It has been almost three years since the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) held its last in-person conference in Washington, DC. Since that time, both the New Orleans (2020) and Cleveland (2021) Conferences were replace with an online event. Needless to say, many members are ready, albeit still with some concerns, to meet their colleagues in person once again. From July 16th through the 19th, nearly 900 members will gather in Denver, Colorado to enjoy the educational and social gathering of law librarians. Another 60+ vendor organizations will also be at the Denver Convention Center under the gaze of the iconic Blue Bear.
We asked current AALL President, Diane Rodriguez, along with AALL Vice-President, Beth Adelman, to take time out of their busy preparation schedules to come in and talk with us about what members and vendors should expect from the conference. Those of us who attend AALL conferences understand that it is truly a technology conference where vendors go to show their enhancements to existing products or to launch new products to the tech savvy end-users of many of their products. Even Bob Ambrogi has put this as one of the top legal tech conferences in the legal industry
Rodriguez and Adelman have spent the last year preparing AALL for a post-pandemic presence in the legal industry and focused not only on returning to in-person events, but also creating a new Strategic Plan for the Association headed by Beth Adelman. In addition, the organization continued its fight for access to justice and legal information. Diane Rodriguez penned an article for the ABA Human Rights Magazine earlier this year titled “Putting the Spotlight on Civics Education: How Law Librarians Are Helping to Bridge the Access to Justice Gap.”
Of course conferences aren’t all educational programming and vendor interactions. We all are working in some baseball, concerts, books stores, and art exhibits while we are there as well. For more information visit the AALL Conference Website.

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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
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Continue Reading Diane Rodriguez and Beth Adelman on AALL’s Preparation for an In-Person Denver Conference (TGIR #164)

The legal operations community was barely nascent a decade ago. Now there is a booming LegalOps profession and a number of professional associations have sprouted up to help the community learn and collaborate. Legal Operators is one of those communities. We asked the founder of Legal Operators, Colin McCarthy, to come on the show and talk about why he took a small legal ops community that started with a few people doing TED-Talk style presentations over drinks, to a community of thousands. Legal Operators produces online learning programs, a list of legal operations software and services, job board, and an innovation hub in order to support the growing legal operations profession.

Recently, Legal Operators created a magazine with the planned distribution in the tens of thousands. While this may seem outside of what you would think a technology-forward operations would do, McCarthy says he believes in doing the unexpected, and providing the best platform for the distribution of knowledge and information. Even if that means going “old-school” from time to time. Check out the online version of the Legal Operators Magazine here.

In September, Legal Operators is hosting the Summit By the Sea at Half Moon Bay, California. The September 14-16, 2022 curated, in-person event is designed for 100 legal ops professionals to gather together and share in conversation, networking, and best practices exchanges. There are a few seats still available.

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Information Inspirations

If you are looking for great podcast content that includes some of our peers in the legal community, check out Steven Poor’s Pioneers and Pathfinders podcast where he’s recently brought on the likes of Ed Walters, Colin Levy, Bob Ambrogi, and more.

Speaking of Bob Ambrogi, check out his article, “Why Legal Tech Fans Should Attend AALL in July” on his LawSites blog. Bob is a long-time supporter of the law library and legal information profession and has said for years that the AALL conference is truly a legal tech conference as well as an information conference. Add to this, it is in Denver this year, and you now have multiple reason to attend.

Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: 
Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 161 – Colin McCarthy of Legal Operators on Building a LegalOps Community

Leading a professional association over the past year has been tough. It’s like getting all of the work, and not getting any of the fun experiences of traveling to meet people around the world. For the American Association of Law Libraries’ President Emily Florio and President-Elect Diane Rodriguez, they’ve made the most of the situation they found themselves in. (Hat tip to the past-President Michelle Cosby, too!) As Florio and Rodriguez prepare for AALL’s second remote annual conference in a row, they are leveraging the experience from last year’s remote conference to make this year’s experience even better. A longer conference. More individual interactions. A virtual tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And, expanded vendor opportunities. In July, the favel will be passed to the new president, but Florio still looks forward to sticking around for another year as the association and the executive board begins the process of getting back to face-to-face interactions, and an in-person conference in Denver in July of 2022.
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Information inspirations
Reuters Legal News commentator, Jenna Greene, seems to have cracked the formula for AmLaw 100 firm’s slogans. It’s actually more of a haiku.
Remember those ads in the 1980s of “This is your brain on drugs”? Well, the 21st Century version could be “This is your brain on email.” The Innovation Hub podcast discusses Cal Newport’s study on how distracting the constant checking of email is to productivity.
Jon Greenblatt and Bryan Parker over at Legal Innovators put on a heck of a webinar last week featuring the deans from UConn Law School, William & Mary Law School, Howard University School of Law, and The George Washington School of law. Even these forward-thinking law school deans admitted that the students are ready for more “change” than they are providing. Just remember law firms… these students are coming your way.
Marlene shares her experience with Andrew Lawless’ Introduction to High-Performance Habits, and how it helped her focus on areas like influence, self-care and productivity, and expertise.
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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. 122 – AALL’s Emily Florio and Diane Rodriguez on Leading an Association Remotely

Using Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Natural Language Processing to hold a conversation might seem like a far off idea when it comes to the legal industry, but it is not. We sit down with Baker Hostetler’s Katherine Lowry, and Puerto Rico defense attorney Diego Alcala to get a better understanding of how chatbots work, and what value they can bring from legal practices ranging from BigLaw Bankruptcy practice to a solo attorney’s criminal law practice.

Katherine Lowry won the American Association of Law Libraries’ Innovation Tournament in 2018 with her attorney-facing chatbot. In the nearly two years since that recognition, she has created a chatbot for her Bankruptcy practice that answers thousands of potential questions and helps her attorneys find information quickly and frees up her researchers’ time for more complex questions.

Diego Alcala is working on chatbots which will assist him in his practice by answering basic questions that family members need to know about the clients he is representing. While Diego is not a programmer, he has learned the concept of chatbots through numerous platforms that allow for those with no coding skills to still create powerful chatbots to answer practical questions.

Listen in and see if the ideas shared by Lowry and Alcala spur any ideas of how automating a conversation might help you in your practice.

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Information Inspirations

There’s another bill in Congress that creates a FREE PACER! Congressman Hank Johnson, D-GA, is not stopping there. He is also requiring more transparency in the Federal Courts by requiring audio and video recordings are made available of court proceedings. While the bill creates a FREE PACER for most, there is a surcharge for power users who have $25,000 or more in quarterly usage. That means some BigLaw firms will have to pay that surcharge.
Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 70 – A Chat About Chatbots and The Law With Katherine Lowry and Diego Alcala

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org and we take a deep dive into the issues in this matter. Kyle Courtney, Copyright Advisor at Harvard University, and Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase have strong opinions in this matter, and were both involved in submitting Amicus Briefs on behalf of Public.Resources.Org. Join us for this engaging and informative conversation as we look at what the arguments are from both sides, and how Justices’ questions may shape the outcome of this case.
For more information on this case, check out the oral argument transcript [PDF], or listen here, and a primer with supportive materials from Ed Waters’ on Medium.
We also catch up with Emily Feltren from the American Association of Law Libraries to hear what else has been going on in Washington, DC in regards to legal information (we skip the impeachment stuff.) Believe it or not, there are things actually getting done in DC despite all the obvious gridlock.

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Information Inspirations

Our very own Toby Brown is the inaugural guest on the new podcast, Pricing Matters. Toby is well known for his contribution to the establishing of pricing professionals within large law firms, and he gives us a peak behind the curtain of what he has accomplished over the past decade and a half. He even gives us a parallel story of how pricing issues resemble actions taken by HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines. Check it out!
KM Is Dead… Long Live KM. It turns out that if you want to be innovative in law firms, look no further than what your Knowledge Management team has been working on for some time now. There’s been a big boost lately in how KM is helping innovative law firms move forward with a 360 degree view of their knowledge, and better understanding their clients.
Sometimes we inspire ourselves. Greg recently read about an Australian law firm going through an identity crisis on whether it should see itself as a law firm, or as a professional services consultant on legal issues. The story line fits almost any company, industry, or organization where there is a paradigm shift in what they do. Check out his LinkedIn article where he reworks the story to fit nearly anyone facing change.
Is Data Science dying? Marlene says no. However, firms trying to implement data science techniques are finding that dirty data and antiquated ideas are limiting its results and driving data scientists away from working for them.

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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.


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 61 – Deep Dive on State Copyright Issues with Kyle Courtney and Ed Walters

We all love our pets and think of them as part of our families. Even though we might love them as much (or more) than we love people, the legal system does not allow them the same protection. That doesn’t mean that there are no rights for animals, in fact, there are many specific laws designated to protect them. In this episode of The Geek in Review, we bring on four experts in researching Animal Laws, not just in the US, but worldwide. We talk with the following members of the American Association of Law Libraries’ Animal Law Caucus:
  • Alex Zhang – Law Library Director and Professor of Practice at Washington and Lee University School of Law
  • Stacey Gordon Sterling -Law Library Director and Professor of law – Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana
  • Katie Ott – Reference Librarian – Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford University
  • Sarah Slinger – Reference Librarian and Lecturer at Law – University of Miami Law Library
Whether it is legal issues ranging from which parent gets the pet in a divorce, or how an orangutan is granted “personhood” in Argentina, to animal testing on cute beagles (yes… that’s still going on in the US), our experts from the Animal Law Caucus cover these issues and more.

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Information Inspirations
There is a lot of tech opportunities in America, but one of the unrealized places are on Native American Reservations. The Make Me Smart podcast talks with a Native Financial Officer about the upcoming Wiring the Rez conference.
One Texas Federal Judge asks if you submit a brief more than 10 pages long, that you make a recording so he can listen to it, rather than read it. Sounds like an opportunity for some talented legal podcasters with better voices than Greg.
Despite some of the best efforts to make things better, even allies can come up short when it comes to racial bias in the workplace. One leader in the Social Justice non-profit area shares her story, and it mirrors some of the same situations we see in the legal industry.
To understand Algorithmic Bias, you must first understand the different types of discrimination, and how they apply to the bias. It’s very complicated, but here’s a primer to get your started.


Continue Reading The Geek In Review Ep. 60 – The AALL Animal Law Caucus: Acknowledging and Researching Animal Rights in a People-Centric World

If you are a current American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) member, and are in a leadership role, or looking to be in a leadership role, then this program is for you. Expand your leadership skills while networking with your peers. The AALL Leadership Academy is designed to prepare you with core leadership skills and

Three law school innovators, three law firm innovators, a law student, and a BigLaw Partner meet on a podcast… this podcast… and share thoughts on how to improve law students’ tech skills before they arrive at the firm. That is the setting for this episode of The Geek in Review.
Nikki Shaver, Director of Innovation and Knowledge from Paul Hastings got this conversation started on Twitter when she discovered that most of the New Fall Associates (NFAs) did not take any technology or innovation courses while in law school. This is not an uncommon story. There seems to be little incentive, either on the law school, or law firm side of recruiting which stresses tech competencies. But just because that’s the way it has always been, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. There is definitely room for improvement! So we wanted to get a group together and do just that.

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We asked Vanderbilt Law School’s Cat Moon, Vermont Law School’s Jeannette Eicks, and University of Oklahoma Law School’s Kenton Brice to cover the law school innovation perspective.
Nikki Shaver, Marlene, and Greg cover the law firm innovation perspective.
We also asked Jackson Walker Partner Matt Acosta, and Michigan State University Law School student, Kanza Khan to jump in and share their experiences with the expectations for legal technology skills.
We take a deep dive into the topic ranging from what law schools are actually offering students, what are law firms expectations for tech skills, and are law firm recruiting, and law school placement incentivizing students to be more proficient with tech before they arrive as NFAs?


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 55 – The Legal Tech and Innovation Pipeline – Can Law Schools and Law Firms Better the Process?