associates this summer to technology like This,
Evan Shenkman 35:00
yeah, it’s certainly one of the tools that we’ll train them on, we would like them to have access to it to see how it works, just because we see that this really is going to be the way people practice all the future. So we’d like them to get access to it right off the bat. One of the things, you know, just in general training, anyone, I think on this tool, if if you have it available to your firm, you want to do that, because that’ll get the most use out of it. Right? If it’s something that that you don’t give them access to it, then they will know about it
Marlene Gebauer 35:29
falling on that line. And and Darth Can you discuss the importance of technology literacy for in house legal teams and young lawyers who just starting their careers
Darth Vaughn 35:37
will mean, you have an ethical obligation to be technically competent, right? You have a duty of technological competence. So I mean, that’s it is what it is, it’s codified in the vast majority of states. And you have an ethical obligation to give your client as an efficient, high quality work product as you possibly can you take that in line with where we are, from a technological standpoint, I don’t see how you can’t use this technology to produce better work product faster, to better service your client. That being said, like, it’s always been somewhat of a struggle in the legal industry to get people to up their skill sets in this area. Some of the beauty of this emerging technology is that I don’t know that the skill sets are as important as it used to be, it really is almost, I don’t want to say it’s an easy button. There’s still skill that goes into this, but it’s much less skill is required. So I think for veterans who are shy to use the technology, they will feel more comfortable using it to Evans earlier example. And I mean, as far as new lawyers coming in, they’re already using this law students are already using ChatGPT. I mean, it had 100 million users in like two months, I know
Marlene Gebauer 36:54
school is already using it.
Darth Vaughn 36:56
running their their law school briefing through ChatGPT. Like it, you’re crazy, like they’re gonna come in probably with better techniques than us in lead the way. And I’m gonna be happy to learn from
Greg Lambert 37:09
good. Well, I want to talk about access to justice, which I think everyone knows is really important. It’s something that the industry I think, has really fallen down on. We talked talk a big game, but we still have a big problem. And of course, when this launched, one of the first things that came out was, Oh, finally, you know, this is going to help with with access to justice issues. So was Pablo, start with you? Do you think that a tool like this is not just going to help lawyers, legal information vendors, and in house counsel when it comes to the legal needs of the whole community? What about you know, John and Jane Q Public? How do you envision that they will benefit from resources like this? All right, well,
Pablo Arredondo 37:59
I’m going to start with John and JQ prisoner for a second, because that’s the one that we use, which is, you know, the California Innocence Project was given access, we give them access, and they have a backlog of people submitting, saying, look, look at my case. And what they told us is we were able to more quickly go through that backlog, right? There are more people that we’re able to now evaluate to see which ones we think are being run in prison, which I think is, you know, that’s access to justice, right? There are clinics right now that have lines that go around the corner. And if you are wealthy, your parents will just hire you a private lawyer and take care of things. If you’re not, you better hope that you were in line early enough before they closed the door. And you have to wait two weeks for the next time for that to happen. So I absolutely think this is one of the most important things that can happen for access to justice, because it can increase the sort of throughput and the ability of people who have devoted their lives to helping the public, right. And for folks that don’t have deep pockets just do a lot more right to sort of amplify themselves. And that’s something dark. And I’ve been looking at certain pro bono efforts that, you know, around Ford, we’re looking, we’re talking to the Harvard folks about their clinics. And I think that increasingly, what you should see are folks devoting some of this capacity for those in the private sector, I think we should all be, you know, just as lawyers are supposed to give pro bono hours, I think those of us working with GPG for should give sort of server hours, if that makes sense. And make some of the capacity available because it is sort of pricey right now, in order to help facilitate that kind of stuff. We should be profoundly ashamed. If we do not use this revolutionary technology to make things I’m talking like the kind of difference you can see some space like it should be unrecognizable to us what some of these systems look like before, given what these tools can do. Yeah. And
Greg Lambert 39:41
you mentioned the California Innocence Project. They have a wonderful podcast that just launched a couple of weeks ago. The legal talk network has that out. So if you haven’t listened to that, that’s that’s a good listen, of people doing good good things out in for the public. So there Arthur Evans, do you have any comments on access to justice issues?
Darth Vaughn 40:03
I mean, I think that technology can definitely assist us with access to justice. That being said, you know, technology wasn’t the thing that held us back from it before. So we have to be intentional about how we do it. I mean, Pablo mentioned, you know, dedicating a certain number of servers, server hours, you know, I would love for law firms and in house legal departments to think about, you know, if you can quantify how much time is saved on a particular task, because you leverage this technology, can you reallocate some of that to potentially pro bono? You know, if we’re intentional about it, this definitely gives us a infrastructure to help. And to me is profound, even if we reduce it 5%, right, like 80% of people in civil justice matters don’t have access to justice. That’s a big deal. Like even an improvement and incremental improvement utilizing technology is a win. But we need to reevaluate our priorities when it comes to this issue, above and beyond the technology and make sure that we’re being intentional about utilizing the technology to help in this area.
Marlene Gebauer 41:08
Okay, guys, so we’re up to our crystal ball question. And this is where we add where we, where we ask you to look into the future and determine what challenges or changes you see in the next two to five years. So, Pablo, I will start with you.
Pablo Arredondo 41:26
Alright, well, you know, with all the normal caveats of how quickly this is moving, it’s very difficult to make any predictions, but I’m going to hazard one, I think the big losers are going to be people who ignore this and hope it goes away or sort of cling to like an earlier system. I think second place is going to go to people driven by fear. And don’t get me wrong fear doing this out of fear is much better than not doing it right. It’s it’s much better for your for your outcome. But that’ll just have you keeping up and the people that do it from joy. And that might sound kind of cheesy, but the reason Darth and Evan were seeing this stuff way before was because they actually weren’t just trying to like make sure they could keep up to the status quo. They were saying how do we move the ball forward? How do we make things better than anyone is doing it. And if you take that approach this technology, and you see it for what it is, which is the cystic amazing ability and capacity that is like almost infinitely flexible and can be pointed to so many different ways. Those are the people that I think are going to thrive. And so you know, I get it at any given partnership, some people, maybe they’ll only do it with this sort of Sputnik fear, that’s fine. But I encourage folks to sort of quickly get past that. And instead to realize what this is, which is just an amazing capacity to differentiate yourself to create new client offerings to just make everything a lot better. And those are the folks that I think are going to win. So perhaps does shockingly, for me, I would say go forth with joy into this technology.
Marlene Gebauer 42:48
Excellent. I said that. I think that’s good advice. Evan, what are your thoughts?
Evan Shenkman 42:53
Sure. So, you know, I think you got three folks will be positive on this one. So I think it’s going to lead to happier clients, I think clients gonna appreciate having better predictability, better work product, better efficiency from their law firms, I think the lawyers themselves are going to be on a much better place a lot happier, because they’re able to spend more time doing the things that led them to want to go to law school in the first place, building those client relationships using their really high level strategic thinking, rather than sort of the mundane aspects. And third, I think it’s going to help folks like Darth’s wife, when her husband doesn’t have to spend time on their wedding day doing that legal project, because they were able to maybe get it done the day before using something like this, you know, a chance to get to see our kids for a couple extra minutes each day, and our wives and so on. The whole practice will be better, right? It’s always better when we could do things more efficiently. And reprioritize, where we should devote our time to clients are going to be better and our attorneys gonna be better as well.
Marlene Gebauer 43:52
Darth Vaughn 43:54
my wife is also a lawyer, and she probably work morning of our wedding as well.
Marlene Gebauer 44:01
So let’s let’s wrap up with your thoughts start.
Darth Vaughn 44:05
I think it’s got to change everything, to the point that we don’t even notice it in five years. It’s just baked into every single thing we do the same way. I can’t imagine life without email. And the same way everyone freaked out when email first came out in the label industry. My hope is that we see fantastic products coming down the pipeline that are well thought out well secure. We have great practitioners that know how to utilize them, they can service their clients better. And then we’ll be on to the next advancement. This is rapidly evolving. So whatever my prediction is here, and now will radically change in about two and a half years. That’s the upward trend we’re on. I do believe this though. The boat is leaving dark and you can ride or you can swim. And as you decide to swim, you’re probably not going to catch up. So now’s the time to get on board. It’s also good advice.
Greg Lambert 44:58
And as the great Yogi Bear ever said, predictions are really hard, especially when they’re about the future. So but Pablo, Evan and Doris, I want to thank you all for coming on here today. I am sure we will be back with one or more of you in the near future to see how things are going with with the tool. So thank you all for for joining us. Thank you, guys.
Darth Vaughn 45:22
Thanks for having us.
Marlene Gebauer 45:23
And of course, thanks to all of you listeners for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoyed 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, and I
Greg Lambert 45:36
can be reached on as glamour to on Twitter if I can remember my handle again. And then we’ll put everyone’s where people can reach out to you on the show notes. So we’ll take care of you guys.
Marlene Gebauer 45:50
listeners can also leave us a voicemail on our kijken review Hotline at 713-487-7821. As always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you, Jerry.
Greg Lambert 46:01
Thanks, Jerry. All right, Marlene, I’ll talk to you later.
Marlene Gebauer 46:03
All right, bye bye