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Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #104

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

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 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​

  • USA Today Talks A2J: when the highest circulation newspaper in the country is publishing pieces on access to justice, you know things are hitting the mainstream.  That's doubly true when the piece is co-authored by a current US Supreme Court justice (Justice Neil Gorsuch) and a former Colorado state supreme court justice (Justice Rebecca Kourlis). It's a thoughtfully written, informative piece, and hopefully will make readers previously unaware of the access to justice gap take heed and start advocating for change.  

  • ​2/3 Feel Buried in Low-Value Work: a recent survey by Juro and the law firm Wilson Sonsini found that in a sample of legal teams at fast-growth companies, 67% felt ‘buried in low-value work.’ Listen to Artificial Lawyer TV's  interview of Richard Mabey, CEO of Juro, to find out why this is happening and what should be done about it.  I listened to this interview with interest because, in my view, much (most?) of the low-value work being done should be replaced by productized services whereby automated tools allow grunt work to be done by machines, at scale, with quality, at a low cost. I found myself agreeing with Mabey throughout this interview.

  • Goodnight, Status Quo: The National Center for State Courts has worked tirelessly to help courts make sound decisions about adopting new technologies. In this "Tiny Chat" video, the NCSC hosts unpack their guiding principles on technology.  Their talk is followed by a legal innovation tribute to the 1947 children’s classic, Goodnight Moo in the form of a 90-second video of several state court Chief Justices reading Goodnight Status Quo. It's bittersweet because it features the recently deceased Massachusetts Chief Justice, Ralph Gants, who died last week. 

  • COVID-19 is transforming the legal industry:  I'm going to try to limit the newsletter to only one pandemic mention a week because, well, there are enough mentions of it everywhere else.  However, this piece by Mark Cohen of Legal Mosaic is worth reading because it not only explains how law is changing as a result of this mess, but puts it in the broader context of digital transformation of work more generally.  It's also just a pretty good summary of all the big things that have happened - from regulatory changes, to moves by legal process outsourcers and big accounting firms - in 2020.

  • Eviction As a Service: there's a downside to extreme efficiency in legal process, and that's that it doesn't just make it easier for consumers, but also can be harnessed to allow bullies to crush people that much more efficiently.  Vice has a sobering piece on a startup hiring part-time gig workers, like Uber does, to inexpensively help landlords make tenants homeless that much quicker (and in spite of the CDC moratorium on evictions during the pandemic...).

  • Dorito Review: did you know that there are at least 148 (!) varieties of Doritos.  Did you know that there's a website with reviews of each and every one of them?  If you think you're a Doritos fan, have you ever tried the Gold Peking Duck flavor? Doritos Jacked Boston Garlic Shrimp?  The surprisingly detailed, nuanced reviews are pretty amazing when read as a group, and a good reminder that the world is a stranger place than we can ever know.  

*** 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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