The final assignment for one of my college theory courses was to write at least 32 bars of music for 4 voices, containing 3 key and 2 time signature changes, that demonstrated 6 of 10 special techniques that we’d been taught, all while adhering to the standard rules of 4-part harmony.  And rather than simply writing it out and turning it in, we had to perform it in front of the class.

We were given the final assignment halfway through the course to ensure that we had plenty of time to complete it.  The last week of class was entirely devoted to performing our assignments. Some people played their pieces on piano.  Some dragged string or brass quartets into class. My best friend did his as a barbershop quartet.

The performances were good – most of the class were talented musicians – but the compositions were mostly ‘exercise-like’.  I hate academic exercises. I did then and I do now. I need work to have purpose and meaning beyond simply ‘that’s the assignment’. So while most students stood up and said something like, “this is my final assignment, it was really hard, I’m not a composer, please be nice to me”, I took a very different approach. I went to the front of the class and said something like this…

Our reluctant hero, a young peasant Boy, is approaching the end of his quest. He and his travel companion, an aging Wizard who has mentored the boy throughout their journey, stand on a bluff overlooking a lush green valley.  At the opposite end of the valley is the gleaming city where the Boy’s quest will finally come to an end. The Boy, eager to complete his quest, struggles to contain his excitement, but the Wizard motions for the Boy to come sit by his side.  The Wizard sings…

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #4

Capture d’écran de Musescore 1.2 utilisé sous KDE

When I first moved to NY, I wrote all my music out by hand.  I’d buy staff paper with the lines pre-drawn, and I’d fill in clefs, time signatures, key signatures, measures, notes, etc.  This worked great, except that it was extremely time consuming, labor intensive, and my music notation was almost as bad as my handwriting, so even I had trouble reading it.  Thankfully, at about the same time, affordable music notation programs were coming on the market and surprise surprise, I was an early adopter.  These programs connected a PC or Mac to a keyboard using the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and frankly, there were more than a few bugs in the system.

It was not uncommon for me to spend all day, playing music into the computer, reformatting, spacing it just right, and meticulously editing lyrics, only to have the program crash right before I took a break for dinner.  Just like working in word processors of the time, I learned to save my work often, but unlike word processors, saving work was not necessarily an indication that I could actually retrieve my work later. The midi files would often become corrupted at which point, none of my work was salvageable.

The first few tens of times this happened, I was completely dejected. All of my time and effort was wasted.  My brilliant compositions were lost forever, sacrificed to the fickle and wicked gods of MIDI.  I cursed the software, the computer, the keyboard, and myself for being such a lazy composer.  Mozart never had notation software, and he seemed to do okay.  Every time this happened I would sulk for a while, have stiff drink or two, and start all over again the next day.

Over time I began to notice a pattern emerging.  The work that took me all day to do the day before, only took half a day to complete the second time around, and in the process of recreating my earlier work, I invariably streamlined, simplified, and generally created something markedly better than I had done the day before.  This was universal.  I never once ended up with a worse piece of music having lost my original to MIDI corruption. Over time I came to relish in these opportunities.  I would rock up to dinner with friends, beaming with satisfaction and when they asked why I was so happy, I’d say “I lost all the music I wrote today to corrupt MIDI files.”  Needless to say, they thought I was nuts, but in my experience lost to corruption meant that I was going to create something even better the next day.

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #3

Once upon a time

In my second year of college I started an independent study course with an associate professor to learn music composition.  I’d had years of study, and I figured I knew just about everything there was to know about the theory of music by that point.  I regularly spent hours in the practice room catacombs writing through-composed rock operas that would one day fill arenas of people all singing along.  I didn’t really need composition lessons, but I figured, what the hell, I’m good at this. I’ll get an assignment day one, turn it around in an hour and spend the rest of the week writing my own stuff.  Easy A.

On day one, I showed up and the professor asked me to play some of my music, so he could understand where I was in my development as a composer.  I played a handful of my latest hits.  These were pieces that all of my friends loved.  One was raucous and loud, with a catchy melody and wild bluesy piano riffs.  One was sweet and quiet, and guaranteed to make every girl’s mother cry.  Some were upbeat and fun, and some were boisterous and stirring.  I chose these pieces to show off my range of styles and emotions.

The professor was very complimentary.  It clearly wasn’t the kind of music he wrote or listened to, but he could appreciate my passion and recognized that I had talent.  He thought about it for a moment and said, “Okay, here’s your assignment for the week, I want you to write a melody.”

“Great, yep.  Any particular style?  Time signature?  Key?”

“Nope, I don’t care about any of that. But I want it to be a single stand-alone melody of at least 32 bars.”

“Cool, uh huh.  Got it. Can do.”

“Using only two intervals.”

I swear someone in the other room pulled a needle across a record at that very moment.

Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #2

via Giphy

When I was a young man, I hated practicing the piano.  Beethoven. Haydn. Schumann. Boring. And truth be told, I was never a very good pianist, but I loved playing the piano.  I would sit and play for hours, not any written music mind you, I was just exploring the keyboard, trying different combinations, listening to the various harmonies and dissonances that I could create.  My mother tells horror stories of hours of the same 4 chords played with slight variation, over and over and over again and again and again until she would scream, “Don’t you have some MUSIC to practice?”

My piano teacher knew I was never going to be a great pianist, but in the fifth grade she made a deal with me.  For every great masterwork I learned, I could create my own.  From that moment on, I always played two pieces at each recital.  One boring piece some dead white European guy (DWEG) wrote, and one brilliant original McClead composition. Continue Reading Lessons from a Former Life #1

I’ve gotten a bit of grief from friends and colleagues for starting a series of blog posts on lessons I learned from my time as a musician and composer that I now use every day in my capacity as a legal technologist, then building to the announcement that I’m starting my own consulting company, and then immediately dropping off the face of the earth again.  I will come back to that series shortly, I promise, but as you can imagine I’ve been all consumed with the new company for the last few months.

As I write this, I am sitting on a train from New York to Boston to attend the College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference, where I and Geek #1 will be inducted as fellows.  Toby and Casey are already fellows, so we’re quickly approaching Phase 2 of 3 Geeks World Domination, (ed. – First rule of 3GWD: We don’t talk about 3GWD, Ryan!) but my 4-hour train journey gives me a bit of time to reflect, regroup, and rewrite.

The interesting thing about starting a company in the midst of a series of posts about lessons from a past life, is that it makes me think a lot about how I’ll use the lessons I’m learning today in my future endeavors. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in recent weeks that I’m planning to keep in mind as I go forward.

1) Approach new opportunities as if you know nothing. Continue Reading Lessons for a Future Life

For those of us who went to law school, a large percentage probably assumed we’d graduate, take the bar, and practice law. But, sometimes life takes you in a different direction. Today’s guest fits that mold, and also decided to talk with 15 other law school grads who also found careers outside the traditional legal practice. Adam Pascarella is the Founder of Second Order Capital Management, and the author of the new book, Reversed in Part: 15 Law School Grads on Pursuing Non-Traditional Careers. Within the book, you’ll also find two former TGIR guests, Ayelette Robinson and Richard Hsu.

Reversed in Part is designed to give inspiration and some practical insights from professionals who followed their passions and how their legal career experiences helped them along the way. Adam tells us how he essentially used the interviews to help guide himself into a career outside of BigLaw and take the risk to start his own business.

LegalWeek Crystal Ball Question

This week we hear from Michael Burns, Chief Revenue Officer at Steno on what he sees for the legal industry when he peers into his crystal ball. For the industry to improve, it’s going to take the help of allied professionals, automation, and even API integration to make it a reality.

Congrats to Marlene

For those who haven’t seen yet, Marlene was included in the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center’s Women of Legal Tech 2022Such a great list of leaders, including five former guests. It was nice of the ABA’s LTRC to give us an additional list of eleven more leaders who we need to get on the podcast!!

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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert

Voicemail: 713-487-7270

Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com

Music: Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 154 – Adam Pascarella’s “Reversed in Part” – 15 Stories of Non-Traditional Careers After Law School

Matthew Coatney, CIO at Thompson Hine, and author of The Human Cloud sits down and talks about what he sees as the transformation of how we work. According to Coatney, freelancing and project-based work (The Human Cloud) combined with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (The Machine Cloud) will soon disrupt the way we deliver work. Law firms will not be exempt from this disruption. Matters are really just projects.  Contract attorneys are freelancers. According to some experts, 80% of work to be done by organizations in the 2030s will be project-based work. And AI and ML will eat into the other 20%. Coatney says that we are missing out on an opportunity if we are not preparing for this reality.

We asked how life as a CIO has changed over the past couple of decades for a CIO in a law firm and Coatney says that a CIO of 2000 would have culture shock if they were to be transported to today. CIOs are still the brand ambassadors of the IT departments, but Chief Technology Officers and Chief Data Officers are making their way into the fold to help offload some of the overwhelming responsibility that many of today’s CIOs find falls on their shoulders.

Matt also co-hosts The Human Cloud Podcast with Matthew Mottola where they put out twice-weekly episodes diving deeper into these topics. Go check out “The Matthews” on their own pod if you’re curious about how the structure of work is going to change.

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Information Inspirations
You may have noticed that we took last week off from this podcast, but we were busy recording other podcasts to fill the void.
Greg went on the Legal Value Network’s “Off the Clock” podcast and talked with Keith Maziarek of Katten and Percipent’s Chad Main about the recent increase of available APIs from a number of legal information vendors. These APIs may very well open the door to a much easier method of pulling data in from vendors directly into internal law firm databases to better prepare firms to handle clients’ needs.
Marlene hosted an ILTA podcast panel on How Virtual Hearings Altered the Fabric of Dispute Resolution with Florida Circuit Judge Christopher Sprysenski, Trial Consultant with Paul Hastings, Jeremy Cooper, and Partner at Jackson Walker, Richard Howell. The three give their personal experiences on how they handled virtual trials over the past twenty months.
Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 136 – Matthew Coatney – The Human Cloud: The World of Projects and Freelancers

When we all started working from home last March, we each did something to help us keep sane and stay engaged with our families, our friends, and our peers. Eugene Giudice found a unique way of doing just that with a daily note to all of the above. After more than a year of these daily inspirational emails, he put them into a book called Reflections During a Pandemic: Thoughts While Sheltering In Place. Eugene’s writings mark places in time and bring back memories of those periods of hope and despair. As we begin exiting the pandemic, it helps to reflect back on where we were, and how we managed to get through it.

Information Inspirations
Wolters Kluwer just released the results of the 2021 Future Ready Lawyers survey: Moving beyond the pandemic. Marlene presented this week on a panel to discuss the findings.
There are three sessions (Marlene’s is on June 30th)
Roger Williams Law School in Rhode Island is requiring all of its 2Ls to take a course on “Race & the Foundations of American Law” starting this Fall Semester. To learn more about Critical Race Theory and how it is taught in law school, listen to Cheryl Harris discuss her program at UCLA Law School.
Foley & Lardner presented a session on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and the new areas of legal practice that are to follow along with this blockchain technology.
Private company ownership of law firms may be expanding into Florida soon. The subcommittee of the Florida Supreme Court just returned its recommendations (“in concept only”) to follow the Utah Regulatory Sandbox. TO learn more about what Utah is doing listen to Lucy Ricca’s interview on Pioneers and Pathfinders.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 123 – Eugene Giudice on Reflections During a Pandemic

This week’s guest is Jennifer Leonard, Chief Innovation Officer at The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and the Executive Director of the Future of the Profession Initiative (FPI) at Penn Law. Jennifer joins us to talk about her work with FPI, the record $125M donation to Penn Law from the W.P. Carey Foundation, and the amazing Board of Advisors and people behind FPI. The multidisciplinary approach that FPI takes toward shaping the future of the practice brings together the wealth of schools there at Penn, including the Wharton School, Penn Engineering, the School of Nursing, and more. This approach fits Penn’s founder, Benjamin Franklin’s “entire notion of what education should be is deeply interdisciplinary” and it bridges the ideas of different industries in a way that overcomes some self-limitations that the legal industry places upon itself.

The Future of the Profession Initiative allows for creative approaches to how we educate our lawyers, and how we envision what the profession looks like in ten years with events such as the Law 2030 Conference, and the Future of Racial Equality webinar. One of the most unique projects coming out of Penn Law and FPI is the Five-Year Out Academy which brings back Penn Law alumni at their five-year post-graduation mark and helps these grads navigate the next phase of their career.

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Information Inspirations

There are big data, and there are small data, and there is storytelling. The trick is understanding how to leverage all three. The upcoming webinar on “Storytelling: How to bridge the gap between small and big data” looks to explain exactly how to do that.

Sara Lin, a former guest on the podcast, points out that Data Science and Library Science are partners when it comes to ways of working smarter with information. Her article, “10 ways Data science can help Librarians in AALL Spectrum, checks off the reason librarians need to develop data science skills.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) are a big deal these days. K&L Gates decided to put out a client alert explaining NFTs and then minted that article into its own NFT.

In-house legal departments are demanding that tech companies start recruiting talent who have firsthand knowledge of the problems facing their departments. With companies like Deloitte hiring people like Bob Taylor, it seems that some are getting the message.

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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 116 – Jennifer Leonard of Penn Law’s Future of the Profession Initiative

After 25 years at Liberty Mutual, Bob Taylor began his new adventure in legal services when he joined Deloitte’s Legal Business Services (LBS) as the Managing Director a few weeks ago. His in-house experience and desire to help create innovative and creative ways of providing legal business services make him a perfect fit to join his new colleagues, Valerie Dickerson, Legal Business Services Partner at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington, DC, and Mark Ross, Principal at Deloitte Legal Business Services in Los Angeles.
We discuss Bob’s move over to Deloitte, along with the holistic approach LBS is taking with understanding its client’s entire business, and providing multiple services where the overall service is greater than the individual sum of its parts. We also ask each of them to look into their crystal balls and project how they see the Big Four Professional Services, like Deloitte, changing the legal environment over the next decade.

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Information Inspirations
Our friend Kristin Hodgins asked a very interesting question on Twitter about how to start a start-up when you’re not wealthy or have a partner to rely upon.
You don’t have to be a young lawyer to enjoy the insights of young lawyers. The ABA Young Lawyer Division launched its new Young Lawyer Rising Podcast this week and the first two episodes cover Civility and being a young lawyer in the era of COVID.
We all know there’s some hype around big tech, AI, and ethics. Well, MIT Tech Review gives us “50-ish words you can use to show you care without incriminating yourself.”
Listen, Subscribe, Comment
Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep 113 – Bob Taylor, Valerie Dickerson, and Mark Ross on Deloitte Legal Business Services