In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert wrap up their series of interviews from the LegalWeek 2024 conference in New York with a conversation with Kelly Griswold, CEO of Onna. Kelly shares her objectives for attending the conference, which include interacting with customers and partners, staying on top of industry trends and innovations, and bringing her remote team together to build community.

Kelly provides an overview of Onna, explaining that the company primarily serves enterprise and corporate clients by managing their unstructured data with a focus on internal collaboration apps. Onna collects and integrates with various data sources to establish live connectivity and data transformation, making the data ready for searching and discovery to power downstream workflows such as litigation requests, early case assessment, and investigations. Kelly emphasizes the importance of data management as a necessary enabler for future innovations in the legal tech space.

The conversation touches on the challenges of managing data in the enterprise and how Onna helps clients improve their processes. Kelly explains that Onna’s approach involves helping enterprises build a data foundation that is accessible when needed, allowing them to skip several steps in the traditional linear workflow. This value proposition is particularly appealing to enterprises looking to avoid downstream costs by having better visibility and control over their data.

Kelly also discusses the impact of generative AI on the legal industry, noting that while there is a lot of buzz around the technology, companies are realizing the importance of getting their data in order before diving into experimentation and implementation. She believes that the awareness brought by the hype around generative AI is driving companies to make fundamental investments in data management.

Looking to the future, Kelly shares her crystal ball prediction for the next 5-10 years, envisioning a world where natural language communication and automation will transform the way legal workflows are handled. She imagines a scenario where drafting a contract could be done through verbal communication and a system that asks questions and generates the agreement, reducing the need for manual, hands-on work.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript

Continue Reading Kelly Griswold of Onna on the Fundamental Investments Needed in Data Management

In this week’s episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer interview Michael Bommarito and Jill Bommarito, the CEO and Chief Risk Officer of 273 Ventures, respectively. The couple, who have been together since high school, share their experiences working together in the legal technology space.

Michael and Jill discuss the advantages and challenges of working closely together in the same organization. They highlight the benefits of being able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time and the ability to seamlessly cover for one another when family responsibilities arise. However, they also acknowledge the lack of boundaries between work and home life, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

The Bommaritos also detail their work at 273 Ventures, particularly their focus on developing Large Language Models (LLMs) with a clean data approach. Jill, one of the world’s first certified AI auditors, brings her expertise in compliance and risk management to ensure that the models are built ethically and in accordance with legal standards. Michael shares his excitement about the potential applications of their LLMs, such as automating due diligence processes and drafting contract revisions based on identified risks.

When asked about the reactions they receive from others regarding working together, the couple admits that most people express sympathy and curiosity about how they manage to do it successfully. They attribute their success to their long history together and the shared experiences they have had, both personally and professionally.

Finally, the Bommaritos offer advice to other couples considering working in the same field or business. They emphasize the importance of being certain that both partners are fully committed to the idea, as it can be an all-consuming experience. They also stress the significance of knowing each other well before embarking on such a venture, as a strong foundation is crucial for navigating the challenges that come with working closely together.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech – Jillian Bommarito and Michael Bommarito of 273 Ventures

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer continue their series of interviews from this year’s LegalWeek conference by engaging with Joshua Lenon from Clio. As Clio’s Lawyer in Residence, Lenon delves into the insights derived from the company’s Legal Trends Report, emphasizing the data-driven analysis of law firm practices and trends. The report, which leverages aggregated anonymous usage data from tens of thousands of law firms using Clio, offers a unique perspective on the productivity, billing, and technological adoption within the legal industry, particularly among mid-sized law firms.

Lenon shares intriguing findings from the report, highlighting a significant increase in productivity, billable hours, and revenue across the industry over the past eight years. However, a closer examination of mid-sized law firms (defined as those with 20 to 200 lawyers) reveals disparities in matter handling and productivity gains compared to smaller firms. Lenon explains how mid-sized firms maintain a consistent workload per lawyer by adjusting the ratio of lawyers to non-lawyer timekeepers based on demand. This adaptability showcases the strategic management of resources within mid-sized firms to optimize efficiency and service delivery.

The discussion further explores the impact of financial technology (FinTech) on law firms’ operational efficiency. Lenon illustrates how adopting new payment methods and technologies significantly improves firms’ collection rates and client payment experiences. Specifically, mid-sized firms that embrace FinTech and client-centered approaches see notable improvements in their financial health, underscoring the importance of innovation in enhancing legal services delivery.

Lenon also introduces Clio Duo, an in-house AI tool designed to enhance law firms’ access to and interaction with their own data. By providing a chat-based interface for exploring firm data, Clio Duo aims to streamline tasks and improve efficiency, allowing lawyers to focus on high-value work rather than administrative tasks. This development represents Clio’s commitment to leveraging technology to address the evolving needs of the legal profession.

Lenon predicts some of the challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession, particularly in relation to artificial intelligence (AI) and document creation tools. He speculates on the limitations imposed by traditional word processing applications like Microsoft Word and suggests that the future will likely see a paradigm shift towards more interactive and multi-dimensional tools for legal work. This shift, Lenon argues, could dramatically enhance productivity by integrating AI more seamlessly into the legal drafting process, moving beyond the static, page-focused approach of current software.

Throughout the conversation, Lenon’s insights underscore the dynamic interplay between technology and legal practice. As legal technology evolves, so too does the potential for law firms of all sizes to improve efficiency, client satisfaction, and ultimately, profitability. The episode illuminates the importance of data-driven decision-making and technological adaptation in the legal industry’s future. By embracing these tools and insights, law firms can better navigate the challenges of the modern legal landscape, ensuring they remain competitive and responsive to their clients’ needs.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading LegalWeek 2024 Special Part Four: Joshua Lenon from Clio

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer continue their series of interviews at the 2024 LegalWeek conference with guest Bill Piwonka, the Chief Marketing Officer at Exterro. The conversation dives into Exterro’s participation at LegalWeek, highlighting the return to pre-COVID attendance levels and the

We kick off our new “Love & Legal Tech” series this week where we embark on a journey to explore the personal and professional lives of couples in the legal tech industry. We are excited to interview couples who share in the excitement of weaving their professional endeavors into their personal relationships. We think this is going to be a great series where couples get a chance to tell their stories of how they balance what one of our guests describes as “Work-Life-Integration.”

Our inaugural guests, Alex Macdonald and Cassie Vertovec share their unique story of how a solid professional collaboration slowly turned into a deep, personal connection.  Alex, the Chief Strategy Officer at McCarter and English, LLP, and Cassie, the Practice Director of Corporate and Director of Practice Strategies at Barnes & Thornburg, began their journey in the legal tech world at Seyfarth Shaw.  Over the years they have found themselves leading teams together, moving across the country, isolating together during the pandemic, and most recently working in similar firms. They navigated their careers with mutual respect and understanding, highlighting the importance of communication and shared values in both their professional and personal lives.

They provide insights into the dynamics of working as a couple while maintaining a balance between work and persona life. Which is no easy feat as they are both intertwined with the legal profession. Their story is a testament to the idea that professional collaboration can lead to personal growth and deeper connections.

Our hopes with the “Love & Legal Tech” series are that we not only offer a glimpse into the lives of a couple navigating love and legal tech but also shed light on broader themes within the legal industry, including the shift towards greater tech integration and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Our sincere thanks to Cassie and Alex for sharing their story with us on this series premiere.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Cassie Vertovec and Alex Macdonald

In the second of a special series of interviews from Legal Week 2024 , co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer welcomed Mollie Nichols, CEO, and Mark Noel, Chief Information and Technology Officer of Redgrave Data. Nichols and Noel discuss Redgrave Data’s mission to cut through the hype of legal tech innovations, particularly generative AI. Nichols emphasized the company’s focus on delivering custom solutions that meet clients’ actual needs and highlighted the importance of educating the legal community on effectively integrating new technologies into their practices.

Mark Noel emphasized the strategic addition of data scientists to their team, enabling Redgrave Data to develop and advise on cutting-edge technologies. He stressed the importance of applying generative AI judiciously, pointing out its limitations and the potential for misuse if not properly vetted. Noel and Nichols shared insights on navigating the legal tech landscape, emphasizing efficiency, data management, and the careful evaluation of tech solutions.

Looking forward, Noel predicted a recalibration of expectations for generative AI in the legal industry, suggesting a period of disillusionment might follow the initial hype. Conversely, Nichols expressed optimism about the industry’s ability to thoughtfully incorporate new technologies, enhancing legal practices through careful testing and integration. Their discussion underscored the evolving nature of legal tech and the critical role of strategic implementation in leveraging its benefits.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading LegalWeek 2024 Special Part Two: Mollie Nichols and Mark Noel from Redgrave Data

This week, Greg Lambert sat down with Caroline Hill, Editor-in-Chief for Legal IT Insider to discuss the new partnership with NetLaw Media. Hill described the new partnership between Legal IT Insider and NetLaw Media as a mutually beneficial collaboration with significant synergy between the two organizations. She emphasized the complementarity of their focuses, with Legal IT Insider’s emphasis on impartial coverage and promotion of various conferences in the legal tech sector, and NetLaw Media’s focus on technology and IT security. Hill noted that both organizations share common sponsors and audiences, which enhances the partnership’s potential​​.

She also mentioned the importance of working with Frances Anderson, the chief executive of NetLaw Media. Hill pointed out that NetLaw Media has been running the British Legal Technology Forum for years, indicating a deep involvement in the legal tech community.

Greg and Caroline also discussed the dramatic change in Legal Tech in 2023, and the continued shift in the industry as demands increase on law firms and others to truly implement AI solutions in 2024.

Hill pointed out that many law firms lack the expertise to build AI solutions themselves and therefore rely heavily on their business partners (vendors) for these capabilities. She suggested that the solution might lie in leaning on these business partners, but noted the challenge of justifying the costs to law firm leadership. She further mentioned the challenge of capacity and waitlists for AI projects, indicating that this has become a source of competition among law firms. The ability to quickly understand and adapt to the requirements of working with AI and establish effective vendor relationships is crucial for law firms to stay competitive and relevant in the rapidly evolving legal tech landscape​​.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com

Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Navigating the Future of Legal Tech with Caroline Hill (TGIR Ep. 233)

In this episode, Marlene Gebauer interviews attendees at two recent legal tech conferences – the TLTF Summit and the Legal AI Pathfinder’s Assembly. She asks them about the biggest impacts they foresee AI and other innovations having on the legal industry in 2024. Their responses range from predictions that AI will help automate legal workflows and build tools faster, to allowing for better data analytics and metrics to improve client relationships and retention.

Marlene and Greg comment on the various perspectives shared. Key themes that emerge include leveraging AI to improve efficiency and processes, being cautious not to move too quickly, opportunities to reduce legal costs and enhance Access to Justice and hopes that 2024 will see AI tools become more practical and move beyond “party tricks”. While recognizing the excitement around AI, they emphasize focusing on real business problems to solve rather than just implementing solutions for their own sake.

List of Speakers:

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Projections for Legal Tech and Innovations in 2024 (TGIR Ep. 232)

This week we catch up with Jeff Pfeifer and Serena Wellen from LexisNexis to discuss the rapid development of AI tools for the legal industry over the past year. Pfeifer and Wellen give us an insider’s view of what it took to bring their Lexis+ AI tool to the market and the balance between speed to market and getting solid customer guidance on what they need in a legal-focused Generative AI tool. Between the initial version released to a select group of customers and the current version, the product grew from an open-ended chat interface into more of a guided resource that helps users on creating and following up on prompts. As with most AI tools created in the past year, there is still more potential as more and more customers use it and give critical feedback along the way.

In addition to Lexis+ AI, LexisNexis has now launched two additional AI products – Lexis Snapshot and Lexis Create. Lexis Snapshot summarizes legal complaints to help firms monitor litigation. Lexis Create brings AI capabilities directly into Microsoft Word to assist with drafting and research while lawyers are working on documents. The goal is to embed insights where lawyers are actually doing their work rather than separate AI tools.

While the focus of the initial Generative AI tools from LexisNexis were focused on the US market, Serena Wellen and her team are busy expanding that to more of an international reach. This requires adapting the models, content, and interface to different languages and legal systems. This is complex undertaking, but Wellen discusses how LexisNexis has content and editors around the world to help customize the tools. Surprisingly, desired use cases are fairly consistent globally – both simple legal tasks as well as more advanced legal research and drafting.

Greg Lambert brings up a recent LinkedIn discussion that he had with Microsoft’s Jason Barnwell, where Barnwell told him that today’s version of Generative AI tools are “the worst these things will ever be.” In response, Pfeifer says that LexisNexis is focused on continuously improving answer quality to build trust and prove the value of AI to skeptical lawyers. LexisNexis is leveraging relationships with companies like Microsoft to reinforce the stability and progress being made.

Wellen and Pfeifer look into the future and predicted that AI assistants will become highly personalized to individual lawyers. AI agents will also proliferate across platforms to help automate tasks and workflows. Law firms will likely accelerate their adoption of AI tools based on rising expectations and demands from corporate legal departments to work more efficiently.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Pfeifer and Wellen Give an Inside Look at LexisNexis’ AI Sprint (TGIR Ep. 230)

Vanderbilt Law School recently launched an exciting new initiative called the Vanderbilt AI Legal Lab (VAILL) to explore how artificial intelligence can transform legal services and access to justice. In this episode, we spoke with VAILL’s leadership – Cat Moon,(👑) Director of Innovation at Vanderbilt’s Program on Law and Innovation (PoLI), and Mark Williams, Associate Director for Collections and Innovation at the Massey Law Library – about their vision for this pioneering lab. 

VAILL’s mission is to harness AI to expand access to legal knowledge and services, with a particular focus on leveraging generative AI to improve legal service delivery. As Moon described, VAILL aims to experiment, collaborate widely, and build solutions to realize AI’s potential in the legal domain. The lab will leverage Vanderbilt’s cross-disciplinary strengths, drawing on experts in computer science, engineering, philosophy, and other fields to inform their ethically-grounded, human-centered approach.

VAILL is prioritizing partnerships across sectors – courts, law firms, legal aid organizations, alternative providers, and others – to test ideas and develop prototype AI applications that solve real legal needs. For instance, they plan to co-create solutions with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Innovation Lab to expand access to justice. Moon explained that generative AI presents solutions for some legal challenges, so VAILL hopes to match developing technological capabilities with organizations’ needs.

Ethics are foundational to VAILL’s work. Students will learn both practical uses of AI in law practice as well as broader policy and social implications. As Williams emphasized, beyond core professional responsibility issues, VAILL aims to empower students to lead in shaping AI’s societal impacts through deeper engagement with questions around data, access, and algorithms. Teaching ethical, creative mindsets is VAILL’s ultimate opportunity.

VAILL will leverage the resources and expertise of Vanderbilt’s law librarians to critically assess new AI tools from their unique perspective. Williams noted that the lab sees law students as a “risk free” testing ground for innovations, while also equipping them with adaptable learning capabilities to keep pace with AI’s rapid evolution. Rather than viewing AI as a differentiator, VAILL’s goal is producing legally-skilled innovators ready to thrive amidst ongoing change.

Vanderbilt’s AI Legal Lab represents an exciting development in exploring AI’s legal impacts. By emphasizing human-centered, ethical approaches and collaborations, VAILL aims to pioneer solutions that expand access to legal knowledge and services for all. We look forward to seeing the innovative applications VAILL develops at the intersection of law and AI.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
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Transcript

Continue Reading TGIR Ep. 228 – Cat Moon and Mark Williams Launch the New Vanderbilt AI Law Lab (VAILL)