Adam Curphey’s new book, The Legal Team of the Future: Law+ Skills guides the reader through the need for less silos in legal practice and much more reliance upon teams and collaborative efforts. The idea of a “Law+” model for the profession brings in the essential processes of adding people, business, change, and technology to the law and creating legal teams to solve legal problems.
Curphey’s experiences at law firms like White & Case LLP, Reed Smith LLP, and Mayer Brown LLP helped provide insights into what worked and didn’t work in legal innovation. His membership on the O-Shaped Lawyer Steering Board also provided the human-centric skills needed for the integration of teams into an industry filled with accomplished individuals used to going it alone. This expansion of the T-Shaped and the Delta Model Lawyers brings in more of that human interaction that is needed in today’s complex legal environment.
The Legal Team of the Future: Law+ Skills also lays out multiple case studies and examples of collaboration, teamwork, and professional progression. We talk about some of the case studies along with Adam Curphey’s view into his crystal ball on what is on the horizon for the legal industry in terms of legal innovation.
Links to Order The Legal Team of the Future: Law+ Skills
LVNx Crystal Ball Answer
This week, Purvi Sanghvi  from Paul Hastings, and a current Legal Value Network Executive Board Member, explains how the legal industry may approach a potential economic downturn in 2023, and how that must be different from the 2008 or the 2020 approaches on previous challenges to the profession.
Contact Us:
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
Voicemail: 713-487-7821 (note the NEW NUMBER!)
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: 
Jerry David DeCicca
Transcript


Continue Reading Preparing for the Legal Team of the Future – Adam Curphey (TGIR Ep. 176)

When it comes to the future of legal innovation, Olga Mack of Parley Pro at LexisNexis says that as the legal industry becomes more focused on being a ‘service’, legal technology will just become part of the overall design of products and services. It will not stand alone as a separate process, but rather legal innovation will be built into products such as HR tools that build in compliance processes, or financial tools build in legal components by design. Legal tech simply integrates into all technology processes.

Olga Mack is the CEO of Parley Pro and recently led the company through an acquisition with LexisNexis. Olga points out that while she was not a founder of Parley Pro, she took her role at leading the company of contract management and collaboration tools very seriously on how it handled its success during the pandemic. She points out that all startups go through a process of looking at its future and deciding do we go public, do we get acquired, or do we die and file for bankruptcy. Her previous relationship with LexisNexis helped her understand the value that Lexis’ content would bring to Parley Pro and she says the relationship is exactly what Parley Pro, and their customers needed.

Olga has a strong reputation within the legal community and she actually insists that she wakes up each day and works to live up to that reputation. It’s not a ‘brand’ that she presents to the world, but rather her authentic self as she presents at webinars, conferences, or even in TEDx speeches.

In both an upcoming (early 2023) release of her ABA book, Visual IQ for Lawyers, and a soon to be released third TEDx talk on the same subject, Olga’s current inspiration is the adding of visual aspects within documents and contracts. Companies such as Google and others are already using these visual processes in their contracts and it is a skill and concept that Olga thinks many lawyer currently lack. “I think visual intelligence is not something you’re born with. It’s like reading, writing and arguing. It’s something you learn, intentionally.” Olga Mack continues, “And this book is an attempt to, one, show the importance of visual intelligence in communications, and to give frameworks and basic concepts to allow legal professionals, not just lawyers, to understand, relate, interpret, communicate in an increasingly visual world.”

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Links Discussed:
AALL Crystal Ball Answer:

We keep it within the LexisNexis family this week with Loyd Auerbach answering our Crystal Ball Question on how the industry, and law librarians specifically are changing the traditional work model as we make remote and hybrid work a part of our daily work process.

Check out Greg’s Newest Podcast, The SuperHuman Law Division.

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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Transcript


Continue Reading The Future of Legal Innovation Will Be Built In By Design – Olga Mack (TGIR – Ep. 172)

HyperDraft’s Tony Thai knew he could produce a better method of practicing law and producing legal documents. He viewed processes more like an engineer than a lawyer and understood that there were more efficient ways to do the work, not for the sake of efficiency, but because like any good engineer, he was lazy. Or, as he describes himself, “aggressively lazy.” Not lazy in the traditional sense, but rather lazy in the way that many of us understand that the current way of working is just wasting everyone’s time, and there has to be an easier/better/faster way of doing it. The good kind of lazy.
So after months and years of waiting for the industry to find ways of creating a better process, and failing to actually do it, he jumped in and just did it himself. The idea that he’d been working on and developing to make his own corporate law work better, became his full-time gig and the launch of HyperDraft. This year his fellow BigLaw colleague, Sean Greaney joined HyperDraft as its first General Counsel.
We talk about their journey to create a commercial product. Along the way we ask if creativity, innovation, and producing viable commercial products like HyperDraft means that lawyers at firms have to split off from that firm? The answer is a mix of yes, no, and maybe. One thing that both point out is that while the idea may be viable, a young associate really doesn’t have the legal experience needed to understand the nuances involved in creating a deliverable that scales and fits the overall needs of the lawyer and the client. That’s why Tony and Sean stuck around for a few more years to learn the in’s and out’s of the processes before leaving to launch HyperDraft. It’s a lesson that many entrepreneur/lawyers may want to learn before launching their own startups.

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AALL Crystal Ball Questions:
We recorded a number of crystal ball answers at this year’s American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) annual conference in Denver. This week, Susan DeMaine from Indiana University Maurer School of Law looks at the effect that inflation is having on law schools and how she and other law school professors and administrators are needing to do to stay ahead of those effects.
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Listener Perk:
HyperDraft is providing Geek in Review podcast listeners with a complimentary month free of its document automation software.
Save 90% of the time drafting legal documents. Click here to try HyperDraft for free.
Transcript:


Continue Reading HyperDraft’s Tony Thai and Sean Greaney – The Compatibility of BigLaw and Innovative Lawyers (TGIR Ep.167)

A few weeks back, we talked with Norton Rose Fulbright’s Zack Barnes on how law firms can invest in their communities through local innovation hubs like Houston, Texas’ Ion District. We wanted to dive deeper into that law firm/local innovation idea, so Zack is back with us and introduced us to Joey Sanchez, Senior Director of Ecosystems at The Ion Houston. With his weekly “Cup of Joey” innovation gatherings, Sanchez says his responsibility is to “engineer serendipity” in the innovation community.

The Ion Houston is a lesson in “fail fast.” The original idea revolved around the bid to lure Amazon’s second headquarters. And despite being the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston didn’t even make the top 20 of Amazon’s list. What that told the innovators in Houston, along with the biggest backer of the project, Rice University, was that Houston needed to reevaluate itself and make a concerted effort to organize its innovative community.

The Ion is not just a beautiful reimagination of a 1930’s era Sears building. It is a 12 block district in the center of Houston that is looking to reimagine a city that has long been viewed as having a cowboy culture rooted in the fossil fuel industries. While the rest of the world may think of Austin as the hot area for innovation, Sanchez reminds us that Houston has the biggest potential for growth with its variety of industries like the Medical Center, NASA, the Port of Houston, the influx of alternative energy companies, and its large, diverse population.

The legal industry is also taking note of what is happening in the Ion District with firms like Baker Botts, Norton Rose, Hunton Andrews Kurth, and other law firms making a presence for themselves among the startups. Entrepreneurs are looking for protections for their intellectual property, reducing risks associated with being a new company, and for guidance through the legal and regulatory landscape. Having innovation districts in large cities like Houston are a prime spot for law firms to position themselves to help innovators within their local communities.

Links Mentioned:

The Ion Houston
The Ion District
Cup of Joey
Blue Tile Project
Texas Startup Manifesto

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

Transcript


Continue Reading Engineering Serendipity with The Houston Ion’s Joey Sanchez (TGIR Ep. 165)

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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Links mentioned:
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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.

Contact Us

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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.
Links:

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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.
Share with a friend

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