Photo of Greg Lambert

Librarian-Lawyer-Knowledge Management-Competitive Analysis-Computer Programmer.... I've taken the Renaissance Man approach to working in the legal industry and have found it very rewarding. My Modus Operandi is to look at unrelated items and create a process that can tie those items together. The overall goal is to make the resulting information better than the individual parts that make it up.

Using Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Natural Language Processing to hold a conversation might seem like a far off idea when it comes to the legal industry, but it is not. We sit down with Baker Hostetler’s Katherine Lowry, and Puerto Rico defense attorney Diego Alcala to get a better understanding of how chatbots work, and what value they can bring from legal practices ranging from BigLaw Bankruptcy practice to a solo attorney’s criminal law practice.

Katherine Lowry won the American Association of Law Libraries’ Innovation Tournament in 2018 with her attorney-facing chatbot. In the nearly two years since that recognition, she has created a chatbot for her Bankruptcy practice that answers thousands of potential questions and helps her attorneys find information quickly and frees up her researchers’ time for more complex questions.

Diego Alcala is working on chatbots which will assist him in his practice by answering basic questions that family members need to know about the clients he is representing. While Diego is not a programmer, he has learned the concept of chatbots through numerous platforms that allow for those with no coding skills to still create powerful chatbots to answer practical questions.

Listen in and see if the ideas shared by Lowry and Alcala spur any ideas of how automating a conversation might help you in your practice.

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Information Inspirations

There’s another bill in Congress that creates a FREE PACER! Congressman Hank Johnson, D-GA, is not stopping there. He is also requiring more transparency in the Federal Courts by requiring audio and video recordings are made available of court proceedings. While the bill creates a FREE PACER for most, there is a surcharge for power users who have $25,000 or more in quarterly usage. That means some BigLaw firms will have to pay that surcharge.
Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 70 – A Chat About Chatbots and The Law With Katherine Lowry and Diego Alcala

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash
With all of the news about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) making its way into the United States, it is time for law firms to think about what they are going to do to prepare for a possible outbreak that will affect their business operations. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans need to be dusted off and updated to manage the different scenarios that may come our with over the next few months. We asked the Association of Legal Administrators interim Executive Director, April Campbell, to discuss what law firms need to be doing to prepare.

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There are definite immediate and local actions that should be implemented such as:
  • Restrict travel to hotspots
  • 14-day work from home policies for personnel who have traveled to those areas, or were exposed to others who may have traveled to hotspots
  • Stress that sick employees stay home
  • Explain proper handwashing techniques
  • And LOTS OF HAND SANITIZER


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 69 – What Should Law Firms Do To Prepare for a Possible COVID-19 Epidemic? With the ALA’s April Campbell

The legal industry relies upon the writings and communications of lawyers, judges, and lawmakers. For the citizens and clients who are subject to these legal writings, understanding the legalese is painfully frustrating. We were asked by a fan of the show (in full disclosure, it was Greg’s sister-in-law Wendy) why lawyers can’t write in plain English. We pulled together a panel of four experts on legal communications and asked them just that. It turns out that writing in plain English is not only possible, but it is the preferred method of legal writing.
Our guests on this episode are:

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Suggested Reading List

Information Inspirations

Greg got to drop in on a Houston Young Lawyer Association meeting for First-Generation Lawyers on the topic of lawyer recruiting. The meeting was great, but the biggest impact was made by a question a minority law student was asked on why his experience as a person of color would bring value to the firm. Is that something a firm should even be asking?

Marlene geeks out over Evan Parker’s article on How to Talk Data and Influence People, Including Lawyers. This dovetailed nicely with our guests’ discussion on presenting the information in a way that tells a story and presents information in a way that is understandable by the reader. Data analytics is just another method of communicating. The trick is communicating in a way that actually makes sense and informs.

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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.


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 68 – The Innovative Concept of Legal Writing in Plain English

If there’s one thing that many of us need these days, it is a cybersecurity expert on retainer. Luckily, law professor Steve Black, visiting professor at the University of Houston fills that need. Prof. Black talks with us on a number of issues including what motivates hackers and cybercriminals (spoiler: it’s money), the dark web, how law firms and business approach information stored in the cloud, and what process automation means for data security.
Law firms might be a weak link in the eyes of cybercriminals when it comes to acquiring information. Professor Black discusses the different tactics cybercriminals use, the vulnerabilities found in law firms, and the actions that we need to take with our equipment, our network, our people, and our data. We guarantee that his discussion would be the highlight of any party.

Information Inspirations
While some still think of Millennials as the new kids in the workforce, that isn’t really true. In a recent white paper from Thomson Reuters titled, “Becoming the firm where millennials want to work,” the authors discuss the needs of a generation which is now the largest percentage in the workforce. Greg ponders the idea of there actually being two subsets within the generation of those in the workforce through the Great Recession and those who entered after the downturn. There is almost a decade of lawyers who have never actually experienced what it’s like to work during a recession.


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 66 – Professor Steve Black on Cybersecurity in the Legal Market

The social media platform Fishbowl is designed to create an anonymous but verified space for professionals to socialize with others in the same profession. CEO and co-founder Matt Sunbulli joins us this week to talk about FIshbowl’s entry into the legal industry social media space. It’s been about eight weeks, but there is already a large number of attorneys and other legal professionals using the platform to discuss issues ranging from what’s an appropriate salary range, to advice on lateral moves, to is it okay to vape in the workplace. The answer to that last one is a solid, NO!
Fishbowl creates an optional identification for its users which range from anonymized job title (Attorney, Partner, etc.), to “works at X law firm,” to full identification, based on the user’s needs on individual interactions. Because users have to sign up with their real names and be verified by your work email and LinkedIn profile, there’s a self-policing aspect to the platform. This seems to have tamped down the Troll factor you find on other platforms like Reddit. Because it allows for anonymity in the posts, users are more comfortable about asking questions to peers or others in more senior roles. It’s a very interesting concept of professional anonymity that brings us some very interesting conversations that we just don’t find on other professional networks like LinkedIn.

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Information Inspirations
The American Association of Law Libraries has allowed for full Open Access to the Law Library Journal and Spectrum magazine. The Open Access movement in professional journals and publications is something that has been occurring in academic circles, and once again, AALL is leading the way for other professional organizations to promote professional writing and promotion for its members.


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 65 – Matt Sunbulli on Fishbowl’s Entry into the Legal Industry Social Media Space

While we may have had a tough time pronouncing things correctly, this week’s guests said all the right things when it comes to being a leader within their organizations. Laura Toledo, Communications and Marketing Manager at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA in Minneapolis, and Kevin Iredell, Chief Marketing Officer at Lowenstein Sandler LLP in New York, discuss their year-long experience in the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute. Both are leaders within the Legal Marketing Association, which sponsored their attendance at the institute. While people in leadership positions may feel that they need to have all the answers, Toledo says that she learned it is okay to be patient and learn more about the situation before just going with her gut reaction. Iredell stressed that the key to being a great leader is making sure that you’ve given those who report to you all the tools and support they need in order to succeed. The Institute brings together leaders from different industries and helped both of our guests understand that the legal industry does not have a monopoly on stressful situations and the need for solid leadership. Take a listen, and learn more from their LMA article, “Leadership That Pays it forward.”

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Information Inspirations

Greg points to a recent TED talk article from Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic called “Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? And what can we do about it?” The article and video are about as harsh as the title implies. While Chamorrow-Premuzic takes liberties at the expense of men, pointing out that the traits of bad leaders skew toward men, the traits of a good leader do not have a gender bias. We have a tendency to value confidence over competence, narcissism over humility, and the belief that leaders can do anything rather than know their limitations. This inspiration dovetails nicely with our guests today.
Continue Reading The Geek In Review Ep. 64 – The Leadership Journey with Laura Toledo and Kevin Iredell

While we try to put out a Geek In Review podcast episode weekly, we average about 40 episodes a year, so the math tells us that we skip a week every month. Still, not too shabby if we say so ourselves.

We have a number of interviews and ideas lined up for 2020, but we wanted to take a quick look back one last time at 2019 and point out a list of episodes that were popular with our audience. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet, give it a try and let us know what you think.

Before we start the list, we wanted to thank all of our guests who have taken the time to talk with us and put up with the joys of building a garage band style podcast… and all the technical difficulties that entails. We’d also want to thank Jerry David DeCicca and Eve Searls for the music that you hear on the podcast.

Let’s jump into the ten most popular episodes:

Number One: The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

We have twelve stories from legal professionals and what they see as the benefits and detriments of working from non-traditional spaces.

Number Two: Data Science Superhero

Jennifer Roberts discusses her work as a Data Scientist in the legal field. She thinks that law firms are just scratching the surface when it comes to the value of data.
Continue Reading Top Ten Geek In Review Podcast Episodes for 2019