When three legal innovators gather together in their town of Houston, the topic drifts toward the interesting innovation and creativity hubs happening around the city. Both inside and outside of law firms. In a special “after-hours” episode of The Geek in Review, we talk with Norton Rose Fulbright US’ Head of Innovation, Zack Barnes. The conversation is a diverse as the city. We talk about the The Ion innovation epicenter and Zack’s interest in how these types of innovation hubs can use help from the law firms within the city to help guide entrepreneurs in the early stages. 
In addition to the conversation revolving around legal innovation and creativity, we also talk on Zack’s experiences with creating and writing patents as a start-up entrepreneur himself, and finding other start-ups to invest in for companies like Halliburton. One big difference between innovation within corporations and innovation within law firms is the story that the innovators need to tell. At corporations, it’s about establishing a viable product, where at law firms, the story is more around the value and the relationship enhancements to the clients.
Zack also describes how he went to college to be a mountain bike racer and how that love of speed expanded to a faster, but less bone breaking hobby of racing Corvettes. To top things off, we lubricate the discussion with some wonderful local Houston beers. Buckle up and grab your own favorite beverage as we talk all things innovation and happenings here in our favorite city of Houston. Let us know if you are ever in town and we can take you to one or more of the great innovation and brewing spots around town.

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Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 159 – After-Hours with NRF’s Zack Barnes

With the influx of Venture Capital and overall interests in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), the rest of the legal industry is finally figuring out what InnoLaw‘s Lucy Bassli has known for years; contracts are sexy. We sit down with Lucy to discuss her second book, CLM Simplified: Efficient Contracting for Law Departments and the potential of making the contract process faster, better, easier, smarter, more efficient, operationalized, and automated is the concept that is so appealing. Lucy Bassli’s experience in-house with Microsoft helped launch her new career advising other in-house and outside counsel on legal operations, and how to really communicate with one another in ways to produce true innovation.

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Information Inspirations

The Debt Relief Clinic was named the 2022 recipient of the Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access for its commitment to increasing legal services to low-income Tennesseans and reaching that goal through the innovative use of technology.

We talked about the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance back in August of 2020 (Ep. 83), well our guest, Skadden’s Brenna DeVaney along with Cravath’s Kiisha Morrow talk with Thomson Reuter’s Thomas Kim to catch us all up on the progress that LFAA member firms are doing in order to keep up the momentum we all felt after the summer of 2020.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.

Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.

Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 148 – InnoLaw’s Lucy Bassli on the Sexiness of Contracts

This week’s guest is Maker5, Inc. CEO and Founder Sanjay Kamlani. Sanjay’s experience of creating businesses like Office Tiger and Pangea3 give him a unique view of the legal technology and innovation sector, and specifically what tends to work well, and what tends to fall short when it comes to true innovation. Maker5, Inc is a Venture Studio designed to incubate its own businesses to spin them off as independent businesses, as well as being an advisory to law firms and software development services for law firms. When it comes to internal innovation, Sanjay’s view is that  the CIO and CTO do not have enough practicing lawyers integrated with what they’re trying to accomplish at the firm. Too often firms try to innovate in a vacuum, without the input and guidance of innovation partners or practicing attorneys and they end up not having any real authority or responsibility for implementing the innovative project.
In addition to development structure, there are also cultural disincentives to adopting true innovation, especially in the law firm setting.
If you think about how most firms are focused 100% on the billable hour, and then you start thinking about what technology achieves … that ends up reducing billable hours, you immediately start to realize that there’s a big contradiction…. Unless you have an incentive structure that is consistent with the notion of efficiency and better, faster, cheaper, you’re not going to get adoption. Everyone’s going to run in the opposite direction of that tool.” – Sanjay Kamlani
We walk through the processes of coming up with innovative ideas, whether to build it internally or find an off the shelf version, implementation and adoption, and the continuing maintenance of the innovation on a full-time scalable basis. Something that very few law firms are set up to do from start to finish. Kamlani identifies a number of processes that need to be in place, and what questions need to be asked and answered throughout the innovation creation, implementation, adoption, and maintenance lifecycle. It is a fascinating look into innovation that many of us may not have had the opportunity to experience. 

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Information Inspirations
If you have not checked out the #SKILLS22 conference content, Greg’s overview of all 20 sessions can help you find the right session to watch.
Marlene covers more on the Great Resignation from a Boston College report that breaks down who are leaving their jobs and some of the details of what certain sectors of the US population are affected more than others.
Contact Us
Twitter@gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
Music: As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.
Transcript 


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 144 – Maker5’s Sanjay Kamlani on the Who, What, and How of Legal Innovation

Last Thursday, a group of some 400 legal knowledge management professionals came together for the Strategic Knowledge & Innovation Legal Leaders Summit (SKILLS) conferenceOz Benamram asked me to pull together a 20 minute recap of all of the presentations that day, and share it with the 3 Geeks’ readers. So, here’s about a 20 minute recap of the 20 presentations for that day. Enjoy!!

Jason Barnwell – Keynote

There are two things that most of us know about Jason. First, he thinks there is always opportunities for improvement. Whether that is for himself, his team at Microsoft, and especially for law firms looking to better service their clients. His takeaway quote for me was when Kay Kim asked him what are law firms doing right and what are they doing wrong?

So the biggest challenge I see is, is structural, and as much as the business model works pretty well for about right now. But it doesn’t necessarily work great for where we’re going.

The other thing that we know about Jason is that if you are presenting on innovation in a law firm, he’s going to ask you specifically “is what you are doing benefitting the law firm only, or does it benefit the client?” So, expect to answer that question… at a minimum to yourself, even if Jason isn’t in the room.

Digital Transformation – Shark-TED-Talk-Tank (Part 1)

I loved all three sessions of our Shark-Ted-Talk-Tank presentations. We were just missing the three billionaires, and the large red carpet. But, the content was all there.
Continue Reading SKILLS 2022 – Recap

We bring in Brad Blickstein and Beatrice Seravello, Co-Heads, NewLaw Practice Group at Baretz+Brunelle to discuss the recently released B+B survey, “If You Build It, Will They Come?” A Research Report on the Internal Adoption of Innovation by AmLaw 100/200 and Global 100 Law Firms. This free report breaks down the adoption of innovation and the sliding scale (1-5) in where the adoption process resides. Of course, with the reference to possibly the greatest baseball movie of all time, we geeked out and brought in some quotes from the movie. So, prepare yourself for some whispers and words of wisdom from a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield.
We’ve asked Brad and Beatrice to return in a few weeks with an update on part two of the report.

Information Inspirations
We mix up our traditional Information Inspiration segment by focusing on the upcoming HBR Legal Information + Knowledge Services (LINKS) Conference. Both Marlene and Greg are speaking at the October 14th half-day conference. HBR’s Colleen Cable sat down with Greg to go over the details and topics of the conference, including an industry overview of Leadership as we head into 2022, a review of HBR’s 2021 Benchmarking in Law Library and Information Services Survey (BLISS), and a wrap-up session from the Geek in Review Podcast hosts. 3 Geeks and a Law Blog is happy to be supporting this conference. The $45 conference fee ($35 for BLISS contributors), will go to support AALL’s George A. Strait Minority Scholarship & Fellowship fund. There will also be a social event following the conference which leverages the Airmeet conference platforms special features for attendee interaction. We hope to see you there. Registration Information can be found here.
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Contact Us
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.
As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 131 – Innovation Adoption – The Law Firm Field of Dreams

Our good friend April Brousseau joins us to discuss her role as Director of Research and Development at Clifford Chance’s R&D Hub. The fact that a law firm has a dedicated R&D group shows how innovation cannot simply be a part-time task that someone at the firm takes on. April’s diverse background as a law librarian, lawyer, and knowledge management leader paved the path to her current role in the R&D Hub and the innovation program. She discusses how they’ve adapted the Three Horizons Strategy from the likes of Gartner and McKinsey, and how they are transforming the core of their operations to complementing services and business assets at the firm, and looking at the future of legal services to stay ahead of the disruption curve. We also learn what a HiPPO is inside a firm.
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Information Inspirations
Electronic filing of court documents was supposed to speed up the process of getting court information accessible. But according to this opinion piece from Courthouse News’ Bill Girdner, it’s actually hampered access, specifically to the Press.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be anything new under the sun, Twitter conversations uncovered there is a 3rd Amendment Lawyers Association. And they are raising #3A arguments with the CDC’s new eviction moratorium.
The First Edition of Introduction to Law Librarianship is out. This free e-textbook, open access publication is designed to help those considering entering the law library profession, as well as those teaching others entering the profession.
Legal tech is definitely a part of practicing in the legal profession. Some think it is so much a part of the profession that it should be tested on the Bar Exam.
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If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with a friend or colleague.

Contact Us

Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert.

Voicemail: 713-487-7270

Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.

As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca who has a new album coming out in October!
Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 127 – April Brousseau – Innovation in the Legal Industry Can’t Be a Side Gig

For nearly the past twenty-five years, Jeroen Plink worked on the cutting edge of innovation in the legal market ranging from creating software to help with project management and process improvement, to being the CEO of Clifford Chance Applied Solutions. His passion for looking at issues from unique perspectives, as well as his dislike for inefficient processes and waste, has led to a number of successes in legal innovation during this time. As he moves on from the Alternative Legal Service Provider environment and begins his new journey, Jeroen sits down with us to talk about his efforts going forward in Access to Justice, commercial ideas, consulting with law firms, and in-house operations.

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Information Inspirations

The idea of law firms going with a “single provider” on legal information platforms like Westlaw or Lexis may sound good on paper, but Victoria Hudgens points out in a recent LegalTech News article that these ‘one-stop shops’ limit the ingenuity and capabilities of law firms.

It takes a brave person to get between an appellate lawyer and their citation formatting rules. US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas apparently is one of those brave souls. With the use of “(cleaned up)” in the recent Brownback v. King decision, Thomas has created a stir in the legal citation world the likes that haven’t been seen since the Court’s first Internet citation changes in 1996. Blue Book Rule 5.2 and Brownback are at odds and according to a Law360 article from Carrie Garrison from Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, appellate lawyers may be taking sides.

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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. 109 – What’s Next for Jeroen Plink?

As we near the end of a very strange year, we thought we’d ask a couple of big thinkers to come on and have a no-holds-barred discussion on Legal Technology and Innovation. Kristin Hodgins is the Project Manager for Legal Innovation at Osler, Hoskins & Harcourt LLP in Toronto. Jason Wilson is a legal publisher and author who has worked at Thomson Reuters and O’Connor’s Publishing for over 20 years. We cover topics ranging from who are the thought leaders and where is the best community for legal tech discussion, to what are courts, firms, academics, and vendors really doing to promote and achieve advancements in legal technology. So strap on your scuba tank and prepare for a deep dive with this week’s guests.

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Information Inspirations

Even NPR knows that “Waiting for the LSAT is too late for improving minority representation in law.” Pipelines for minority and underrepresented portions of our society have to start much earlier than when they enter college or are thinking of applying for law schools.

Justice Ginsburg has both a tea set named after her, as well as a building at Rutgers University. And if tea isn’t your thing, how about a legal article from Kansas University’s Law Dean on the making of a perfect pecan pie crust?

Anyone who has filed a FOIA request knows they can be expensive. However, thanks to the American Association of Law Libraries, academic librarians may get a fee waiver from the US governmental agencies. So make sure you are on good terms with your academic law librarians!

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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. 99 – The Who, What, and Why of #LegalTech with Kristin Hodgins and Jason Wilson