The legal industry relies upon the writings and communications of lawyers, judges, and lawmakers. For the citizens and clients who are subject to these legal writings, understanding the legalese is painfully frustrating. We were asked by a fan of the show (in full disclosure, it was Greg’s sister-in-law Wendy) why lawyers can’t write in plain English. We pulled together a panel of four experts on legal communications and asked them just that. It turns out that writing in plain English is not only possible, but it is the preferred method of legal writing.
Our guests on this episode are:

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Information Inspirations

Greg got to drop in on a Houston Young Lawyer Association meeting for First-Generation Lawyers on the topic of lawyer recruiting. The meeting was great, but the biggest impact was made by a question a minority law student was asked on why his experience as a person of color would bring value to the firm. Is that something a firm should even be asking?

Marlene geeks out over Evan Parker’s article on How to Talk Data and Influence People, Including Lawyers. This dovetailed nicely with our guests’ discussion on presenting the information in a way that tells a story and presents information in a way that is understandable by the reader. Data analytics is just another method of communicating. The trick is communicating in a way that actually makes sense and informs.

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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.


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One of the best things about the legal industry is that there are multiple pathways to success. We are all trained issue spotters, and our guest on this episode identified an issue and founded a new company to fix that issue. Brian Powers is the CEO and co-founder of PactSafe, a high-velocity contract acceptance platform used by such major companies like Angie’s List, UpWork, BMC, TIVO, and others to handle large volumes of clickthrough agreements. We talk with Brian about what motivated him to take on this challenge, and how he sought out to change the way businesses approach these types of contacts, and bring efficiency to the market place, and the legal industry through technology and process improvements. Brian is just one more example of those in the legal field who has found an alternative path through identifying inefficiencies, and finding ways to correct them.

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Hat tip to Kristin Hodgins for her tweet this week when she saw that someone said that if law firms are going to us AI, we need ways to collect structured data. Hodgins tweet reply was spot on when she said “Guess who are experts at structured data? Librarians. Google didn’t destroy us; it help us by reducing low-value work like rote retrieval from our duties & allowed us to focus on high-order skills. AI will do the same.” Well said!

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We’re doing AI Wrong

Zach Warren interviewed Brad Blickstein in a law.com article this week about how law firms are looking at AI the wrong way. When it comes to AI and law firms, Blickstein says that “[AI has] become a top-down thing: What are we doing about AI? It’s like asking, what are we doing about databases? It’s a crazy question. The question should be, what problems do we have, how do we solve them, and is AI or some semblance of AI a potential solution for that?”  Brad’s company, Blickstein Group, is producing a Legal AI Efficacy report that is due out this summer. 
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“All Problems Are Communications Problems.”

This is Greg’s go to phrase when it comes to working with and leading others. Marlene actually beats Greg to the punch this week when they talk with this week’s guest, Heather Ritchie. Heather is the Chief Knowledge and Business Development Officer at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP in Toronto, and as her title suggests, she wears multiple leadership hats at her firm. In her recent ILTA KM article, “12 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Leverage Library & Knowledge Management Teams,” Ritchie walks us through the value of collaborating between the Marketing/Business Development, Knowledge Management, and Library operations of a law firm. Knowing who brings what talent to the table is key to creating stable and successful environment which results in wins for the law firm. 

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How Is Your Business Changing the Legal Industry?

In part two of our three part series, we hear from four more providers of legal industry products on how they are changing the industry. This week we hear from:

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I have had more than a week to recover from ILTA 2013 in Las Vegas and I am slowly starting to return to normal.  But, that is the problem.  I don’t want to return to normal.  I desperately want to maintain the heady state of learning and collaboration that we establish every year for four

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I have a love/hate relationship with email. It is the first thing I open up in the morning when the alarm clock goes off, and it is one of the last things I check before going to bed. I use it religiously… but I really would rather not be so reliant upon