This week on The Geek in Review podcast Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert featured guests Colin Levy, Ashley Carlisle, and Dorna Moini discussing Levy’s recently published book “Handbook of Legal Tech.” Levy edited the book and contributors included Moini, Carlisle’s CEO, Tony Thai, and many more legal technology experts. The book provides an overview of key technologies transforming the legal industry like automation, AI, blockchain, document automation, CLM, and more.
Levy shared how he ended up editing the book, describing it as “herding cats” to get busy experts to contribute chapters. He wanted the book to serve as a comprehensive introduction to legal tech, with each chapter written by leaders in the various subject matter areas. Carlisle and Moini explained their motivations for taking time out of their demanding schedules to write chapters – spreading knowledge to help move the industry forward and impart insights from their work.
The guests reflected on their favorite parts of the experience. Levy enjoyed bringing together the community and seeing different perspectives. Carlisle appreciated being able to consolidate information on contract lifecycle management. Moini was proud to contribute right before having a baby. Lambert highlighted Levy juggling this book and writing his own solo book on legal tech stories from the front lines.
The guests offered advice to law students and lawyers looking to learn about and leverage legal tech. Carlisle emphasized starting with an open mind, intentional research, and reading widely from legal tech thought leaders. Moini recommended thinking big but starting small with iterative implementation. Levy stressed knowing your purpose and motivations to stay focused amidst the vast array of options.
Lambert prompted the guests to identify low-hanging fruit legal technologies those new to practice should focus on. Levy pointed to document automation and AI. Moini noted that intake and forms digitization can be a first step for laggards. Carlisle advised starting small with discrete tasks before tackling advanced tools.
For their forward-looking predictions, Carlisle saw AI hype fading but increasing tech literacy, Levy predicted growing focus on use and analysis of data as AI advances, and Moini forecasted a rise in online legal service delivery. The guests are excited about spreading awareness through the book to help transform the legal industry.
Twitter: @gebauerm, or @glambert
Threads: @glambertpod or @gebauerm66
Music: Jerry David DeCicca
Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal profession. I’m Marlene Gebauer.
Greg Lambert 0:15
And I’m Greg Lambert. So we are both headed to Chicago this week for the Ark K M conference. Yes, I am going to be moderating a panel of some great kn professionals who are supposed to I hope that they show up that are going to give some real world examples of how they are actually implementing generative AI at their firms. So I’m excited to get up there. I want to learn from what people are actually doing. And not just writing and talking about, but actually seeing some some real results up there. But I’m also really excited because I get to go back to Chicago. And I think there will be a little bit more time for karaoke or Marlene, as you refer to it the last time not really music, right?
Marlene Gebauer 1:07
Well, you know, I’ll be the judge of that when when we’re all in Chicago. So. So my plans, I’m going to be there. I’m going to be there for the entire week. I’ve mentioned before that we’ve been doing listening sessions with our attorney. So we have another session and our Chicago office. So I’ll be doing that before the art conference. And I’m very excited because I’m going to be emceeing for the first time be emceeing for day one, for the RKM conference. So I am really excited about that because I’ve never done it before. This will be a new experience. And we have a really great group of people, both speaking and attending. I think it’s going to be a really engaging and fun, fun conference.
Greg Lambert 1:49
Can’t wait to have you introduced his MC MG. Maybe you can DJ.
Marlene Gebauer 1:58
Alright, get up there with the records. And you know, yeah, I did say that we should we should have a playlist. I don’t know if anybody took me up on that.
Greg Lambert 2:08
Oh, I can guarantee you they did not. Okay,
Marlene Gebauer 2:10
well, that’s your job. That’s your job. Okay.
Greg Lambert 2:13
We’ll do the playlist at karaoke. Alright, enough, enough music talk. Let’s, let’s jump into our guest this week.
Marlene Gebauer 2:21
We’d like to welcome and welcome back some old and new friends to today’s episode. Colin Levy, Director of Legal and Evangelist at mailbag like the wine. Ashley Carlisle, Chief Marketing Officer at HyperDraft. And Dorna Morini, CEO and founder at Gavel, welcome to The Geek in Review. And I’m so sorry. So Colin, I’ll start with you the obvious question, you know, everybody in legal tech, you have an amazing presence on social media. For anyone who’s who’s under a rock and hasn’t seen Collins posts, you know, not only are they informative, but probably some of the most honest and real ones you’ll see. It’s like, you know, Colin, even if you don’t really know, Colin, so you’re you’re writing constantly, you mentor students, and of course, you have your day job. What possessed you to edit and put together the handbook of legal tech?
Colin Levy 3:16
You know, it’s kind of was a funny situation, the publisher who were putting together a reach out to me just seemingly out of the blue and said, Hey, so, you know, we’re thinking about putting together booked on LegalTech. And we’ve heard that, you know, you’re the guy to talk to about it. And I’m like, yes, there are plenty of others. But sure, thank you for reaching out. And, and so I had a conversation with them. And I was talking, giving them some ideas about kind of what I’d like to see in a book about it, and how I would put together and all that. And me, in my pen tendency to talk too much opens up my big mouth and said, Hey, so who’s writing this book? And the publisher said, oh, yeah, we don’t have anyone we’re thinking about, you know, it being an edited volume. And me stupidly said, because I don’t have enough to do so. Oh, well, I’d be happy to edit it for you. And they were more than happy to hear that. I then realized, in part, what I just signed up for, which basically, was essentially herding cats. Yeah. And very smart, very busy very, very well, not everyone, but some difficult ones to contribute. And so that’s really kind of what it was, was essentially a herding cats exercise about legal tech. And it was a lot of fun. But I again, it was, I didn’t quite know what I was signing up for when I kind of volunteered to edit the book. But that’s kind of been the story. My career for the most part is I tend to just say yes to things and all of a sudden, I’m doing things not fully understanding the breadth of what I’m about to embark on.
Greg Lambert 4:56
Yeah, no, no good deed goes unpunished when it comes to that. Pretty much anything illegal? I think it’s publishing. That’s true. Well, Colin, do you mind describing the book, kind of how you decided to put the book together, how it’s organized and how the the topics are covered?
Colin Levy 5:14
Sure. So you know, when I was thinking about a book on legal tech, because legal tech is rather broad area, and it’s complex and dynamic, I really wanted this book to be really kind of a introduction to the world of legal tech, but be one that was thorough and comprehensive. So I kind of viewed it as being a sort of a legal tech handbook, if you will, the good tech textbook that can introduce you to sort of some of the key areas within legal tech, with chapters written by the key experts in their respective fields. Because I certainly don’t know everything, and I’m always learning and no one knows everything. So I really thought, You know what, I think it would work best as a book and the most helpful if it was organized, kind of around the key different pillars of legal tech, and be written by people who have lived and breathed those various areas. And so that’s really kind of what the intent was behind the book. And thankfully, I was lucky enough to be able to get, you know, some of Houdini experts to contribute their expertise to the book.
Greg Lambert 6:18
So what was your process to kind of cuz legal texts such as I mean, it’s such a broad area rod? How? I mean, did you kind of pick the the writers that you wanted? And let them pick the topics? Or did you pick the topics and then chase the, the writers? What was your process there?
Colin Levy 6:36
So the process was, I kind of came up with a very broad outline of kind of what I thought would make sense for a book based off of what I kind of explained earlier as it being sort of comprehensive introduction. And then it went about thinking, Okay, if I was going to learn about this subject, or that subject, who would I want to turn to, to learn about those respective subjects. And so then I decided art, well, I’m gonna go out on a limb and reach out to these folks and see if they’d be willing to contribute, which in all cases, they were. And so went from there, the challenge really was not necessarily getting them to agree to contribute, but actually getting the chapter in, in a timely manner. Because, you know, look, we’re all busy people, we’ve got a million things going on. So that was the real challenge, hence, the reference earlier about cat herding. So really, that kind of was where I was coming from in terms of putting the book together. And I’m really happy with how it came together, especially given how sort of quickly came together as well. So I’m really proud of it. But honestly, yeah, we’re already wasn’t just kind of my project, it was a project of everyone who helped write chapters for it. And that really makes me really happy because it showed to me, and hopefully those who read the book, the strength of the community, that makes up legal tech, and how we all come together with different perspectives and different experiences, to really share what we’ve learned and what we are learning.
Greg Lambert 8:07
Yeah, I agree that this is a pretty good community for sharing and for volunteering. Sometimes, again, like I said, the the no good deed goes unpunished. But I do find that probably nine times out of 10. If we reach out to somebody, and ask them to either come on the podcast, or ask them for help or bounce ideas off of them, we get good responses. So I, you know, I don’t think you necessarily see that in every community, especially in legal but but it definitely helps us
Marlene Gebauer 8:38
True, true. Just did that today, reached out on a podcast at the end just got a couple responses. So Dorna, shifting to you. So I read the background about how you began your company Gavel and that it has to do with your passion for and work in pro bono? Can you share that story with our listeners?
Dorna Moini 8:59
Yeah, absolutely. So I practiced law for many years, almost a decade. And I was at a big firm, but I also did a lot of work. And one of the areas that I did a lot of pro bono work in was with domestic violence survivors. And what I was finding with a lot of these cases, we worked with specific legal aid organizations with our firm in conjunction with them on these pro bono cases. And one of the things that I was finding was that I was not able to serve as many of the clients that I wanted to, and with the clients that I was able to serve, I wasn’t able to spend as much of my time on the parts of the case that really mattered most and required my my expertise on so going with a client to court to represent them at a hearing, doing taking on their appeal, representing them on fact intensive or legal intensive issues. And so what I wanted to do initially, was actually build a very specific niche tool for domestic violence law in California. And for specific counties, I wanted to build something sort of like TurboTax, which I assume all of you are familiar with, that would allow my clients to get onto the platform, answer questions about themselves, their matter, be routed down different paths, based on the answers that they had provided, be given instructions and videos that I would create, and then at the end of each phase of their case, be able to generate documents for that part of the matter. And so what I did at the time was I actually built, I did not know how to code. And so I got together with a friend of mine, who was an engineer, and I said, Will you help me build this exact platform, so like Turbo Tax for domestic violence law, and we did, we built that we launched it, we actually got quite a bit of traction for that tool, we had consumers using the platform. And within the first three months, we had 1400 users on the platform actively using it on a daily basis, what we were starting to find was that it wasn’t just those consumers who needed this tool. It was actually other attorneys who were working both in the legal aid space and outside of Legal Aid space, who wanted to build similar workflows, workflows that would go from client intake, to document automation to really everything that you wanted to interact with the client on. And so that was really the genesis are what we do a gavel now is we are a platform on which you can build these types of legal products, anything from pure document automation to full legal product. And we still work a lot with pro bono and legal aid organizations, we mostly give give them our platform at cost. But that also enables us to to reach so many more of the for profit attorneys who want to scale out their practices.
Marlene Gebauer 11:43
So I mean, I like what you did with Gavel, you’ve literally transformed the workflow regarding domestic violence representation. So that’s amazing. Given that, what do you make of the state of the legal ecosystem today? You know, where do you see the biggest areas of opportunity?
Dorna Moini 12:05
Yeah, that’s a really good question. Because I think there’s a lot of new technology being introduced, obviously, with advancements to AI. However, I think there’s also so much low hanging fruit that has just not been adopted. And you know, this is we’ll talk about this in a bit. But that’s why I think I was so interested in writing this chapter on document automation. And when Colin approached me is that I see document automation. And that’s, you know, that’s what we do a gamble as being the lowest hanging fruit that can bring so much efficiency gain and just transformation of a legal practice. So that’s one area where we feel there’s a lot of advancement to be done.
Marlene Gebauer 12:44
I’m curious, like, the fact that there’s so much low hanging fruit out there that sort of hasn’t been grabbed, if you will? I mean, what’s the reason for that? You know, do you think it’s the maybe lack of revenue? Or is the technology that complicated? You know, what’s the reason,
Dorna Moini 12:59
I think there just really hadn’t been much of an impetus for attorneys to change their business model. Whereas now I see it as being two forces, one, which is a push and one, which is a poll, the push being that there’s more competitive pressure on most, especially on on small practices, because of pricing transparency, so they’re being pushed towards new forms of running their practices. But then there’s also a pull of alternative business models, which are not just being pushed on attorneys by their clients, but also being a really an extreme revenue generating source, where you can scale out and scale up your practice, serve so many more clients, generate more revenue be more profitable, while still expending the same number of hours or less of your own time. And this goes back to your question Marlene about legal aid. This all stemmed for us and my interest in the legal tech sphere stemmed from the need and the access to justice gap. But it the access to justice gap can also be met in a way that benefits for profit attorneys and allows them to generate revenue.
Greg Lambert 14:10
I don’t know about you, Marlene. But I could feel the passion there, Could you? I love it. So Ashley, I want I want to turn to you. And before we begin I want I want to mention this is now officially your third time on The Geek in Review. And I’m not sure if we’ve told you before but we have the five time rule now that you can you can either get your choice of a tiara or a t shirt as a five time guests so start thinking about what it is it’s a reach for
Ashley Carlisle 14:48
Well. Greg, I will wear the tiara proudly if you will wear it with me.
Greg Lambert 14:53
Yeah. Marlene is probably surprised I’m not wearing one right now.
Marlene Gebauer 14:58
I never give up an opportunity to wear Here on average.
Greg Lambert 15:02
So Ashley, your journey also wasn’t necessarily a straight trajectory to your current role. So give us a little bit of background on you and how you think that may have strengthened you professionally to end up where you are now.
Ashley Carlisle 15:20
Sure. Thanks so much for having me back for a third time, hopefully, it’ll be on my best behavior. And I will make it to number five for the car party. Yeah, I think the really cool thing about legal tech and that’s one thing that we really enjoyed our team while Tony was doing the chapter for the handbook of legal Tech was meeting more people through Colin is most of us didn’t think we’d be here. Most of us were attorneys who practiced and saw, you know, our industry really could benefit from certain innovative things, and we followed our passions. And so I think as a result you end up with even adorn his answer, you could see how passionate issue about how about these issues, and, you know, changing our industry for the better. So you end up with people who are really just like strengthened in the mission, and laser focus on pushing things forward, but never thought they’d be here. So I think my story is a very like legal tech story in the way that I don’t think attorneys go to law school thinking there’ll be a legal tech, maybe the next generation will go and maybe have those aspirations, but that wasn’t mine. At 11, I decided I was going to be an attorney. I do not know why. And I worked towards that goal, and then up and practice at Kirkland and Goodwin and the debt finance group. And it was there that I met Tony Thai, our CEO who contributed the chapter for this book. And he had already built HyperDraft. He called it serenity. Now, it’s a bad sign, feel joke, deep cut you I think Collins blog has a wonderful explanation of kind of the origins of HyperDraft through Tony’s eyes. But he created it while in practice, because he started his career as a software engineer. And when he came to law, he thought, well, these fancy lawyers have to have fancy tools. And when he showed up, he was very sad at the fact that they didn’t have fancy tools. And so he built it to kind of solve his own problems. And so when I met him at Goodwin, about, I guess, 2018 2019, he was kind of the crazy computer whiz associate that had like, 15 monitors in his office, and I’d walk by and be like, Who is this kid? And eventually, through talking to him, I think our whole floor at Goodwin and all of our clients quickly realized what he was building, how cool it was, and it kind of accidentally became a business. And I think similar to Dorna story, I think that’s kind of where some of the most mission focused businesses come from, is kind of actually stumbling onto it and having the problem yourself. And so I think, you know, that’s Tony story. And indirectly, that’s my story as well, because when I saw his product and saw our clients reactions to it just kind of casually in the firm, and made me kind of think long and hard about my practice, and how me and my colleagues were really just doing things to do things, not really thinking intentionally or thinking of ourselves as a business unit, and kind of how much better our lives could be in how much better our output could be if we did kind of use more Tony’s type of tech and other innovative stuff. So I think really, the mission strengthens us all. And I love that we kind of all accidentally end up on this path, hopefully pushing it forward.
Marlene Gebauer 18:13
So Colin had highlighted a little bit earlier about just how much work goes into putting together a book. And you know, I’m not sure if everybody knows just how much work it is. And you know, you both are busy professionals, you have your day jobs. You know, we’ll pose the same question, you know, what inspired you to write, you know, to take time out of your very busy schedules, and give the time to write the chapters in these books. Dorna I’ll start with you.
Dorna Moini 18:44
Yeah, definitely. So I really hope that I’m not one of the cats that Colin referred to earlier.
Marlene Gebauer 18:52
He wouldn’t have asked you other podcasts, if you were.
Dorna Moini 18:56
So you’re right, I am very busy. But this is a topic that I care a lot about. And I think for me, one of the things that we that feels like it’s the biggest obstacle for attorneys in adopting technology is understanding process and the road that’s ahead of them. And so really, this this chapter is sort of almost a sub from a my chapter is a summary of everything that I thought I would want to impart on someone who is about to embark on the document automation journey, and what they should be how they should prepare themselves beforehand, what they should expect for during that whole process, and then what they should expect after that process. Because I do feel like I am very well positioned to write this because of all the attorneys that I interact with on a daily basis regarding document automation. And so I felt that if I could contribute this article to Collins book, hopefully people who read it would start their own projects and that would ramp up the the future of legal and how fast people are adopting this type of Technology.
Ashley Carlisle 20:01
And I think for our team, we have a very similar answer. You know, every and Greg and Marlene, you guys speak at these conferences and you know this every legal conference, legal media, what have you, the elephant in the room for the past two to five years has always come back to CLM contract management, even if you start the conversation with document automation or document generation, what have you somehow it always ends up until a wider conversation of what is it? What’s happening? What’s working implementation failures, what have you. So when Colin reached out to Tony about doing a chapter on contract management, our team was very excited because we have conversations about this all the time with friends, with colleagues with clients, and we’ve never really had an opportunity to put it all in one place where people can reference it, or people that maybe we don’t personally know could have the benefit of the knowledge that we have. Here, we’ve learned through either putting HyperDraft into existing CLM’s or using different functionalities on our platform. So it’s kind of Tony’s dump, especially as an engineer plus lawyer of starting big picture, like as an engineer, what would engineers describe CLM as because I think a lot of times lawyers are describing it. So it kind of starts there. And then goes into the process of what he would want to know if he was just starting with contract management in that category. At the beginning, which, as we all know, there’s a lot of people that still don’t understand the pre work that has to be done in the process ahead of time. And so I really hope that when people read the chapter, they kind of get to learn the easy way instead of the hard way. Because we’re putting a lot of information to kind of help navigate that pre work and the standardization and figure out how to make the most of your time with that category.
Greg Lambert 21:38
So I know, again, this was a big collaboration. And Colin, I know you headed it up, but everyone has had a substantial piece to contribute. So I really want to kind of back up a little bit. And Colin, I’ll start with you. What was your favorite part about writing and editing and publishing this? What can you tell us a little bit about the the experience and some of the things that you really enjoy?
Colin Levy 22:04
Sure, I think probably the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that I was able to bring together so many different friends, some of whom knew one another as homophone didn’t contribute to this project. Because something that drives me perhaps more than anything else really is to grow and to support the old tech community. So this type of project really was a great way of doing just that. And so it really was a lot of fun to be able to do that. And in addition, it was great to, you know, kind of really see different people’s perspectives on issues, and see kind of how they thought about things, how they wrote about things, how they kind of viewed things, and that was really a lot of fun. And then the last part of it was just seeing all sort of just come together as a cohesive thing, I think was really enjoyable, probably for all of us, because it was a lot of work. But it also was something that was aimed at a purpose greater than just sort of ourselves. It was aimed at supporting, informing and inspiring others. And so it really was, I think, a great achievement. And thankfully, everyone tolerated my pestering of them for their chapters and my attempts to you know, guide people to the finish line. But it really was a lot of fun. And it just reinforced I think the the kinship I feel with everyone, that was a part of it.
Greg Lambert 23:35
And Colin, you left out a big piece of this as well, is that you weren’t just working on this book, you also had another book you’re working on. So tell us a little bit about the other book and how you juggled the both of those?
Colin Levy 23:50
Sure. Well, the funny thing is the other book, the one that I wrote myself started back in 2020, before this one was even kind of a project. And as it just so happened, both were coming together in around the same time, which was a bit nuts. And I felt like I was kind of, you know, almost schizophrenic, with all due respect to those who has schizophrenia, in terms of just the frenetic pace that I had bouncing back and forth between everything. But it really was a lot of fun. And for me, writing has always been something that has been both fun, but also therapeutic for me. And so I always did want to write a book for myself, more than anything else, mainly is just sort of a, you know, ultimate achievement in writing. And I didn’t know how exactly that was gonna happen. As it turned out, I found a great editor who was able to take my mess of papers and half written thoughts and what have you and turn it into a cohesive book and I’m very excited about sharing that one as well, which was also Val LegalTech. Take sort of a more sort of no From the front lines approach to legal attack in that it, it kind of looks at it from sort of the people doing things and from the stories and lessons that have been learned in the field. So it’s kind of a little more of a thematic for a practical book, whereas the handbook of the Go tech is really aimed at a more sort of thorough grounding, so that in some, in many ways, I would argue that they would be complementary to one another.
Greg Lambert 25:22
And Ashley, I know Tony wrote, the least his name is on there. But apparently he needed two handlers he needed Colin and you got to do that. So how much fun was it to pester Tony to write this chapter?
Ashley Carlisle 25:38
Greg, I mean, you said it, and I didn’t the transcript. That, you know, I think one call and I think said this previously, this conversation, he knows everybody in legal tech. And you know, oftentimes our team is just so heads down building and, you know, deploying and implementing whatever, that we don’t really get a chance to connect with people who can inspire us and understand our struggle. So it has been really nice, whether it be virtually or in person to have Colin connect us to this community. So writing the book in that way, it was good. As for kind of the pestering, I guess it was all worth it. Because at the end of the day, I really hope and I know, Colin probably has aspirations to do more of this. I hope this is used as a textbook, I hope more law students and other people do use this as a resource. And I think a big part of what we’re really trying to solve for as well as just the technology itself is increased tech literacy with lawyers. And so I think all of us kind of wrote this in a very entertaining but informative approach. So I hope that more lawyers, you know, read stuff like this and kind of aren’t as scared of technology, as they probably are today. You know, most of us went to law school to avoid math and what have you. And I think tech kind of falls in that category as well. So anything that bridges the gap is worth pestering, or the work to our team.
Greg Lambert 26:53
Dorna. What was your favorite part of the experience?
Dorna Moini 26:56
Yeah, so I mean, I have to echo what some of what was already said, I actually turned in my chapter to call in I think, like a few days before my baby was due are actually born. And after my baby was due this year, and so it was it felt like a very nice, like cap to that process. But it also helped me just continue to stay involved in everything. That’s part of the community and all of the people that colin has really been able to, to round up and the the community that’s really centered around Colin, honestly. And sort of like Ashley said, I think a lot of times when I talk to a lot of law students, and I oftentimes will refer them to Colin, I’m like, You should go follow him on LinkedIn, because he has so many great, great insights, you’re going to follow someone about legal tech and about practice. And now we have this handbook, that where they’re experts in every single one of these areas of law. And if you want to do a deeper dive than like your daily social updates, you can pick that handbook up, read it from front to back, or take it from piece to piece. And so just seeing that piece come out of the process that went into building and writing this book and call and putting it all together has been really incredible. And I hope I’m excited to get it physically in my hands.
Marlene Gebauer 28:13
So I think we can I think we all agree that the handbook of legal tech is really a great resource for all attorneys. And I think particularly attorneys, getting into the legal field to sort of just see sort of what’s out there and how things are changing. What advice do each of you give them about how to navigate and use legal tech? Ashley, I’ll start with you.
Ashley Carlisle 28:36
Sure. Bye. There’s so much I could do. But I’m not going to soapbox all of you. So I guess I’ll there’s three kind of random things that are kind of floating around my brain cuz I’ve had conversations relevant to it in the past week. The first one is I think lawyers come with a preconceived notion that everything in their experience should be mirrored in their software selection process, which doesn’t make sense to me because none of us know anything about technology or software. So they come and they’re like, I expect this process will go a certain way. And if it doesn’t, I’m very frustrated. And now. Exactly, and I want it now and I want you to make this make sense to me now. And I think something we try to encourage people is like, this is a different thing that unfortunately law school and legal practice has not prepared you for you need to have an open mind starting at the research phase, you need to not get discouraged, you need to really not have expectations on it. And you need to take your time with intentionality because, you know, this isn’t one of those things like a, you know, an MSA or credit agreement that you can turn around in two days. It’s it’s something that you need to research think while you’re researching it and really think what’s best for you instead of just following everybody else. And so kind of getting away all your preconceptions having intentionality as you’re researching and then just reading people who spend a lot of time in our industry, Bob Ambrogi, artificial lawyer, I think technically artificial lawyers on sabbatical, but he keeps posting so you know, that’s still active in some capacity. I think Stephanie at legal tech news has a great job. There’s so many people that are so passionate about this space, including even above the law, that even if you just periodically check those resources, you’re gonna get some information and just kind of keeping an open mind and keeping intentional with what you’re looking for and not getting frustrated. Like you said, Marlene, that’s the main complaint I’m sure all of us get. It’s just a lot of frustrations from people being like, well, I want to understand now I don’t want to sit through all these demos, I don’t want to do XY and Z, it’s like, you need to come with a totally new perspective.
Marlene Gebauer 30:31
I want it to be easy. Dorna How about you?
Dorna Moini 30:36
Yeah, so one thing I often tell both lawyers and law students, or really, anyone who’s embarking on, whether it’s a legal tech journey, or just implementing some basic software within their practice, is think big, start small and iterate rapidly. So it’s amazing to have a really, really big vision for what you want to accomplish, and where you want to be one year, five years, 10 years down the line. But the very first steps often have to be very small. So you may be doing something within a very small part of your practice of civic specific area of laws specific jurisdiction. And then the last piece, which is iterate rapidly is the most important part, if you’re going to start small, because by starting small, you give yourself the opportunity to make tweaks, whether it’s to discard or adopt new things, do that very on a very frequent basis, and to reassess what’s working for you and what isn’t. And that’s how you’re gonna get to that bigger vision.
Marlene Gebauer 31:32
And Colin will, will, will finish with you.
Colin Levy 31:35
Yeah, you know, I think that both Ashley and Dorna have said, really smart, pragmatic and practical things, what I would simply add is, before you even get to the point of kind of walking at Tech, or making tech or what have you know, thyself, and what I mean by that is, know, sort of your purpose in wanting to do whatever it is you want to do with respect to legal tech, whether it’s learning about it, creating it, experimenting with it, what have you, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And so the way to counter that sense, in that risk of being overwhelmed, is to be as focused as you can and purposeful with respect to what you’re trying to do. And that’s what I say all the time to anyone, whether it’s a law student, or a lawyer, or whomever, who is trying to learn more about legal tech or trying to do something in this space is know exactly what it is that you that is driving you and what it is that you ultimately want to achieve. And that the answers to those questions and you want to have answers, guide you initially and then be open to shifting focus as you start to learn more and proceed along that journey. But you really have to start with knowing, really yourself and why. Because if you start with kind of, oh, I just want to learn about it. Good luck with half, there’s just a lot out there. And it’s always changing and very dynamic. And while you know, the books are great for learning a little bit, they also in some ways, point to the depth and breadth of the space, which is why again, I think it’s important to be focused initially and really hone in on the question of why my answer to that question.
Greg Lambert 33:21
And Colin, I’m gonna kind of turn that upside down on you and ask you about the fact that we use so many legal technology tools. And I don’t think that lawyers and legal professionals really kind of comprehend how many different tools that they may use every day. But if you were to talk with someone, let’s say it’s a law student that’s about to enter, what beyond Microsoft Word and, and outlook and Adobe PDFs? What would you tell them to kind of, you know, these, these are some things that you really need to focus in on.
Colin Levy 34:02
I think, first and foremost, I think focusing on document automation, because it doesn’t require any coding. It’s a low, not very steep learning curve, it’s easy to get up to speed on. So that’s one thing. Another thing would be just experimenting with some of the generative AI tools that exist out there. More than just ChatGPT. I would experiment with a bunch of them because they all do things a little bit differently. And just learn to experiment and learn as you as you go. That’s what I would suggest. And also I would say, Well, you know, moving past Microsoft Word and Excel and what have you, I think is important. I think it’s also important, frankly, to understand how to use those existing tools better to because they’re chock full of functions. It’s just a matter of knowing where to find them because they often are buried under menus and things but they offer a variety of powerful and easy to use tools that can really make a difference in your day to day
Greg Lambert 34:59
Dorna Do you have any low hanging fruit? Or advice? I know, I saw you nodding when you said document automation. So
Dorna Moini 35:08
Well, you know, that’s my soapbox. And and that’s where, where I feel like the biggest low hanging fruit is. There are also so many. Just I feel like the community of lawyers that I typically talk to on a daily basis, have already made some form of leap to adopting technology. But there are many more out there, who are you still using, like paper forms and writing things down? So I think there’s, there’s so much of the legal market that is still completely unsaturated by anything tech related, where if we even just said, like, do your intake online, that would be the first step for them. So it does go back a little bit to what Colin was saying about knowing thyself, and give you know, as an as a law firm, as a legal professional, where are you in that stage? And what the first step is for you, that’s where you should start. So if we’re telling you to use generative AI, and you still have paper forms, then that’s that’s still a few steps away for you.
Marlene Gebauer 36:07
Such a chasm there.
Dorna Moini 36:08
Exactly. There’s a good chasm. But there’s something for everyone.
Greg Lambert 36:14
And Ashley, any words of advice.
Ashley Carlisle 36:17
I love what Dorna just said about the generative AI ai because I feel like we all have had people who don’t even use a signature or have no idea what Calendly is, or things like that. And then they’re like, Well, I want you to build me my own bespoke LLM model. And I’m like, Whoa, how do we get from where you really are to where you think you are in your head. Like Colin said, You got to have like intentionality and self awareness of where you are what’s going to work. And with Dorna said, as well, we also kind of say to our clients all the time is lawyers want to shoot for the stars, because we’re overachievers and law school kind of brute force made us do a lot at once. So then we have this false confidence that we can always do a lot at once. But that’s not really advantageous for us organizationally. So really starting small, whether it be E signature, or document automation, or something that can be more of a small discrete task, and building up from there is really important. And some of these things are really fun. And you know, Greg, I know you test out a ton of technology. People like you that have a lot of tech experience can check out all these things and you know, go in between gadget and gadget. But I think a lot of lawyers just kind of jump to that. And don’t start at the beginning of why am I actually using this? Or how is this going to interact with the tools that my team is already comfortable with. And just starting at the beginning is really important. I know the bells and whistles are fun. We build a lot of them too. But we always tell people to start at the beginning.
Marlene Gebauer 37:37
I’m gonna put in a plug for collaboration tools so that we can get off of email. Good luck. That’s not such an easy one. I don’t I don’t think but. So we are at the point in the podcast where we do the crystal ball question Ashley knows how this goes. So we ask all of our guests to share your predictions, or legal tech in the next two to five years. So we’re going to do an alphabetical order. So Ashley, as the one is in alphabetical order, and also who has the most experience in this, you get to go first.
Ashley Carlisle 38:11
So I really should have listened to my last prediction before I came on here, because I’m pretty sure I’m down in some respects. Let’s hope that we should have done the two I know, let’s hope so go side by side, it’s okay. But I think similar the last time I was on here, I really think that the AI hype will die down. But it will be to the benefit of all of us. Because even non legals interest in AI in the legal context has kind of been a gateway drug for many of the other categories that we talked about. And so I’m really excited for that’s already started to happen. And I’m really excited for that to continue. And even if you just look at the table of contents of the book Colonnello that we have the chapters in the handbook of legal tech, there’s so many different categories that people don’t think about. And so I’m hoping that AI will be the gateway drug to more of those, and that people’s learning experiences and increase in tech literacy through learning about AI will lead to easier adoption and those other categories as well. I think the only thing that I want to add, because I think last time my crystal ball was more LLM specific was I think people will increasingly be disappointed by MLMs other than in the legal research context. And I know people don’t love to hear that. But you know, Tony and I have said this for months now. And so I don’t think anyone would be surprised.
Greg Lambert 39:27
Yeah, I pulled it up while you were talking. And I remember correctly you were talking about the you think that the hype cycle is going to going to go down and people are not going to be as happy with the where they think the generative AI and the LLM czar than than what pans out. So good, good memory.
Marlene Gebauer 39:47
All right Colin, you’re up.
Colin Levy 39:48
I really am awful with predictions. But I still have yet to refuse to answer this question when I’m asked it. So let me try and likely fail again. I would say Ain’t that data, use of data? Creation of data analysis of data is going to be a huge component of technology, especially with with legal tech going forward. And it’s sort of a similar as its top out answer, because of course, that’s going to be the case because it’s already is. But the same time, I think that we’ve seen with the rise of generative AI, that data is important in a lot of different ways. Because it’s not just important as existing, it’s important and how you use it, what data you use, the limitations of the data that you have, the inherent biases that may be present in the data that you have in us. So I think all those questions will be ones that we continue to grapple with going forward, as these technologies evolve, become more dynamic, and become more complex and powerful.
Greg Lambert 40:57
Marlene Gebauer 40:59
Not yet. Dorna, how about you.
Dorna Moini 41:02
I was waiting for my crystal ball too
Marlene Gebauer 41:05
Yeah, it’s like you have to definitely have to give us your crystal ball.
Dorna Moini 41:08
I think that I totally agree with everything that Ashley and Colin just said, By the way, I always love hearing hearing their predictions, I would say that the online delivery of legal services is going to be on the rise. And part of that is as a result of the alternative ways that lawyers are now starting to Bill outside of always being on the billable hour, I read a stat somewhere that in the next 10 years, it’s been estimated that about 90% of legal services will be delivered online. So I think in the next few years, we’ll see we’ll see quite a rise in that. And one of my favorite things to do is, is read the reports or like like either the s ones or the 10 Ks, like Legal Zoom and other legal tech companies. And there’s a lot of interesting juicy information there on how lawyers could be competing with with the tech players out there. And online, online delivery legal services is just one of those areas.
Greg Lambert 42:09
All right now I can wrap now.
Marlene Gebauer 42:12
Now you can thank everyone.
Greg Lambert 42:15
All right, thank you all Colin, Ashley and Dorna. Thank you all for taking time to come on to the show. We’re really excited. Just like with Dorna. I’m ready to get the book in my in my hands here.
Marlene Gebauer 42:29
Yeah, me too. So thank you. And of course, thanks to all of you, our audience for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoyed the show, share it with a colleague, we’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found on LinkedIn, at @gebauerm on Twitter, and at @mgebauer66 on Threads.
Greg Lambert 42:50
We’re going to have to rearrange that. Comments keep telling you off. They do. They do. And I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @glambert and @glambertpod on threads.
Marlene Gebauer 43:04
Colin, if our listeners want a copy of the books, how can they get it,.. Greg wrote this, how can they get their hot little hands on it?
Colin Levy 43:16
Well, the good news is both are available on Amazon Handbook of legal tech. And then the other book that I wrote it is legal tech ecosystem. So that is good news for everyone. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of us if you have questions or want to learn more. We’re all pretty active. And we’re all eager to help inform and inspire others about legal attack and or our respective fields.
Greg Lambert 43:45
All right, and I’ll make sure to put everyone’s contact information on the show notes so that they can they can reach out. And of course we’ll put links out to your to both of the books at Sonic braid.
Marlene Gebauer 43:59
And as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca by his music. Thanks, Jerry.
Greg Lambert 44:04
Yeah, he’s got a new album. All right. All right. Thanks everybody.