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 me with feedback, ideas, and tips so I can deliver what's most valuable to you.
The Appetizer: Sponsors
SpacedRepetition.com 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. More than 17,000 users spread across every law school in the U.S.
The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week
The Fate of Mid-Sized Firms Post Pandemic: Niki Black breaks down the Thomson Reuters Institute 2021 Report on the State of the Midsize Legal Market, and explains how Covid-19 has impacted, and will continue to impact mid-sized firms. The short answer is: law firms leaders learned that a willingness to adopt new technologies into their firms was a requirement for survival. Those that invested are, and will continue to be, in good shape. Those that didn't invest? It's less certain.
LegalTechJobs.com: I saw a post on the r/legaltech subreddit this week (which I happen to moderate - free to join, so come on over) that there's a new job board just for legal tech...the aptly named legaltechjobs.com. It has over 200 roles currently listed, many of which look terrific. I've been long-frustrated about the lack of unified search spot for legal tech gigs, and I hope this grows to fit the bill.
Blueprints for Justice Presentation on 5/20 at 1pm ET: As courts are grappling with designing hybrid court houses that include remote proceedings and virtual services, 8 MIT students who are part of the MIT/Stanford Legal Design Lab have created proposals and guidelines for the best ways to go about it. If you'd like to see them unveil their ideas, register through this link.
How to Teach Tech in Law Schools: April Dawson, who is an associate dean and professor at North Carolina Central University Law School, is a legal innovation dynamo. I was ecstatic to hear her interviewed on the Law Next Podcast, and learned a lot from her ideas about the best ways to spread ideas about tech to students. While this was nominally aimed at law students, a lot of the ideas about training would apply to law firms and other non law school training grounds.
Allen & Overy Legal Tech Incubator Expands: there are now a handful of firms that have their own incubators, but A&O, which just announced a new crop of companies joining in both the legal tech and fin tech spaces, does something especially cool with it. The stated goal of the innovation hub at the nearly 3,000-lawyer law firm is to form a space where A&O lawyers, clients and companies in the cohort can collaborate and test out solutions. In other words, the goal isn't just to support new companies as they launch, but instead to connect their clients with the companies that might serve them in the future. This gives the companies a great testing grounds, A&O feedback on what to support, and the clients get the benefit of new tools being developed around their needs.
A Fungus Among Us: I've got to be honest, I don't know if I have it in me to read a 300+ page natural history of fungi....BUT, the London Review of Books just posted an essay on Merlin Sheldrake's (what a name!) book Entangled Life, and it sounds absolutely fascinating. Take, for example, this passage in the LRB summarizing the proficiency of fungi at problem-solving:
Fungi are used to searching out food by exploring complex three-dimensional environments such as soil, so maybe it’s no surprise that fungal mycelium solves maze puzzles so accurately. It is also very good at finding the most economical route between points of interest. The mycologist Lynne Boddy once made a scale model of Britain out of soil, placing blocks of fungus-colonised wood at the points of the major cities; the blocks were sized proportionately to the places they represented. Mycelial networks quickly grew between the blocks: the web they created reproduced the pattern of the UK’s motorways (‘You could see the M5, M4, M1, M6’). Other researchers have set slime mould loose on tiny scale-models of Tokyo with food placed at the major hubs (in a single day they reproduced the form of the subway system) and on maps of Ikea (they found the exit, more efficiently than the scientists who set the task). Slime moulds are so good at this kind of puzzle that researchers are now using them to plan urban transport networks and fire-escape routes for large buildings.
Is that a Summer Breeze I Feel?
Well, friends, it's time to say goodbye for the summer. It's commencement for the students this weekend, and that means it's rumspringa for me. I'll spend the summer working on a number of terrific projects, writing, and reading. Then, I'll be back, with lots to share. Please feel free to email me if you'd like to chat or if I can lend a hand in any way.