Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...
In honor of the holiday season, Legal Toolkit is experiencing its own Festivus miracle. For this extra special bonus episode, Legal Toolkit host Jared Correia takes to the stage (or, more accurately, the bench) and sits in judgment over a live recorded, Festivus themed episode. Prepare yourself for the ceremonial jurisprudential feats of strength, legal gripes and grievances, and a lot of talk about a very special cat.
This episode was recorded live at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA at an event put on by the Legal Innovation and Technology Lab at Suffolk University Law School, the Boston Legal Hackers, and the MIT Media Lab.
The Legal Toolkit
A Festivus Miracle: Legal Toolkit Live at Suffolk University Law School
Jared Correia: Hey everybody. Welcome to a special episode of The Legal Toolkit Podcast. This is our Festivus episode. We recently had a live podcast at Suffolk University Law School in Boston in which we allowed live guests to air grievances or talk about feats of strength within the legal field, including legal technology. This is a really fun show and we talked about some crazy stuff here, including farming in Iowa, a cat named Leonidas and people generally got to slam technology that they hated. So listen up, this is going to be a lot of fun.
This event was sponsored by the Legal Hackers Group in Boston, the Boston Legal Hackers, The Legal Innovation and Technology Lab at Suffolk University Law School and the MIT Media Lab.
And also of course this episode, as every episode of Legal Toolkit, is sponsored by our sponsors for the show, TimeSolv, Abby Connect, Nexa Professional and Scorpion. So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy holidays. Grab your Festivus pole and let’s go. It’s a Festivus miracle.
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Welcome to another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit Podcast here on the Legal Talk Network.
If you are looking for a 2019 Festivus celebration, well, my friends you found it. If you are a returning listener, welcome back. If you are a first time listener, hopefully you will become a longtime listener. And if you are Jerry Stiller, you are probably shaking your fist to the cloud right now.
As always, I am your show host Jared Correia and in addition to casting this pod, I am the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting services for law firms, bar associations and legal vendors. Check us out at redcavelegal.com.
I am also the COO of Gideon Software, Inc., which offers chatbots, a first to market chatbot builder and predictive analytics created specifically for law firms. Find out more at www.gideon.legal.
You can listen to my other, other podcast; yes, I have another one because it’s not busy enough which I host with my wife, my dear wife Jessica. She tells me to say that. That show is called The Lobby List and that’s available on iTunes. So subscribe, rate and comment.
But here on the Legal Talk Network’s Legal Toolkit, we provide you with a new tool each episode to add to your own toolkit so that your practices will become more and more like best practices.
Now then, in this episode we are doing a live podcast. I am here at Suffolk, very nice, very nice.
All right, order, order, sorry I had to do that.
All right, so we are here live at Suffolk University Law School in the MOOC Courtroom and we are here on behalf of the Legal Innovation and Technology Lab, which is run by, managed by, directed by the great David Colarusso, who is here as well, friend of Legal Talk Network, friend of mine, friend of everyone in this room.
So before I introduce today’s guests, I usually do a bio, but we are going to bring people up one by one to give us their Festivus gripe or a jurisprudential feat of strength.
So the idea here is that we are going to have a real Festivus celebration with airing of grievances or feats of strength. You can talk about one or both. So the idea is we are going to bring people up, they are going to introduce themselves and then we are going to have an open-ended conversation. And this is delightful for me because you can’t see this because you are listening and not seeing me, but I am at a judge’s table right now, which is — this is maybe one of the most exciting moments of my life.
All right, so I am now canvassing the audience. Who is coming up first? Nobody. Don’t make me pick. Come on. Come on up.
Oh, we got Russell. All right, so here is what we are going to do. Stand there sir, don’t make me call the bailiff. All right sir, please introduce yourself.
Russell Matson: My name is Russell Matson and I have a list of angry grievances.
Jared Correia: Oh good. Before we get to that, tell people what you do or what you are interested in?
Russell Matson: I wish I had a better answer for such a —
Jared Correia: Nothing obscene place.
Russell Matson: So I am trying to either get into legal technology or get a job with tenure.
Jared Correia: Oh, all right. Well, this is a good advertisement for that.
Russell Matson: Nothing better than spreading negativity across the Legal Talk Network, if you are trying to.
Jared Correia: Right. Hire this man. He is really pleasant in person.
All right, so where do you want to start, airing of grievances?
Russell Matson: Yes.
Jared Correia: What’s your first grievance?
Russell Matson: Well, my first grievance is with legal tech in general.
Jared Correia: Okay, hit me.
Russell Matson: You would think that — it’s so clear that there is the need for products and there are so many smart nerds working on this and yet where are the jobs that are just out there for everyone qualified to work.
Jared Correia: Too many nerds.
Russell Matson: Yes.
Jared Correia: So the issue is that there are supposed to be jobs everywhere, but there aren’t. So I partly agree with this. Like I think a lot of the legal tech movement is taking place in cities like Toronto, Silicon Valley, New York, we are sitting in a courtroom, a fake courtroom, allow me to pretend it’s real for right now in Boston, and if you were looking for a legal tech job in Boston, there is not a lot of places to go, right?
Russell Matson: That seems to be the case.
Jared Correia: Yeah. And then the issue is like, are you going to be able to work for a company that will allow you to work from home, and that’s not always the case.
Russell Matson: That’s true.
Jared Correia: So I think we are making a call to these legal technology companies to hire more people in more diverse geographic areas, would that be safe to say?
Russell Matson: That would be a perfectly reasonable conclusion to draw. We can also be angry at the market.
Jared Correia: Okay. So tell me about that. Why should we be angry at the market?
Russell Matson: Because Adam Smith’s invisible hand should be solving this problem.
Jared Correia: Oh, here we go, all right. Can you tell people what that is, not everybody is going to know what that is. Adam Smith, was he a pop star from the 80s.
Russell Matson: I think that was Adam Hann.
Jared Correia: No, Adam Hann, sorry, go ahead, Adam Smith.
Russell Matson: If I remember my Econ 101 from 1987, it was that the market is made up of invisible actors with invisible hands and everything just sort of works seamlessly and perfectly. So needs are supposed to occur, money is supposed to be available, and people will magically do the work, and I shake my fist with fury at the market that that hasn’t seemed to happen.
Jared Correia: So is the theory bunk or is the market just not operating the way it should?
Russell Matson: Well, markets of course are always perfectly efficient, everyone has perfect information and it acts in the best interest at all times.
Jared Correia: Yes, we are not piping in that laughter, that’s real laughter.
Russell Matson: So my guess is that we are in a little bubble where there is a bunch of hype going on.
Jared Correia: A lot of hype
Russell Matson: Yes.
Jared Correia: Maybe it’s overblown, can we say that?
Russell Matson: We just did. There were no second voices, so there you go.
Jared Correia: I like it. This is not too negative.
Russell Matson: All right. Well, then I will move on to the next topic.
Jared Correia: Oh, all right, you have got another one, all right, this is good. It’s a hot star. Did you write this down?
Russell Matson: I do have three bullet points.
Jared Correia: Oh, nice. All right, let’s get to number two, beautiful. Are you using a teleprompter?
Russell Matson: I am trying to integrate everything into Clio and Clio and Zapier aren’t always nice to each other.
Jared Correia: Oh boy. So what specific issues have you had?
Russell Matson: We are trying to get — when you use Clio Management, we are trying to use Clio Grow and I am trying to make RingCentral every — all the texts and pictures to automatically go into Clio and so far that hasn’t happened.
Jared Correia: All right, this is good, because Clio people listen to my show.
Russell Matson: And I do have a history of 00:08:29 Clio because I know how the NPS scores work and I will regularly just give them that 8, because they want the 9s and 10s, and if you give them the 8, you get all these emails back.
Jared Correia: That’s cool man.
Russell Matson: It is.
Jared Correia: He is trolling people now.
Russell Matson: I mean but such is the nature of Festivus.
Jared Correia: Right, right, right. I mean you are killing it. I am so glad you are the first guest. You are like really getting into the spirit of Festivus.
All right, so Clio can do a better job with Zapier integrations with Clio Grow.
Russell Matson: Yes, because they have $250 million of VC money.
Jared Correia: Is that true?
Russell Matson: That’s what I heard.
Jared Correia: Yeah. I don’t know. I only got like 5% of that, so I am not sure of the actual figure.
Russell Matson: Well, I just assume that it makes sense to move to the market leader because it’s — while it’s not clear that the VCs will make any money, it is clear that with all that money being put into it, it seems like the product will exist for quite a while.
Jared Correia: Right, yeah. Well, that’s if the focus is going to be on building a better software product, because the focus may instead be on building a platform and acquiring partners.
Russell Matson: Yes.
Jared Correia: Because there’s two ways to build a product, which is to build your own stuff or to acquire people who have already built what you need.
Russell Matson: Yeah, which seems like — that seems like the thing that makes the most sense and I find it hilarious how many people I know, they have an idea, they are like I have a startup and instantly they have already moved to like, and then I will sell it to Clio. It’s like the entire — the journey is the award.
Jared Correia: You have got to have a dream. All right, we are going to move on to grievance number three. That was a good one.
Russell Matson: Those were —
Jared Correia: I thought you had three bullet points, you were teasing me?
Russell Matson: I did have three bullet points, but the issues were with legal tech, the market, and with Clio and Zapier.
Jared Correia: Oh, okay, all right, we got all three bullet points.
All right, do you want to spin this in a positive fashion?
Russell Matson: No.
Jared Correia: Can we have a feat of strength? Okay. Thank you sir. You may go.
Russell Matson: Thank you.
Jared Correia: All right, who is next? All right, come on man. All right, guest number two. Please sir, identify yourself and where you work or what you want to promote?
Paul Gowder: I am Paul Gowder and I am a Law Professor at Iowa and I want to be very cruel about Microsoft.
Jared Correia: Oh, great. All right, let’s bash Microsoft. Wait, did you say you were a law professor, where?
Paul Gowder: At Iowa.
Jared Correia: Iowa?
Paul Gowder: Yeah.
Jared Correia: The state?
Paul Gowder: The University of Iowa.
Jared Correia: Oh, I love that. University of Iowa is in?
Paul Gowder: Iowa.
Jared Correia: City?
Paul Gowder: It’s in Iowa City.
Jared Correia: Dude, I know Iowa, I am not joking.
Paul Gowder: It’s in Iowa City, in the State of Iowa. It’s the University of Iowa.
Jared Correia: Iowa State is in Ames.
Paul Gowder: University of Iowa is in Iowa City.
Jared Correia: All right.
Paul Gowder: And very briefly I lived on a street called Iowa Avenue, just to make absolutely sure.
Jared Correia: That’s legit. I like that. I am actually — I have been to Iowa many, many times. My wife’s family has a farm in Iowa.
Paul Gowder: Corn or pork?
Jared Correia: They do corn and soybeans. I love Iowa. Tenderloin sandwiches, loose meat sandwiches. I am all over this. Like I am not a poser.
Paul Gowder: Too much ranch though.
Jared Correia: Yeah, I know, there is a lot of ranch. Like I tell people like an Iowa salad is like lettuce and a thousand breadcrumbs.
Paul Gowder: Sometimes with green jello.
Jared Correia: Sometimes, yes, yes, absolutely. All right, good talk about Iowa. So out of curiosity, what are you doing here in Boston?
Paul Gowder: So I am actually visiting this semester.
Jared Correia: Oh, you are here for the whole semester?
Paul Gowder: Yeah, yeah.
Jared Correia: It’s like the same, right, same weather pattern and stuff like that.
Paul Gowder: No, more snow, less cold here.
Jared Correia: Right, Iowa is pretty brutal.
Paul Gowder: Iowa — so a few years ago, speaking of Festivus grievances, I was, in one of those polar vortex years I was checking other cities and the only place on the planet that was settled that I could find that was routinely every day colder than Iowa City was in northern Siberia.
Jared Correia: Oh, really?
Paul Gowder: Yeah, not just Siberia, Northern Siberia.
Jared Correia: That’s hardcore. You need like some skyscrapers to block the wind.
Paul Gowder: I keep saying I should run for office on the Trumpian platform of build the dome and make Canada pay.
Jared Correia: Oh, I like that. Okay, so we have only known each other for three minutes, but you have my vote, I want you to know that. So you say you have a grievance against Microsoft, let’s do it.
Paul Gowder: So the grievance is that Microsoft Word is quite possibly the single worst piece of software ever written, that includes the 737 MAX software, that includes the Patriot Missile Targeting software that had a floating point error back in the day and like bombed a few cities. Microsoft Word is worse.
Jared Correia: Can I say that the Festivus podcast is going really well. All right, can you tell me — so are you one of these lawyers — are you a lawyer, sir?
Paul Gowder: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Okay. Are you one of these lawyer types who loves WordPerfect? Is this like a Word versus WordPerfect debate?
Paul Gowder: I use WordPerfect, so I haven’t practiced in a few years, but when I was in practice, Reveal Codes, Reveal Codes is the only thing —
Jared Correia: It tugs on the heartstrings a little bit, Reveal Codes.
Paul Gowder: It really does. How could they not see that? Surely Microsoft Word — Microsoft has a long and honorable history of stealing features from better companies, how is it that they could not steal that one.
Jared Correia: Shameful. All right, do you have specific grievances against Word?
Paul Gowder: I do. And so most people, their specific grievances involve bullet points and why they just —
Jared Correia: Russell had like 10 bullet points, he only went through three.
Paul Gowder: But my specific grievance, my main grievance among the thousands of wrongs that Microsoft Word does to me on a daily basis is if you have ever written a law review article, one thing that you know about law review articles is that law review editors like to make a lot of changes and one thing you know about Microsoft is that every single change to anything counts as a change in tracked changes.
So like if they change a single comma, that counts as a distinct change and so as a law professor writing articles, you will get this thing back and it will have 5,000 discrete changes, and of those 5,000 discrete changes, 20 will be something you actually need to look at.
Jared Correia: Right, I see the pain in your eyes right now.
Paul Gowder: It is agony, because when you try to get through the other 4,980 changes, which are only 4,980 changes because Microsoft is incapable of aggregating them, it crashes.
Jared Correia: Yes, all right, all right, I feel you.
Paul Gowder: It’s agony.
Jared Correia: Yes. So is there a solution?
Paul Gowder: There is a solution.
Jared Correia: Okay.
Paul Gowder: The solution is called Markdown, the solution is called Git, the solution is —
Jared Correia: Colarusso is a big Markdown guy, right; you have stock in Markdown, don’t you?
Paul Gowder: So I am going to plug a thing.
Jared Correia: Did he put you up to this?
Paul Gowder: He did not. I put myself up to it. I have a thing. I have started a little blog which is stalled because —
Jared Correia: All right. Oh, wait, is the blog still available?
Paul Gowder: It’s still available. It’s stalled because I have been meaning to write more for it, but I have started writing —
Jared Correia: Can we have the URL?
Paul Gowder: Yes.
Jared Correia: Because this is going to force you to write more, because people are going to be visiting the page.
Paul Gowder: Actually it’s called techup.lawyer.
Jared Correia: Oh, techup.lawyer, okay.
Paul Gowder: And the latest post on it right now is a detailed tutorial on how to switch to Markdown and never let Microsoft darken your door again.
Jared Correia: Oh, this is good, okay. So when was the latest post written?
Paul Gowder: Months ago, because I started on an InfoSec post and that takes forever and so I have given up, but I am going to start again and other people should contribute too. Send me stuff.
Jared Correia: All right, so this is — all right, so like here is what I want you to do, man, say that blog URL again and then let’s make the request for people to contribute. So you want to give an email address or a contact point for you?
Paul Gowder: techup.lawyer, actually there are contribution instructions on there. Probably the easiest way is to actually go to the GitHub repository for the blog and write your own and then I will merge it and you will be a legal technology training blogger.
Jared Correia: Write for this man’s blog. He is lonely. He is in Iowa. He is surrounded by cows.
Paul Gowder: He is sad and cold. And I plug in my own Twitter as well; you can also reach me on Twitter.
Jared Correia: We have coaching during the podcast. Thank you David. Plug your Twitter.
Paul Gowder: I have been coached to say it.
Jared Correia: What’s your Twitter account?
Paul Gowder: Just @PaulGowder and you will also see lots of cat pictures.
Jared Correia: Oh, beautiful.
Paul Gowder: I have the most beautiful cat.
Jared Correia: You do?
Paul Gowder: So it’s important.
Jared Correia: What’s your cat’s name?
Paul Gowder: Leonidas.
Jared Correia: Oh, that’s pretty sweet.
Paul Gowder: There is a good story behind that too.
Jared Correia: Like the king from 300, like the king?
Paul Gowder: Yeah, exactly. So three reasons; one, because it looks like a baby lion; two, because he was afraid of everything and he needed a courageous name.
Jared Correia: Oh, well, there you go. Did it work?
Paul Gowder: And three, because he really likes to blockade doors and so my theory was if a Persian cat ever tried to get through a door, it would never let that cat pass.
Jared Correia: Oh, this is beautiful. All right, I think your cat needs his own blog as well.
Paul Gowder: He does. He has an Instagram kind of and he has my Instagram.
Jared Correia: He does? Can you please tell me what your cat’s Instagram is?
Paul Gowder: He has a Facebook page, if you just search Leonidas Maximilian Gowder-Smith.
Jared Correia: Wow, that is impressive. He is like a duke or something. He has like eight names.
Paul Gowder: He is a duke. Every cat is a duke.
Jared Correia: Okay, I think we have covered a lot of ground here.
Paul Gowder: I think we have.
Jared Correia: Let me at this point call someone else up. Is there anything else you want to say that you have not covered yet?
Paul Gowder: I mean I could mention my cat a few more times.
Jared Correia: Let’s mention the cat like one more time. Can I have his full name one more?
Paul Gowder: Leonidas Maximilian Gowder-Smith the III, he is the best cat, and you should follow his Facebook page.
Jared Correia: People, check out this cat. He sounds dope. All right, thank you sir.
Paul Gowder: Pleasure.
Jared Correia: Can we have another speaker? That’s going to be a tough act to follow, I am going to be honest with you. Who wants to come up next? Do I have to call on someone? Who is next? Who is next? David Colarusso? Dear Lord, to what do I owe the pleasure? Are you going to talk about Markdown, it is Markup or Markdown, I always get confused?
David Colarusso: Markdown.
Jared Correia: Markdown? Are you going to talk about Markdown again?
David Colarusso: No, no.
Jared Correia: You can talk about Markup.
David Colarusso: So I thought I would talk about some jurisprudential.
Jared Correia: Wait, hold on, hold on sir, please for the audience listening at home, for the record, who are you? What do you do?
David Colarusso: My name is David Colarusso and I am the Director of the Legal Innovation and Technology Lab here at Suffolk Law School.
Jared Correia: Brilliant man. Go on sir.
David Colarusso: Just upstairs, and I wanted to respond to some of the earlier guests’ grievances.
Jared Correia: I like to call them the haters, but cat lovers.
David Colarusso: They are. Yes, this is true, this is true.
So one of the things we do here at the Lab is we teach law students how to work as part of interdisciplinary teams to sort of understand the realm of the possible in the tech world and we have actually had a lot of success with our students getting jobs with those skills, but they are not “legal tech jobs”, although sometimes they are. We have had success with people going on to do legal tech consulting or to do innovation, be an innovation officer at different firms.
Jared Correia: Within law firms.
David Colarusso: Within law firms.
Jared Correia: Which is technically a legal tech job.
David Colarusso: It is a legal tech job but I think the real skills that we’re teaching them is how to think about these tools and how to think about how things work, and that’s the skill that they’re learning because something that I think we fail to recognize often enough as lawyers, is that we are information workers, and that our tools are something that we should take pride in and that we should understand and that we should treat the same way that crafts people treat their tools.
Jared Correia: Oh man, you’re speaking my language. I get in trouble for comparing lawyers to plumbers sometimes, would you go that far? Probably not.
David Colarusso: Well, my grandfather was a pipefitter, so I think there’s a lot to be said there. My father was trained as an electrician.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
David Colarusso: So I think there’s a lot to be said for and that valuing your tools and knowing how they work is a big one. So, yeah, so I’d say that legal tech skills are really just lawyer skills and so as a question of where the jobs are, the jobs are everyone’s jobs now, and I think it’s — I think what we do just this week reached 38 states with a requirement of tech competence —
Jared Correia: Right.
David Colarusso: — so as an ethical guide. So yeah, so I’d like to just say that it’s happening now and since we’re here at Suffolk Law, I’d like to say it’s happening here.
Jared Correia: It’s happening right here at Suffolk University Law School, circle R.
David Colarusso: So, yeah, understand your tools and it’s not just about — it’s not about turning attorneys into coders to bring in the —
Jared Correia: Right, that’s been a long-standing debate, which I think like not a lot of attorneys necessarily understand, but there’s a lot to talk about that.
David Colarusso: Yeah, there’s a lot of the question of, oh, why don’t we hire — we hire electricians, we don’t do our own electrical work. We hire plumbers, we don’t do our own plumbing work. But I’m not a plumber but I’ve been known to turn off the water to my house typically. I’ve been known to change —
Jared Correia: I have unclogged the toilet or tube myself.
David Colarusso: And most importantly I’ve replaced washers in a leaky faucet as opposed to paying $300 an hour to have someone replace a 5 cent item.
Jared Correia: Yes.
David Colarusso: And that’s the type of skills that we want to make sure lawyers understand that they can do, there’s things they can do that they might not think of as coding using a lot of the tools, that’s sort of like no code option stuff, things like community lawyer to do things that they might think they have to know coding to do, but it depends on really what you mean by coding.
And if it’s telling a computer how to do something, there are a lot of options for that, and knowing what’s possible is often the biggest impediment to getting there, and also it’s important to be able to know what’s possible so when someone’s trying to sell you a bill goods.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s beautiful. It brings a tear to my eye, well positive.
David Colarusso: That’s positive.
Jared Correia: Do you have any grievances?
David Colarusso: Grievances.
Jared Correia: You don’t have to have any grievances.
David Colarusso: No, I’m pretty optimistic now. I think everyone else’s has covered anything that that’s not —
Jared Correia: Do you have any pets?
David Colarusso: At this time I do not have any pets.
Jared Correia: No pets?
David Colarusso: No pets.
Jared Correia: Before you leave, don’t leave yet. Again your name?
David Colarusso: David Colarusso.
Jared Correia: Where your affiliation?
David Colarusso: Suffolk University Law School.
Jared Correia: What everybody should go if they want to get a law degree.
David Colarusso: And we do a lot of stuff here especially in legal tech.
Jared Correia: Right, absolutely. Thank you sir. All right, who’s next? Anybody else want to go? Warren, yes. All right, my good friend, Warren.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, why not, why not put myself.
Jared Correia: All right, name? Affiliation?
Warren E. Agin: Okay, so I am with Elevate Services, that’s a law company, I think some people call an alternative legal service provider but they don’t like that term, I like the law company.
Jared Correia: All right, we will go with law company.
Warren E. Agin: I’m a Managing Director of Digital Strategy and Services, and do not ask me what I do because I have yet to be able to figure out an elevator speech, so this is part of my job. It literally won’t.
Jared Correia: We won’t tell anybody.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, it almost seems like every month there’s six weeks I’m doing something a little different.
Jared Correia: But what’s fascinating about you is you were formerly a pricing attorney, and you taught yourself a lot of stuff related to legal tech.
Warren E. Agin: I did, I taught myself a lot of stuff.
Jared Correia: I think that’s a good story.
Warren E. Agin: Literally like a year ago I was a practicing attorney who was doing a little bit of maybe digital consulting, data consulting with LexPredict which then got bought by Elevate Services and now I’m completely flipped, where I’m now full time with Elevate Services and the legal stuff is sort of going by the wayside, so.
Jared Correia: Which is like a very unique story in legal, frankly, like I think very few lawyers do this.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, people tell me that. I’m almost thinking of Liam Neeson, right? That haul.
Jared Correia: You’re just like Liam, oh yeah, I was just thinking you’re just like Liam Neeson.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, having a particular set of skills although they’re not as dangerous, I think.
Jared Correia: Now, you haven’t killed anybody that I’m aware of those, so.
Warren E. Agin: They are built in groups because my coding is still atrocious and I have been knowing the crash servers but —
Jared Correia: Somebody’s going to test the server viability, might as well be you.
Warren E. Agin: That’s absolutely right, and so my gripe is this, everybody seems to gripe a lot about legal technology. And I don’t think —
Jared Correia: Oh, I like where you are going to this.
Warren E. Agin: It is not a new thing, right? So I actually practiced for a very long time. So when I started.
Jared Correia: Like five years.
Warren E. Agin: The life was literally about computers, right? We were all griping. We don’t want to do these computer things, they’re going to make us type our own stuff, right? They all had secretaries, and the secretaries of course were all women, but we’re going to make us type our own stuff, it’s going to be horrible, and of course now right, everybody has computers, you don’t think about this.
The Internet, oh, it’s about six years after I started, it was the Windows thing, right? They were all griping about having to use Windows and it’s going to be unstable and our computer is going to crash.
Jared Correia: WordPerfect people.
Paul: I was right.
Warren E. Agin: You were right.
Paul: It did.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, but my firm actually, they held off for about two years, so we didn’t start off with 3.1, I think it was another stage along, it was a little more stable, and yes, and you are right, Paul, they did. I would say though, I’m seriously thinking though, I learned a lot over the last like five years, I’ve learned a lot of stuff, but I’m thinking about going to Stanford and getting a Doctorate.
Jared Correia: Oh for real?
Warren E. Agin: So, I can understand how to use Git to write my briefs because I still can’t figure Git out.
Jared Correia: Oh, all right, this is good. Now we’re in the confessional period.
Warren E. Agin: We are in the confessional period.
Jared Correia: That makes two of us, neither can I —
Warren E. Agin: Prof. Gowder put up his blog explaining how to do all this stuff and market them.
Jared Correia: I actually think Leonidas types of the blog, but I digress.
Warren E. Agin: I did read it and I can’t figure that out, so that’s — so I’m going to stick with Word I think so in any case —
Jared Correia: That’s fair and five years from now you’ll have your Doctorate from Stanford so you’ll be good to go, do anything with that.
Warren E. Agin: It is going to take me a couple of decades when I went off, that would be hard. So in any case my point is, is people gripe about this stuff and but the reality is it’s — you just have to sort of dig in and find out what’s going on and use it and all the things we think about that we’re new, I mean a lot of them are very much commonplace when you look back, and it’s true that it takes a very long time for everybody to say get the computer on the desk, start using email, use ballpoint pens.
I have a feeling that when ballpoint pens came out, there was like a huge learning curve, right? There’s a lot of lawyers who didn’t like using. In fact, my old law partner actually liked to have — he had a non-ballpoint pen that he would use for signing and pointing contracts.
Jared Correia: What’s the alternative to a ballpoint pen like a fountain pen, like what was previous?
Warren E. Agin: He had a fountain pen.
Jared Correia: Like actually dipping it into ink and stuff?
Warren E. Agin: I think it had a cartridge in it, so it’s a little more modern than the inkwell, but it was a fountain pen and I granted it, it wrote really nice.
Jared Correia: It sounds really, really classy like I kind of want one.
Warren E. Agin: It was actually —
Jared Correia: I feel like I should have a fountain pen at my desk.
Warren E. Agin: It was very classy, you pull it out for the important signings and you use the fountain pen.
Jared Correia: That’s right, if you are on my ass, sign something with a fountain pen, yes.
Warren E. Agin: So, I mean, now we’re going to have electronic signing and pretty soon that’s going to be the war, everybody is going to use it and it’s the same thing with products like the one we were talking about like Woodpecker. I mean this is going to be how you do things, it may take us 5-10 years to really get there but —
Jared Correia: Do you think part of it’s a function of effort like lawyers should dive into tech more to get a better understanding?
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, I do think people need —
Jared Correia: I think that’s true, I think that’s true.
Warren E. Agin: And there’s definitely a lot of lawyers who don’t learn to use these.
Jared Correia: Very superficially use them or just don’t take the time or effort to use them at all, yeah?
Warren E. Agin: It’s true to be said there is a lot of them and people talk all the time about the fact that lawyers have had Excel on the desk for a long time, don’t know how to use that and they’ve had Word on their desk for a long time and they don’t know how to use that, and certainly none of them know how to use Markup, two exceptions.
Jared Correia: Yes, or even Markdown while we’re at it.
Warren E. Agin: Or even Markdown while we are at it.
Jared Correia: This is a good one, thank you.
Warren E. Agin: Well, you’re welcome.
Jared Correia: Anything else you wanted to say before I release you from the court?
Warren E. Agin: Yeah, I don’t think so.
Jared Correia: All right, can you tell people again where you work, what you do and where they can find out more about your company?
Warren E. Agin: Okay, so Warren Agin, I work at Elevate Services and I’m also — I’ll plug, I want to plug this.
Jared Correia: Plug whatever you would like, this is the time.
Warren E. Agin: I share a group called Legal Analytics within the ABA Business Law Center.
Jared Correia: Right, yes.
Warren E. Agin: So anybody who’s a law student, they have an ABA membership for free, they can join that group and anybody who’s a Business Law section member of the ABA and there’s like 30,000 of them out there, some of your listeners are probably members of that group, but don’t know what’s inside of it.
So they can all join this Legal Analytics Committee and they can learn more about data and things like that. So I’m really into that stuff.
Jared Correia: That’s awesome. How would they find out information about the committee like just go to the ABA website?
Warren E. Agin: If they go to the ABA website, yeah, and they go to whatever they have set up for themselves and they can just Google Legal Analytics Committee Business Law section.
Jared Correia: And how do people find Elevate Legal. Elevate Legal am I saying that?
Warren E. Agin: It’s elevateservices.com.
Jared Correia: elevateservices.com, okay.
Warren E. Agin: I mean, it’s interesting, there’s a whole — Elevate Services, what a lot of companies do is they sort of take the routine low risk work and they find more efficient ways of processing it other than doing it within law firms and law departments and they make a lot of money doing that with people, but technology still — even simple technology underpins a lot of that.
Jared Correia: True.
Warren E. Agin: I mean just the systems to keep workflow going be able to allow people sitting in Arizona or India or Indonesia or Poland, we have a whole contracts department in Poland, to be able to work on things from other parts of the world, it’s very technology driven. It lets me work from Boston.
Jared Correia: Which is great, yeah.
Warren E. Agin: Right, because I’m like the only elevator who’s like right downtown in Boston and then —
Jared Correia: Wait, elevator, is that what you call it?
Warren E. Agin: They call it elevators, yeah, yeah.
Jared Correia: Is this a call? Warren, is this a call, do you need help? Don’t drink anything Kool-Aid that they give you.
Warren E. Agin: Anyway, so in terms of where people can find out more about me, I’m on Twitter at @AnalyticLaw and I’ve got a website up at analyticlaw.com.
Jared Correia: Oh you do, analyticlaw.com.
Warren E. Agin: Yeah.
Jared Correia: What a great handle. Thank you sir.
Warren E. Agin: You are welcome. Thank you.
Jared Correia: This was great. Anybody else want to go? Dazza coming up, this is what I’ve been waiting for, this is your, can I give you credit for this being your idea. If you’re strutting up here like you got to bring the heat. Can I tell people this was your idea?
Dazza Greenwood: Yes.
Jared Correia: This podcast, I want to give you full credit. Dazza Greenwood, you’re up here now in Boston, right?
Dazza Greenwood: Yep, back in Boston.
Jared Correia: You were in New York for a little while. All right, so like for the podcast audience name, affiliation, I just gave you a name but you can give it again and then we can get into grievances.
Dazza Greenwood: I’m at MIT where I run the Computational Law Research Program there and that’s at law.mit.edu and perhaps my best affiliation and it also brings us to my first grievance.
Jared Correia: Oh great. You really thought this out, oh okay.
Dazza Greenwood: So Your Honor, I have a question for you.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Dazza Greenwood: What is the group that is in fact convening this meeting that hasn’t been mentioned yet?
Jared Correia: Oh Lord, Legal Hackers, do we not talk about them?
Dazza Greenwood: Ding, ding, ding, oh yeah.
Jared Correia: Oh my God, are they going to hunt me down and murder me now?
Dazza Greenwood: No.
Jared Correia: All right.
Dazza Greenwood: We like to do real-time justice and it’s happening now.
Jared Correia: You’re shaming me in front of the public.
Dazza Greenwood: Well, I want to encourage everybody to know that you probably have a local legal hackers chapter yourself. We have one in Boston, you’re a co-organizer.
Jared Correia: I can’t believe I didn’t mention, this is really bad.
Dazza Greenwood: David Colarusso is the co-organizer.
Jared Correia: We are definitely editing this on the back end, go ahead.
Dazza Greenwood: Yeah, and this is one of the creative examples of the sorts of programming that you get with Legal Hackers.
Jared Correia: Yes, and actually like did I tell you that I had two other legal hacker organizations at different cities reach out to me to do this again.
Dazza Greenwood: Fantastic.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Dazza Greenwood: You found your spiritual home.
Jared Correia: But that was a grievance for me you just like you had a lot of issues with these people specifically me and I thank you for calling me out on that. I should have mentioned Legal Hackers.
Dazza Greenwood: Not at all.
Jared Correia: Now I feel terrible, and I will get over it.
Dazza Greenwood: I wish that you would feel good because, hey, now, you have every opportunity to revel and celebrate the legal hacker that you are.
Jared Correia: Right, exactly.
Dazza Greenwood: But now let’s come to the substantive grievances.
Jared Correia: Yes, you have grievances, good, excellent.
Dazza Greenwood: Okay, item number one, I think Paul Gowder started to reference this whole.
Jared Correia: I love everybody at bullet points, this is great.
Dazza Greenwood: Oh yes.
Jared Correia: Wait, wait, can I ask you?
Dazza Greenwood: Three bullets.
Jared Correia: Before we do that, can I ask you if you have a pet?
Dazza Greenwood: I don’t have a pet so much as pets have me, I would say, and I am equally distributed among a great many pets, and I guess you have to start with Jonathan Askin’s pet who’s a wonderful Labradoodle and I could go down from there, but I have little — I have like my special places in the hearts of many pets and they require much affection from me and infinite wonderfulness back, pets are the best.
I do tend more toward dog, but you know, cats —
Jared Correia: You are dog first.
Dazza Greenwood: — what’s not to love.
Jared Correia: Yeah, well, all right, great, great. Okay, yeah, so we’ll do a one pet limit. Okay, go to your grievances, I wanted to rough you again. I promise.
Dazza Greenwood: What is with the concept that as soon as legal document becomes like scanned or somebody composes in Microsoft Word or it exists as a PDF that it’s — that now we have achieved the Mecca of legal tech that we are now at the arrival zone like, it’s digital.
Jared Correia: Do you mean the paperless office?
Dazza Greenwood: It’s not paperless, but like it’s — that’s a paper paradigm and so my number one grievance is like congratulations on the baby step of being digital and not like literally paper but now come the days of data and so the big grievances like to or I guess it’s more imploring to go from this document paradigm in legal tech and take that step over the chasm to data.
Jared Correia: Oh, this is a hot take, I like this.
Dazza Greenwood: And so like to have legal instruments express themselves as data like through an API or a service, there’s something that you can use an app with or for. I think like that is the number one grievances like we is as a profession and just as a society, it’s time to actually get over the hump and like banking and finance other industries are well into existing as data that’s carefully composed.
Jared Correia: No, that’s fantastic, that’s a great example. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Dazza Greenwood: Item number two.
Jared Correia: Yes, how do we do law and like who are we as a profession? I think we’re — to the extent that the lights are coming on and we’ve heard about a lot of it tonight with cool apps and online services, they’re still largely being pushed through these antiquated legal practices and workflows that are not different in kind than how they were with parchment, and so I think the next thing is to start looking for opportunities to like re-engineer legal processes and legal practices. So that we are able to take advantage of these new capabilities when things are connected, when they are integrated, and there’s an opportunity to have them be somewhat more human-centric too.
Jared Correia: Absolutely, yeah. no qualitative change since like Charles Dickens was writing about lawyers, I agree.
Dazza Greenwood: Yeah. Writ of Hammurabi maybe, so not chiseling in stone anymore and so let’s act like it.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Dazza Greenwood: Item number three and it’s —
Jared Correia: You are bringing a lot of gravitas to the proceedings. I like it.
Dazza Greenwood: Well, it gets to — like it’s sort of connected to the processes, but it’s like the institutions if you will and so I think when Warren spoke about his legal analytics committee that’s an example of — that’s so interesting and wonderful partly because it’s such an exception.
Jared Correia: Right, yes.
Dazza Greenwood: And I think as a profession or an industry like as a people it’s time to stop clinging to and like defensively like doubling down on this — on the monopolistic guild framework and to start looking at ways that we can start to innovate with new models and what I would love to see the institutions rather than largely chilling innovation and defending the previous way to really engage and like actively embrace development and testing and helping others to deploy these innovative new kind of service delivery models and just the idea of computation that can be composed in lots of different ways, not necessarily as a — what we think of as a law firm or a legal — or a licensed attorney practicing law per se.
Jared Correia: Do you think ABS coming to the US is a requirement before we get to that point? Do you think people will be reactionary up to the time law firms have corporate overlords or no? Do you think lawyers can do it on their own? I guess is what I’m asking.
Dazza Greenwood: I don’t know and so like I feel the yearning for reforms but I think part of what I said develop and test before deployed, what I really love to see is trying a few things, so ABS, but there’s a lot of different ways to look at kind of recomposing the functions of law into different types of business models and processes and roles and relationships.
I’d like to see like an affirmative deliberate period of experimentation, a sober evaluation, and then a reformation. But the idea of resisting and holding on to yesterday is not the attitude that’s going to get us there that was grievance number three.
Jared Correia: That was great. Do you have more?
Dazza Greenwood: Are you ready for a show of jurisprudential?
Jared Correia: Yes, yes please.
Dazza Greenwood: Okay, so I think they’re —
Jared Correia: Do you need any props?
Dazza Greenwood: I’m going to give props, like mad props.
Jared Correia: We didn’t plan that, well played.
Dazza Greenwood: Your Honor, thank you and let the record reflect, Your Honor, like that quip. And so the —
I mentioned Legal Hackers, I think that they’re a great example and I think today although I — because of the format of the show, there’s legal grievances so I’m playing along.
Jared Correia: All right.
Dazza Greenwood: What I see is mostly good actually, it’s mostly dire or problematic or obstacles, I’m seeing a lot of light, and lot of lights are turning on, like your company and what you’re doing is a great example of what’s happening.
Jared Correia: Oh, thank you, sir. You are too kind.
Dazza Greenwood: I think Legal Hackers is a great bottom up.
Jared Correia: Your check is in the mail.
Dazza Greenwood: Thank you. You can check, come on.
Jared Correia: Venmo, we will Venmo you, I know, I’m not following the threat of conversation.
Dazza Greenwood: I do accept anyway.
Jared Correia: No, but I think there’s like a groundswell of positivity, I think you’re right.
Dazza Greenwood: Legal Hackers is a great example of a group, legalhackers.org is where you can find out about that and you find out about your local communities law schools, so what’s happening right here at Suffolk and I’m a proud alum of Suffolk with the Legal Innovation and Technology Lab is a great example. I think Stanford CodeX is another great example.
So there’s some law schools where the lights are coming on and now we come finally to the one that I can speak to you more directly which is even in engineering and technology schools like MIT, the lights are coming on and so the main show I would like to say for our dear listeners and podcast land back on December 6th which is in our future —
Jared Correia: This is getting pretty meta.
Dazza Greenwood: — there will be a launch of the MIT computational law report, where we’re going to try to — where we are compiling some of the best examples we think of computational legal systems and processes and legal instruments, data-driven contracts.
Jared Correia: Oh, that’s awesome.
Dazza Greenwood: And rules and prototypes and examples, good articles, datasets you can play with and putting that out there.
Jared Correia: Did you just give us a scoop? Thank you.
Dazza Greenwood: You’ve got the scoop. I mean, you’re doing the show, you deserve the scoop.
Jared Correia: Thank you sir. Now that sounds really great though, that’s launching on December 6.
Dazza Greenwood: December 6, this one we go — it’s a soft launch, we’re going to go from private to public but that’s when you go to the site, you can see everything but we are still private.
Jared Correia: Oh, that’s really cool.
Dazza Greenwood: And we really want to just explore the ways that law and legal processes can be re-imagined and re-engineered as computational systems.
Jared Correia: And so what’s this site, is it just like the MIT Media Lab site or is there’s a specific URL?
Dazza Greenwood: .mit.edu.
Jared Correia: I like how there’s a song. Did you write that?
Dazza Greenwood: On the fly.
Jared Correia: That’s pretty good. This is great. Do you have anything else that you want to add?
Dazza Greenwood: I just want to say I think we ought to make this an annual festivus tradition.
Jared Correia: Yes, and next time I’m going to bring a Festivus pole. I don’t know if I mentioned it, I tried to find a Festivus pole at Wal-Mart. I was like, do you have a Festivus pole? They said, no.
Dazza Greenwood: There was some pole that David was —
Jared Correia: I believe that’s a stick. I’ll do better, I’ll do better next year. Well, thank you. So do you want to again say who you are, your affiliation, and then like let’s pimp this computation law thing again? Pimp it strong, but yes, let’s do it.
Dazza Greenwood: Dazza Greenwood and MIT Computational Law Report, where I hope one day we can collaborate more directly on the podcast tip with your show.
Jared Correia: We should.
Dazza Greenwood: I can be found at law.mit.edu.
Jared Correia: All right, everybody check that out, listen to the theme song, it’s beautiful. Thank you sir. You’re free to go.
Dazza Greenwood: Thank you. Your Honor.
Jared Correia: All right, we’re done. You know what, give yourselves a round of applause, clap for yourselves, you did a great job.
All right, we’ve reached the end of another episode of The Legal Toolkit podcast. This was a podcast about Law Festivus and we’ve been talking to a great group of people here live in Boston, Massachusetts.
Now, I’ll be back on future shows with further insights into My Soul, the Soul of America and the Legal Market.
If you’re feeling nostalgic from my dulcet tones; however, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at legaltalknetwork.com.
Thanks to all my various guests today. Finally, thanks to you all out there for listening. This has been The Legal Toolkit podcast where we do Festivus right.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.
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The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
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