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?

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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

On Episode Two of The Geek In Review, Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert interview Casetext’s Chief Legal Research Officer and co-founder, Pablo Arredondo. Pablo describes his beginnings as a Kirkland & Ellis attorney who thought his research tools should do much more than they did… and then he went out and created those tools.

Continue Reading Podcast Episode Two: Being a Legal Information Startup

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

I am writing this blog post on the plane as I fly back to Toronto from Halifax, having just spent the last three days at the CALL/ACBD annual conference. The conference was fantastic, highlights for me included an opening session with Jordan Furlong who suggested we are entering an era of Legal Intelligence – a topic near and dear to my heart, a stellar lunch keynote from Janet Maybee on the wrongful conviction of Pilot Francis Mackey in respect to the 1917 Halifax explosion, and of course a meet up with fellow 3 Geeks blogger Greg Lambert. I think my colleagues from Thomson Reuters Canada showed him just how the vendor client relationship can actually be quite strong and positive.  But all of that pales in comparison to the many great one-on-one conversations that I was able to have with people about the state of the industry, the position of law librarianship, the influence of legal tech – AI, Machine Learning, predictive analytics and what the (very exciting) future holds for all of us.

Continue Reading Bored Walk and Profit Place

Recently, I’ve encountered something that I’ve found unsettling. Compromising seems to be something that we equate with failure. In fact, people would rather watch something fail – even things they say they value – rather than take ownership of the change needed to make it succeed. I couldn’t understand why the current environment seems to promote and all-or-nothing approach in how we deal with other people, the management of processes, or the allocation of resources. I brought this up with a group of my peers, and I got a very insightful response from one person in the group.

Continue Reading No One Wants to Own the Change

[Ed. Note: Please welcome guest blogger, Colin Lachance, CEO of Compass/vLex Canada. – GL]


At no fewer than four conferences this lovely month of May, I will be speaking about artificial intelligence in law. Each event has a different focus (regulation, impact, libraries, family law), but as my comments in each will spring from my personal framework for considering issues, opportunities and implications, I thought it might help me to advance that framework for your feedback.

Continue Reading Le Joli M.ai