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
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The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week
Making Your Law Firm a Purple Cow: I've followed Seth Godin's blog for years, which is a regular source of inspiration. He has a unique ability to make communication and marketing seem simple. He's also really interested in law, and has done a fair amount of work specifically in the context of personal injury law firms. His lessons go way past a single practice area, and this interview with Chris Dreyer (Personal Injury Marketing Mastermind) is worth listening to. It focuses on what makes a law firm remarkable and how to draw positive attention that generates business.
New Book on Positioning Legal Orgs: I'm really on a marketing kick this week, I guess, but this is worth sharing. Patrick McKenna has a terrific new book, Industry Specialization: Making Competitors Irrelevant that is available for free at Legal Business World. There are two things I especially liked about it: first, he's been helping law firms become more effective and efficient for a long while, and he shares several anecdotes in the book that support his theories. Second, it's actionable: there are concrete steps that anyone can take once they've read it. Plus, the price is right! Relatedly, the entire issue of Legal Business World is terrific (and free) and worth a download here (pdf).
The Birth of the Contracts Automation Professional: Richard Tromans, of Artificial Lawyer fame, asks some interesting questions here. In short, he plants the seed that having people devoted to contract automation is a speciality separate from existing legal ops roles, and successful orgs might consider naming the right person to oversee this specific function. Per Richard, this idea has been championed by the CEO of contract lifecycle managment company Agiloft, and the article makes a compelling argument for it.
ABA's 2022 Legal Rebels: in a time when fresh and bold ideas are needed more than ever, the ABA couldn't have selected more talented people than this year's crop of Legal Rebels. They include a lawyer who spearheaded the creation of an online community that changed the way appellate lawyers practice; a duo who created software to help overburdened criminal defense attorneys transcribe videos; and a family lawyer who created a platform to streamline the divorce process.
Academic Legal Tech Efforts: this week's episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast has a solid update of the state of affairs for legal tech labs within law schools. Dennis Kennedy (the Kennedy in Kennedy-Mighell) runs Michigan State's excellent legal tech program, and does a nice job of mapping the growth and trajectory of these efforts. It was a good discussion and hopefully will encourage schools without a legal tech program to consider creating one.
How Candies Got Their Names: did you know Snickers was named after a horse, and Starburst was originally called Opal Fruit? I do. I know because I spent far too long looking at this chart (source: this Reddit post), which is really fun. It'll be useful if you're hosting a bar trivia contest, or aspire to become your crowd's Cliff Clavin (speaking of Cliff Clavin, the long-form version fo the Cheers theme song is a lot darker than the 20 second clip on the show. Listen here for references to extreme poverty, animal abuse, medical malpractice, failing relationships, and more!).
It's free, but it's not cheap