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Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #103

Updated: Sep 22

By Gabe Teninbaum


My name is Gabe Teninbaum (on Twitter at @GTeninbaum).  I'm a professor, as well as the Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education, at Suffolk Law in Boston. I'm also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project.  My work focuses on legal innovation, technology, and the changing business of law. Every day, I digest tons of content on these topics. The goal of this newsletter is to curate the most interesting, valuable, and thought-provoking of these ideas and share them with you. 


If you like reading it, please subscribe. You're also invited to forward this to others who you think would benefit. Likewise, please email mewith feedback, ideas, and tips so I can deliver what's most valuable to you.

The Appetizer: Sponsors

  • Law students: Do you want to get good grades in your classes and pass the bar exam? DO YOU? If you care at all about your future, sign up for SpacedRepetition.com. This is a tool to help law students & bar preppers learn more using cutting-edge science.  Called the single most effective technique to learn by the American Psychological Association. Named one of the world's Top 20 Legal IT Innovations by ALM.

The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week​

  • Stenography Meets Pandemic (& a startup is born):  the quaint requirement of having a stenographer sit in a conference room with lawyers and deponents to generate real-time transcripts got exponentially more complex with the COVID-19 pandemic.  For that reason, I was interested to read this LawSitesBlog post on Steno, a startup that plans to modernize this process.  The proof will be in the pudding, but it sounds neat: fully remote, web-based, secure, crisp-sounding interface.  Plus, $3.5m of VC money raised to build it.  I'm especially interested in companies and people who have modified the way they work as a result of the pandemic, but also have the potential to influence how we work once this crisis ends.  Steno seems representative of that opportunity.

  • Data Privacy's Role in Advancing Legal Tech: This is an interesting podcast conversation between Dan Rodriguez (law professor, former dean, and all-around legal tech guru), and Markus Hartung, a German lawyer with expertise in law firm strategy, legal tech, and global legal services.  Among other assertions, Hartung explains why he believes the impact of artificial intelligence is wholly overstated (I won't tell him that an AI-powered algorithm recommended I check out this episode and accurately predicted I'd learn something from it).

  • Udemy Course on Documate: there's now an online course to teach people to use the excellent legal document assembly tool, Documate.  I have no affiliation with the course or Documate, but I was struck because I like the idea of democratizing access to useful tools...and one way to do that is to have clear, detailed, trainings available to anyone who wants to become a power user.  I've always wondered why more vendors don't create detailed video-based tutorials on youtube so users can master their products (a notable exception here is Community.Lawyer - their documentation is terrific, detailed, and easy for people without tech chops to follow). Let's hope more companies and educators post this sort of content.

  • Filling Your Dance Card: the academic year is in full-swing, and that means that lots of good online talks and conferences.  A few noteworthy events in the coming days: Northwestern is holding the first of their monthly Law & Technology Initiative events on Thursday 9/17 at 1pm EST, entitled "Legal Prediction: Possibilities and Pitfalls" (free registration here); also on Thurs. 9/17 from noon-1:30 ET, Yale is hosting a Constitution Day event featuring the godfather of the Yale Information Society Project, Prof. Jack Balkin (free registration here) (set up multiple monitors and watch them both at the same time!). Finally, on Monday, 9/28, from 5:30-6:30 EST, Harvard Law is hosting "Some Good News in the Legal Profession: An Early Evening with the Center on the Legal Profession" (free registration here).  

  • Untimely Passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants: as the leader of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, he was known as a thoughtful, rational, and humane jurist. He was also a leader in the Access to Justice movement, a court reformer focused on rooting out racial bias in the system, and a champion of attorney well-being. I was lucky enough to appear before him when he was a Superior Court judge, and also lucky enough to be one of his hosts when he was keynote speaker at a legal tech event at Suffolk Law.  Of the several remembrances that have been published, this Boston Globe article stands out, as does this piece from Commonwealth Magazine. He will be missed.

Lagniappe

  • Tiny World: if you enjoyed the TV series Planet Earth, you'll want to see this.  Tiny World explores, well, all the tiny things living in nature around us.  Check out the trailer.  Also, since Paul Rudd is Tiny World's narrator, here's an added bonus: give a look at his "wear a mask" PSA.

*** If you enjoy this newsletter and know others who might also like it, please forward it to them.  It's free to subscribe, so the more, the merrier.


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