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Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #148

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​

  • Justice Tech Association: this is a new non-profit trade association composed of legal tech entrepreneurs, consumers, policymakers, and investors created to advocate for using legal technology to close the justice gap. The need exists because, as Richard Granat explains in a new post, "Bar associations are trade associations designed to protect and support the existing business model for delivering legal services by lawyers. Innovative legal technology companies and providers are demonstrating another way — despite regulatory obstacles that restrain innovations in the delivery of legal services." Put differently, if bar associations are looking out for lawyers, who is looking out for the toolmakers that improve access to legal services (which may, or may not compete with the lawyers represented by the bar associations)?

  • .txt: one of my favorite thinkers is Derek Sivers, who started CD Baby (a company that made it feasible for indy musicians could sell CDs online before only payments were an easy thing to do). He sold the company, became quite wealthy, and now spends a lot of time writing and thinking. His latest blog post is about plain text (which you may recognize as a .txt file). Sivers explains that this file format is the ultimate for writing things you care about because it's "reliable, flexible, portable, independent, and long-lasting. Plain text files will be readable by future generations, hundreds of years from now." It made me realize that very little of my own work is saved in formats that will stand the test of time. So here's my question to *you* law firm admins, legal ops leaders, and busy academics: how is *your* stuff archived? Is it in a proprietary format and, if so, what will you do if Word goes the way of WordPerfect or Excel the way of Lotus 1-2-3?

  • Ex Parte Bags $7.5m: this company claims it can predict the outcome in 85% of litigation matters and has raised a boatload of money to do so. Artificial Lawyer has a somewhat skeptical report on how Ex Parte works and how it attracted the funding. What really sticks out to me is that this is emblematic of just how much *money* is flowing into legal tech. It's an expensive bet on what seems to me a relative longshot...but one that will pay off handsomely if it works.

  • 10 Legal Tech Trends for 2022 and Beyond: Net Documents has an excellent new white paper that explores 10 legal tech trends (click here for it. Free download but you need to provide your info). It also has commentary from recognized experts (like Mike Haven, Head of Legal Operations at Intel and President of CLOC, and Joy Heath Rush, Executive Director at International Legal Technology Association). Some of the topics I'd thought/read about a lot already, like the likelihood that hyper-automation will improve workflows, but others I hadn't considered (like the growth of platforms in legal tech). This would also be a good primer for colleagues who are interested in thinking about the future of legal work, and need a quick starting place for what's around the corner.

  • I read a case study of this new tool, which was created by one of my favorite legal product development companies, Theory & Principle. I'm sold. In short, it allows lawyers and their clients to stay up to date on changes and differences in regulations and statues across jurisdictions. It seems easy to use, and the maps look nice. It's not free, but I could see it being well worth the money for many.

  • How Ikea Tricks You Into Buying More: when I go to Ikea, I always plan to head straight for the little Swedish supermarket inside to buy food in toothpaste tubes, but instead...I end up zigzagging through the entire store, purchasing pseudo Marimekko-print trays and end tables that have pages of unintelligible instructions. It turns out that there's a lot of interesting psychology that goes into encouraging people like me to come for the Swedish meatballs, but stay for hundreds of dollars worth of home goods. This article from The Hustle lays out some of those strategies. Not sure it'll make me better at saving money there, but at least I'll know why it's happening.


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