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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Twitter: @gebauerm or @glambert

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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.

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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.
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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. 126 – Leigh Vickery on Creating Top-Shelf Customer Experience in Legal

Over the past year, many of us have said “I guess all law firms are virtual law firms now.” While that may technically be true, there are many firms whose business model is based on being a virtual firm. Dan Packel from The American Lawyer gives us a primer on Distributed Law Firms like Fisher Broyles, Ramon, Taylor English and Duma, and Culhane Meadows and how they operate without a physical environment. While many of these firms may fly below the radar for many biglaw firms, distributed firms like Fisher Broyles may be poised to break into the AmLaw 200. And if that happens, and it might happen this year, many big firms will start to take notice.

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Information Inspirations

While we don’t want you to replace us as your favorite podcast, we do think that Stephen Poor’s new podcast from Seyfarth, Pioneer and Pathfinders, provides some good sit-down discussions with legal innovators like Dr. Heidi Gardner, Dan Linna, Nicole Bradick, and more to come. Go check it out.

There are only eleven states now which do not require lawyers to have a competence level when it comes to legal technology. California is the latest to make such a requirement.

Our fellow geek, Casey Flaherty is the last of the Baker McKenzie dream team to finally leave Baker and go back into the legal innovation consulting world. Casey is now the Chief Strategy Officer at LexFusion and is bringing his talent back into the open legal market to help legal departments and law firms implement technology to improve overall legal processes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly brings us a new blockchain sheriff in Texas. The Texas Blockchain Council is a nonprofit trade association with the objective to make Texas the center of the universe for blockchain technology.

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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. 112 – Dan Packel on the Rise of Distributed Law Firms

Most of us in the legal industry did not think of the employment market as being anything close to stable in 2020. However, as we are witnessing from the AmLaw 100/200 firm revenue numbers being released, many firms had record revenue and profits. In fact, recent reports show that the industry actually added some 5,000 jobs recently. Geoff Zodda, Chief Solutions Officer of IT Search at PearlCare Search Group, talks with us about what happened in the legal market surrounding the technology, information, analytics, and knowledge workers in 2020, and the projections for these types of professions as the industry refashions itself for a post-COVID economy. For those who are flexible, can wear multiple work hats, and can analyze data, the world may be your oyster.

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Information Inspirations

If a human adds some words into a computer, and that computer uses AI to produce art based on that human input, who owns the rights to that art? Charlotte Kilpatrick from ManagingIP talks with three experts to answer that question.

There is a topic that a lot of us avoid and that is succession planning First, it is uncomfortable, second it is uncomfortable.

We have discussed T-Shaped and Delta-Model lawyers in the past. However, easyJet is making its outside counsel show how O-Shaped they are by creating innovative questions on their request for proposals and law firm pitches for business.

Ken Crutchfield points out some of the traps that innovators fall into when they don’t listen or interpret customers or seek feedback. His experience showing his father about the Trapper Keeper when he was 15 helped him understand what customer feedback meant for success.

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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. 106 – Geoff Zodda on Legal Industry Employment Trends in a Post-COVID World

We conclude our discussion with Jennifer Bluestein, author of the book Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates, and talk about how associates mature into their roles as lawyers with law firms. As these second to sixth-year associates begin to take on more substantial legal roles, as well as leadership, mentorship, and allyship among their fellow lawyers, the stress of the job can become overwhelming. Bluestein talks through a number of examples of how mid-level associates can handle the increased workload, improve communications with partners at the firm, and realistically plan for their future. During the COVID era, associates my struggle with their work, feel depressed, or have other troubles adjusting to a disrupted work environment. Bluestein says that law firms need to address these issues by observing behavior and constant communication with associates who need help. Our clients are still in need of their lawyer’s counsel, and now more than ever, associates are really a necessary part of the law firm’s business.

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Information Inspirations

The Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Institute published the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market. Beyond stating the obvious, that 2020 was an extraordinary year, the report suggests that the pandemic may be the tipping point for law firms and how they practice law going forward.

Summize is a new contract lifecycle product that claims to be a lightweight solution for contract review. There a number of interesting things it does, including how it summarizes the contract for easy review and exportable to MS Word and Excel.

Greg was on the other side of the interview this week when he sat down with Chad Main, host of the Technically Legal podcast. If you want to learn more about Greg on a professional and personal level, go check out the episode: Greg Lambert on the Importance of the 21st Century Law Librarian.

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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. 101 – How Mid-Level Associates Can Thrive at Law Firms – with Jennifer Bluestein

Welcome to the 100th episode of The Geek in Review. We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the podcast as much as we’ve had in making it.

We talk with Jennifer Bluestein, Chief Talent and HR Officer for Perkins Coie in part one of a two-part interview. Jennifer’s new book, Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates helps associates, partners, HR, and professional development personnel better understand the needs of those second to sixth-year associates as they move from learning how to practice law to learning how to practice law, while managing up and down the associate ladder. In part one, we discuss the basic challenges of a mid-level when it comes to communication skills, and knowing when to delegate, and when not to delegate. We also cover the issues with understanding partner evaluations of associates and what the difference is between a coaching moment, and what is a performance issue.

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Information Inspirations

The American Bar Association reports that being a judge can be stressful.

If you’re looking for a great curated newsletter on all the mergers and other happenings in the legal tech industry, Nate’s News, curated by Nate Schorr, may be just what you are looking for.

AI bias is something we’ve all heard about. Recently the bias appeared in how the COVID vaccine is being distributed. At least that was how it was reported. Karen Hao from MIT Tech Review thinks it may be more of a people problem than an Algorithm/AI issue.

And speaking of AI, Sheppard Mullins is the first law firm to sign the EqualAI pledge, with the hope of reducing AI bias in the practice of law.

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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. 100 – Jennifer Bluestein on Stepping It Up: A Guide for Mid-Level Law Firm Associates

A couple of episodes ago, we had Richard Hsu discuss the need to eventually bring as many of our lawyers back to a physical office in order to have a successful working environment. Stephen Embry of LegalTech Crossroads Blog reached out to us after listening and wanted to argue that while he understood Richard’s argument that in order for there to be a level playing field for all lawyers in the firm, that there were actually ways to create a successful environment where lawyers could continue to work remotely. In fact, that with the right strategy, training, support, and flexibility, that it would actually attract better talent and lead to better satisfaction from not just the firm’s own lawyers, but also from the firm’s clients as well.

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Information Inspirations

Halloween is the weekend, and like any good legal nerd, you’ll want to know where to find some law review articles on the topic. Our friends at the Ohio State University Law Library have curated a list just for you.

While our guest today talks about the value of online depositions, Above the Law recently wrote about one lawyer’s desire to get back to the good old days. Which we will probably never see. But, he can keep wishing.

Dalhousie University Law School in Halifax, Nova Scotia is working to help startups in Eastern Canada work through some of their basic legal needs. This subscription-based service is designed to get the startups some help, but at the same time, not actually compete with law firms. Read more about the initio Technology and Innovation Law Clinic and its Director, Jacqueline Walsh.

Is the US Supreme Court forever going to be surrounded by the political whims of the other two branches of government? Probably. But, under the right circumstances, it may not need to be.

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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. 93 – Stephen Embry – The Future of the Law Office Won’t Need Everyone to be in the Office