Joe and Chris discuss the latest nonsensical efforts to derail Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination and ask the audience to guess which baseless attack comes next. They also breakdown the happenings between ABA TECHSHOW and Legalweek 2022, which marked Chris’s first foray into the wild world of legal technology. And Joe has a nasty non-COVID cold that he caught at these shows so don’t let that throw you off.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Posh Virtual Receptionists, LLC.
Joe Patrice: Hello. Welcome to the edition.
Chris Williams: Hello.
Joe Patrice: Oh, no. I really thought that I was going to get away with that. Welcome to another edition of Thinking Like a Lawyer. I’m Joe Patrice from Above the Law. I’m joined by Chris Williams. Kathryn Rubino is off today because she has no voice as it turns out.
Chris Williams: I’m pretty sure there are some legislators in Texas were okay with that, but we are carrying her with us in spirit. She’s fine. She’s just a little sick so that’s why the interruption happened.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I guess, we can talk a little about that, and we’ll get into a more about that. That’s the cue for some small talk. Yeah, so she can talk. You had a little scratch in your throat, too, right?
Chris Williams: Right.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I also have a nasty cough. COVID test say that we’re fine. It appears as though something that I didn’t realize. When you go hang out with a lot of people, you can get sick and it not be COVID. I forgot that we had other diseases.
Chris Williams: What? They exist? I thought it was just COVID and pneumonia.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah. I thought I did, too. But apparently, you can get like actual sick without that especially when you go to a couple of conferences in a row without masks.
Chris Williams: Mind-blowing.
Joe Patrice: Who knew?
Chris Williams: I did get some good swag, though.
Joe Patrice: Oh, you did? That’s going to be one of our main topics. So, let’s hold our fire on what we did as far as the tech shows that we’ve gone to. Let’s instead talk about what do you do when you finally got off the tech show, the floor though and got to have a weekend.
Chris Williams: Well, I definitely admire my swag. But since apparently, we’re going to talk about at a different time.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: I couch-surf a bit. So, the conference legal week was in New York. I went to Undergrad in Newark. So, I had some friends and professors there. So, I kind of cross the bridge and hung out with some friends and played a lot of Ellen Ring.
Joe Patrice: Oh, yeah. How is that?
Chris Williams: It is horrible, bad. I’m 65 hours deep. I don’t know the plot of the game.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Chris Williams: But I’m okay with that. And anybody who’s played Bloodborne, Dark Souls 1, 2, or 3, you know what it is. It’s like you play this game as some strange form of penance because you just get hurt repeatedly. And you don’t know what’s going on. But like I said, I’m 65 hours deep and I’m going to figure out what was happening. Bold words because I still don’t know what happened in Dark Souls 1, 2 and 3 and I beat all three of those.
Joe Patrice: Amazing.
Chris Williams: But it’s a good time.
Joe Patrice: Elie Mystal has been playing it. I’ve been in side chats with him about it. It’s not really my –
Chris Williams: I’m sorry.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: I’m sorry to hear that. I think that being a member of the Dark Souls community and playing Dark Souls is like being a heavy smoker and like when you see somebody starting to smoke, it’s like don’t do that. But then, you just talked to smokers and you’re like, yeah, can I bum a sick? It’s one of those things. When you’re in it, you’re in it.
Joe Patrice: Well, okay. Yeah. So, I didn’t do that. I went out to West Virginia for a debate tournament that I was helping to run. A lot of folks asked after you actually while we were there.
Chris Williams: Really?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Well, I mean people were asking, they’d seen the announcement that you were working with us now and asked how’d you been.
Chris Williams: Oh, that’s nice. That’s cool.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So, a lot of folks asked.
Chris Williams: I don’t know why, but I can’t shape the suspicion that once I leave a room, I’m immediately forgotten. So, it’s always nice to hear if you remember me like “I don’t know that name.”
Joe Patrice: While your fashion sense is not near where mine is, you’re still memorable.
Chris Williams: Right. There’s a far gap between exceptional and acceptable.
Joe Patrice: Right. I mean, —
Chris Williams: We know what’s room you inhabit.
Joe Patrice: I saw that you did for legal week where one of those jackets that I was able to find you. So, you knew how to pick a good.
Chris Williams: And I did not know that you were a Green Day fan. But after seeing those Converses, I now have no doubt.
Joe Patrice: Oh, Converse is a great. Well, and I was a child of that era. So, yeah.
Chris Williams: Like I said, you know?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. That works. All right. Fine.
Chris Williams: We’ve both learning so much.
Joe Patrice: And learning is half the battle, which the other half is split between red lasers and blue blazers. Anyway, fine. You know what? Let’s soldier forward and talk about some of our topics today with the conclusion of small talk, let’s talk you had –
Chris Williams: That is loud.
Joe Patrice: I mean, we can deal with it in post. Listen, you had the absolutely bonkers story traffic-wise last week. Let’s talk through that.
Chris Williams: Yes. So, racists be racing. That’s the short and long of it. So, I think this one it was Ketanji Brown Jackson back again in the spotlight and controversy despite not even having touched the Supreme Court seat that she will hopefully be inhabiting soon.
And what story was this? There were a couple. I this one —
Joe Patrice: The pre-emptive strike one where you said, we’re previewing the upcoming.
Chris Williams: That was fun.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Chris Williams: So, at the end of it, I sent the invitation to the wonderful readers and, hopefully, some of the listeners on the show to saying, “What do you think the next goofy thing is that’s going to be used to discredit her road to greatness?” And I got a series of funny emails. One of them being there’s going to be an aerial photo of her locks and you’re going to find out that her scalp spells the word woke in it. That was so good. There was another one that I’ll be like, “Oh, her husband was involved with –” I think it was like involved with litigation or Ted comments that were in relation to Black Lives Matter. And then, at the end, they were like, “Oh, wait, he’s white?” Which was sad news to me because I didn’t know that Supreme Justice Jackson was married. In my heart, I was hoping I had a chance.
Joe Patrice: She’s like Paul Ryan sister-in-law.
Chris Williams: I don’t know what these words mean.
Joe Patrice: Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House who was the vice-president nominee with Romney.
Chris Williams: I repeat. I’m okay with, you know.
Joe Patrice: My recollection is that Ryan’s wife is the sister of Judge Jackson’s husband. I think it’s something like that where they’re in-laws, but not like the first step in laws, whatever.
Chris Williams: I hope I’m never so deep in the legal baseball that you live in that I can play the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Six Degrees, is it? I respect it.
Joe Patrice: Your job is to get this deep with Six Degrees of this.
Chris Williams: I know that and it terrifies me because I like having weekends, and I just know that if and when I get to this level because the connections I’m already making her like, “Oh, this person, this person. Here’s a firm.” I’m at the point where I’m starting to determine that firms actually have like characteristics and personas.
Joe Patrice: Absolutely.
Chris Williams: Which a couple months ago was like, “Oh, they are just paid bookoo money.” Like, what’s the difference?
Joe Patrice: In a lot of ways, it’s like we’ve been talking in our small talks. I don’t think I need to play the sound effect. I think people remember that.
Chris Williams: Thank God.
Joe Patrice: But we’ve been talking in our small talks for a while about video games. I mean, the various firms are like various guilds. They do have different characters. They’re doing the same thing. They’re going on the same parties together, but they have differences. A lot of that’s driven by personality, the people who are in charge, but that’s a self-reinforcing situation since the existing partnership invites the new partners. And so, it just creates a culture that takes on a life of its own. I worked at places and there were other firms that if I heard their name and a job offer, I would have said, “Yeah, that’s just not me. I’m not going to work at Jones Day”. Other people do and, good for them. Not really. That’s not fair. They’re definitely some good people at Jones Day as we know.
Chris Williams: The ones who lateral out?
Joe Patrice: Well, true. And if you’re trying to escape there, let me know. But it’s also true that there are several people there because of their Supreme Court practice and how aggressive they are about building that. There are a lot of folks there who are — they bring in in order to capture nonpartisan work for the Supreme Court. So, there are former Ginsburg clerks and so on working at Jones Day. But I mean the overarching philosophy of that firm is much more heavy right wing then I certainly would be comfortable working at.
Chris Williams: So, what you’re saying is at some point, we’re going to do an article that does a horoscope or like which are signed both firms that we want to call, right? That’s what happened now.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think that’s a great one. We’ve done these sorts of things before, but I don’t think we’ve ever done it that way. So yeah, let’s create our next video game collaboration over what law firms are.
Chris Williams: I’m with it, cool.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. All right. So, does that exhaust our — I mean, I guess we’re still moving forward slowly with this nomination process honestly.
Chris Williams: Listen. My thoughts on this are like just so it’s clear. One of the things that comes out to be good content just like some — making the sauce of material for working at ATL is when firms release the salary matches like, okay, we can knock out another article. I know that my weeks moving forward will be made easier with the amount of racist BS that comes to people.
I’m just waiting. The wildest thing is we haven’t even done like a confirmation hearing. None of this is about things she said. All the stuff that’s been happening so far are all brouhaha which is a fun word to say, had just been based off of the criterion Biden used to pick the next person and basically her name. Like that’s all that’s been out, it’s all that’s been out. So as soon as there’s like a video of her speaking.
Joe Patrice: She did give the acceptance speech in that press conference with Biden but yeah, obviously the hearings are going to be an issue. A lot of the speculation — I’ve been talking with Ellie about this a little bit too, a lot of the speculation is that the hearings themselves maybe anti-climactic largely because the adults in the room in the Republican Party who tend to run those sorts of senate hearings feel as though this isn’t worth giving the fight over because there is no credible way to pretend that she is not qualified and that all the pressure and all these weird attacks are coming from the auxiliary, your Tucker Carlson’s of the world and so on and they’re trying to whip people up, but that the actual elected officials are more or less going to make this a non-moment. That said, I mean Lindsey Graham has already said — Lindsey Graham who voted for her less than a year ago or just over a year ago I guess has now said that she’s dangerously woke or something. So, who knows? Maybe it will be contentious, but —
Chris Williams: We’ll see. As soon as she says something that’s controversial as trans people deserve to have basic human decency acted upon them or that slavery might be bad, there’s going to be such whitelash, which is horrible if that’s the fact of how race is playing out in the U.S., but easy articles to write. You take the good with the bad.
Joe Patrice: Well, no, that’s the thing you’re going to realize about this job. A lot of times when things that you wish weren’t happening like controversial Supreme Court nominations or layoffs which will hopefully not happen but have happened in the past, when those sorts of stories start happening, it is obviously a lot of work for us and we love to work, so that’s nice. But you feel bad that you’re working on something that’s so problematic. It’s ringing. We don’t have time to take that because we’re doing the show. We should find some way of dealing with it. So, why don’t we hear from our friends at Posh?
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Joe Patrice: All right, we’re back. So, we have been at a tech show. So, I of course had been at the ABA TECHSHOW a couple of weeks ago. So, you’ve heard a little bit about that from us already. But since then, we had a show closer to home, the Legal Week Show that the folks at AOM put on in New York City and because it was so close to home, I was joined by my podcast hosts, the co-hosts. So, Chris, you were there. Kathryn was as well. Wish we could hear from her, but you know —
Chris Williams: She says (00:13:46).
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah. So, this was your first tech show, legal tech show, so what did you see?
Chris Williams: Well, before all that, it’s my first — I mean, I’ve seen you. You’re cool, whatever. But it was my first-time seeing Kathryn in like a decade.
Joe Patrice: Oh, that’s true. Yeah.
Chris Williams: Yeah. So first off, it’s nice to see Kathryn that’s not at the bait tournament or like in the Zoom screen.
Joe Patrice: Right.
Chris Williams: And also stick aside, generally, good to see you too Joe.
Joe Patrice: Fair enough.
Chris Williams: I have a heart and on occasion. It was cool to go to the tech show because I knew literally nothing about what was going on and I always liked those opportunities to experience new jargon sets like this listening to like say doctors talk about malpractice or say bakers talk about making torts. It’s like I know a couple of these words, but they’re being used in radically different ways. I was just going to nod my head and smile until I catch up with the game. So, I heard a bunch about people giving revolutionary, inspiring, game-changing, client-based doodads and I was like okay, cool, nice. What’s the swag? I walked away with a couple pairs of socks.
Joe Patrice: Nice.
Chris Williams: A multi-pronged charger that sticks it to an outlet that can charge like an iPhone USB like universal cord which I used at least like four times since. And the best thing and here’s where I would put a drum roll if I had access to the soundboard.
Joe Patrice: You want access to a drum roll?
Chris Williams: Good that you have that. Drum roll a bit long. Anyway, one of the vendors had a magic wand.
Joe Patrice: Sure did.
Chris Williams: Because Kathryn is like we bring the magic to your firm, something that was like very cheesy but done well considering that they incorporated the swagger to it and they were like seven options. I can get a Dumbledore, I could get respective wands, of course. I could get a Dumbledore wand. I can get a Severus Snape wand. I can get a serious black wand, which I considered seriously. But I decided to get the Luna Lovegood wand.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Chris Williams: I feel like if you get that Harry – like, come on, that’s like the blue jeans and if you get a slither in, you’re basically like, you know what slavery isn’t that bad — the main thing I think about is like when I think about Dabi in the book, they were slave. Anyway, that would have been a speaking in tongues Joe, would have been appropriate. But the wand I got was great.
Joe Patrice: That’s from ECFX, who had that.
Chris Williams: Yes. And this is assigned to all future law and tech firms. When you have good swag, you get remembered.
Joe Patrice: Oh yeah, the folks at ECFX, they run like an electric court filing system. So, that’s what their business is. But yeah, they had wands. I saw them. I actually chatted with them for a little bit myself. It was interesting. I didn’t see as much of the swag level of the show because I was being run fairly ragged with meetings with vendors all over the place. But it was nice to reconnect with a lot of vendors. I met a few new ones but most of the folks I talked to were people I talked to in the past. My strategy at these sessions is usually what did you do over your summer vacation question, where I’m like what happened since the last time we all got an update on your company and what you’re working on and your client base, your new updates, et cetera. But this time, my question was more like what have you done in the last two years? So, it was a much deeper conversation with a lot of these vendors, some very interesting stuff. Everyone seemed very happy to be together again and it probably is why I now have this cold that you’re hearing.
Chris Williams: It may have been at debate tournament.
Joe Patrice: No. It started once I got to the tournament. So, I must have gotten it beforehand. But no, it’s good. Now, you mentioned this like learning a new buzzword set. So, did anything stick out to you that you just kept hearing and you’re like what in the hell is that?
Chris Williams: I feel like I was pretty much able to get things together through context. I mean, I was a paralegal for a year and I worked with Relativity which is a software.
Joe Patrice: Oh yeah, of course, the big ones there.
Chris Williams: Relatively familiar with Relativity. So, LexisNexis is there. I know them from law school or some associations used to that.
Joe Patrice: We will be talking more about this over the coming weeks because they haven’t released their big new thing yet, but LexisNexis has some very exciting stuff coming. So, you’ll go be hearing more about that.
Chris Williams: So, one thing I will say is the thing that stuck out to me wasn’t so much the incomprehensibly of the jargon, because I pieced together after a while. The thing that I found interesting and this goes back to the firm discussion earlier was that apparently the conferences have characteristics about them. Apparently, this legal week conference used to be known as the eDiscovery conference.
Joe Patrice: Totally.
Chris Williams: And apparently is not that anymore. So, I was like, oh what it is like when the nature of a conference changes. I wonder if there are people who thought this would be more eDiscovery focused then when they got there, it was like this is not what I’m expecting. This is not what I had thought and like I’m wondering how that trajectory had happened, like how much it was COVID related and how much of it was changes and just tech feel generally.
Joe Patrice: I feel with legal week, the change began largely because the eDiscovery world itself started to change. You started seeing this — well first of all, a lot of consolidation. We started seeing companies buying each other and then there were fewer players. You started seeing some maturity in the field of eDiscovery where people started getting it and like, oh, I know what Relativity is, that sort of thing starts happening. And then another aspect of it is the data just started getting way, way too big. When I started as a lawyer, I physically flipped through documents, then things went online and you’d flip through those and then so much went online you’d start hiring contract attorneys to look at them for you. Then you would hire — these various AOSPs started coming out that would outsource that sometimes to other countries to look at everything to lawyers over there because it was just so much.
And now it’s reached to the point where the amount of electronic data is so much that you almost can even do that. And that’s where the various algorithms come in and people are building their fun, new artificial intelligence and machine learning to take all the documents and work out with degrees of confidence that relevant stuff is in this narrow band, et cetera. And when that started happening, it became cool but it also, some of the eDiscovery ecosphere of which there’s bunches of parts, that big part that was outsourcing ceased to be as big a deal because people were moving towards the AI solution and so on. I also think that cybersecurity became a bigger deal.
Chris Williams: Yeah, that was – which was magnified by the whole geopolitical events going on.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. You were chatting with a guy early on in the show. I know you were talking to that guy about his business, that first day when we showed up. We were sitting down at the bar and he was talking about his cybersecurity work. I don’t know if you remember much about that. He is a big take away and I think it’s what you were hinting at. His big takeaway was that after years of saying to firms you need to beef up on this and firm saying, that seems like too much. Right now, he’s seeing a boom of firms calling and going, well, wait a minute, looks like we’re about to be on the wrong end of a massive cyber assault. So, good for them that — it’s sad that it had reached to this point, but good for firms for starting to realize that they are the soft underbelly of the U.S. cyber infrastructure.
Chris Williams: Yeah. It feels like discovering — wait, the third amendment is relevant?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. There’s so many problems on the cybersecurity front with law firms. Part of it is that law firms don’t quite see the problem but also, you go to them and say — man, this is a conversation I had with another legal, yeah, a cybersecurity company, but like, you go to them and say, here’s what it takes and you cite them a number and they say, why would we spend that much on something that hasn’t happened yet? And the answer is because once it happens, you can’t undo it.
And it’s even worse than that. One of the points that this particular guy made to me was even if you do it now, it may be too late. Oftentimes the way these hacking operations works is they work their way into your system months and months in advance and just sit on it and wait until they want to do something to you. So, get yourself protected early is the takeaway of that.
Obviously, there’s also transactional work and some of these vendors were doing that, obviously, eDiscovery still is the overarching theme of the show, but there were definitely folks there who were doing other things. We saw some cool briefing software. We were talking with Ross about what he’s been working on and that’s cool. We’ll have an article on that here soon, but some cool systems to help you write your briefs more effectively. What else? Anything that you saw? Pretty much what I sang out with.
Chris Williams: This might be more small talking but it was also my first —
Joe Patrice: Hold on. Let me get the —
Chris Williams: Oh, God. You bastard. No. It’s implied. It’s implied.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Chris Williams: You’re going to do it anyway. It was my first legal conference with — damn it, I’m team Kathryn(ph), I fucking hate that. Horrible. So, it was my first dry legal conference.
Joe Patrice: Oh, right, right, right.
Chris Williams: Yeah. It wasn’t — for most of the —
Joe Patrice: Oh, it was your first conference. Your first legal conference, period. You also
chose to go without drinking?
Chris Williams: Yes, which may have made things less fun. I could imagine drunken Chris with magic wand would have been a good time, but it was still good. I got my first share of Coca-Cola, very, very zesty(ph), stings the nostrils. But yeah, that was the nice little side bit.
Joe Patrice: Yes. No, of course. It was a lot of fun. I saw some cool parties reconnected with some fun folks, got kicked out of a party in the rainbow room. All sort of stuff. So, it’s not that I really do anything. But whatever, we can leave that mysterious. So, I think that more or less sums up everything that happened there. Again, stay tune. We will be having stories about this for — I don’t know, the foreseeable future. My notebook is huge and it’s going to take a while just to process all of these stories and keep them coming.
And with that said, let’s begin our Outro which is that you should be subscribed to the show so they get new episodes when they come out. You should be giving reviews, stars, write something that level of engagement shows that people are listening and algorithms like that. You should be reading Above the Law so you hear these and other stories. Well, not hear, read these and other stories before hear about maybe. Anyway, whatever. You get these stories before they necessarily are here. You should be following us on social media. He’s Rights for Rent. I’m at Joseph Patrice. You should be listening to — I’m a panelist on the legal tech week journalist roundtable. You should also check out the other shows on the Legal Talk Network. Kathryn also has a show called The Jabot, but she didn’t bother to show up today so we don’t need to mention it. And with all of that, thanks to Posh for sponsoring and I think that’s the end of the show and we’ll let you get back to your day.
Chris Williams: Have a good one.
Outro: 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 or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.