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.
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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
How to Make Legal Writing Easier to Follow: Legal documents are notoriously difficult for people without legal training to understand. A new study from MIT cognitive scientists has determined just why these documents are often so impenetrable. They found that it was poor writing, not specialized concepts, causing it. Here's a write-up from MIT about the project, and the report, as published, here (ok, now someone write something on why it's so hard for laypeople to understand what scientists say in their writing!).
LegalTech in the Ukraine: Ukraine has long been a hotbed of legal tech activity, from a very active Kyiv Legal Hackers chapter, to dozens of dev teams providing support to local and overseas companies using their services. This article by Victoria Hudgins chronicles the challenging day-to-day lives of Ukranian legal techies who are doing their best to continue to support their companies while protecting their country.
What Does 2022 Have In Store For Blockchain? Like Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football, every year, I think *this* might be the year blockchain really makes itself felt in the legal industry. Then, like with Charlie Brown, the Lucy of reality pulls it away at the last moment. Here, Olga Mack lays out what appears to be at the precipice of reality for blockchain, crypto assets, and DeFi for the coming year. I'm convinced! Now let's see what happens.
Automators Podcast Interview: one of my favorite, and most nerdy, podcast listens is "The Automators," which is a podcast that gets into the nitty gritty of various computer automations that improve productivity. One of the hosts, David Sparks, is a lawyer by trade, so there is always relevant content for the legal industry...and doubly so this week, when the guest was Jeff Richardson, another attorney who also runs the terrific website, iPhoneJD. Worth a listen (and iPhoneJD is worth seeing too).
SALI Releases New Standards: some really smart people at SALI - Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry - have been working hard for a very long time to create a taxonomy of legal work that allows someone completing a task to identity the specific thing they're doing with precision and assign a standardized code to it. Like with medical billing, having specific codes improves transparency because it gives clients, and others, a sense of what they're billed for and how much time tasks take. It also opens the door for new innovation - as there are more specific ways to bill, there are easier paths to outsourcing pieces of work to those best positioned to do it efficiently. This is a long run up to share that SALI just released a second, and revised, set of standards. It contains more than 10,000 nodes related to identifying key bits of work that happens across the legal industry. Read their press release here (pdf).
Abby the Spoon Lady: I like all sorts of music, but had never gotten into the spoons until I heard Abby the Spoon Lady. Apparently I'm not the only one...her YouTube channel (which is very worth exploring) has nearly a half million subscribers. As she chronicles on the page, her life hasn't always been happy, but the music is terrific. Here's a good one to start with.