We give you the true “3 Geeks” experience on this week’s show as we are joined by an OG (original geek) Toby Brown. Toby, Marlene, and Greg talk with Litify’s President and COO, Ari Treuhaft, and Pam Wickersham, the VP of Product and Engineer there at Litify. One of the taglines at Litify is that they #BreakLegalSilos. Treuhaft and Wickersham explain what that means, and how they focus on providing an operating system, built on Salesforce, that creates transparency between Corporate Counsel and their law firms.

Both Ari and Pam got their start in Financial and Professional services, so they come at these business problems with a different approach. With Pam’s engineering background, and experiences at Google, she brings in a unique perspective on how to build the technology through the lens of the customer. Ari’s experiences with the Financial Services industry going to the cloud over a decade ago also positions him to better understand the naysayers in the legal industry who are still resistant to placing data in the cloud.

It’s a great conversation. We want to thank the great folks at City Acre Brewery in Houston, Texas for letting us record this episode there. And, for not laughing too hard as Greg destroyed his laptop by spilling an entire Maple Porter into his brand-new laptop. We hope this is a semi-regular event! (Recording at City Acre… not pouring a beer into laptops!!)

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Crystal Ball Question

Toby Brown takes on our question this week by talking about the fact that attorneys are resistant to changing behaviors, not because they are unwilling to adapt to new technology, but because this is an industry that is very reputational based.

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Contact Us:

Twitter: @gebauerm@glambert, or @gnawledge
Voicemail: 713-487-7821
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript


Continue Reading Creating Actual Transparency Between Law Firms and Clients – Litify’s Ari Treuhaft and Pam Wickersham (TGIR Ep. 182)

For the first time, Law360 and Major, Lindsey, and Africa team up to survey BigLaw partners in their 2022 Partner Compensation Survey. We are joined by Craig Savitzky, Senior Data Analyst at Law360 and Jeffrey Lowe, Global Practice Leader of the Law Firm Practice at Major Lindsey and Africa. With this being the first survey of law firm partners since most firms have made some effort to return to the office, there were some surprises on how much remote work partners want to take versus how much their firms are offering. It may not be what you think.

Women and minority partners made some strong gains according to this survey in narrowing the pay gap. While the gap is still significant between women/minority partners and their white male colleagues, this was the smallest percentage in the history of the survey which began in 2010.

For the first time, the difference between average equity partner pay was more than $1 Million over average non-equity partner pay.

Savitzky and Lowe unpack a lot of data from the survey for us.

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Crystal Ball Answers from LVNx

This week we talk with Properoware founder Keith Lipman, who recently merged into Litera, about the role that ALSP’s and others will play in filling the gap left by law firms when the economy begins its expected downturn.

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 An Overview of the 2022 Partner Compensation Survey with Law360’s Craig Savitzky and MLA’s Jeffrey Lowe (TGIR Ep. 178)

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.

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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)

For the first time ever, we have a guest co-host this week while Marlene wears her fancy sneakers around ILTACon seeking answers to our Crystal Ball question.
Katie Brown, Associate Dean for Information Resources at Charleston School of Law is on a mission to increase the teaching of practical technology skills to law students. In her view, law professors “are required to educate people so that they can go out into the practice and successfully do that. And so beyond just, rule 1.1 with legal technology and having that competency, for us as law schools, I think we have an ethical obligation to be teaching legal technology.” This approach needs to be embedded into the Law School’s culture, because it costs money, time, and effort to do correctly.
In upcoming research collected with University of Connecticut Law’s Jessica de Perio Wittman, Brown and de Perio Wittman calculated that on average, law students have less than 4 classes during their entire time in law school that have some aspect of teaching them the technology skills in that topic. Brown wants to see that number rise.
AALL Crystal Ball Answer

While in Denver at the AALL Conference, Katie not only answered our Crystal Ball question, she also persuaded Abby Dos Santos, Reference Librarian at Caplin & Drysdale, to sit down with her and have a conversation about the pipeline of technology teaching from law school to law firms. We cover both of those answers and then Katie turns the mic on Greg to ask what law students need to understand about court dockets before landing in law firms.

Special thanks to Katie Brown for stepping in and co-hosting this week!!

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Contact Us:
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
Voicemail: 713-487-7821‬
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Transcript


Continue Reading Teaching (and Pressuring) Law Professors to Teach Technology – Katie Brown (TGIR Ep. 171)

Five years ago, Dr. Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and co-founder, Gardner & Co, wrote the book, “Smart Collaboration” where she laid out the “why” behind smart collaboration efforts. In her upcoming sequel, “Smarter Collaboration: A New Approach to Breaking Down Barriers and Transforming Work,” Dr. Gardner explains the “who” and the “how” behind collaboration. The issues that law firms face today are incredibly complex and multifaceted. And in an industry famous for “going it alone,” that approach exposes firms to much greater risk than those who find ways of implementing “smarter collaboration” techniques. 
Smarter Collaboration helps increase revenues, profits, and efficiencies while reducing risks and improving client relationships and positive outcomes. While the idea of collaboration may sound like a “soft topic” for law firm leaders, Dr. Gardner points out that there is empirical data behind this and if firms are not engaging in smarter collaboration when doing the “real work” then they are either doing something that is pretty low value, or that falls into the realm of commodity work.  
In addition to data driven analysis, Smarter Collaboration also includes a number of examples of how companies and law firms thrive through the use of Smarter Collaboration. Plus, there is a test on determining behavioral tendencies when it comes to collaboration. This psychometric tool helps identify seven different dimensions which can lead to great collaboration within the organization, or may be barriers to collaboration. And, as strange as it may sound to those of us in the legal industry, law firms are not unique when it comes to collaborative behaviors. In fact, Dr. Gardner says law firms are more different from each other than they are from other professional services industries or large corporations.
Listen in for more details on the upcoming book, Smarter Collaboration.

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AALL Crystal Ball Question
This week we have John Beatty from the University of Buffalo Law School answer our crystal ball question where he points out that the pipeline of traditional law librarians for law schools may be running dry.
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Contact Us:
Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert
Voicemail: 713-487-7270
Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Transcript


Continue Reading Increased Revenue, Profits, and Efficiencies through “Smarter Collaboration” – Dr. Heidi Gardner (TGIR Ep. 169)

When the pandemic began, many law firms prepared for the worst by furloughing or laying off lawyers and legal professionals. Many of these same firms then found themselves at a disadvantage when the hiring spree began in the fourth quarter of 2020. Leopard Solution‘s Phil Flora joins us this week to talk about the numbers that they tracked over this time on hiring and movement in the legal industry. Pre-pandemic, there were 6,000 – 7,000 open jobs at any given moment. Currently, that number is 12,000+. And it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

Phil Flora discusses a number of issues around how law firms and others are managing, recruiting, and retaining talent in such an active market. Of course, money is the traditional approach for law firms, and that is no exception this time around. However, Flora points out that there are a lot of “greats” going on in the market, including the “Great Pause”, the “Great Resurgence”, and the “Great Reflection” to name a few. And while money will be one piece of the solution, legal talent is wanting many more adjustments in order to keep them content and in place. This includes more work flexibility, mentoring, and even more social awareness by the law firms when it comes to how they align with societal goals.

Crystal Ball Question

We asked Norton Rose Fulbright’s Zack Barnes to look into his crystal ball and predict what he sees for the legal industry. Barnes’ future expands upon the ability for the legal market to expand upon the sandboxes created by Utah and Arizona to allow for ownership of law firms beyond the licensed attorney ranks. For true business innovation, there needs to be diversity in the ownership ranks.

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Contact Us

Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert

Voicemail: 713-487-7270

Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com

Music: Jerry David DeCicca

Transcript


Continue Reading The Geek in Review Ep. 153 – Phil Flora on What Law Firms are doing in the Battle for Talent

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

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. 148 – InnoLaw’s Lucy Bassli on the Sexiness of Contracts

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Yogi Berra
Yet that never stops us from asking our “crystal ball” questions to our guests like Axiom’s Chief Commercial Officer, David Pierce. Some of the traits that David believes will make for successful businesses and people include:
  • Emphasis on creativity and great imaginations
  • Make it clear that everyone’s health and safety are top priorities through clear communication and transparent efforts
  • Be flexible on work environments with clear policies
  • Lay out clear business missions and objectives and make it clear what role each person plays in helping accomplish that mission
We also dive into Axiom’s mission and the role that David has played over the past few years. As well as David dropping some knowledge about Yellow Loading Zones he learned in law school.

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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. 142 – Axiom’s David Pierce on Talent Recruitment and Flexible Working-Models Amid Shifting Industry Expectations

In an industry focused on revenue and profit, where does something like customer experience stand in the priorities of legal providers? Leigh Vickery, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Level Legal, as well as CEO and founder of Queso Mama, says that we need to look at the corporate and legal industry world differently. Instead of putting shareholders and partners first, they need to fall much further down the list. If you take care of your employees and your customers first, there will still be plenty left over for the shareholders and everyone is better off in the end. 
We dive into the topic of how other industries approach customer data and use the information to create a better experience. Can examples like Eleven Madison Park restaurant teach the legal industry better client interactions? Vickery believes so. Metrics like Profits Per Partner might show the industry how profitable the law firms are, but perhaps we need different metrics to show how satisfied the law firm’s clients really are. See Leigh’s article on Economics of Mutuality.

Information Inspirations
Casey Flaherty has an excellent article on how incremental improvements can create better returns on investment than big moon-shot projects. Check it out, right here on 3 Geeks
Wikipedia biographies are surprisingly difficult for women to not only get them on the platform, but to also keep them from being deleted. UNC Professor Franchesca Trapoti discusses the bias in her paper, “Miscatagorized: Gender, Notability, and Inequality on Wikipedia” and Marketplace Tech breaks down some examples.
Bob Ambrogi’s two-part article/podcast focuses on the unique resurrection of UpCounsel’s “legal as a service” model, as well as the interesting crowdfunding to raise capital. It’ll be interesting to see how well this crowdfunding goes, and if other legal services use this model.
Hey kids, lemonade stands are “legal” in New Hampshire and Illinois.
The Netherlands is using AI to pick up butts on the beach. Cigarette butts, that is.
Listen, Subscribe, Comment
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. 126 – Leigh Vickery on Creating Top-Shelf Customer Experience in Legal