Our new monthly podcast features the editor-in-chief of Law Technology News, Monica Bay, interviewing key experts of the legal technology community, about top issues confronting the legal profession. If it's tech, it's a potential topic — from e-discovery to network infrastructure; from creating courtroon graphics to launching "green law" programs. Each month, Ms. Bay will bring LTN's pages alive with brisk, incisive discussion of today's top trends and developments
Redefining the Hub
1:07:41While legions are hopeful for a return to normalcy as soon as possible, the pandemic's legacy will be felt for decades. The impact is already sure to prompt change from tech adoption to what defines an entity's business hub. Ralph Baxter, Daniel Rodriguez, and Dan Linna use their final episode as hosts of LTNow to discuss life before and during the pandemic, and what they predict is next in their respective fields of expertise. Linna references disruptive innovation theorist Clayton Christensen in considering a different way for law firms to think, plan and talk about technology. Instead of choosing between prioritizing disruptive tech vs operational innovation, Linna says firms need to balance both to keep pace with an evolving industry. Rodriguez reviews the pandemic's impact on law schools, already struggling with decreased enrollment, law school finances, and student debt. He discusses regulation of law schools, the shift to all online early in the pandemic, grading changes, and how remote and hybrid learning is creating opportunities for improving teaching during precious hours in person and via technology while remote. For law firms, Ralph Baxter expects the pandemic will have game-changing ramifications. Specifically, he believes the disruption shared globally created a gateway for change for an industry on the precipice of progress. Years of talking gave way to sudden action by necessity. Baxter predicts changes and improvements beyond travel and space, down to the fundamental concept of how the workplace hub is defined. A brick-and-mortar space was the hub of activity pre-pandemic. But the new hub is information and the technology that connects people and processes to that information. Ralph Baxter served as Chairman & CEO of Orrick for nearly a quarter-century and is a member of Intapp's board of directors. Daniel W. Linna Jr. has a joint appointment at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and McCormick School of Engineering as the Director of Law and Technology Initiatives and a Senior Lecturer. Former dean Daniel B. Rodriguez is the Harold Washington Professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
The Case Against Facebook
38:00Northwestern’s Jim Speta speaks with fellow law professor and host Dan Rodriguez about the suit against Facebook filed by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general. Speta, an internet law expert and interim dean of the law school, gives an overview of the case, and delves into the history of the FTC and Department of Justice that enables both entities to enforce antitrust laws. Speta and Rodriguez discuss whether the Biden administration will shift gears with the suit and whether breaking up the social media giant would benefit the three billion consumers who use the platform. Speta also shares his take on best possible outcomes and how they would protect consumer data and assure competitors have a fighting chance in the market. Jim Speta is interim dean and the Elizabeth Froehling Horner Professor of Law at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Black Lawyers in Major American Law Firms: How to Make More Progress
59:10Getting a job at a large firm and becoming a partner is vastly different than it was even in the 1990s. Where there once was a school-to-firm process and pipeline, Harvard Law’s David Wilkins tells host Ralph Baxter that hiring is dominated by lateral moves and recruiting of proven talent. Where young associates were given a long lead time to show their potential, metrics begin year one. And where achieving partnership was once akin to achieving tenure for professors, partners now have to prove their worth at every step. The current culture for partners, Wilkins says, is “What have you done for me lately?” Wilkins, who asked in his writing in 1996 and then in 2016 why there are so few Black lawyers in law firms, and Baxter, former chairman and CEO of Orrick, talk about the lack of substantial progress yet sincere intentions on the part of law firm leaders to achieve diversity. But both agree that having good intentions isn’t enough. Wilkins notes he will continue the conversation with his brother, Freshfields Partner Timothy A. Wilkins, during an Oct. 14 webinar, “Race, Sustainability, and Social Justice” hosted by Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession. Prof. David Wilkins is the faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for AI?
41:43Research Prof. Maura Grossman has long studied the effectiveness of machine learning and its implications for the delivery of legal services. She learned early on that machines were better than lawyers at many tasks, especially in the ediscovery process. But she recognized right away that to adopt and implement new technologies, lawyers needed to see proof that the new tools worked. In this episode, host Dan Linna talks to Grossman about what questions lawyers should be asking when evaluating tools purporting to use artificial intelligence to solve problems with legal services delivery. Grossman tells Linna that until there’s some sort of consumer consortium for AI, something like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval or Consumer Reports for algorithms, lawyers will need to be smart about evaluating the tools entering the market. She and Linna discussed eight questions that should guide a lawyer’s evaluation of AI tools. Grossman says lawyers should be asking pointed questions about: The problem or pain point the tool is trying to solve How much data cleanup has to happen before the tool can be used What training needs to be done for the tool to be implemented Whether the tool has been validated On that last point, Grossman says the buyer doesn’t want to be a beta tester for the AI tool. Professor Maura R. Grossman is a research professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, and principal at Maura Grossman Law. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Model for Change: Utah’s Data-Driven Approach to Closing the Justice Gap
55:50When the Utah Supreme Court started studying the access to justice gap, justices and bar leaders were alarmed to learn that 93% of those using adult courts in the state’s largest jurisdiction were showing up without legal assistance. Let that sink in: 93% were coming to court without a lawyer. It’s a figure host Ralph Baxter’s guests say is common across North America. With news still fresh of Utah’s groundbreaking order creating a regulatory sandbox to address the crisis involving the delivery of legal services, Baxter discusses the order’s rationale and significance with three key leaders behind Utah’s move: Economics and Law Professor Gillian Hadfield, Utah Justice Deno Himonas, and Utah Bar immediate Past President John Lund. There’s something wrong when the current legal model serves just ten to fifteen percent of the population, Hadfield tells Baxter. She says Utah’s approach is on solid ground because the bench and bar are cooperating to collect data that will inform its shifting legal regulatory framework. The four discuss how the model rules of professional conduct, developed for an older and dated model of law practice, are less about ethics and more about controlling business operations. Utah’s sandbox removes many of those barriers while keeping consumers protected. Hadfield and Lund also note that despite pushback on rule changes -- such as relaxing rules on non-lawyer ownership and creating licensing routes for paraprofessionals -- the remaking of the rules is bound to increase opportunities for lawyers. Finding ways to better serve that 80% to 90% who need but don’t have lawyers will open up the market, they tell Baxter. Gillian Hadfield is the inaugural Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Deno Himonas is a justice of the Utah Supreme Court. John Lund is a Salt Lake City lawyer and immediate past president of the Utah Bar. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Pros & Cons: Data Privacy’s Role in Advancing Legal Tech
40:29Legal tech in the U.S. is pressing forward with data privacy playing catch up. In Europe, the trend is largely reversed. Host Dan Rodriguez and his guest, German lawyer and consultant Markus Hartung, talk through each approach’s pros and cons and address legal innovation’s status on both sides of the Atlantic. Hartung explains how, with good reason, Europeans are skeptical of embracing big data even with the promise of greater efficiency and modernization. At the same time, he says, there is too much confusion over the role of technology and the threat of technology. Notably, Hartung asserts that the impact of artificial intelligence is wholly overstated. “We look at software and AI in a completely irrational manner,” he says. German lawyer Markus Hartung is an advisor with the consultancy The Law Firm Companion. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Hotshot: 21st Century Training for New Lawyers and Law Students
42:47From early on, host Ralph Baxter knew co-founders Ian Nelson and Chris Wedgeworth were onto something when they developed a legal training model with proven educational techniques pioneered by Coursera, Khan Academy, and Duolingo. In this episode, Baxter talks to Nelson about the development of Hotshot and its practical uses by law schools and law firms. Since its early pilots more than eight years ago, Hotshot has developed a library of 200 topics in corporate practice and business acumen. Hotshot hires experienced lawyers to develop the substantive content for training and hires professional actors for the video presentations, which are generally delivered in short, easily digestible segments. Guest Sara Dana shares the perspective of Harvard Law, which gave early feedback about the product and has used Hotshot to provide students added learning resources since 2017. Morrison Foerster partner Rick Jenney shows how his firm has used Hotshot to train new lawyers and boost training resources for junior attorneys. Especially valuable is the ability to use the on-demand library to flip the classroom. Before a firm-led training, lawyers get video homework so everyone is on the same page. Jenney says this approach has improved in-firm training. Similarly, Dana notes that the students using Hotshot are familiar with video tutorials and have embraced the product because, like so much of what makes on-demand culture popular, “It’s really well done; it’s exactly what they need; they can access it when they need it.” Ian Nelson is co-founder of Hotshot. Sara Dana is the communication director for career services at Harvard Law School. Rick Jenney is a partner at Morrison and Foerster. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
The Spanish Flu to Covid-19: How this Pandemic is Pushing Courts to Modernize
42:16Even before the global pandemic, Michigan courts were moving more quickly than many others to modernize. Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack talks with host Dan Linna about accelerating the state’s plans to offer online hearings, online dispute resolution, and to continue efforts to establish e-filing statewide. Not everything is going smoothly, but McCormack notes some judges are almost current on their dockets. And importantly, she believes that many temporary quick fixes will lead to permanent changes that improve access to justice statewide and increase public trust in the judicial branch. Bridget Mary McCormack was named chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2019. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
Complex and Significant Matters in the Legal Profession
36:22Host Dan Rodriguez welcomes Jeff Kelly to discuss his experience with complex litigation and why he chose it as his professional focus. Jeff explains how his practice has been impacted by COVID-19 and what skills he’s refined and utilized to resolve problems arising from this pandemic. He also shares ways he leverages all 24 hours in his day in order to catch up to his more senior colleagues as well as finding and leveraging legal technology to improve his practice. Additionally, hear what it’s like for Jeff to be working as the chair of a law reform commission in North Carolina and what he’s been working on. Jeff Kelly is a complex litigation attorney at Shanahan Law Group, PLLC. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass.
39:19Law Technology Now welcomes Gillian Hadfield to the show to talk with host Ralph Baxter about the idea of reinventing the law. She starts off by explaining how she became interested in changing the way law works through personal experience and then touches on access to our justice system and how it doesn’t give the ordinary person the legal resources they need. Gillian discusses how reinventing the law will necessitate thinking big, embracing diversity, and being responsive to feedback, not to mention the considerable financial investment needed to implement new solutions. She also explains why the legal industry lacks innovation and what we should do to help expand our knowledge. Gillian Hadfield is the inaugural Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society, Professor of Law, and Professor of Strategic Management. Special thanks to our sponsors, Logikcull and Acumass. Sources: Rules for a Flat World