In this episode of The Geek in Review podcast, hosts Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert wrap up their series of interviews from the LegalWeek 2024 conference in New York with a conversation with Kelly Griswold, CEO of Onna. Kelly shares her objectives for attending the conference, which include interacting with customers and partners, staying on top of industry trends and innovations, and bringing her remote team together to build community.

Kelly provides an overview of Onna, explaining that the company primarily serves enterprise and corporate clients by managing their unstructured data with a focus on internal collaboration apps. Onna collects and integrates with various data sources to establish live connectivity and data transformation, making the data ready for searching and discovery to power downstream workflows such as litigation requests, early case assessment, and investigations. Kelly emphasizes the importance of data management as a necessary enabler for future innovations in the legal tech space.

The conversation touches on the challenges of managing data in the enterprise and how Onna helps clients improve their processes. Kelly explains that Onna’s approach involves helping enterprises build a data foundation that is accessible when needed, allowing them to skip several steps in the traditional linear workflow. This value proposition is particularly appealing to enterprises looking to avoid downstream costs by having better visibility and control over their data.

Kelly also discusses the impact of generative AI on the legal industry, noting that while there is a lot of buzz around the technology, companies are realizing the importance of getting their data in order before diving into experimentation and implementation. She believes that the awareness brought by the hype around generative AI is driving companies to make fundamental investments in data management.

Looking to the future, Kelly shares her crystal ball prediction for the next 5-10 years, envisioning a world where natural language communication and automation will transform the way legal workflows are handled. She imagines a scenario where drafting a contract could be done through verbal communication and a system that asks questions and generates the agreement, reducing the need for manual, hands-on work.

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Transcript

Continue Reading Kelly Griswold of Onna on the Fundamental Investments Needed in Data Management

In this week’s episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer interview Michael Bommarito and Jill Bommarito, the CEO and Chief Risk Officer of 273 Ventures, respectively. The couple, who have been together since high school, share their experiences working together in the legal technology space.

Michael and Jill discuss the advantages and challenges of working closely together in the same organization. They highlight the benefits of being able to bounce ideas off each other in real-time and the ability to seamlessly cover for one another when family responsibilities arise. However, they also acknowledge the lack of boundaries between work and home life, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

The Bommaritos also detail their work at 273 Ventures, particularly their focus on developing Large Language Models (LLMs) with a clean data approach. Jill, one of the world’s first certified AI auditors, brings her expertise in compliance and risk management to ensure that the models are built ethically and in accordance with legal standards. Michael shares his excitement about the potential applications of their LLMs, such as automating due diligence processes and drafting contract revisions based on identified risks.

When asked about the reactions they receive from others regarding working together, the couple admits that most people express sympathy and curiosity about how they manage to do it successfully. They attribute their success to their long history together and the shared experiences they have had, both personally and professionally.

Finally, the Bommaritos offer advice to other couples considering working in the same field or business. They emphasize the importance of being certain that both partners are fully committed to the idea, as it can be an all-consuming experience. They also stress the significance of knowing each other well before embarking on such a venture, as a strong foundation is crucial for navigating the challenges that come with working closely together.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech – Jillian Bommarito and Michael Bommarito of 273 Ventures

In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer engage with Dan Lear, VP of Partnerships at InfoTrack, capturing insights from the latest LegalWeek 2024 conference. Lear shares his observations on the evolving landscape of legal technology, noting the increased diversity of technologies present at the conference compared to previous years. He highlights a shift from a narrow focus on eDiscovery to a broader array of legal tech solutions, indicating a significant expansion in the sector’s innovation and investment interest.

Dan Lear delves into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal industry. While AI dominated previous discussions with a mix of fear and fascination, Lear suggests the narrative is shifting towards practical integration and utility. The conversation reflects on the cyclical hype surrounding AI, with speculation on whether the legal sector has reached or surpassed its peak AI moment. Lear posits that the real value of AI will unfold as it becomes more embedded in legal workflows, transforming efficiency rather than replacing legal professionals outright.

InfoTrack’s role and offerings in the legal tech space receive a detailed exploration. Lear explains how InfoTrack serves primarily small to medium-sized law firms, facilitating more efficient litigation support through integrated cloud-based solutions. He underscores the challenge and opportunity in educating and transitioning firms to embrace digital practices for docketing and court filings, emphasizing InfoTrack’s mission to expand electronic access to court services for the betterment of legal accessibility and efficiency.

Lear further discusses the demands and dynamics of InfoTrack’s clientele, identifying a trend towards specialization and business acumen within law firms. He predicts that technology will play a pivotal role in enabling firms to succeed by enhancing client acquisition, service delivery, and operational efficiency. The conversation underscores a broader industry evolution towards recognizing and leveraging technology not just for the sake of innovation, but as a strategic asset to differentiate and thrive in a competitive landscape.

Concluding the episode, Lear reflects on the future trajectory of the legal industry and InfoTrack’s place within it. He envisions a legal sector increasingly shaped by technological advancements, where AI and digital platforms streamline processes and redefine the nature of legal work. Through Lear’s insights, the episode offers a compelling snapshot of the current state and exciting prospects of legal technology, highlighting the continuous journey towards more accessible, efficient, and innovative legal services.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

Transcript:

Continue Reading LegalWeek 2024 Special Part Five – Dan Lear from LegalTrack

In the fourth round of interviews of “The Geek in Review” podcast’s mini-series “Love & Legal Tech,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer chat with Chris Ford and Nikki Shaver, the dynamic couple behind the Legal Technology Hub. Their project, conceived out of necessity and frustration with the lack of a single source of truth for legal technology solutions, has grown into a thriving business that categorizes and reviews over 2000 legal tech products, aiding law firms and corporate legal departments in navigating the vast landscape of available technologies.

Their story begins in Australia, where Chris and Nikki first connected through a dating site, a testament to their adventurous spirits and willingness to embrace new technologies, even in their personal lives. This spirit of innovation and exploration carried over into their professional lives when they decided to tackle the challenge of creating a centralized platform for legal technology solutions during the pandemic. Their complementary skills in marketing, legal tech, and innovation have been crucial to their success, demonstrating the power of collaboration and mutual respect in both business and personal relationships.

Working together presents its challenges, notably in balancing professional demands with family life, as they navigate attending the same industry events while ensuring the wellbeing of their two children. Yet, it’s clear that their partnership strengthens both their business and their relationship, as they share a common goal and a deep understanding of each other’s strengths.

Chris and Nikki’s journey is a shining example for other couples in the legal tech industry, emphasizing the importance of shared vision, respect for each other’s expertise, and the willingness to support one another’s ideas, no matter how ambitious. Their advice for other couples looking to work together in the industry is to focus on their common goals and leverage their unique strengths, ensuring that their partnership is both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.

Their dedication to innovation, coupled with their strong relationship, showcases the potential for couples to make significant contributions to the legal tech industry while building a life together.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Nikki Shaver and Chris Ford of Legal Technology Hub

In this episode of “The Geek in Review,” hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer celebrate the one-year anniversary of CoCounsel, the pioneering Generative AI Legal Research Tool launched by CaseText. They are joined by Pablo Arredondo, Vice President of CoCounsel at Thomson Reuters and co-founder of CaseText, to discuss the significant strides and challenges faced in developing and implementing generative AI in legal research. Pablo shares insights into the early days of exploring generative AI and the transformative potential it held for overcoming the limitations of traditional keyword-based search methods in legal research.

The conversation delves into the technical and strategic journey of bringing CoCounsel to market, highlighting the team’s rapid pivot to leverage GPT-4 technology and the collaborative effort that ensured its successful launch. Pablo emphasizes the importance of quality control, trust, and addressing the nuanced requirements of legal research to ensure that CoCounsel met the high expectations of its users, including law librarians and legal professionals.

Pablo also reflects on the broader implications of generative AI for the legal industry, including the rapid adoption by law firms and legal departments seeking to leverage this technology to enhance their research capabilities and workflow efficiencies. The discussion touches on the ongoing challenges and opportunities presented by generative AI, such as regulatory considerations, ethical concerns, and the need for continuous education and adaptation within the legal profession.

The acquisition of CaseText by Thomson Reuters is discussed, with Pablo sharing his perspective on the strategic move and its potential to further expand and enhance CoCounsel’s capabilities and reach. He highlights the synergy between CaseText’s innovative approach and Thomson Reuters’ extensive resources and market presence, which together aim to drive the next wave of advancements in legal technology and research tools.

Finally, the episode explores future directions for generative AI in legal research, including the expansion of CoCounsel’s capabilities to encompass a wider range of legal tasks and its potential to transform the practice of law. Pablo’s enthusiasm for the possibilities ahead underscores the significant impact that generative AI is set to have on the legal industry, promising to revolutionize how legal professionals interact with information and conduct research.

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Music: ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Jerry David DeCicca⁠⁠⁠⁠ and Eve Searls

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Pablo Arredondo on the One-Year Anniversary of CoCounsel

In our third installment of Love and Legal Tech, we talk with Ab Saraswat and Priti Saraswat. Ab and Priti met while training to be barristers in the UK. They were on opposing debate teams, and Ab proposed within a year of meeting Priti. They have been married for almost a decade. Though they didn’t originally intend to work together, they both ended up at legal tech company Litera for several years but in different roles. People were surprised to later learn they were married.

Currently, Ab is the Chief Revenue Officer at legal project management startup Lupl. Ab is also the podcast host at Fringe Legal. Priti is the Legal Tech Consulting Manager at Baker Hostetler’s alternative legal services provider IncuBaker. Though their roles differ, being in the same industry allows them to bounce ideas off each other. However, the blurred lines between personal and professional lives can be challenging. They try not to talk about work on vacation.

Professionally, they handle disagreements through discussion and debate thanks to their backgrounds. They present their opinions but don’t fight about them, often agreeing to disagree. Socially, they set expectations ahead of time for how long they’ll stay at events. They “divide and conquer” at conferences by networking separately but checking in.

The common reaction now is that it’s cool they work in the same industry because they understand each other’s challenges. They want to stand on their own professionally, not just be known in relation to each other. Their advice to other couples considering working together is to focus on communication and keep an open mind when sharing opinions.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1ho94hGGyx4q2tuhKcfI6n?si=piRnLczqRl-Yq1t7zllKkw

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

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Ab and Priti Saraswat

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, co-hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer continue their series of interviews from this year’s LegalWeek conference by engaging with Joshua Lenon from Clio. As Clio’s Lawyer in Residence, Lenon delves into the insights derived from the company’s Legal Trends Report, emphasizing the data-driven analysis of law firm practices and trends. The report, which leverages aggregated anonymous usage data from tens of thousands of law firms using Clio, offers a unique perspective on the productivity, billing, and technological adoption within the legal industry, particularly among mid-sized law firms.

Lenon shares intriguing findings from the report, highlighting a significant increase in productivity, billable hours, and revenue across the industry over the past eight years. However, a closer examination of mid-sized law firms (defined as those with 20 to 200 lawyers) reveals disparities in matter handling and productivity gains compared to smaller firms. Lenon explains how mid-sized firms maintain a consistent workload per lawyer by adjusting the ratio of lawyers to non-lawyer timekeepers based on demand. This adaptability showcases the strategic management of resources within mid-sized firms to optimize efficiency and service delivery.

The discussion further explores the impact of financial technology (FinTech) on law firms’ operational efficiency. Lenon illustrates how adopting new payment methods and technologies significantly improves firms’ collection rates and client payment experiences. Specifically, mid-sized firms that embrace FinTech and client-centered approaches see notable improvements in their financial health, underscoring the importance of innovation in enhancing legal services delivery.

Lenon also introduces Clio Duo, an in-house AI tool designed to enhance law firms’ access to and interaction with their own data. By providing a chat-based interface for exploring firm data, Clio Duo aims to streamline tasks and improve efficiency, allowing lawyers to focus on high-value work rather than administrative tasks. This development represents Clio’s commitment to leveraging technology to address the evolving needs of the legal profession.

Lenon predicts some of the challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession, particularly in relation to artificial intelligence (AI) and document creation tools. He speculates on the limitations imposed by traditional word processing applications like Microsoft Word and suggests that the future will likely see a paradigm shift towards more interactive and multi-dimensional tools for legal work. This shift, Lenon argues, could dramatically enhance productivity by integrating AI more seamlessly into the legal drafting process, moving beyond the static, page-focused approach of current software.

Throughout the conversation, Lenon’s insights underscore the dynamic interplay between technology and legal practice. As legal technology evolves, so too does the potential for law firms of all sizes to improve efficiency, client satisfaction, and ultimately, profitability. The episode illuminates the importance of data-driven decision-making and technological adaptation in the legal industry’s future. By embracing these tools and insights, law firms can better navigate the challenges of the modern legal landscape, ensuring they remain competitive and responsive to their clients’ needs.

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

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading LegalWeek 2024 Special Part Four: Joshua Lenon from Clio

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review,” Marlene Gebauer hosts a fascinating conversation with Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone, the dynamic couple behind Courtroom5, a pioneering startup in the Justice Tech space aimed at empowering pro se litigants. As part of the “Love & Legal Tech” series we discuss the personal and professional relationship that propels Courtroom5 forward, providing valuable insights into the intersection of love, partnership, and innovation in the legal tech industry.

Courtroom5 stands out in the Justice Tech sector by offering a unique platform designed to educate, encourage, and empower individuals representing themselves in court. Sonja, as CEO, orchestrates a broad range of responsibilities, from technical leadership to marketing efforts, while Debra, wielding her expertise as a PhD Librarian and CTO, focuses on managing the extensive content that forms the backbone of Courtroom5’s service. Their combined efforts have earned Courtroom5 recognition and awards, underscoring the impact of their work on providing accessible legal support to those without formal legal representation.

The story of how Sonja and Debra met over a game of spades in Durham, North Carolina, adds a personal touch to their professional narrative, highlighting the serendipitous beginnings of their relationship and eventual collaboration. This personal bond, fortified by shared experiences and a mutual understanding of being “screwed over in court,” has been instrumental in shaping the vision and mission of Courtroom5. Their complementary skills – Sonja’s technical acumen and Debra’s information management prowess – enable them to tackle the challenges of running a startup while fostering a shared passion for justice and empowerment.

Working together, however, is not without its challenges. Sonja and Debra candidly discuss the continuous effort required to balance their professional and personal lives, emphasizing the necessity of intentional scheduling and the discipline to separate business discussions from personal time. This ongoing negotiation between their roles as business partners and life partners is a testament to their commitment to both their relationship and their venture.

Their advice to other couples considering a similar path is poignant: prioritize the personal relationship, ensure a solid foundation before embarking on a business venture together, and select a partner who can significantly contribute to the business’s success. Sonja and Debra’s story is not just about love and legal tech; it’s a narrative of resilience, mutual respect, and the unyielding belief in their mission to democratize legal support. Their story is an inspiring reminder of the power of partnership in navigating the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship.

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

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone of Courtroom5

In the latest episode of “The Geek in Review” podcast, hosts Greg Lambert and Marlene Gebauer continue their series of interviews at the 2024 LegalWeek conference with guest Bill Piwonka, the Chief Marketing Officer at Exterro. The conversation dives into Exterro’s participation at LegalWeek, highlighting the return to pre-COVID attendance levels and the

We kick off our new “Love & Legal Tech” series this week where we embark on a journey to explore the personal and professional lives of couples in the legal tech industry. We are excited to interview couples who share in the excitement of weaving their professional endeavors into their personal relationships. We think this is going to be a great series where couples get a chance to tell their stories of how they balance what one of our guests describes as “Work-Life-Integration.”

Our inaugural guests, Alex Macdonald and Cassie Vertovec share their unique story of how a solid professional collaboration slowly turned into a deep, personal connection.  Alex, the Chief Strategy Officer at McCarter and English, LLP, and Cassie, the Practice Director of Corporate and Director of Practice Strategies at Barnes & Thornburg, began their journey in the legal tech world at Seyfarth Shaw.  Over the years they have found themselves leading teams together, moving across the country, isolating together during the pandemic, and most recently working in similar firms. They navigated their careers with mutual respect and understanding, highlighting the importance of communication and shared values in both their professional and personal lives.

They provide insights into the dynamics of working as a couple while maintaining a balance between work and persona life. Which is no easy feat as they are both intertwined with the legal profession. Their story is a testament to the idea that professional collaboration can lead to personal growth and deeper connections.

Our hopes with the “Love & Legal Tech” series are that we not only offer a glimpse into the lives of a couple navigating love and legal tech but also shed light on broader themes within the legal industry, including the shift towards greater tech integration and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Our sincere thanks to Cassie and Alex for sharing their story with us on this series premiere.

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

⁠Transcript

Continue Reading Love and Legal Tech: Cassie Vertovec and Alex Macdonald