In this impromptu episode of The Geek in Review, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert reconnect after being on the road for a few weeks. They discuss their recent “Love and LegalTech” mini-series, which featured eight couples sharing their experiences working in the legal technology industry. The series provided insights into communication, work-life integration, and the passion for innovation shared by the guests. 

The conversation then shifts to a recent webinar by Toby Brown and Ian Wilson, where they discussed the potential impact of AI tools on law firm hours and profits. While the idea of AI reducing billable hours may seem controversial, the hosts agree that firms must adopt these tools to remain competitive. They also touch on the importance of aligning innovation with practice groups and the need for subject matter experts and people with strong interpersonal skills to drive change management.

Greg demonstrates an example of agentic AI using a tool called Crew AI. He sets up a task to search for information on a company called Take 5 Oil Change, using multiple AI agents to gather, synthesize, and report the findings. The process involves using SERPER, a Google search agent, an AI agent (Anthropic Claude), and a reporting agent. The output includes a log of the actions taken and a one-page report on the company, its leadership, and industry classification.

The hosts discuss the potential applications of agentic AI, such as quickly gathering information for client pitches or identifying legal issues. They also explore the possibility of running AI agents within secure cloud environments to address data privacy concerns. While the concept of agentic AI is still evolving, the hosts believe there is significant potential for these tools to streamline processes and enhance efficiency in the legal industry.

The episode concludes with a lighthearted mention of Greg’s AI-generated song created by UDIO about checking conflicts before going on vacation, showcasing the creative possibilities of AI tools in the legal profession.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Catching Up on AI Agents, and Agentic Processes

In this special “Love and Legal Tech” episode of The Geek in Review podcast, host Greg Lambert sits down with Alexis Hayman, Director of Business Development at Consilio, and Jeff Niemczura, Discovery Attorney at Google, to discuss their unique journey as a couple working in the legal technology industry.

Alexis and Jeff first met in Cleveland, Ohio, while Jeff was a graduate student and Alexis was an undergrad. Their paths diverged as they pursued different careers – Jeff initially considering a PhD in religion and Alexis exploring art history. However, life had other plans, and they both found themselves drawn to the legal profession. Jeff stumbled into law school and graduated into the Great Recession, which led him to become a discovery professional. Alexis, influenced by her father’s innovative approach to his law practice and title insurance company, as well as her mentor, civil rights attorney Jacqueline Green, decided to pursue a law degree at Temple University.

As the couple navigated their careers, they faced challenges and opportunities that brought them closer together in the legal technology space. When Jeff took a job in California, Alexis decided to “infiltrate” the industry, bringing her passion for improving efficiency and building better client relationships to her roles. Their shared experiences and different perspectives on innovation and technology lead to engaging discussions and occasional disagreements, but ultimately strengthen their bond.

Alexis and Jeff emphasize the importance of being well-resourced in their current roles, which allows them to tackle novel challenges and collaborate with talented colleagues. They find excitement in their work, whether it’s being at the forefront of client relationships or finding creative solutions to complex problems.

When asked about their advice for couples considering working in the same field or together, Alexis stresses the importance of being friends with your partner and being able to picture a respectful relationship even in the worst-case scenario (we made a music video about this part of the conversation!). Jeff echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the need for genuine curiosity about one another’s lives and the value of giving each other space when needed.

As Alexis and Jeff continue to navigate their love and legal tech journey, their story serves as an inspiration for couples seeking to balance their personal and professional lives in an ever-evolving industry.

Check out Jeff’s band, Glowing Burns on Spotify and other music streaming services.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠

Contact Us: 

Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Love And Legal Tech: Alexis Hayman and Jeff Niemczura

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome back Richard Tromans, founder of Artificial Lawyer, after his year-and-a-half sabbatical. Tromans shares his insights on the impact of generative AI on the legal industry and discusses his upcoming Legal Innovators conferences in California and London.

Tromans observes that while the legal industry is generally enthusiastic about the potential of generative AI, there is a stark contrast in the perception of its impact outside the legal bubble. He believes that the technology will have a significant effect on the legal sector, but it will be mostly benign, with the potential to add value to the profession once the hype and cynicism subside.

The key to real transformation, according to Tromans, lies in integrating AI throughout the entire business process, rather than using it as a mere helper tool. This integration should encompass document management systems, knowledge management capabilities, templates, and precedents. However, he emphasizes that the current economic model of the legal industry must adapt to the technology for true transformation to occur.

Tromans also discusses the upcoming Legal Innovators California conference in San Francisco, which will focus on generative AI, standardization, and the infrastructure needed to support the evolving legal landscape. The event will feature speakers from law firms, in-house legal departments, academia, and major tech companies.

Looking ahead, Tromans believes that the biggest challenge for the legal industry over the next two to five years will be the willingness of clients and law firms to embrace change and rethink their processes. He argues that the industry could have adopted AI-driven solutions years ago, but the impetus to do so was lacking. The success of this “gentle revolution” will depend on the ability of clients and law firms to challenge assumptions and adapt to the changing technological landscape.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Artificial Lawyer’s Richard Tromans: Back to Work!

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome back Kris Satkunas, Director of Strategic Consulting at LexisNexis CounselLink, to discuss the findings of the 2024 Trends Report. The report, now in its 11th year, provides valuable insights into the legal industry, particularly focusing on hourly rates and spending patterns.

Satkunas explains that the data used in the report comes from the CounselLink Insight benchmarking database, which normalizes and anonymizes data related to matters and billing from CounselLink customers. This year’s report highlights significant increases in hourly rates, with firms relying more heavily on this lever to increase revenue and offset rising costs due to inflation. However, the degree to which rates have increased in recent years is noteworthy, with certain practice areas, such as M&A and IP litigation, commanding even higher rate increases.

Despite the substantial rate hikes, the report shows that blended rates at the matter level are not increasing as much, suggesting that other factors, such as staffing and leveraging, are helping to mitigate individual rate increases. Satkunas also notes that while there is a perception that high rates may drive clients to mid-sized firms, the data does not support this trend, with large law firms maintaining and even growing their client base.

The discussion also touches on the adoption of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), which has remained relatively stagnant over the years, with only around 10% of matters having some form of AFA. However, Satkunas remains optimistic that the increasing pressure on corporations to manage costs, coupled with the adoption of AI and other technologies, may lead to a greater uptake of AFAs in the coming years.

Looking ahead, Satkunas predicts that rates will continue to rise, but the legal industry will likely see changes in the business model as AI becomes more integrated into legal practices. She emphasizes the importance of in-house counsel investing in the right talent to assess their needs and determine which technologies will best address those needs. Additionally, as AI advances, more transactional work may become commoditized, potentially leading to increased adoption of AFAs for these components of legal matters.

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Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading 2024 Trends Report: Dynamics Shaping the Future of Legal w/CounselLink’s Kris Satkunas

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert welcome Jeroen Thierens, Strategic Account Advisor, and Jorn Vanysacker, co-founder of Henchman, a Belgian legal tech company that focuses on building an intelligent drafting assistant for lawyers working on complex transactional contracts based on precedents in the firm’s DMS.

Vanysacker shares the story behind Henchman’s founding, emphasizing the importance of solving a clear problem with a focused product strategy. The company’s mission is to unlock the collective knowledge within law firms and legal departments by connecting to their document management systems, recognizing contracts and clauses, and making this information easily accessible within Microsoft Word and Outlook.

Henchman serves both in-house legal teams and law firms, with a customer base spanning from boutique firms to AmLaw 200 firms. The platform addresses two main use cases: drafting transactions and assisting knowledge management teams in gaining data-driven insights to prioritize their work and boost relevant knowledge in search results.

The discussion also touches on Henchman’s integration with Microsoft Copilot, which aims to provide more accurate results when drafting contracts by leveraging the structured data and metadata within the platform. The company’s European perspective is reflected in its language-agnostic system, which works seamlessly with multiple languages, making it an attractive solution for global law firms.

Looking ahead, Vanysacker and Thierens discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI in the legal industry. While acknowledging the potential of large language models, they emphasize the importance of context and accuracy in transactional work. Henchman’s approach is to use AI as a tool to enhance their product, focusing on providing the next best options rather than just the next best words, ultimately aiming to become the “Chief of Staff” for each legal professional.

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Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Jorn Vanysacker & Jeroen Thierens from Henchman: We Are Building the “Chief of Staff” For Each Legal Professional

Our friend Damien Riehl stopped by to talk with Marlene Gebauer about two big happenings at vLex. Riehl unveiled exciting advancements in vLex’s AI-powered legal research platform and shed light on vLex’s commitment to streamlining legal workflows and reducing the need for extensive prompt engineering.

One of the major developments is the enhanced document analysis feature. Users can now upload legal documents, such as complaints, and vLex’s AI will automatically extract key information including claims, facts, parties involved, and potential legal defenses. This eliminates the tedious manual process of reviewing and analyzing documents, saving lawyers significant time and effort. Additionally, the platform suggests relevant legal research questions based on the document’s content, further expediting the research process.

vLex’s advancements directly address the growing concerns surrounding prompt engineering in legal tech. By automating key analytical tasks, the platform empowers lawyers to focus on higher-level strategizing and client interactions, rather than spending hours crafting the perfect prompts for AI tools. Riehl echoes the sentiment of OpenAI’s Sam Altman, believing that successful AI integration should render prompt engineering obsolete. He acknowledges that the option to fine-tune prompts remains, similar to Boolean search techniques, but emphasizes that vLex aims to make it a choice rather than a necessity.

The potential impact on the legal industry is substantial. Clients, especially large corporations, can leverage vLex’s capabilities to analyze past legal actions and assess the value provided by their law firms. This transparency could lead to a shift from billable hours to flat-fee arrangements, incentivizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Further amplifying vLex’s potential, the company welcomes Daniel Hoadley, a renowned legal tech expert, to lead their research and development team. Hoadley’s expertise in data science and large language models promises exciting advancements in harnessing the power of vLex’s vast legal document database. With a robust roadmap of projects, vLex’s is poised to continue pushing the boundaries of legal technology and shaping the future of legal practice.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠

Transcript

Continue Reading Vlex Pushes Legal Tech Boundaries with New Features and Top Talent

In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert sit down with Joe Breda, President of Bloomberg Law, and Mathew Rotenberg, CEO and co-founder of Dashboard Legal, to discuss Bloomberg’s recent acquisition of Dashboard Legal. The acquisition aims to expand Bloomberg’s reach within the legal workflow market and enhance its suite of tools for the legal industry.

Dashboard Legal, born from Rotenberg’s experience as a practicing attorney, focuses on streamlining project management and collaboration processes for lawyers. By integrating Dashboard Legal’s features with Bloomberg Law’s existing tools, such as AI-powered contract solutions, the combined platform seeks to provide a comprehensive legal workstation that addresses the pain points of managing the increasing complexity and volume of information in legal work.

The acquisition also presents an opportunity to leverage generative AI in a hyper-context-sensitive manner, allowing lawyers to access relevant information and perform tasks like document comparison and compliance checks within a secure, controlled environment. This approach aims to address law firms’ concerns about data privacy and control while still harnessing the power of AI.

Breda and Rotenberg emphasize the potential for the combined platform to serve not only large law firms but also small to mid-sized firms and in-house legal departments. The user-friendly interface and accessibility of Dashboard Legal, coupled with Bloomberg’s resources and credibility, make it an attractive solution for legal professionals across the board.

As the integration process begins, Rotenberg will join Bloomberg Law’s senior leadership team, working closely with Breda to expand the platform’s capabilities and deliver on the promise of an AI-enabled, content-rich legal workflow solution. The acquisition marks an exciting development in the legal technology landscape, with the potential to significantly improve the way lawyers work and collaborate.

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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

Transcript:

Continue Reading Bloomberg Law Acquires Dashboard Legal to Enhance Legal Workflow Solutions – Joe Breda and Mat Rotenberg

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is launching a new conference called EVOLVE, which will focus on the rapidly evolving topics of generative AI and cybersecurity in the legal industry. Ken Jones, Principal Consultant at Xerdict Group LLC, and Josh Smith, Information Security Manager at Ogletree Deakins, join the podcast to discuss the conference and the challenges and opportunities presented by these cutting-edge technologies.

ILTA EVOLVE is designed to be a more intimate event compared to the larger ILTACON conference, with an expected attendance of 300-500 people. This smaller scale allows for deeper technical discussions, more personal interactions, and easier access to experts and speakers. The conference will feature a keynote speaker, a roundtable discussion, and 20 educational sessions led by a diverse group of talented speakers.

One of the key challenges faced by legal technology professionals is the need to balance the potential benefits of generative AI with the responsibility to protect client data. Law firms have a fiduciary duty to be strong stewards of their clients’ information, and the use of AI models that rely on vast amounts of data can create conflicts of interest. The conference will explore ways to make these models secure and compliant while still leveraging their capabilities to enhance legal services.

The keynote speaker for ILTA EVOLVE will be Joe Sullivan, former CSO of Facebook, accompanied by Lily Yeoh, founder and president of C1 Risk. Their presentation will focus on the legal issues faced by law firms in the event of a cybersecurity incident and how to respond effectively. The conference will also provide ample networking opportunities, including evening events, coffee breaks, and a business partner display area where attendees can engage with vendors and learn about the latest solutions.

Looking to the future, the co-chairs predict that both cybersecurity and generative AI will continue to evolve rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and valuable to the legal profession. In the realm of cybersecurity, the battle between attackers and defenders will likely be ongoing, requiring constant vigilance and adaptation. For AI, the application of best practices and methodologies from software development will be crucial in ensuring that these powerful technologies are deployed effectively and responsibly within law firms. ILTA EVOLVE aims to provide attendees with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate this complex landscape and harness the potential of these transformative technologies.

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Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Exploring the Intersection of Generative AI and Cybersecurity at ILTA EVOLVE – Ken Jones and Josh Smith

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer sat down with Karen Dunn Skinner and David Skinner, the dynamic duo behind Gimbal Consulting. This episode, part of the “Love & Legal Tech” mini-series, explores the professional and personal journey of Karen and David, who have carved a niche in the legal tech industry by helping lawyers build practices they love, ensuring they also have time to enjoy life outside work.

Karen and David shared their fascinating backstory, from meeting in law school to their adventures in Budapest, Hungary, and beyond. These experiences not only enriched their personal lives but also shaped their professional paths, leading to the inception of Gimbal Consulting. Their work focuses on adapting Lean and Lean Six Sigma methodologies to the legal profession, aiming to streamline lawyers’ practices for increased productivity and profitability.

Working together has its unique set of challenges and rewards, as the Skinners highlighted. Their collaboration is built on a deep understanding and mutual respect for each other’s strengths and viewpoints, even when they differ. This synergy has allowed them to navigate their professional endeavors successfully while maintaining a strong personal relationship.

The episode also delves into the practicalities and philosophies that guide Karen and David’s work-life integration. They emphasized the importance of establishing routines that cater to both their professional and personal needs, such as their morning meetings in the hot tub, which blend work planning with relaxation.

For couples considering a similar path, Karen and David offered sage advice: embrace the journey with open hearts and minds, acknowledging that while working with your spouse can be challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Their story is a testament to the power of partnership in both love and legal tech.

Listeners of “The Geek in Review” will find this episode not only inspiring but also filled with practical insights into making a significant impact in the legal tech space while nurturing a fulfilling personal life.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠

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Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Karen Dunn Skinner and David Skinner of Gimbal Consulting

In this episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer interview Ryan McClead and Kate Boyd, the CEO and COO of Sente Advisors, respectively, as part of their “Love and Legal Tech” series. The interview delves into the couple’s history in the legal technology space, their experience working together, and the challenges and benefits of being in a relationship while also being colleagues.

Ryan and Kate share their extensive backgrounds in legal technology, with Ryan starting in the industry in 2003 and eventually becoming the head of innovation at a law firm, while Kate began her career as an intern at a law firm and later transitioned to the vendor side, working for companies such as HighQ, Compliance HR, and Kira Systems. The couple met while working together at HighQ and became good friends before starting their own companies in 2018 and eventually dating.

When discussing the best aspects of working together, Kate mentions the empathy and understanding they have for each other’s work habits and the ability to help one another when stuck on a problem. Ryan adds that working together eliminates the need to “download” their workdays to each other every night, as they are already aware of what the other is dealing with. However, they also acknowledge the challenge of not letting work consume their entire lives and the importance of setting aside time for non-work activities.

The couple shares their experiences with reactions from others when they reveal that they work together, ranging from surprise to curiosity. They also discuss how they handle disagreements within their company, emphasizing the value of their different perspectives and the trust they have built in each other’s problem-solving abilities.

When asked about the interesting projects they are currently working on, Ryan and Kate highlight their involvement in AI-related projects, product launches, and technology evaluations for clients. They also offer advice for couples considering working together, stressing the importance of maintaining separate work and personal personas, knowing each other’s strengths, and nurturing professional friendships outside of their shared work life.

Listen on mobile platforms:  ⁠⁠⁠Apple Podcasts⁠⁠⁠ |  ⁠⁠⁠Spotify⁠⁠⁠ | ⁠⁠YouTube⁠⁠

Contact Us: 

Twitter: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@gebauerm⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, or ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@glambert
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Email: geekinreviewpodcast@gmail.com
Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech – Kate Boyd and Ryan McClead of Sente Advisors