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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On this episode of The Geek in Review, Anusia Gillespie, the US Head of Innovation at Eversheds Sutherland, sits down with us this week to discuss what she refers to as the “New Big Law” market’s inverted approach to innovation. In a market filled with problem solvers, sometimes the innovation we create solves a problem first, and then sets out to find the problem for this solution. Gillespie finds that innovation is disciplined and structured in its approach, but broad and creative in its thinking. Innovation definitely doesn’t live in any one discipline. Innovative solutions might require technology expertise, but it could just as well only require professional development expertise or strict legal expertise. She’s convinced that we need to move away from this type of anchoring bias to ensure that, in this time of rebuilding law into New Big Law, legal innovators finally design and implement correct and smart solutions. With the various professionals needed to identify problems, and create solutions, you need leadership, structure, a bit of fun mixed in, and a champion-forward approach. We dive into issues ranging from an overview of how Eversheds defines innovation to case studies of Gillespie’s publication on smart solutions for lateral recruitment and lateral onboarding.

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Information Inspirations
There are five very good podcast recordings from Legal Talk Networks “On the Road” series from the American Association of Law LIbraries (AALL) conference in Washington, DC. Interviews include a number of AALL members, such as, DIana Koppang, Jean O’Grady, Steve Lastres, and Catherine Monte, and other innovators like Dean Sonderegger, Gabe Teninbaum, and others. Check it out! Subscribe to it (and to The Geek in Review whle you’re at it!!)


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Jim Hannigan, the Director of Legal Project Management at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP and a member of the leadership team and standards committee at SALI Alliance walks us through the importance surround data standards when it comes to legal matters. Creating standards is the first step in allowing those of us in the legal services industry to speak the same language, and create ways of comparing apples to apples when it comes to marketing pitches, prior experience, or matter pricing. Hannigan discusses why SALI was created, the release of the first set of matter standards in January of this year, and what to expect at the LMA P3 Conference next month.

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We also discuss the current situation with Wolters Kluwer experiencing a ransomeware attack which shut down most of it’s online resource tools. WK has been very open about what happened, and is keeping a public statement page open as they begin to bring services back online – although, others may not agree. Just another reason to watch out for those phishing emails!

Information Inspirations

Legal innovation needs to learn some new tricks.” Rae Digby-Morgan at Wilson Fletcher, tells us that you can’t just slap “legal” or “law” onto a process and think that it makes it special. In fact, the legal industry may be a bit too much insular and should open up to non-legal experts to come in and advise us on how to improve our processes. She also reminds everyone that process improvement does not equal innovation. The value-add results of process improvements are expected by our clients… and is the floor, not the ceiling. If you want to separate yourself from the competition, being truly innovative will help.

How a Google Street View image of your house predicts your risk of a car accident. Standford University and the University of Warsaw in Poland have tested Google’s Street View images of individual’s houses to determine how likely they will be to file an auto insurance claim. Reportedly, they improved predictability by 2%. Scary! Marlene wonders what are the next factors in determining future actions? If you run 5K’s, or donate to non-profits?

Kim Kardashian and Legal Team Help Free 17 Prisoners in 90 Days. Although neither Greg nor Marlene watch KUWTK, or follow Kim on Instragram, they have nothing but good things to say about her work to help free 17 people who were imprisoned and drug related charges. Some serving life sentences. If you’re going to have power and fame and a platform, using it for social justice is a great way to use it.

Listen, Subscribe, download Jerry’s music, and Send Us Tweets and Voicemails, Too!!

Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and comment. You can tweet @gebauerm and/or @glambert to reach out. Call us at 713-487-7270 with suggestions. And, thanks to Jerry David DiCicca for the music!


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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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[Ed. Note: We’ve talked a lot recently about innovation, design thinking, creativity, and curiosity. If you are wondering where you can go to do some hands-on learning, then the American Association of Law Libraries’ Innovation Bootcamp might be for you. I asked Celeste Smith from AALL to write up a description of the bootcamp so

On this episode of The Geek in Review, we talk with CEO and Principle of Sente Advisors, Ryan McClead. Ryan is also a frequent contributor to 3 Geeks. His new venture into consulting and solution building is unique, in that his team builds across multiple platforms to find creative solutions for the problems we all face in the legal industry. Just as in life, very few solutions to our problems are found in one place. Ryan discusses what Greg refers to as Legal Jazz Innovation – the combining of things which have never been combined before. Listen as Ryan takes us through the twists and turns of how he uses his experience as a legal technology innovator, musician, writer, and consultant to creatively weave together a solution.

In addition to Ryan’s Jazzfest… there is going to be a Geekfest in NYC on February 21st, 2019. Marlene, Greg, and 3 Geeks’ own, Toby Brown, are going to be speaking at the Ark Group conference on Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services. (Which is a mouthful to say.)

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Marlene reminds American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) members to take the time to fill out the State of the Profession survey. AALL extended the deadline to December 14th, so go fill that survey out and help your fellow legal information professionals by sharing your knowledge.

Check out Caren Luckie’s post on Legal Competitive Intelligence. It’s a great primer to help explain what CI is in the legal field.


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Having recently attended a conference on law firm innovation, I came to the realization that Blockchain has lost its pre-eminent place in the legal BS stratosphere. This is a sad day. Blockchain had a good life and provided tons of opportunities for people to opine on how ‘everything’ will change because of it. I recall one especially insightful article on emerging crypto-toilet paper offerings. Too bad we will never know the warm comfort of crypto-paper making a pass around the seventh planet.

Moving right along – we now will enjoy six to nine months of “innovation” articles, seminars, conferences, white papers, case studies and booze-induced discussions.

Oh sweet pessimism.
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Over the past month I have given about a dozen talks in large conference settings with hundred of people, or at smaller intimate partner/ counsel lunches, or for people spanning the globe via webinar. The discussions have ranged in content and theme but all were legal industry favourites including:

  • the state of the legal industry 10 years out from the great recession of 2018;
  • the seat change from Baby Boomers to Millennials in firms, and what that means for the way work is done, how people are motivated and what success looks like;
  • competitive intelligence – what is means in and for the legal industry right now;
  • personal branding for lawyers and non lawyers and why it matters; and
  • emerging legal technology tools, adoption techniques, use cases and efficiency plays;


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I live in an environment which there is a passion to drive innovation. We want to make things better, cheaper, faster, seamless, more intelligent, and a hundred other adjectives to support our goals. When I read an article this morning from Mark A. Cohen on Forbes’ website this morning, I felt like he was speaking my language. Cohen starts off by saying that one of the reasons law firms struggle with keeping pace with business innovation “is that there are too many lawyers involved in legal delivery and too few logistics, supply chain, and management experts, technologists, project managers, data analysts, and other professionals/paraprofessionals.”

Operations is where it’s at! Right? Just ask a group like CLOC. Operations is in the title for Pete’s sakes.

Then I saw Jeff Carr’s tweet regarding the article, and it got me thinking in a completely different direction.
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