We hope that you like your Geek in Review with a little extra geekiness this week because we dive in with CaseText’s Chief Product Officer Pablo Arredondo on their innovative search tool, WeSearch.  This completely unique method of indexing texts into what Arredondo calls a “sublimely complex, 768-dimensional vector space”  creates a truly beautiful, and useful method of searching not just the words in the documents, but the concepts and meanings of those documents. Unlike the Artificial Intelligence tools many of us in the legal industry currently use, there’s no need to spend weeks or months training the system to understand the documents. The Neural Net techniques developed by the likes of Jacob Devlin, Google Researcher, and BERT author, allows the system to train itself, and the folks at CaseText have turned it loose to learn American case law.

While this new method of research opens many potential usages (and we brainstorm a few in the interview), but it also opens up some issues that aren’t unique to the legal industry, but are common in this industry. Issues such as acceptance of cloud-based utilities, what can and what cannot be accessed by the neural net tool, and perhaps the biggest issue we discuss, and that is the black box issue. Traditionally, when vendors provide search tools with AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP), there are Intellectual Property issues of the “Black Box” of the tool. While the methodology of how the system works is known by the vendor, just like the formula for Coke, it isn’t something they are willing to share. When it comes to this tool, the neural net and vectors work in ways that can be explained on a basic level, but after the system is trained, it begins functioning in a way that can’t be explained. This will be an issue that law librarians and academics may need to dive into in the not-so-distant future.

The WeSearch tool is available to test out. Let us know what you think.

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Information Inspirations

We’d all like to know what “The Future of the Law Firm Office” is going to be after we begin entering a post-pandemic workplace. Texas Lawbook’s Brooks Igo is hosting an upcoming webinar on May 11th which tackles that very topic.

Jae Um gives us ten questions we need to ask ourselves on how resilient our law firms are as we come out of COVID. Resiliency was a key factor in 2008, and it will be in 2021 as well.

Law firms might be different than corporations, but our clients have a Customer Experience (CX) with us whether we think about it or not. In a new podcast launched by Accenture called Built for Change, the inaugural episode discusses the importance of CX, and how some companies have successfully pivoted how their customers interact with them, and make that experience better.

Law firms have an issue with the “NONs”… only this time it is non-equity partners.

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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. 114: Pablo Arredondo on CaseText’s New WeSearch Tool and How the Neural Net Is Making Its Way Into Legal Information

Back in the wild cyber-space days of the early 1990s the metaphors we used to describe our online tools were thrilling. We used web-browsers called Navigator or Explorer, we found our way in the real world using MapQuest, and we searched for content along the information super-highway using engines called Magellan, AltaVista, or Northern Light. 

When it comes to search techniques, you’ll never find a more anal group than librarians. So when search tools start mucking around with the search short-cuts, we tend to shake our heads and mumble something like “it worked just fine the way it was… why do you keep changing it??” In fact, there are many

While I was attempting to find an article yesterday, I stumbled upon an interesting looking search tool called Interceder (apparently a Spanish word meaning “to intercede”). This dashboard approach at search results definitely caught my eye because it had so much information strategically placed in what looks very similar to SharePoint Widgets. When I ran