We all love our pets and think of them as part of our families. Even though we might love them as much (or more) than we love people, the legal system does not allow them the same protection. That doesn’t mean that there are no rights for animals, in fact, there are many specific laws designated to protect them. In this episode of The Geek in Review, we bring on four experts in researching Animal Laws, not just in the US, but worldwide. We talk with the following members of the American Association of Law Libraries’ Animal Law Caucus:
  • Alex Zhang – Law Library Director and Professor of Practice at Washington and Lee University School of Law
  • Stacey Gordon Sterling -Law Library Director and Professor of law – Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana
  • Katie Ott – Reference Librarian – Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford University
  • Sarah Slinger – Reference Librarian and Lecturer at Law – University of Miami Law Library
Whether it is legal issues ranging from which parent gets the pet in a divorce, or how an orangutan is granted “personhood” in Argentina, to animal testing on cute beagles (yes… that’s still going on in the US), our experts from the Animal Law Caucus cover these issues and more.

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Information Inspirations
There is a lot of tech opportunities in America, but one of the unrealized places are on Native American Reservations. The Make Me Smart podcast talks with a Native Financial Officer about the upcoming Wiring the Rez conference.
One Texas Federal Judge asks if you submit a brief more than 10 pages long, that you make a recording so he can listen to it, rather than read it. Sounds like an opportunity for some talented legal podcasters with better voices than Greg.
Despite some of the best efforts to make things better, even allies can come up short when it comes to racial bias in the workplace. One leader in the Social Justice non-profit area shares her story, and it mirrors some of the same situations we see in the legal industry.
To understand Algorithmic Bias, you must first understand the different types of discrimination, and how they apply to the bias. It’s very complicated, but here’s a primer to get your started.


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We have discussed the concept of the T-Shaped Lawyer on previous episodes, but we jump into a new concept this week called the Delta Model. Alyson Carrel from Northwestern Law School joins returning guest Cat Moon from Vanderbilt Law School’s Program on Law and Innovation to discuss this intriguing idea of helping lawyers understand the pyramid of skills surrounding understanding the law, business & operations, and personal effectiveness.

We suggest taking a look at this primer from Carrel, Moon, and other members of the Delta Model working group (Natalie Runyon,  Shellie Reid, and Gabe Teninbaum) from Bill Henderson’s blog, Legal Evolution. This model of three principles, along with the ability to shift the center of importance for each skill set, helps explain, and guide the overall needs of the legal industry. Carrel and Moon give us an insider’s view of the model and explain why this concept will help with the holistic training of law students as well as practicing attorneys.

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Information Inspirations

In the article, Innovation, Disruption, and Impact: Should We All Jump Aboard the Legal Tech Hype Train? by Peter Melicharek and Franziska Lehner, the authors talk about the need to unwind the PR from the actual technology in the legal industry. The primary benefit of technology is to assist in achieving results by eliminating mundane tasks, and assisting in getting to better legal results, faster, and cheaper.
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Anne Tucker

Wouldn’t it be cool if a law school and a business school could collaborate on issues of legal analytics, entrepreneurial opportunities in the law, and collaboration between the university and the local business and law firm industries? We talk with a couple of professors at Georgia Statue University (GSU) who are turning this ‘cool idea’ and making it a reality. Anne Tucker, Professor of Law, Legal Analytics & Innovation Initiative, and Ben Chapman, Executive Director, Legal Analytics and Innovation Initiative join us to discuss the details behind The Institute for Insight at GSU. The Institute brings together professors from different backgrounds of Engineering, Computer Science, and Statistics and with this type of cross-pollination with business and law, the professors are looking at applied analytics 

questions and bringing in their own unique skill sets to understand and solve these issues. 
Ben Chapman

This mashup of law, business, data science, risk management, statistics and more isn’t a purely academic endeavor for the Institute. Following in the tradition of GSU being an urban school, the Institute works with well known players in the Atlanta business and legal community to put the ideas into real-world situations. This gives the Institute’s professors and students the opportunity to work side-by-side with the business and legal leaders to help identify, study, analyze, and potentially solve issues facing the business and legal industry. This is one of the many values which Tucker and Chapman see for not just preparing students for the practice of law, but also for the business of law.

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Information Inspirations
While Greg was busy playing guitar in his law firm’s band, Marlene was speaking at the DLaw Summit in NYC last week.
Competitive Intelligence guru, Kevin Miles from Norton Rose Fulbright gives us some nice checklists on different CI topics along with some templates designed in MS Word to help start you on the CI path at your law firm.


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This week, we bring on Kevin Clem, Chief Commercial Officer for HBR Consulting. Kevin discusses the HBR Law Department Survey which has become a staple in the industry over the past 16 years. There is still a bit of a Family Feud between the in-house and the outside counsel ranks, but the survey is showing that there are lots of opportunities for the two sides to communicate and collaborate, rather than keep the status quo in the relationship. GC’s are wanting their outside firms to help them beyond their legal issues, and really get to understand their business needs and pressures. Whether it is laying out strategy and pricing, or assisting the law department with their understanding of legal tools or knowledge collection, there are needs which law firms need to help with, or someone else may fill that void.
Clem has used the platform of the TV game show, The Family Feud to show his audiences of corporate counsels how they see their relationships. And the survey says… it’s not great. Some 87% of GC’s he had surveyed found the relationship to be either okay, or needing help. It’s a great conversation, and we cover a number of topics, and the one thing that we all agreed with, is that Richard Dawson was our favorite host.

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Information Inspirations:
Pepperdine’s online course makes a PR push for “nons.” Greg thinks maybe they should find another term. After all, hospital administration professionals are not referred to as non-doctors. Marlene suggests that TGIR listeners call in with suggested terms you’d like to see.
There’s some inspirational tweets out there ranging from why it’s okay to talk about your projects at conferences, to how great a brother (and customer service provider) Levi is.


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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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Makerspaces are becoming very popular in libraries, and today we talk with two librarians who are ready to bring the collaborative thinking and working spaces into the law school library environment. Ashley Matthews is at George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School, and Sharon Bradley is at the University of Georgia School of Law. Both believe there is a great benefit in carving out spaces within the law school library to allow students and faculty the ability to tinker and experiment with their creative sides, and potentially come up with the next big idea in the legal market.

Matthews recently wrote an article on makerspaces entitled “Teaching Students to ‘Tech Like a Lawyer’.” While some of us may see ‘tech like a lawyer’ as a way to stop technology, Matthews and Bradley think that the law school library environment can be the perfect place to teach law students the analytical skills they’ll need in their practice to truly understand how a legal issue can benefit from technology, and how to issue spot, reason, analyze, and resolve legal issues more effectively with technology.

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Information Inspirations

The Dangers of Categorical Thinking

The human mind is build to categorize the things we see and do in the world. It just helps us make sense of the world, whether it’s the fight or flight between seeing a stick and a snake, or the business decisions we make in selecting the perfect candidate out of a pool of ten qualified applicants. We group the hard skills and the soft skills. In this Harvard Business Review article, the authors warns not to be so caught up in the larger categorical picture, and lose sight of the details and nuances that really make the difference in the end.
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While we could talk all day with the husband and wife team of Andie Kramer and Al Harris about being BigLaw Partners, it is their work on women’s conflicts and bias in the workplace which brings them on the show today. Andie and Al recently released their second book, It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias That Built It. And we jump in with both feet to discuss how the workplace environment, even at law firms (or maybe, especially at law firms), is designed to place women in adversarial roles against one another. Andie and Al have mentored women, conducted speaking consultations, and have written books on the subject of gender communications for over 30 years. Because they bring both the female and male perspectives into this very difficult conversation, they pack a one-two punch for their audiences and definitely grab their attention. When we asked Al Harris how important it was for him to bring in men into this conversation, his answer was, “in a word… VERY!”
We take a deep dive into the issue of gender bias in the workplace, and the environment which contributes to that very bias. You can learn more about Andie Kramer and Al Harris, including a question guide to their books, at their website, andieandal.com. Definitely check out the website after you listen to this week’s interview!

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What Does Your Family Think You Do??
We have one more story this week about a family member who thinks that being a library manager is a glorified file clerk job. We imagined that Thanksgiving that year was a little awkward. If you have a story to share, leave us a message at 713-487-7270 or email us your story at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com.

Information Inspirations

Come on men… it’s 2019!!
The Pence Rule of a man not being alone with a woman in the workplace, or attending a social event with alcohol without having a man’s wife present is affecting work environments, including law firms. American Lawyer senior columnist, Vivia Chen’s article, #MeToo Backlash Is Not Going Away, shows how men are less likely to work in one-on-one situations with women at a higher rate in 2019, than in 2016. This is having a significant effect on the ability for women to have equal access to opportunities and advancement. Vivia puts it best when she says “Considering it’s 2019, it’s frick’n unbelievable.” We couldn’t agree more.


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Andre Davison was literally a sixteen year old student when he began his career in law firm libraries. Now the Research Technology Manager at Blank Rome’s Houston office, Andre has taken a leadership role both within his firm with technology and diversity programs, and has been rewarded for his efforts with multiple awards. Andre was awarded his firm’s Nathaniel R. Jones Diversity Award for his diversity efforts, and he was the American Association of Law Libraries’ Innovation Tournament winner for his Seamless Access to Secondary Sources (SASS) which enabled lawyers and others at his firm to dive into the portions of research materials directly, and without having to worry about usernames, passwords, or client numbers. Previous TGIR interviewee, David Whelan, has a great summary of his experiences as a judge for the AALL Innovation Tournament.

Andre’s work expands past his award winning efforts at his firm, and he has taken on leadership roles on the local level with the Houston Area Law Libraries (HALL) as the current President. The local chapters are a wealth of professional development, and local community efforts which he says brings a family-like environment to him and his peers.

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How does your family describe what you do?

Speaking of family, we share stories of how our families describe to others what we do for work. As might be expected, it doesn’t always match the reality of the situation. Greg thinks that it might have been easier on his family if he worked at Walmart. We’d love to get more stories to put on the show of what it is that your family members think you do. Leave us a voicemail at 713-487-7270 or email us at geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com and share your story!

Information Inspirations

How Should Law Schools Adjust for Gen Z?


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