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.
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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.


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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.


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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?


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The Geek In Review Podcast – Episode 45

After a week of Washington, DC heat and humidity, we are back to discuss all things legal information with a slant toward technology and management. We have a recap of the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference, #AALL19, where Marlene runs through her packed schedule of events which she attended, presented, or wished she’d attended. Greg was just happy to rotate off the AALL Executive Board, which he’s been a part of for most of this decade. Don’t worry…. there’s still plenty of other AALL work for him to do.
On this episode, Marlene and Greg go international for the topics. We talk with Lluis Faus and Masoud Gerami of vLex about the recent merger of Gerami’s longtime foreign legal information platform, Justis. Faus and Gerami tell us the story of how they were able to blend the two platforms together, and the process of how they are able to pull together information from over 30 different countries, all with different levels of transparency and access to their legal information.

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Information Inspirations
France recently outlawed the use of judicial analytics which allows for the searching and identifying the names of the judges. We reached out to Tara Tubman-Bassirian, a French lawyer practicing in the UK, about the reasoning behind France’s criminalization of judicial data. Tubman-Bassirian says that the reasoning rests somewhere between the country’s effort to protect its Civil Law structure and the anonymity of the judges, and a flat out fear of what technology might be bringing in the ways of analytics, AI, and other unknown advancements.


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It was roughly ten years ago when I learned that half of my library co-workers at my law firm had been let go due to the financial crisis, and the downturn in the legal market. Thus ushered in “The New Normal” of having to constantly do more with less. But it also kick started a

 

A few creative go-getters ready to pitch their ideas — ideas that beat out all the others to reach this stage.

A panel of judges comprised of the industry’s thought leaders, waiting to be wowed.

A rapt audience, eager to see who will sink or swim. It’s the showcase of a major network (legal knowledge network, that is), truly “must-see” stuff.

It’s not Shark Tank. It’s the return of AALL’s innovation tournament.

Ready to jump in?


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