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In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome back Richard Tromans, founder of Artificial Lawyer, after his year-and-a-half sabbatical. Tromans shares his insights on the impact of generative AI on the legal industry and discusses his upcoming Legal Innovators conferences in California and London.

Tromans observes that while the legal industry is generally enthusiastic about the potential of generative AI, there is a stark contrast in the perception of its impact outside the legal bubble. He believes that the technology will have a significant effect on the legal sector, but it will be mostly benign, with the potential to add value to the profession once the hype and cynicism subside.

The key to real transformation, according to Tromans, lies in integrating AI throughout the entire business process, rather than using it as a mere helper tool. This integration should encompass document management systems, knowledge management capabilities, templates, and precedents. However, he emphasizes that the current economic model of the legal industry must adapt to the technology for true transformation to occur.

Tromans also discusses the upcoming Legal Innovators California conference in San Francisco, which will focus on generative AI, standardization, and the infrastructure needed to support the evolving legal landscape. The event will feature speakers from law firms, in-house legal departments, academia, and major tech companies.

Looking ahead, Tromans believes that the biggest challenge for the legal industry over the next two to five years will be the willingness of clients and law firms to embrace change and rethink their processes. He argues that the industry could have adopted AI-driven solutions years ago, but the impetus to do so was lacking. The success of this “gentle revolution” will depend on the ability of clients and law firms to challenge assumptions and adapt to the changing technological landscape.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Artificial Lawyer’s Richard Tromans: Back to Work!

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome back Kris Satkunas, Director of Strategic Consulting at LexisNexis CounselLink, to discuss the findings of the 2024 Trends Report. The report, now in its 11th year, provides valuable insights into the legal industry, particularly focusing on hourly rates and spending patterns.

Satkunas explains that the data used in the report comes from the CounselLink Insight benchmarking database, which normalizes and anonymizes data related to matters and billing from CounselLink customers. This year’s report highlights significant increases in hourly rates, with firms relying more heavily on this lever to increase revenue and offset rising costs due to inflation. However, the degree to which rates have increased in recent years is noteworthy, with certain practice areas, such as M&A and IP litigation, commanding even higher rate increases.

Despite the substantial rate hikes, the report shows that blended rates at the matter level are not increasing as much, suggesting that other factors, such as staffing and leveraging, are helping to mitigate individual rate increases. Satkunas also notes that while there is a perception that high rates may drive clients to mid-sized firms, the data does not support this trend, with large law firms maintaining and even growing their client base.

The discussion also touches on the adoption of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), which has remained relatively stagnant over the years, with only around 10% of matters having some form of AFA. However, Satkunas remains optimistic that the increasing pressure on corporations to manage costs, coupled with the adoption of AI and other technologies, may lead to a greater uptake of AFAs in the coming years.

Looking ahead, Satkunas predicts that rates will continue to rise, but the legal industry will likely see changes in the business model as AI becomes more integrated into legal practices. She emphasizes the importance of in-house counsel investing in the right talent to assess their needs and determine which technologies will best address those needs. Additionally, as AI advances, more transactional work may become commoditized, potentially leading to increased adoption of AFAs for these components of legal matters.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading 2024 Trends Report: Dynamics Shaping the Future of Legal w/CounselLink’s Kris Satkunas

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome Jeroen Thierens, Strategic Account Advisor, and Jorn Vanysacker, co-founder of Henchman, a Belgian legal tech company that focuses on building an intelligent drafting assistant for lawyers working on complex transactional contracts based on precedents in the firm’s DMS.

Vanysacker shares the story behind Henchman’s founding, emphasizing the importance of solving a clear problem with a focused product strategy. The company’s mission is to unlock the collective knowledge within law firms and legal departments by connecting to their document management systems, recognizing contracts and clauses, and making this information easily accessible within Microsoft Word and Outlook.

Henchman serves both in-house legal teams and law firms, with a customer base spanning from boutique firms to AmLaw 200 firms. The platform addresses two main use cases: drafting transactions and assisting knowledge management teams in gaining data-driven insights to prioritize their work and boost relevant knowledge in search results.

The discussion also touches on Henchman’s integration with Microsoft Copilot, which aims to provide more accurate results when drafting contracts by leveraging the structured data and metadata within the platform. The company’s European perspective is reflected in its language-agnostic system, which works seamlessly with multiple languages, making it an attractive solution for global law firms.

Looking ahead, Vanysacker and Thierens discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI in the legal industry. While acknowledging the potential of large language models, they emphasize the importance of context and accuracy in transactional work. Henchman’s approach is to use AI as a tool to enhance their product, focusing on providing the next best options rather than just the next best words, ultimately aiming to become the “Chief of Staff” for each legal professional.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Jorn Vanysacker & Jeroen Thierens from Henchman: We Are Building the “Chief of Staff” For Each Legal Professional

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert sit down with Joe Breda, President of Bloomberg Law, and Mathew Rotenberg, CEO and co-founder of Dashboard Legal, to discuss Bloomberg’s recent acquisition of Dashboard Legal. The acquisition aims to expand Bloomberg’s reach within the legal workflow market and enhance its suite of tools for the legal industry.

Dashboard Legal, born from Rotenberg’s experience as a practicing attorney, focuses on streamlining project management and collaboration processes for lawyers. By integrating Dashboard Legal’s features with Bloomberg Law’s existing tools, such as AI-powered contract solutions, the combined platform seeks to provide a comprehensive legal workstation that addresses the pain points of managing the increasing complexity and volume of information in legal work.

The acquisition also presents an opportunity to leverage generative AI in a hyper-context-sensitive manner, allowing lawyers to access relevant information and perform tasks like document comparison and compliance checks within a secure, controlled environment. This approach aims to address law firms’ concerns about data privacy and control while still harnessing the power of AI.

Breda and Rotenberg emphasize the potential for the combined platform to serve not only large law firms but also small to mid-sized firms and in-house legal departments. The user-friendly interface and accessibility of Dashboard Legal, coupled with Bloomberg’s resources and credibility, make it an attractive solution for legal professionals across the board.

As the integration process begins, Rotenberg will join Bloomberg Law’s senior leadership team, working closely with Breda to expand the platform’s capabilities and deliver on the promise of an AI-enabled, content-rich legal workflow solution. The acquisition marks an exciting development in the legal technology landscape, with the potential to significantly improve the way lawyers work and collaborate.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

Transcript:

Continue Reading Bloomberg Law Acquires Dashboard Legal to Enhance Legal Workflow Solutions – Joe Breda and Mat Rotenberg

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is launching a new conference called EVOLVE, which will focus on the rapidly evolving topics of generative AI and cybersecurity in the legal industry. Ken Jones, Principal Consultant at Xerdict Group LLC, and Josh Smith, Information Security Manager at Ogletree Deakins, join the podcast to discuss the conference and the challenges and opportunities presented by these cutting-edge technologies.

ILTA EVOLVE is designed to be a more intimate event compared to the larger ILTACON conference, with an expected attendance of 300-500 people. This smaller scale allows for deeper technical discussions, more personal interactions, and easier access to experts and speakers. The conference will feature a keynote speaker, a roundtable discussion, and 20 educational sessions led by a diverse group of talented speakers.

One of the key challenges faced by legal technology professionals is the need to balance the potential benefits of generative AI with the responsibility to protect client data. Law firms have a fiduciary duty to be strong stewards of their clients’ information, and the use of AI models that rely on vast amounts of data can create conflicts of interest. The conference will explore ways to make these models secure and compliant while still leveraging their capabilities to enhance legal services.

The keynote speaker for ILTA EVOLVE will be Joe Sullivan, former CSO of Facebook, accompanied by Lily Yeoh, founder and president of C1 Risk. Their presentation will focus on the legal issues faced by law firms in the event of a cybersecurity incident and how to respond effectively. The conference will also provide ample networking opportunities, including evening events, coffee breaks, and a business partner display area where attendees can engage with vendors and learn about the latest solutions.

Looking to the future, the co-chairs predict that both cybersecurity and generative AI will continue to evolve rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and valuable to the legal profession. In the realm of cybersecurity, the battle between attackers and defenders will likely be ongoing, requiring constant vigilance and adaptation. For AI, the application of best practices and methodologies from software development will be crucial in ensuring that these powerful technologies are deployed effectively and responsibly within law firms. ILTA EVOLVE aims to provide attendees with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate this complex landscape and harness the potential of these transformative technologies.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Exploring the Intersection of Generative AI and Cybersecurity at ILTA EVOLVE – Ken Jones and Josh Smith

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer sat down with Karen Dunn Skinner and David Skinner, the dynamic duo behind Gimbal Consulting. This episode, part of the “Love & Legal Tech” mini-series, explores the professional and personal journey of Karen and David, who have carved a niche in the legal tech industry by helping lawyers build practices they love, ensuring they also have time to enjoy life outside work.

Karen and David shared their fascinating backstory, from meeting in law school to their adventures in Budapest, Hungary, and beyond. These experiences not only enriched their personal lives but also shaped their professional paths, leading to the inception of Gimbal Consulting. Their work focuses on adapting Lean and Lean Six Sigma methodologies to the legal profession, aiming to streamline lawyers’ practices for increased productivity and profitability.

Working together has its unique set of challenges and rewards, as the Skinners highlighted. Their collaboration is built on a deep understanding and mutual respect for each other’s strengths and viewpoints, even when they differ. This synergy has allowed them to navigate their professional endeavors successfully while maintaining a strong personal relationship.

The episode also delves into the practicalities and philosophies that guide Karen and David’s work-life integration. They emphasized the importance of establishing routines that cater to both their professional and personal needs, such as their morning meetings in the hot tub, which blend work planning with relaxation.

For couples considering a similar path, Karen and David offered sage advice: embrace the journey with open hearts and minds, acknowledging that while working with your spouse can be challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Their story is a testament to the power of partnership in both love and legal tech.

Listeners of “The Geek in Review” will find this episode not only inspiring but also filled with practical insights into making a significant impact in the legal tech space while nurturing a fulfilling personal life.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Karen Dunn Skinner and David Skinner of Gimbal Consulting

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert wrap up their series of interviews from the LegalWeek 2024 conference in New York with a conversation with Kelly Griswold, CEO of Onna. Kelly shares her objectives for attending the conference, which include interacting with customers and partners, staying on top of industry trends and innovations, and bringing her remote team together to build community.

Kelly provides an overview of Onna, explaining that the company primarily serves enterprise and corporate clients by managing their unstructured data with a focus on internal collaboration apps. Onna collects and integrates with various data sources to establish live connectivity and data transformation, making the data ready for searching and discovery to power downstream workflows such as litigation requests, early case assessment, and investigations. Kelly emphasizes the importance of data management as a necessary enabler for future innovations in the legal tech space.

The conversation touches on the challenges of managing data in the enterprise and how Onna helps clients improve their processes. Kelly explains that Onna’s approach involves helping enterprises build a data foundation that is accessible when needed, allowing them to skip several steps in the traditional linear workflow. This value proposition is particularly appealing to enterprises looking to avoid downstream costs by having better visibility and control over their data.

Kelly also discusses the impact of generative AI on the legal industry, noting that while there is a lot of buzz around the technology, companies are realizing the importance of getting their data in order before diving into experimentation and implementation. She believes that the awareness brought by the hype around generative AI is driving companies to make fundamental investments in data management.

Looking to the future, Kelly shares her crystal ball prediction for the next 5-10 years, envisioning a world where natural language communication and automation will transform the way legal workflows are handled. She imagines a scenario where drafting a contract could be done through verbal communication and a system that asks questions and generates the agreement, reducing the need for manual, hands-on work.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript

Continue Reading Kelly Griswold of Onna on the Fundamental Investments Needed in Data Management

In this week’s episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer interview Michael Bommarito and Jill Bommarito, the CEO and Chief Risk Officer of 273 Ventures, respectively. The couple, who have been together since high school, share their experiences working together in the legal technology space.

Michael and Jill discuss the advantages and challenges of working closely together in the same organization. They highlight the benefits of being able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time and the ability to seamlessly cover for one another when family responsibilities arise. However, they also acknowledge the lack of boundaries between work and home life, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

The Bommaritos also detail their work at 273 Ventures, particularly their focus on developing Large Language Models (LLMs) with a clean data approach. Jill, one of the world’s first certified AI auditors, brings her expertise in compliance and risk management to ensure that the models are built ethically and in accordance with legal standards. Michael shares his excitement about the potential applications of their LLMs, such as automating due diligence processes and drafting contract revisions based on identified risks.

When asked about the reactions they receive from others regarding working together, the couple admits that most people express sympathy and curiosity about how they manage to do it successfully. They attribute their success to their long history together and the shared experiences they have had, both personally and professionally.

Finally, the Bommaritos offer advice to other couples considering working in the same field or business. They emphasize the importance of being certain that both partners are fully committed to the idea, as it can be an all-consuming experience. They also stress the significance of knowing each other well before embarking on such a venture, as a strong foundation is crucial for navigating the challenges that come with working closely together.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech – Jillian Bommarito and Michael Bommarito of 273 Ventures

In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer engage with Dan Lear, VP of Partnerships at InfoTrack, capturing insights from the latest LegalWeek 2024 conference. Lear shares his observations on the evolving landscape of legal technology, noting the increased diversity of technologies present at the conference compared to previous years. He highlights a shift from a narrow focus on eDiscovery to a broader array of legal tech solutions, indicating a significant expansion in the sector’s innovation and investment interest.

Dan Lear delves into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal industry. While AI dominated previous discussions with a mix of fear and fascination, Lear suggests the narrative is shifting towards practical integration and utility. The conversation reflects on the cyclical hype surrounding AI, with speculation on whether the legal sector has reached or surpassed its peak AI moment. Lear posits that the real value of AI will unfold as it becomes more embedded in legal workflows, transforming efficiency rather than replacing legal professionals outright.

InfoTrack’s role and offerings in the legal tech space receive a detailed exploration. Lear explains how InfoTrack serves primarily small to medium-sized law firms, facilitating more efficient litigation support through integrated cloud-based solutions. He underscores the challenge and opportunity in educating and transitioning firms to embrace digital practices for docketing and court filings, emphasizing InfoTrack’s mission to expand electronic access to court services for the betterment of legal accessibility and efficiency.

Lear further discusses the demands and dynamics of InfoTrack’s clientele, identifying a trend towards specialization and business acumen within law firms. He predicts that technology will play a pivotal role in enabling firms to succeed by enhancing client acquisition, service delivery, and operational efficiency. The conversation underscores a broader industry evolution towards recognizing and leveraging technology not just for the sake of innovation, but as a strategic asset to differentiate and thrive in a competitive landscape.

Concluding the episode, Lear reflects on the future trajectory of the legal industry and InfoTrack’s place within it. He envisions a legal sector increasingly shaped by technological advancements, where AI and digital platforms streamline processes and redefine the nature of legal work. Through Lear’s insights, the episode offers a compelling snapshot of the current state and exciting prospects of legal technology, highlighting the continuous journey towards more accessible, efficient, and innovative legal services.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

Transcript:

Continue Reading LegalWeek 2024 Special Part Five – Dan Lear from LegalTrack

In the fourth round of interviews of “The Geek in Review” podcast’s mini-series “Love & Legal Tech,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer chat with Chris Ford and Nikki Shaver, the dynamic couple behind the Legal Technology Hub. Their project, conceived out of necessity and frustration with the lack of a single source of truth for legal technology solutions, has grown into a thriving business that categorizes and reviews over 2000 legal tech products, aiding law firms and corporate legal departments in navigating the vast landscape of available technologies.

Their story begins in Australia, where Chris and Nikki first connected through a dating site, a testament to their adventurous spirits and willingness to embrace new technologies, even in their personal lives. This spirit of innovation and exploration carried over into their professional lives when they decided to tackle the challenge of creating a centralized platform for legal technology solutions during the pandemic. Their complementary skills in marketing, legal tech, and innovation have been crucial to their success, demonstrating the power of collaboration and mutual respect in both business and personal relationships.

Working together presents its challenges, notably in balancing professional demands with family life, as they navigate attending the same industry events while ensuring the wellbeing of their two children. Yet, it’s clear that their partnership strengthens both their business and their relationship, as they share a common goal and a deep understanding of each other’s strengths.

Chris and Nikki’s journey is a shining example for other couples in the legal tech industry, emphasizing the importance of shared vision, respect for each other’s expertise, and the willingness to support one another’s ideas, no matter how ambitious. Their advice for other couples looking to work together in the industry is to focus on their common goals and leverage their unique strengths, ensuring that their partnership is both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.

Their dedication to innovation, coupled with their strong relationship, showcases the potential for couples to make significant contributions to the legal tech industry while building a life together.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠

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Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Nikki Shaver and Chris Ford of Legal Technology Hub