When it comes to what clients spend on legal services, there are savvy purchasers who look to manage their legal spin based on value and data-driven analytics. And there are those who simply just pay the invoice. Alex Kelly, co-founder, and COO of Brightflag talks with us about how they use AI and data analytics to help savvy corporate counsel and in-house legal teams make better decisions on how they purchase legal services. Brightflag recently announced a $28 million funding round from OnePeak, and Alex, along with co-founder Ian Nolan is looking to expand the team at Brightflag and help their customers with monitoring and controlling their legal spend and identify ways to focus on the value they get from their outside legal counsel, rather than just the hours of work.

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

Information Inspirations

Coca-Cola is apparently tired of its outside law firms not improving their diversity numbers. Since the firms won’t do it on their own, Coke is laying down the law to force them to diversify their attorney ranks or lose out on Coke’s business altogether.

While many law firms are announcing record profits, that isn’t stopping some from using the pandemic as a reason to restructure their workforce and begin reducing salaries and cutting jobs. The restructuring wave looks like it will continue through 2021.

While we see some value in the new social media platform, Clubhouse, Brian Inkster from The Time Blawg gives 12 reasons why it really isn’t for lawyers.

Goodwin Proctor LLP is just the latest law firm to find itself exposed to a data hack. This time it was through a vendor, and we may not have heard the last of which other firms might be affected.

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.

Links:
Transcript:

Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 104 – Brightflag’s Alex Kelly on Using Data and Analytics to Make Better Legal Spend Decisions

I couldn’t find the original comic that I saw once upon a time, but I went to a meme generator and reproduced it to the best of my memory. If you manage employees, you have probably been in one of these management meetings where the big boss or the HR staff conduct a brainstorming session on how we can help our employees deal with stress. On the surface, these meetings are structured with the idea of our employees are struggling with some external/internal stress (currently, of course, that would be work from home and COVID). In reality, these meetings are called to help our attorneys and employees to reduce stress in order to improve their productivity at work. Happy workers are productive workers.

Your workers see your true motivations behind these programs. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

There is a need for programs within the workplace to help guide the people who work there to identify the good stress that helps motivate you to focus on the task at hand, and there is the bad stress that distracts you from those tasks. The structure of many of these wellness programs are set up to do just that, but the way the programs are rolled out and marketed misses this point. Stress is a part of the job. Stress is a necessary motivator. The wellness programs aren’t there to eliminate stress, they are there to help workers manage stress. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t always get through.

One example of this mismarketing of wellness programs is meditation.

Meditation is marketed as a way to take time to yourself, to reflect, to calm the body and mind. That is true. But the biggest effect it has on improving work and reducing the bad stress of your work is that it trains you to understand that your mind will wander. In other words, while you are meditating, it is natural for you to start thinking of other things. Do I need to pick up some eggs and bread from the store? Did I pay the kids’ tuition? When did that crack in the wall appear?

These are natural occurrences because the brain, your brain specifically, was trained to always be thinking. In the legal profession, this is exponentially more prevalent because we are all trained issue spotters. Our brains are constantly searching for problems to solve.

What meditation training teaches us that this is fine. It is natural. Don’t try to stop the mind from wandering, but gain an understanding of when it does. And by understanding that your mind is wandering, meditation teaches you how to bring it back to the task at hand.  It helps you push away the bad stress and brings you back to the good stress. And by doing so, the time you spend on the task is reduced. For management, the result is more productivity. For the worker, the result is a reduction in stress levels. So everyone is rewarded.

Wellness programs have an important role to play in the workplace, but the messaging behind the “why” of wellness programs sometimes gets lost. As managers, it is important to understand the real reason we want these programs for our workplace and to communicate the entire reasoning to the workers of what’s in it for the organization, as well as the workers.

 

While lawyers probably hear every day how Artificial Intelligence is going to change the legal industry, many are still uncomfortable discussing it simply because they don’t understand what exactly AI is, and if it is going to be a good thing or a bad thing for them personally. Kira Systems’ Noah Waisberg and Dr. Alexander Hudek are releasing a book on February 3rd that addresses these issues. AI For Lawyers: How Artificial Intelligence is Adding Value, Amplifying Expertise, and Transforming Careers walks through the questions and gives some easy to understand explanations on how AI is being used in the legal industry. Whether it is document automation, e-discovery, legal research, or a myriad of other legal issues, AI is becoming normalized across practically every task a lawyer or legal professional does. As with most advanced technologies, AI may sound scary, but eventually, it becomes ubiquitous.

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

Information Inspirations

The Strategic Knowledge and Innovation Legal Leaders Summit (SKILLS) went online this year using Shindig, and it was a great experience. The audience and presenters found ways to interact, and while LegalWeek may not have happened this year, it was nice to still be able to seek out our conference friends online. Speaking of friends, our fellow 3 Geeks contributor Ryan McClead from Sente Advisors, along with Nicole Bradick of Theory and Principle won the video presentation at SKILLS for their new Map Engine software.

Early podcast guest, Jae Um has a five-part series on what to expect in a post-pandemic era for the legal market. It is a must-read.

We thought that last year’s bar exam was a bit of a mess. Turns out it was more like a mean game of musical chairs. There were definitely winners and losers.

The University of Texas Center for Women in the Law is putting on a free CLE featuring Nina Totenberg and four former clerks of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to celebrate the beginning of their Ginsburg Initiative.

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. 103 – AI for Lawyers with Noah Waisberg and Dr. Alexander Hudek

Nicole Morris is the Director of the TI:GER Program and Professor in Practice for Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia. She joins the podcast to discuss the upcoming TI:GER Innovation Conference on January 28, 2021. This free (yes FREE!) online conference on “Advancing Equity in Innovation” is focused on addressing the needs of women and people of color in technology. Not just legal technology, but the overall scope of issues affecting them from STEM education, to Patents, and to the lack of Venture Capital funding. The top tier presenters of the conference include BigLaw attorneys, Managing Partners, Tech Entrepreneurs, Patent Officials, and Startup Advisors. The TI:GER Innovation Conference is a must-attend for women and people of color in the tech field, and for those looking for ways to be better allies to the underrepresented community in technology. Registration for this FREE online conference is available here.

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

Information Inspirations

There are conspiracies that may be true, and there are conspiracy theories that are usually not true. The Culture Analytics Group a the University of California, Berkeley developed an AI tool to distinguish between the two.

ILTA launched a five-part podcast series featuring ILTA’s Influential Women in Legal Tech Honorees to discuss their experience and insights on how they’ve addressed legal innovation. Part one and part two are out now.

Many believe that misinformation is something that the “other side” is tricked into believing. Unfortunately, a lot of the misinformation is willfully consumed, not just by the other side, but by many of us. The consumption is so widespread that the Washington Post stopped publishing its Internet fact-checking column because people simply didn’t care. Sean Blanda expands on this human behavior of willfully accepting false information in his Medium post, “The ‘Other Side’ Is Not Dumb.”

The audio-only social media tool Clubhouse is becoming popular in the business community. While it is still an invite-only, Apple iOS-only tool, Clubhouse is gaining traction in the community. We will check it out, and see if the reporting is true in that it might be a great platform to do a live-podcast. If we do it… we’ll let you all know.

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. 102 – Nicole Morris on Emory Law Schools TI:GER Innovation Conference

We conclude our discussion with Jennifer Bluestein, author of the book Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates, and talk about how associates mature into their roles as lawyers with law firms. As these second to sixth-year associates begin to take on more substantial legal roles, as well as leadership, mentorship, and allyship among their fellow lawyers, the stress of the job can become overwhelming. Bluestein talks through a number of examples of how mid-level associates can handle the increased workload, improve communications with partners at the firm, and realistically plan for their future. During the COVID era, associates my struggle with their work, feel depressed, or have other troubles adjusting to a disrupted work environment. Bluestein says that law firms need to address these issues by observing behavior and constant communication with associates who need help. Our clients are still in need of their lawyer’s counsel, and now more than ever, associates are really a necessary part of the law firm’s business.

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

Information Inspirations

The Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Institute published the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market. Beyond stating the obvious, that 2020 was an extraordinary year, the report suggests that the pandemic may be the tipping point for law firms and how they practice law going forward.

Summize is a new contract lifecycle product that claims to be a lightweight solution for contract review. There a number of interesting things it does, including how it summarizes the contract for easy review and exportable to MS Word and Excel.

Greg was on the other side of the interview this week when he sat down with Chad Main, host of the Technically Legal podcast. If you want to learn more about Greg on a professional and personal level, go check out the episode: Greg Lambert on the Importance of the 21st Century Law Librarian.

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. 101 – How Mid-Level Associates Can Thrive at Law Firms – with Jennifer Bluestein

Welcome to the 100th episode of The Geek in Review. We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the podcast as much as we’ve had in making it.

We talk with Jennifer Bluestein, Chief Talent and HR Officer for Perkins Coie in part one of a two-part interview. Jennifer’s new book, Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates helps associates, partners, HR, and professional development personnel better understand the needs of those second to sixth-year associates as they move from learning how to practice law to learning how to practice law, while managing up and down the associate ladder. In part one, we discuss the basic challenges of a mid-level when it comes to communication skills, and knowing when to delegate, and when not to delegate. We also cover the issues with understanding partner evaluations of associates and what the difference is between a coaching moment, and what is a performance issue.

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

Information Inspirations

The American Bar Association reports that being a judge can be stressful.

If you’re looking for a great curated newsletter on all the mergers and other happenings in the legal tech industry, Nate’s News, curated by Nate Schorr, may be just what you are looking for.

AI bias is something we’ve all heard about. Recently the bias appeared in how the COVID vaccine is being distributed. At least that was how it was reported. Karen Hao from MIT Tech Review thinks it may be more of a people problem than an Algorithm/AI issue.

And speaking of AI, Sheppard Mullins is the first law firm to sign the EqualAI pledge, with the hope of reducing AI bias in the practice of law.

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. 100 – Jennifer Bluestein on Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates

As we near the end of a very strange year, we thought we’d ask a couple of big thinkers to come on and have a no-holds-barred discussion on Legal Technology and Innovation. Kristin Hodgins is the Project Manager for Legal Innovation at Osler, Hoskins & Harcourt LLP in Toronto. Jason Wilson is a legal publisher and author who has worked at Thomson Reuters and O’Connor’s Publishing for over 20 years. We cover topics ranging from who are the thought leaders and where is the best community for legal tech discussion, to what are courts, firms, academics, and vendors really doing to promote and achieve advancements in legal technology. So strap on your scuba tank and prepare for a deep dive with this week’s guests.

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

Information Inspirations

Even NPR knows that “Waiting for the LSAT is too late for improving minority representation in law.” Pipelines for minority and underrepresented portions of our society have to start much earlier than when they enter college or are thinking of applying for law schools.

Justice Ginsburg has both a tea set named after her, as well as a building at Rutgers University. And if tea isn’t your thing, how about a legal article from Kansas University’s Law Dean on the making of a perfect pecan pie crust?

Anyone who has filed a FOIA request knows they can be expensive. However, thanks to the American Association of Law Libraries, academic librarians may get a fee waiver from the US governmental agencies. So make sure you are on good terms with your academic law librarians!

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. 99 – The Who, What, and Why of #LegalTech with Kristin Hodgins and Jason Wilson

A couple months ago, we brought in Bob Taylor and Jeff Marple from Liberty Mutual, and Gabe Teninbaum from Suffolk Law School to discuss the Boston Legal Design Challenge being held online in November. Taylor and Marple are back to discuss how things went, and they brought with them one of the members of the championship team, Aubrie Souza. Souza is a 2L from Suffolk and her team triumphed over the other nine law school competitors from across the United States and Canada. While the event was held online, the technology, the structure, and the facilitators and judges made all of the competitors feel as though they were still working side by side.

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

Information Inspirations

Lillian Michelson created a magnificent library for movie design. Over a fifty-year span, Michelson helped movie producers and directors make scenes realistic through her research and cataloging of information and details. Unfortunately, she no longer had the space to store all of her research and materials. For the past few years, the library sat in boxes looking for a home, or to be digitized. Finally, the Internet Archive and its founder, Brewster Kahle heeded the call and are placing the material on the Internet Archives database for all. A ribbon-cutting event is taking place on January 27, 2021 launching the first phase of this project.

The Baltimore Library is raising $25,000.00 for a van to provide legal resources to the surrounding community. This project is exactly how Access to Justice issues need to be addressed. The project is headed up by Baltimore County Librarian Julie Brophy, and Maryland Legal Aid Pro-Bono Director Amy Petkovsek. Hat’s off to both for taking this on.

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

Greg Lambert:  Welcome to the Geek in Review. Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 98 – The Boston Legal Design Challenge Update

Professionals in the legal market are known for focusing on high achievement levels within their careers, and not so much on how much joy they derive from working in the profession. Tracy LaLonde, author of The Joychiever Journey: Evade Burnout, Surpass Your Goals and Out-Happy Everyone, says that achievement and joy are not mutually exclusive and that we can live lives that allow us to achieve our goals and experience joy at the same time. LaLonde discusses how increasing the enjoyment of our careers doesn’t just create a better individual experience, but that there are studies that show happiness drives higher incomes as well. Listen in as we discuss LaLonde’s seven-step journey of what she calls true self stops on how we explore what makes us happy and define our true values and ensure that they align with our career.

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

Information Inspirations

We may be getting a little bit closer to FREE PACER. Twenty legal tech leaders encouraged Congress to take up the issue, and in fact, the US House passed a bill bringing PACER out from the paywall this week. We’ll have to see if it goes any further this year, or if we have to wait until 2021 to see further movement.

In Jordon Furlong’s blog post, The End of Serendipity, he points out that law firms have for too long relied upon part-time leadership, culture through osmosis, and professional development through serendipity. While law firms may have accidentally succeeded in the past through happenstance and accident, he suggests that modern law firms succeed through specific planning and defined purpose.

It turns out you don’t have to be the focus of a Wall Street Journal article to get one of those nice WSJ images made. Now WSJ subscribers can take a headshot and make their own images.

Marlene is still hoping for some video aspects of the podcast. Greg, however, still has the face for podcasting. This week, she is checking out WeVideo, and was looking to improve her video editing skills. It turns out that you can get experts to teach you how to improve your skills in just about anything these days. A couple of good starting points for finding anything from a basketball coach, video editing teacher, or even another language are sites like Fiverr or Bark.

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. 97 – Tracy LaLonde and The Joychiever Journey

One of the modern realities of consumerism is the requirement of arbitration clauses. The idea is that consumers and businesses can settle their disagreements without going to court, and instead have an arbitrator negotiate a settlement between the parties. For many of us, it is viewed as a part of doing business, and that the arbitration process is weighted heavily in favor of the corporations. Teel Lidow and his online tool, FairShake, is working to make filing an arbitration much easier for consumers and to actually show that many corporations are quite easy to approach when it comes to handling arbitration disputes. Time Magazine recently awarded FairShake with its award for The Best Inventions of 2020: 100 Innovations Changing How We Live, and we talk with Teel about his reasons behind creating FairShake.

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

Information Inspirations

The pandemic crisis is allowing law firm management to reevaluate staffing needs, and once again, positions that are tied to a physical space are on the chopping block. However, positions that are viewed as “Knowledge Workers” are fairing much better as we look to a post-pandemic work environment. The key is those staff who understand the business and can work with clients and attorneys and function under pressure are going to thrive.

Check out the excellent i.WILL workshop on Courage & Emotional Durability tonight (12/3/2020 at 5:30 PM ET). Dr. Carli Kody leads a workshop based on Dr. Brené Brown’s research and Rising Strong™ methodology.

No matter how hard you think the Bar Exam is, Brianna Hill’s taking the bar during a pandemic, while in labor, having the baby and coming back to finish the bar the next day, and then finding out this week that she passed the bar, is much, much harder. While Hill is superhuman, she’s not the only one who had to struggle this year to take bar exams.

Our friends at Legal Innovators are collaborating with Bechtel Corporation (PDF Press Release) to provide junior lawyers to assist with Bechtel’s internal legal departments. This seems like a win-win for both companies.

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. 96 – Consumer Arbitration Made Easier with FairShake’s Teel Lidow