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Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #132

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

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

  • 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​

  • What does a user-friendly eviction summons look like? One of the most interesting intersections between disciplines is the one between law and design. Here, the Stanford Legal Design Lab team shows a before-and-after of how an eviction summons would like if it were actually to be designed to be clear and understandable to its recipients. Imagine if all forms got this treatment before being foisted on the public?

  • Making the Business Case: this is an excellent blog post by D. Casey Flaherty on the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog explaining why an indispensable skill for corporate lawyers is the art of making the business case. I especially liked the references to the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown which urges readers to focus on doing less (and being far more committed to those few things they do).

  • Legal Tech Career Guide: the team at Lawtomated (no relationship!) has launched an 8-part career guide series, where they've covered routes into legaltech, legal ops and innovation roles, and the activities commonly undertaken in such roles. They even provide detailed summaries of the types of roles, what they are paid, who they work with and what they might progress into. Really valuable stuff.

  • ​Legal Tech Exec Calls for a 4 Day Legal Workweek: at some point, if you keep building more efficient tools, you either (a) have capacity to do more work since things take less time to complete, or (b) just go home earlier since you've done your work. Catherine Choe, Head of Legal Operations at the eDiscovery company, Everlaw, prefers option (b). She has called for the legal sector to adopt a four-day week, Artifical Lawyer reports. I honestly don't know if this pie-in-the-sky, but on some level, there has to be an ultimate payoff for using more efficient tools and methods, so it's worth thinking about.

  • Can lawyers invest in alternative business structures? OK, a little level-setting - traditionally, law firms can only be owned by lawyers because ethical rules prevent lawyers from sharing fees with those who are not lawyers. Some states (Arizona and Utah) are now experimenting with different models, where people other than licensed attorneys can share in these fees. Part of the theory is that "alternative business structures" (ABS) will bring new energy, efficiency, and investment into law that will ultimately better serve clients. And who better to spot good investment opportunities in new ABS than...licensed attorneys. So an outstanding question is: can they do it? Can licensed lawyers in states other than AZ and UT passively invest in an ABS in AZ or UT? The ABA has now addressed this issue and the answer is a qualified "yes." Is this eggheaded? Yes. Is it important? Also yes. Read this excellent summary/analysis on Law Sites Blog to understand it.

  • How Do They Make Time Lapse Mushroom Videos? This is a fascinating little documentary about how time lapse videos showing the growth of mushrooms are made. I haven't seen (or even heard of) Fantastic Fungi - which is what the film is being created for - before seeing this explainer, but I can't wait to see it now.

It was a long time away, and I'm glad to be back with weekly updates on all things legal innovation/tech! If you have ideas, leads, comments, or feedback, drop me a note. If you want to advertise, drop me a note. If you have friends who you think would benefit from this newsletter, please forward it to them and ask them to subscribe. Thanks!

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