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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Welcome to a mini-episode of The Geek In Review. Shot on location in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Law School Stress??  No Kidding!

This week, we continue our discussion on how law students can have a stressful time in the three years they are in law school. We can’t change what happens during law school, but we’ve asked some experts to tell us what they do to help law students reduce stress as they prep for finals, and what they can do to be successful as summer associates in law firms.

We finish our series about how law schools are reducing stress by hearing from the following schools:

  • Howard University
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Houston
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Georgia State University
  • University of Texas

We appreciate these schools (and the ones from last week) taking the time to tell us what all they are doing to help students deal with finals.\

Hey Summer Associates… Listen Up!

We also talk with a number of AmLaw 100 firms about what their expectations are for how summer associates can have a successful tour of duty at their firms. Greg and Marlene were at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and they asked a number of their fellow attendees what they do to help summer associates succeed, or what their expectations are for how law schools should prepare them for this work, and what they allow from outside vendors in regards for training as assistance during the Summers’ time at the firm. 
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David Whelan, the Director of Legal Information & the Great Library Society of Ontario, discusses his recent article “The No Legal Research Provider Landscape,” and how lawyers, law librarians, and the legal industry looks at legal information services. Do you need to have multiple resources like Westlaw, LexisNexis, Bloomberg or others, or can

One of the best things about the legal industry is that there are multiple pathways to success. We are all trained issue spotters, and our guest on this episode identified an issue and founded a new company to fix that issue. Brian Powers is the CEO and co-founder of PactSafe, a high-velocity contract acceptance platform used by such major companies like Angie’s List, UpWork, BMC, TIVO, and others to handle large volumes of clickthrough agreements. We talk with Brian about what motivated him to take on this challenge, and how he sought out to change the way businesses approach these types of contacts, and bring efficiency to the market place, and the legal industry through technology and process improvements. Brian is just one more example of those in the legal field who has found an alternative path through identifying inefficiencies, and finding ways to correct them.

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Hat tip to Kristin Hodgins for her tweet this week when she saw that someone said that if law firms are going to us AI, we need ways to collect structured data. Hodgins tweet reply was spot on when she said “Guess who are experts at structured data? Librarians. Google didn’t destroy us; it help us by reducing low-value work like rote retrieval from our duties & allowed us to focus on high-order skills. AI will do the same.” Well said!

Information Inspirations:

We’re doing AI Wrong

Zach Warren interviewed Brad Blickstein in a law.com article this week about how law firms are looking at AI the wrong way. When it comes to AI and law firms, Blickstein says that “[AI has] become a top-down thing: What are we doing about AI? It’s like asking, what are we doing about databases? It’s a crazy question. The question should be, what problems do we have, how do we solve them, and is AI or some semblance of AI a potential solution for that?”  Brad’s company, Blickstein Group, is producing a Legal AI Efficacy report that is due out this summer. 
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Not many people can make the transition from Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics, and then to the legal analytics field, but Dr. Carla Rydholm is someone who did just that. For nearly the past decade, Dr. Rydholm has been leading the charge of data analytics at Lex Machina. She is charged with not only acquiring the data large amounts of data but also maintaining that data as it is updated. Dr. Rydholm stopped by Greg’s Houston office, along with episode 10’s guest, Kyle Doviken to tell us about transitioning from pure scientist, to her current role, and what drives her passion for data analytics, and how the data is used to tell the story, and help attorney’s understand what’s previously happened, and use that as a guide to better understand where they may be headed. It’s a very insightful conversation.

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Marlene WIns an Award!

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLL-IP) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is giving Blogger of the Year status to our very own Marlene Gebauer for her outstanding work on this podcast. Congrats Marlene!!
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On this episode of The Geek in Review Podcast, we have a wonderful conversation with Steve Embry of the TechLaw Crossroads blog. Embry walked away from his AmLaw 200 partnership almost a year ago to follow his passion to become a full time legal blogger. He discusses how there is an art to storytelling, and as a lawyer, there are different ways to present those stories. Storytelling is a skill which needs to be honed, whether that is through legal blogging, or through leveraging technology to present your story in a courtroom environment. Embry’s passion in this new phase of his life is palatable throughout this interview and even inspires those of us who have been blogging for years to remember why it is we do it.

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Information Inspirations:

Ernst and Young is poised to swoop in and acquire Thomson Reuters’ managed legal services company, Pangea3. Marlene wonders what this means for the future of both the Big 4 entering the legal market, and what the future objectives of Thomson Reuters in the legal industry.
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On this episode of The Geek In Review, we talk with Joe Lawson, Deputy Director of the Harris County Law Library in Houston, Texas. With Harris County being the third largest county in the United States, there is a large number of attorneys, judges, and citizens who use the law library for various reasons. In 2018, there were over 24,000 filings of self-represented petitioners. That is a lot. Dallas County, by comparison, had 6,000 in the same time period. Lawson believes that there is a duty of the law library to help train lawyers, not to just be more efficient in their personal practices, but to help them have more capacity to help assist pro se litigants. Lawson’s calculation is that a 3% increase in capacity, through advancements in technology usage, could help eliminate a majority of the pro se issues in the county.

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Back from South By Southwest (SXSW)

Greg returned this week from SXSW and a trip to Northern California. Although the music was great, it was the educational sessions which took up most of his time in Austin. Panels on Gen Z, and the art of Storytelling where two of the topics that caught his attention.

INFORMATION INSPIRATIONS

Washburn Law School in Kansas allows their 3L students to finish their last year of law school actually working in the industry. In their “Third Year Anywhere” program, students receive first-hand experience working with mentor lawyers in one of six different areas. They complete their educational portion of the curriculum through online courses. Is this an outlier in legal education, or a potential trend for other schools to follow?
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It only took us 31 episodes, but Marlene decided that what the show lacked was a phone number for listeners to call in. So, we now have one, and we have a question for you to vote on.
“Should The Geek In Review create a video promo for upcoming episodes?” (Greg says he has the face for radio, so vote no… Marlene says it’s a great idea, so vote yes.
Call 713-487-7270 and leave your voicemail of “YES” or “NO” and what other ideas you may have for the show.

This week we have a great guest, Vishal Agnihotri, who recently returned from a world wide Legal Hackathon session, and she and her team (called the Femme LeGALs) created over 180 ideas and concepts. Besides idea generation at a phenomenal pace, Vishal is also the Chief Knowledge Officer at Hinshaw Culbertson in New York. She walks us through her journey through Knowledge Management and where she sees opportunities in law firm KM through data security.

Greg is spending the week in Austin at SXSW, and is live-blogging as much as he can here. Wish him luck, as he has taken to riding those electric scooters through the streets of Austin.

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Not all Data Scientists wear lab coats to work. Intapp’s Jennifer Roberts wears a cape!

On the latest episode of The Geek in Review, Marlene and Greg dive into the wonderfully geeky world of data science and its application within law firms and the legal industry. Jennifer Roberts, Manager, Strategic Research at Intapp, discusses exactly what it means to be a data scientist, and why law firms are leveraging them to help run their legal operations. When it comes to “the business of law,” Roberts says this is where the results of data science steps in and shows its value. Data science can help answer questions like, “how can we predict the price of legal services?” “How can we predict the scope of a matter?” “How can we help with legal project management?” And even “how can we predict what a client’s needs are?” Or, “what will these clients buy from us in the future?” Data science and analytics help uncover the facts that not all lawyers and not all legal matters are totally unique. Roberts also helps us answer those naysayers who claim that they do not have enough data, or that they have Filthy Data™. Jennifer brings us some fantastic insights on how law firms are leveraging internal and external data sets to help with the practice of law, and the business of law.

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We finish our LegalWeek question of “how are you changing the legal industry” with our final four responses. This week we hear from:

Michael BoggiaLoopup
Damian JealHubshare
Kevin O’KeefeLexBlog
Martin GouletWolters Kluwer

Information Inspirations

For anyone following the happenings (and large fines resulting from) the EU’s GDPR, Marlene thinks perhaps this is something that may make its way across the pond. In a recent Corporate Counsel magazine article entitled, “Cisco’s Chief Legal Officer Expresses Support for American Version of GDPR” (subscription needed), Mark Chandler of Cisco supports the need for more regulation on privacy. We are already seeing versions pop up at the state level … we’re looking at you, California. But, it might take federal regulations to help clarify how we protect privacy online.


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