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

The United States military is the most formidable fighting force in the history of warfare, and the rightful birthplace of SNAFU, FUBAR, BOHICA, etc. Jordan’s Bulls were teams for the ages, and a hostile work environmentBreaking Bad is a crowning artistic achievement, and a show whose writers regularly painted themselves into ridiculous narrative cornersEvery institution, no matter how venerable, looks like a goat rodeo from the inside.

As we pass the year’s mid-point, I’ve had the good fortune to conduct more site visits at law firms and law departments. And, as always, I’ve attended an obscene number of conferences [at one right now]. I’ve seen quite a bit and heard even more. Overall, I’m optimistic. An admittedly skewed sample of major industry players are moving in directions I applaud (confirmation bias is only a few degrees away from social proof). But the inescapable conclusion from gaining visibility into so many organizations is that everyone—and I mean everyone, me included—has plenty of room for improvement. Those who refuse to concede their imperfections, even in private, are doing the industry a disservice. Continue Reading The Legal Department Goat Rodeo

On this episode of The Geek In Review, Marlene Gebauer interviews Ayelette Robinson about her transition from KM Attorney to award-winning actress and voice-over specialist. Ayelette discusses how acting isn’t about “pretending” but rather it’s about showing our real selves and injecting our own unique perspectives.

Marlene discusses the five training modules on security awareness. Technology and security all go hand-in-hand. But it wasn’t all work. Somehow Marlene discusses not one, but two articles regarding technology, ethics, and individuality. Both straight out of fashion magazines.

 

 

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 4: Understanding How to Place the Focus on Others

A man recently approached me during a break in a workshop I was running and said, “You ran innovation at a large global law firm, right?”  No matter how it’s worded, this is always a tricky question.  My title at the firm was Innovation Architect and I was tasked with finding innovative uses of technology to solve problems within the firm.  But I had no direct reports, no budget, and as a ‘non’ at a law firm, it’s hard to say I actually ran anything.  Still, I had some very successful innovation initiatives at the firm, so for the sake of brevity I replied, “Yep.”

His eyes lit up as he inched closer, “Good, you’re the man I need to talk to.”  He glanced from side to side, then speaking just above a whisper asked, “How do you innovate a law firm?”   I laughed, smiled broadly, and told him the truth. “You don’t.”  His eyes fell, and I immediately felt terrible, so I tried to buoy his spirits by asking him a few questions about himself.

Continue Reading How do you ‘innovate’ a law firm?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Greg Lambert (@glambert) and Marlene Gebauer (@gebauerm) talk with Duke Law School’s Cas Laskowski about software and applications designers moving away from simple User-Centered Design, and think more about Impact-Conscious Design models. This is a follow up to Cas’ 3 Geeks’ blog post back in April.

Marlene also discusses new games for the summer, and flexible space utilization in libraries. Her dog, Georgie, also makes a guest appearance.

Greg went to Alabama over the weekend and got a lesson in leadership from his brother-in-law on being a leader and letting the experts be the experts. He is also finishing up his AALL presidency and looking forward to Baltimore.

Let’s Discuss Impact-Conscious Design – On Anchor
Also on iTunes or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Don’t forget to rate the podcast, and let us know what you think.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 3: Let’s Discuss Impact-Conscious Design

Marlene Gebauer has been after the writers on 3 Geeks to produce a Podcast. After months… (years?) of talking about it, we finally decided to do it. So, let me be the first to invite you to listen to the new “The Geek In Review” podcast:

The inaugural episode covers Marlene’s attending a law firm management conference and my take on some of the strategies legal information providers are implementing on exiting the book business, and creating a de facto operating system for legal information.

Zena Applebaum and I conducted a phone interview where she talks about her recent post, My Non Life.

We’ll try to do these on a regular basis. If you have any suggestions… just let us know. We are really excited about launching this extension of 3 Geeks!

Continue Reading Introducing “The Geek In Review” Podcast

For many years working in the realm of law firms I have been described as a Non – a non lawyer. It is a rather strange predicament to define yourself and your skills based on what you are not, rather than what you are. I remember when my husband first graduated from university and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, he took a series of jobs to try things out only to come to the conclusion a year later that he learned what he didn’t want to do.  So he went back to school, twice, in pursuit of being a something.  I on the other hand, graduated from grad school and shortly thereafter started on my almost two decade journey of being a Non.

Continue Reading My Non Life

Over the weekend, I had a nice conversation with some of my peers in other law firm departments (Marketing, IT, and other administration leaders), about the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) letter to Lexis, asking that Lexis cease their current sales requirement of tying Lexis Advance to non-related materials, including Law360, Lex Machina, print material, and other products. I think my colleague, Jean O’Grady did a great job covering this topic in her blog post, so I won’t re-hash the specifics of the letter. However, it is definitely an issue which those outside the law firm libraries should take notice, and be very concerned. This is something that affects the entire law firm, not just the law librarians.

Continue Reading Why Lexis’ Sales Approach Should Concern Law Firm Management and Leadership