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The Geek In Review

Author: Greg Lambert & Marlene Gebauer

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Welcome to The Geek In Review, where podcast hosts, Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert discuss current events in legal information.
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After a week of Washington, DC heat and humidity, we are back to discuss all things legal information with a slant toward technology and management. We have a recap of the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference, #AALL19, where Marlene runs through her packed schedule of events which she attended, presented, or wished she'd attended. Greg was just happy to rotate off the AALL Executive Board, which he's been a part of for most of this decade. Don't worry.... there's still plenty of other AALL work for him to do.On this episode, Marlene and Greg go international for the topics. We talk with Lluis Faus and Masoud Gerami of vLex about the recent merger of Gerami's longtime foreign legal information platform, Justis. Faus and Gerami tell us the story of how they were able to blend the two platforms together, and the process of how they are able to pull together information from over 30 different countries, all with different levels of transparency and access to their legal information. Information Inspirations France recently outlawed the use of judicial analytics which allows for the searching and identifying the names of the judges. We reached out to Tara Tubman-Bassirian, a French lawyer practicing in the UK, about the reasoning behind France's criminalization of judicial data. Tubman-Bassirian says that the reasoning rests somewhere between the country's effort to protect its Civil Law structure and the anonymity of the judges, and a flat out fear of what technology might be bringing in the ways of analytics, AI, and other unknown advancements. Marlene's inspiration comes from our friends at CLOC, and their release of their 2nd Annual State of the Industry Survey. The survey covers topics like Expenditures, Headcount, Technology, and Law Firm Evaluations. Best of all... it's free! Artificial Lawyer blog has a great breakdown of the legal technology portion of the survey. Listen, Subscribe, download Jerry’s music, and Send Us Tweets and Voicemails, Too!!Remember that you can 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. We’d love to hear any ideas you’d like us to cover in future episodes. Also, subscribe, rate, and comment on The Geek In Review on your favorite podcast platform. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca, thanks Jerry! (TIP: Listen to the very end of the show for some "extra" Jerry this week.)
The law is the law, and should be in the public domain, right?? Well, you'd think so, but it may be up to the US Supreme Court to make that determination in its next session when it takes up The State of Georgia v. Public.Resources.org. We talk with Tom Gaylord, Faculty Services & Scholarly Communications Librarian at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, about his thoughts on why the Court granted cert. on an issue that hasn't been on its radar, and how he thinks a minimum of five justices may align on the issue. Tom breaks down possible arguments and what could happen if the Court rules in favor of Georgia's claim of copyright of its statues, or if it creates a bright line rule that statutes are not copyrightable. This is going to be one interesting case to follow.Information InspirationsMarlene discusses Carolyn Elefant's article on Whose Data Is It Anyway? and brings up the age old question of just because we can, doesn't mean we should, when it comes to data collection of client information. Lawyers have a special relationship with their clients and must be careful not to damage that relationship through the use of data collection (even if that collection is ethical, and with client consent. Greg's first inspiration is from Patrick DiDominico and James Lee's article First Our Books, And Now Our Jobs? Paradigm shifts within the legal information profession isn't new, but how we adjust to those shifts can change with each shift. DiDominco and Lee say that there are ample opportunities for professionals who leverage AI to make them individually more valuable to their organization. Is that really true? Maybe... Maybe not.It's bad enough to have your phone hacked through something called a SIM Swap... but to make matters worse, some phone and data companies don't come to their customer's assistance when they need them most. Marlene discusses two stories where things go from bad, to worse.Greg's last inspiration this week brings us back to Georgia, where the state court system is totally Nyuk'ed. That's the name of the ransomware software that has infected the state court system and shut it down. One village in Florida had to pay $460,000.00, it's probably going to cost Georgia many times that to unlock their computers. Listen, Subscribe, download Jerry’s music, and Send Us Tweets and Voicemails, Too!!Remember that you can 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. We’d love to hear any ideas you’d like us to cover in future episodes. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca, thanks Jerry!
It seems that the current workforce is looking for more flexibility in where they work, and how often that means in an office setting, a home office, or in some other remote location. We conducted a semi-Elephant Post episode this week and asked our listeners to call in and leave their stories about the pros and cons of remote working. We have a diverse group of 13 stories ranging from marketers, librarians, attorneys, techies, and more from North America and even from Europe. Key factors are trust, transparency, flexibility, and a fast Internet connection. Walk with us as we celebrate The Geek in Review's first anniversary of podcasts by listening to a baker's dozen of stories of why working remotely works, or doesn't work for people. Information InspirationsBy popular demand, we bring back the Information Inspirations to the beginning of the episode. Free the Statutes!!Marlene points out that the US Supreme Court is taking up the issue of whether states have the right to copyright their statutes. Carl Malamud's PublicResource.ORG is arguing that the law should be outside the restrictions of copyright against the State of Georgia. We are hoping that the Supreme Court frees state statutes out from under the copyright restrictions. As does the Editorial Board of the New York Times.Video Manipulation is a Problem!The Washington Post has created "The Fact Checkers" in order to try to identify manipulated videos that are posted online. They created a guide to video manipulation as well as a way for the public to identify videos which they believe are manipulated. This is going to be a huge problem in society, and Marlene and Greg think that there is definitely opportunities for law librarians to play a role in identifying harmful manipulated videos.Listen, Subscribe, download Jerry’s music, and Send Us Tweets and Voicemails, Too!!Remember that you can 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. We’d love to hear some (Elephant Post) ideas you’d like us to cover in future episodes. As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca, thanks Jerry!
There's more to strategy than having a shelf full of binders labeled "Strategy [Insert Year]." That's what this week's guest, Matt Homann from Filament, tells us. Matt's influence in the legal market goes back a couple of decades, and he's been a voice in the blogging sphere for a number of years. At Filament, he works with legal, as well as other industries (like the St. Louis Cardinals) to help leaders better relate and guide their organizations. As he puts it, "we help smart people think together better." Matt believes that the way we tell our stories will help people join in on the overall efforts and strategies of the organization. It's easy to tell our stories to like-minded people, but we also have to tell (and sell) our story to those who are opposed to the strategies. More importantly, we have to reach those in the middle, who could go either way. If you convince that 50-80% of people willing to join you if you give them the right motivation, it can change the entire momentum of your organization's efforts. Information InspirationsWe flip this week's episode and try something new. Our information inspirations segment will come after the interview. Let us know (@gebauerm or @glambert or call 713-487-7270) and let us know if you like or hate this new setup.Why isn't data privacy a bigger deal?There's a great episode of Make Me Smart which discusses Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That section is responsible for the social media and overall Internet that we have today. What caught Greg's ear on this show was that co-host, Molly Wood, went on an absolute rant about how private and government entities are still not taking our privacy data as seriously as they should. Just this week there was a breach at US Customs where facial recognition data was hacked. With things like DNA databases, and other personal data out there in unsecured databases, and with penalties being relatively light, Molly was not a happy camper.Are states stepping up for consumer information?Marlene points out that while California's Consumer Privacy Act starts in 2020, Nevada has leaped ahead with their own privacy laws. Even New York is looking to join the list of states requiring more protection of consumer data. Is the path to protection going to be through individual state laws?Marlene contributes to Casetext's special reportCasetext has released a new special report called "Evaluating and Adopting Legal Technology in 2019." Our very own Marlene Gebauer is a contributor to the report. You can download it for free.Listen, Subscribe, download Jerry’s music, and Send Us Tweets and Voicemails, Too!!Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and comment. Let us know about flipping the information inspirations and the interview. Like it? Hate it? Are you in the middle? (Di we need to tell you our story to win you over?) 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!
Brad Blickstein, Principal at the Blickstein Group, a research and advisory firm for both in-house and outside law firms, joins us to talk about legal operation, and his recent experiences at the 2019 CLOC Institute in Las Vegas. As with many great conferences, the programming between 9 AM and 5 PM is good... but the conversations from 5 PM to 9 PM (or 5 AM, this was Vegas), are what makes the gathering really special. We're calling it #CLOCAfterDark. There's a lot going on in Legal Operations, and the Blickstein Group has put out a Law Department Operations survey for over a decade. He gives some great insights on the relationships between in-house counsel and outside law firms. While there's a big difference between the business operations in a company versus a law firm, the attorneys tend to be cut from the same cloth. Groups like CLOC are positioned perfectly to help lawyers understand the roles they need to play to protect their organizations. Blickstein stresses that Legal Operations is a broad topic, and that CLOC is part of that movement, but is not all there is within the movement. There's a lot going on, and the opportunities are pretty expansive these days. Information InspirationsCopyright is not something to LOL about. The Houston Independent School District was slapped with a $9.2 Million copyright violation for copying study guides. Even though they cleverly blocked out the warning on the guides that "copying of these materials is strictly prohibited." Be careful out there when it comes to thinking it's okay to copy and distribute materials which have copyright protection. It can cost you millions.AI Sharecroppers. We all know that data is king these days, but not all data can be automatically gathered. At least not effectively. There is an underclass of labors out there who are being used to help gather and identify data needed to power AI programs, known as "human labeling." As the name "sharecropper" might imply, they do a lot of work... but don't make a lot of money. Algorithm Problems creates Human Liabilities. We rely upon automation, AI, machine learning, and other technology to advance our society, but when those fail, it's not the automation that takes the blame. It's usually the human that is around at the time. MIT Technology Review talks about how we have a 21st Century tech problem that's being adjudicated under 20th Century morals and laws.Smile. You're on the London Metro Facial Recognition Program. The London Metro is using facial recognition to identify criminals. They say that this program has resulted in multiple criminal prosecutions. Watchdog organizations claim that the program has a 90% error rate. Can those two facts exist together?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!view more, including transcript of the interview
In our 40th Episode, Greg and Marlene interview Erin Levine, an attorney and founder/CEO of Hello Divorce, a service that makes divorce more human and accessible by offering legal help and wellness support throughout the process of dissolving a marriage.   Offered in California, Hello Divorce offers access to resources and tools and different service levels, from basic to concierge to a la carte access to independent fixed fee attorneys.  Erin highlights that the legal process can be confusing, dis-empowering and expensive and that Hello Divorce is a necessary guide to help people navigate the system in a way that doesn't destroy them financially and emotionally.  While divorce representation is a consistent legal need, Erin highlights that there are many other parts of the process that are also necessary which don’t require attorney skills.  She leverages various forms of process improvement including outsourcing, automation, smart contracts to make the service application scalable.  Part of what is interesting about the discussion (and there are lots of interesting parts) is that Erin stands the idea of aggressive and hostile divorce action on its head.  While Erin has critics, she maintains the benefit of taking down level of tension and fear between the parties.  In fact, 92% of divorces started with hello Divorce have concluded without having to refer out to full rep attorneys.  (10:17 mark) Information InspirationsAccording to  Aliqae Geraci from Cornell and Shannon L. Farrell from University of Minnesota wrote an article entitled “Normalize Negotiations!" we teach librarians a lot about management skills, but we've lacked in teaching them basic skills like salary and promotion negotiation skills. There is a place for the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) to teach their members these skills.  (4:05 mark) For the small price of a European vacation for a family of four (AKA expensive), you can own your very own AI  powered robot who cleans your house for you while you sleep… and can remember to bring you your favorite beer, hopefully when you're awake.  (5:59 mark) From MIT, we get " Every Leader’s Guide to the Ethics of AI." Ep. 31's guest, Vishal Agnihotri suggested we look at this, and it ties in with our last episode on algorithmic governance. As AI becomes more and more integrated into business activities, the authors suggest that we treat it, as well as our employees, customers, and the public, with the respect we all deserve. An "AI Mishap" can destroy a company or its reputation. (side note: AI Mishap is the name of Marlene's new Country Band.)  (6:56 mark) With all the talk about mental health in the legal industry, the NPR report on Where’s Masculinity headed? is perfectly timed. (8:51 mark) 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!
When you think of algorithmic governance, you may go right to things like predictive law enforcement, or risk assessment of setting bail or prison sentences for those in the criminal justice system. However, algorithms have a much broader application in the legal system, far beyond those criminal justice aspects. Drexel law professor, Hannah Bloch-Wehba walks us through number examples of other areas which algorithm governance  is being used. Broad areas which she labels as "typical poverty law settings" of welfare… medicaid… child protective services for example, and those area are continuing to expand. Court systems, administrative law departments, and other government agencies are relying upon algorithms to help with larger and larger caseloads. Algorithms, in and of themselves, are not inherently bad. In fact, it can be very helpful in streamlining processes and alleviate the burden on different government agencies in how to handle these issues. But is it fairer than what we have now? We don't have a good way of demonstrating that. Professor Bloch-Wehba sees the overall effect of algorithms as creating a newer playing field that is bumpy in different ways than the old one. There's still a human element in algorithms, not just in the creation of the algorithms, but also in the acceptance of algorithmic outcomes by those who are tasked to apply them. Add to this, the "black box" which some algorithms live, and how governments are relying upon private industries to create these processes, and an inability for the government to be able to discuss how they work. Can governments give up their duty to be transparent in the name of algorithmic efficiency? How far will a democratic society tolerate with algorithms which it may not fully understand, or trust?We cover all of these questions and discuss Professor Bloch-Wehba's upcoming Fordham Law Review article, "Access to Algorithms," which will be published later this year.Information InspirationsArchive and Delete are not the same. Garry Vander Voort of LexBlog writes about a disturbing trend he is seeing on apps where you might think you are archiving a magazine or a podcast, but in reality, you're deleting it. He has a few suggestions on how developers can use better descriptors, including some good ol' library terms.Business Intelligence and Data Analytics are not the same. Rob Saccone published and excellent article on Medium a few days ago that is worth reading. We may be looking for unicorns when it comes to having someone who understands the importance of analysis as well as the comprehension of the business model. Saccone has some excellent suggestions of what businesses can do, besides seeking that elusive unicorn.Being a Leader of a Firm and Understanding What is Going on in the Market is not the same. Tom Clay from Altman Weil suggests that all leaders at law firms take 15 minutes a day to focus on the evolution of their practice and firm.Being at CLOC, and Reading #CLOC2019 Tweets are not the same... but, we'll take it! Thanks to Jason Barnwell and others who are keeping us connected this week.(more...)
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. 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. 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!
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 UniversityUniversity of HawaiiUniversity of HoustonUniversity of WisconsinGeorgia State UniversityUniversity of TexasWe 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. We will say this to any law students who is listening...make friends with the law librarian. They will help guide you to success.This Episode brought to you by... Greg's iPhoneWe recorded this entire episode on Greg's iPhone. Thanks to all of the law schools and law firm librarians who took the time to talk with us as we were traveling in the desert. This has been a fun one, and we hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did recording 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 the Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270, and let us know if you have ideas on topics we should cover in future episodes.As always, thanks to Jerry David DiCicca for his original music.
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 you get by with just going with one (AKA "Sole Provider.") Do you even really need to go with one of the big services, or can you survive off of the resources provided by the local bar association? Or are there even fewer options for solo small firm environments? David covers  this, plus when things are "good enough" for some lawyers to feel comfortable in their practice. And, how that usually runs counter to law librarians and other practitioners who would never be satisfied with "good enough." De-Stressing the Law Students During FinalsWe skip Information Inspirations this week to have a little fun. Anyone who has gone to law school knows that finals time can be stressful. We reached out to a number of law schools to ask them what they do to help students reduce their stress levels during this time. We get some great answers from:The University of GeorgiaUniversity of San DiegoUniversity of IllinoisTulsa UniversityUniversity of Arkansas Little RockVillanovaRichmondYaleThanks to all of these schools for sharing. There's some great programs going on at all of these schools. We have a few more who left us messages today, and we'll make sure to get those on the next show.If your school is doing something to reduce the stress levels of law students, call us on the Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a brief (30 seconds or so) voice memo, and we'll get it on next week's show. One of the things we learned from Yale's Law Library Director, Teresa Miguel-Sterns, is that New Haven apparently does have excellent pizza. Marlene, with her New Jersey skepticism says that she's going to have to try that out first hand. So look out Connecticut... Government Action on Legal InformationEmily Feltren, Director of Government Relations at the American Association of Law Libraries, gives us a monthly update on what the government is doing in regards to advancing access to legal information.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 the Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270, and let us know if you have ideas on topics we should cover in future episodes.As always, thanks to Jerry David DiCicca for his original music.
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