Photo of Marlene Gebauer

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.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

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.

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. 116 – Jennifer Leonard of Penn Law’s Future of the Profession Initiative

Nicole Bradick, Founder and CEO of Theory and Principle, along with Ryan McClead, Principle at Sente Advisors, join us to talk about their collaborative product Map Engine. Map Engine is an easy-to-use, but powerful data visualization tool that allows law firms to quickly and easily turn their multi-jurisdictional data into beautiful, shareable maps. Instead of the common approach of placing data in flat documents like PDFs, Map Engine allows the firms to tell the story embedded in some or all of the data and allows for the maps to enhance the consumer’s experience through the interactive interface.
Along the way, we also discuss Nicole and Ryan’s individual experiences in launching a startup (without breaking the bank or eating only ramen.)

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify
Information Inspirations
Bloomberg Law is developing a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Framework to measure how law firms are meeting and/or surpassing DEI metrics which Bloomberg is developing with experts across the industry.
Steve Embry breaks down some of the problems AmLaw firms will eventually face if they keep moving more partners into non-equity roles, and keep the “old boy’s network” going on in the equity ranks.
The Association of Legal Administrators released a new white paper on “Remote Working as an Effective Recruitment and Retention Tool for Law Firms Post-COVID-19. [PDF]” The firms that remain flexible on remote working options will benefit over those competitors that demand that all work be done in the office.
Clients love multidisciplinary teams (MTD), but it seems that law firms only have a very narrow definition of what that means. Spoiler: only lawyers should make up the MTD.
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. 115 – Nicole Bradick and Ryan McClead on the Launch of Map Engine and Life as a Startup Founder

We hope that you like your Geek in Review with a little extra geekiness this week because we dive in with CaseText’s Chief Product Officer Pablo Arredondo on their innovative search tool, WeSearch.  This completely unique method of indexing texts into what Arredondo calls a “sublimely complex, 768-dimensional vector space”  creates a truly beautiful, and useful method of searching not just the words in the documents, but the concepts and meanings of those documents. Unlike the Artificial Intelligence tools many of us in the legal industry currently use, there’s no need to spend weeks or months training the system to understand the documents. The Neural Net techniques developed by the likes of Jacob Devlin, Google Researcher, and BERT author, allows the system to train itself, and the folks at CaseText have turned it loose to learn American case law.

While this new method of research opens many potential usages (and we brainstorm a few in the interview), but it also opens up some issues that aren’t unique to the legal industry, but are common in this industry. Issues such as acceptance of cloud-based utilities, what can and what cannot be accessed by the neural net tool, and perhaps the biggest issue we discuss, and that is the black box issue. Traditionally, when vendors provide search tools with AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP), there are Intellectual Property issues of the “Black Box” of the tool. While the methodology of how the system works is known by the vendor, just like the formula for Coke, it isn’t something they are willing to share. When it comes to this tool, the neural net and vectors work in ways that can be explained on a basic level, but after the system is trained, it begins functioning in a way that can’t be explained. This will be an issue that law librarians and academics may need to dive into in the not-so-distant future.

The WeSearch tool is available to test out. Let us know what you think.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

We’d all like to know what “The Future of the Law Firm Office” is going to be after we begin entering a post-pandemic workplace. Texas Lawbook’s Brooks Igo is hosting an upcoming webinar on May 11th which tackles that very topic.

Jae Um gives us ten questions we need to ask ourselves on how resilient our law firms are as we come out of COVID. Resiliency was a key factor in 2008, and it will be in 2021 as well.

Law firms might be different than corporations, but our clients have a Customer Experience (CX) with us whether we think about it or not. In a new podcast launched by Accenture called Built for Change, the inaugural episode discusses the importance of CX, and how some companies have successfully pivoted how their customers interact with them, and make that experience better.

Law firms have an issue with the “NONs”… only this time it is non-equity partners.

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. 114: Pablo Arredondo on CaseText’s New WeSearch Tool and How the Neural Net Is Making Its Way Into Legal Information

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.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify
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

Over the past year, many of us have said “I guess all law firms are virtual law firms now.” While that may technically be true, there are many firms whose business model is based on being a virtual firm. Dan Packel from The American Lawyer gives us a primer on Distributed Law Firms like Fisher Broyles, Ramon, Taylor English and Duma, and Culhane Meadows and how they operate without a physical environment. While many of these firms may fly below the radar for many biglaw firms, distributed firms like Fisher Broyles may be poised to break into the AmLaw 200. And if that happens, and it might happen this year, many big firms will start to take notice.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

While we don’t want you to replace us as your favorite podcast, we do think that Stephen Poor’s new podcast from Seyfarth, Pioneer and Pathfinders, provides some good sit-down discussions with legal innovators like Dr. Heidi Gardner, Dan Linna, Nicole Bradick, and more to come. Go check it out.

There are only eleven states now which do not require lawyers to have a competence level when it comes to legal technology. California is the latest to make such a requirement.

Our fellow geek, Casey Flaherty is the last of the Baker McKenzie dream team to finally leave Baker and go back into the legal innovation consulting world. Casey is now the Chief Strategy Officer at LexFusion and is bringing his talent back into the open legal market to help legal departments and law firms implement technology to improve overall legal processes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly brings us a new blockchain sheriff in Texas. The Texas Blockchain Council is a nonprofit trade association with the objective to make Texas the center of the universe for blockchain technology.

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. 112 – Dan Packel on the Rise of Distributed Law Firms

For those who went to law school, do you remember that class we all took on creativity in the legal work environment? No? We don’t remember it either. That’s why Adam Tsao decided to write The Creativity Playbook for Lawyers: Strategies for the Business of Legal Practice. Adam sits down with us and discusses how he integrated creativity into his own legal education at Penn Law School, as well as his legal work at Skadden and Covington before starting his own business, At Philosophy. He stresses that creativity is a vital process in a person’s legal career, and why we each need our own playbook to help us build creative processes into our professional activities. Adam also co-hosts a non-legal podcast on creativity called Double Agent.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

Baseball season is upon us. If you are a fan, you most likely have a favorite team. Darren Siegle from Specops Software reminds us that it is okay to root for the home team, just don’t use them as your password.

While law librarians can take a joke as much as the next profession (maybe even more), a recent American Lawyer article that runs comparisons between lawyer’s spouses, kids, and pets to secretaries and law librarians didn’t land well with Greg. Legal reporters seem to lack an understanding of what amazing benefits law librarians brought to their firms during COVID. We take the time to educate them.

It seems that the law firm librarians aren’t the only ones taking a hit from the press. The latest US News Law School rankings admitted to some flaws in its initial numbers for this year in how it measured law library metrics. In a portion of the ranking that only made up .25%, the change in the statistics caused nine schools to have their rankings altered.

While officially, Womens’ History Month came to a close yesterday, it’s always a good time to honor women in the legal industry, and we bring you a couple of good podcasts that do just that.

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. 111 – Adam Tsao and The Creativity Playbook for Lawyers

For those of us in large law firms, we understand that Practice Group Leaders have the following responsibilities:

  • Develop a strategy for the Practice Group (PG)
  • Advance the business development of the PG
  • Ensure equitable distribution of work among the more junior PG attorneys
  • Identify attorneys within the practice who are struggling and find mentoring and coaching opportunities for them
  • Practice law at the same time

For Lathrop GPM’s Intellectual Property Group, Kate Tompkins can do all of these, except practice law. That’s because she is not a lawyer. She’s a business professional.

We’ve heard the phrase “law firms should be run more like a business.” Well, Lathrop GPM and Kate Tompkins are putting that phrase into action. Kate tells us how she landed this role, and how we may see more business operation professionals stepping up to lead the legal practice as other firms look to run more like a business.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

If you’re looking for the future of search, CaseText may have the answer with the help of BERT. In their new WeSearch product, CaseText’s Pablo Arredondo says that the conceptual search product will leverage the open-source neural network framework developed by Google called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or simply BERT, to find related results not based on keywords, but through actual concepts. Bob Ambrogi runs through a few examples in his Law Sites Blog.

The patent office in China pulled about half of 2020’s applications recently due to irregularities. Many are saying that it is downright fraud and that it may have a worldwide impact on patents.

Slack rolled out, and then quickly rolled back a new feature that allowed anyone on Slack to DM anyone else on Slack. After a swift public rebuke on the potential harassment issues that this “feature” opens up, especially against women, Slack is rethinking the changes. Perhaps Slack would benefit from listening to lawyers like K&L Gates Partner Elisa D’Amico who specialize in understanding and fighting abuse on the Internet.

Video games are expanding into what is known as Synthetic Economies where gamers’ actions have economic effects both within the games and outside the games as well.

Bonus Inspirations

In support of March being Womens’ History Month, as well as the start of baseball’s Spring Training, check out this Twelve Six Podcast interview of Yankee’s beat reporter Lindsay Adler.

Also, check out how Kelp may save us all on the How to Save a Planet.

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. 110 – Kate Tompkins on Being a Practice Group Leader But Not a Lawyer

For nearly the past twenty-five years, Jeroen Plink worked on the cutting edge of innovation in the legal market ranging from creating software to help with project management and process improvement, to being the CEO of Clifford Chance Applied Solutions. His passion for looking at issues from unique perspectives, as well as his dislike for inefficient processes and waste, has led to a number of successes in legal innovation during this time. As he moves on from the Alternative Legal Service Provider environment and begins his new journey, Jeroen sits down with us to talk about his efforts going forward in Access to Justice, commercial ideas, consulting with law firms, and in-house operations.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

The idea of law firms going with a “single provider” on legal information platforms like Westlaw or Lexis may sound good on paper, but Victoria Hudgens points out in a recent LegalTech News article that these ‘one-stop shops’ limit the ingenuity and capabilities of law firms.

It takes a brave person to get between an appellate lawyer and their citation formatting rules. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas apparently is one of those brave souls. With the use of “(cleaned up)” in the recent Brownback v. King decision, Thomas has created a stir in the legal citation world the likes that haven’t been seen since the Court’s first Internet citation changes in 1996. Blue Book Rule 5.2 and Brownback are at odds and according to a Law360 article from Carrie Garrison from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, appellate lawyers may be taking sides.

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. 109 – What’s Next for Jeroen Plink?

Karl Harris, CEO of Lex Machina, took an interesting path to legal analytics. Initially working on sonar systems taking streams and signals and converting those into data, then on to mobile application analytics, then on to law school. Pulling these three skills together, the idea of legal analytics came together. With Lexis+ Litigation Analytics becoming the fourth pillar of the Lexis+ ecosystem, along with legal research elements, practical guidance, and brief analysis. Harris walks through the progression of legal analytics over the past decade, and even projects some of the potential analytics has in the assistance of practicing law.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify
Information Inspirations
Bryan Parker and Jon Greenblatt have a wonderful interview with Locke Lord Partner and former ABA President Paulette Brown. Brown gives an honest view of her experiences as a black woman lawyer in a BigLaw firm, and the reality of how little has changed over the past twenty years.
Distributed law firms like FisherBroyles are approaching AmLaw200 status and might be the hot new structure for law firms to disrupt the BigLaw model. 
With the use of Zoom for trials, there are some logistical problems that not only make trials difficult, one situation in St. Joseph County Michigan shows that what (or who) you can’t see on camera might create a dangerous situation. Luckily, Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Davis’ skills to know when a witness was showing signs of distress when the defendant was just feet away when the witness was testifying. 
It turns out that teachers aren’t the only professionals who have to buy supplies because the schools don’t have the funds. Some Judges are having to pay for their own Zoom accounts in order to conduct online trials.
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. 108 – Lex Machina’s Karl Harris on the Past, Present, and Future of Legal Analytics

Attorney Sophia George has one strong suggestion for those looking to increase equity in the legal industry: Hire minority lawyers! In order to help individuals find diverse lawyers, Sophia joined in the project created by Jackson Walker Partner Chevazz Brown called DiversePro. The online database works to connect diverse lawyers with potential clients who are looking to find lawyers from communities where they share a culture, language, or life experience. With a starting list of 250,000 lawyers in the DiversePro database, Chevazz Brown created an environment for diverse lawyers to go in and claim their profile, or create a profile, identify your practice area, specialty, school, and what makes them unique. We discuss how Chevazz and Sophia use DiversePro to help others find them, and the way they are working to get other diverse lawyers to do the same.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple Podcasts | Overcast LogoOvercast | Spotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations

James Goodnow talked with Bill Henderson about what they see as a flaw in the ingenuity incentive of law firms. In a normal business environment, ingenuity creates opportunities for everyone. In the legal industry, the opportunities are significantly limited to lawyers.

There is a quiet hiring boom going on in legal. In the fight for talent, the Harvard Business Review has some suggestions so that you line up the best people based on potential, not prior experience.

Sometimes a dress code or required uniform is a bad idea (bar exams), sometimes it can create equity (British Barristers.)

Sticking with dress codes… Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford wrote an entire book on it.

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. 107 – Sophia George and Chevazz Brown: Finding Diverse Lawyers via DiversePro