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

We all know that it takes some “outside of the box thinking” to help improve the legal system in the United States, especially when it comes to Pro Se litigants. Courtroom5 CEO and co-founder Sonja Ebron does exactly that with her startup focused on guiding Pro Se litigants through complex court processes. Ed Walters, CEO and co-founder of Fastcase wants the legal industry to stop trying so hard to reinforce that “box.” Together, Ebron and Walters are creating a process to help litigants access and navigate the court system through a combination of case process instructions, legal information, Artificial Intelligence, and collaboration with legal professionals. Eventually, Ebron would like to see the courts themselves leverage Courtroom5’s abilities to help those seeking legal recourse.

Walters stresses that the “North Star” of legal practice should be the wellbeing of clients. In a system where according to The World Justice Project, over 75% of legal needs go unmet, and some 80% of citizens seeking judicial action do so without the use of legal professionals. Part of that solution lies with the courts and the need to focus on the ability “to filter out people who need lawyers helping people who don’t.”

Once again, this is not about replacing lawyers with robots, or encouraging Pro Se litigants to not seek legal assistance. Courtroom5 and Fastcase are seeking ways to improve the overall process of placing the right information in front of litigants, at the right time. Even if those instructions are to highly recommend seeking legal counsel.

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

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Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 160 – Sonja Ebron and Ed Walters Collaborate on Courtroom5 and Fastcase to Help Pro Se Litigants Access Justice

Ian McDougall is the General Counsel for LexisNexis, as well as the President of LexisNexis’ Rule of Law Foundation. According to the Foundation, The Rule of Law is made up of four parts:

1. Equality Under the Law
2. Transparency of Law
3. Independent Judiciary
4. Accessible Legal Remedy

For there to be a true existence of Rule of Law, all four parts must be present in the governments which rule the people. McDougall says that no country has mastered the Rule of Law, and that ideals like democracy and justice can cause significant barriers to the Rule of Law. Without the Rule of Law, there is no true access to justice. Without the Rule of Law, commerce doesn’t flow. McDougall is working with partners, including the United Nations, NGOs and corporate operations to establish stable environments, for people, as well as commerce.

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Information Inspirations:

We live in an age of massive data, analytics, business intelligence tools which allow industry leaders to gain insights on their organizations, industry, and competition. With all these resources, data, analytics, and insights at their fingertips, Deloitte’s recent survey of over 1,000 industry leaders exposes that a majority of these leaders still desire the simplicity of spreadsheets. To borrow from Henry Ford, they desire a faster horse.
Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 47: Ian McDougall on LexisNexis’ Rule of Law Foundation

Kate Martin, Law Library for the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, is organizing an Access to Justice (A2J) Conference in Baltimore on March 21st. The conference is through the local law librarian chapter, LLAM, and anyone familiar with Kate should know that she tends to develop very strong programs that take on a

Image [cc] jimbethmag

The Maine State Library is leveraging its Public Library System and its Volunteer Lawyer Projects (VLP) along with video conferencing services (via Jabber/MOVI) to bring services focused at low-income citizens on specific topics. The idea is to have a presentation on a topic, like landlord-tennent rights or end-of-life issues, and then allow people

Image [cc] MyTudut

I always enjoy an interesting convergence of ideas. Recently three news items hit my radar that appeared unrelated, until I gave them each a second look and more thought. The first item was the release of the whitepaper from Reuters (of Thomson / Westlaw and Pangea3, the LPO). The paper is entitled,

Image [cc] publik16

As the former access to justice / pro bono guy for Utah, I have a long term view on issues surrounding legal services for the poor. So it is with sadness and a bit of frustration I write this post.

Funding for access to justice generally comes from a handful of sources.