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Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #112

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

  • For law students who want to retain more of what they study (2-4x as much vs cramming) and save time (50% less time vs. cramming), the science of spaced repetition is for you. 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.  More than 15,000 users spread across every law school in the U.S.

The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week​

  • Text Reminders Reduce Defaults: for years, my colleague and friend, Prof. Chris Dearborn, has given pocket calendars to clients of his criminal defense clinic because he reported that a simple tool like that, coupled with asking clients to fill in their next appointment before leaving their meeting with his team, reduced no-shows and defaults. Now, research supports that these sorts of nudges also work when the reminder come via text message. In fact, sending a reminder text reduces default by 13%-21% according to a new study in the journal, Science. Assuming this can be replicated, it'll be incumbent on every court system to implement it, not only for the human benefit, but for the significant efficiency improvement it will offer to every court system. If you'd like to dive deeper an here is an excellent analysis by Molly McDonough on this research.

  • The Observatory: the tech-savvy biglaw firm, Orrick, has a new interactive platform offering data on 600+ legal technologies currently on the market. A user can click on the type of tool they'd like to learn more about (e.g. document automation or contract management), click on various filters, then get a summary of what it does. It also includes a narrative box for what makes the tool unique. It's easy to use, free, and also gives a nice preview for clients on the type of value the firm might offer them beyond run-of-the-mill representation.

  • What Business Units Want from their Law Departments: the team at the contract automation platform, Juro, has put out a new, free eBook to help in-house counsel understand what their organizations' business colleagues want out of a legal department. To craft it, they surveyed key internal clients of law departments at innovative companies (CEOs, CFOs, sales leadership, board of directors members, etc.). I thought this was an interesting take. I've read, heard, and thought a lot about the relationship between companies and outside counsel, but never really considered the internal relationships that companies have between legal and other units. At 24 pages, it's an interesting and terse take, even for an outsider like me.

  • Capacity App: an associate at Denton's, William Dougherty, has created a new app, Capacity, that helps partners equitably assign work to associates. Here is a write up of the project in Artificial Lawyer. Not only does it solve a real problem (associates having no control over the work they take on, while for the partners it helps them to find the right associates with the right skill sets when they have availability), but I am always excited about legal tech projects created by legal professionals that solve their own problems. Plus, as anyone who has crossed paths with me in the past year or so knows, I'm putting the finishing touches on a how to guide to teach people to productize legal work, so examples like this are music to my ears.

  • Nate's News: Nate Schorr is an associate at the LegalTech Fund, which is a legal tech investment fund. He puts together a free monthly newsletter that I enjoy. It's a fairly brass tacks summary of the different companies that have received funding, acquisitions, and other news from the intersection of law/tech/entrepreneurship. It's a really easy way to stay on top of which organizations are on the move.

  • Pumpion Pie and more at Tasting History: if you're preparing for Thanksgiving and would like some recipes from days of yore, check out the youtube channel Tasting History. The host, Max Miller, researches historical recipes and ingredients, and prepares them in a modern kitchen. This week, he made a really good looking pumpion pie (apparently that used to be how they spelled it) using a recipe from 1670. Part history channel, part cooking show, part entertainment. Not just for Thanksgiving, either: you can learn to make Viking mead or pretzels made with wine from the 1500s!

*** 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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