Podcast: Teaching the Technology of Law Practice to Law Students

We really enjoyed recording our recent Digital Edge podcast- Teaching the Technology of Law Practice to Law Students.

Our guest was Darin Fox, an associate dean at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He oversees the law library, information technology, and the school’s law practice technology training program, called the Digital Initiative Project. Not only is theUniversity of Oklahoma College of Law myalma mater, but the Digital Initiative Project is a great concept for the training of future lawyers. Every incoming law student gets an iPad, withaccompanying training and legal-specific software apps. They offer many tech training classes and have a certificate they offer to graduates as well. But listen to the podcast and you can learn of all of the interesting concepts OU is using for lawyer training. (And let me add, as we approach the fall football season, BOOMER SOONER!)

Darin Fox Digital Edge

Three University of Oklahoma College of Law faculty members attended this year’s ABA TECHSHOW, participating in TECHSHOW’s academic track. Planning is underway for the next ABA TECHSHOW now and there will be an academic track for law school faculty again next year. So if you haven’t yet gotten it on your calendar, now is the time. ABA TECHSHOW 2018 will be held March 7-10, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Whether you are a law school faculty member or a practicing lawyer, there’s no better place to learn about the latest advances in law office technology, get advanced training on the tools you use and meet some really great people than TECHSHOW.

And, yes, unless you are a recent law school graduate, things are changing in law school instruction just like they are in all aspects of our profession.

Advertisements
Podcast: Teaching the Technology of Law Practice to Law Students

Growing Your Law Practice by Publishing Content

I often have lawyers tell me that they know they should be doing social media marketing or maybe blogging, but they really don’t know how or what they talk about and how to target it to impact their practice. And no one believes that they have the time.

I’ve known Nancy Myrland for a fairly long time, although not extremely well. We occasionally have visited at conferences, but she’s a law firm marketing expert and generally goes to different conferences than I do. But let repeat. She’s an expert. I’m fairly certain when we first met in person we both already felt we knew each other because of reading each other’s online articles and social media posts. That’s how social media marketing should work.

Today she published Lawyers, Can You Grow Your Practice By Publishing Content? You should read it. You should also feel free to click on the link Myrland worksheet to download her simple worksheet for content creation. You’ll have to give her your email address and she may reach out to you again in the future. That’s how the world works.

Nancy doesn’t know I’m going to do this blog post. But her worksheet is a nice way to collect your thoughts for your law firm marketing and so I am sharing it with you. Again, that is how social media marketing works.

Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog, writes frequently on his Real Lawyers Have Blogs blog about developing connections and relationships through social media. That is his business, but also his passion. If you haven’t visited his blog, today is a good day for reading his content.

Marketing by content sharing involves sharing your expertise with others without counting an immediate and direct return from any particular content. But the content you share should be thoughtfully targeted to highlight the services you provide to an interested audience. But share great content regularly and something good will happen in return.

Growing Your Law Practice by Publishing Content

Who’s in Control? The Algorithms that Run our Legal Research Platforms

Post by Darla Jackson, OBA Practice Management Advisor

Darla JacksonAlgorithms greatly affect the results produced by legal research tools. While legal information professionals have understood this for some time, only recently has an independent study documented the variance in legal research results produced by the unique algorithms employed by different research platforms. A report of the study, conducted by Susan Nevelow Mart, The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search is available on SSRN (or an abbreviated comparison of results produced by the algorithms utilized by a number of research tools is available at https://www.aallnet.org/sections/rips/pdfs/21st-Legal-Research-Teach-In/Handouts-and-Guides/Algorithm-Comparison).

Despite the influence that algorithms have on legal research, most legal research tools have released minimal information about their proprietarily developed algorithms, which has been called a lack of Algorithmic Accountability. Understanding the Technical Bias of Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Fastcase, Google Scholar, and Casetext, Three Geeks and A Law Blog (12/12/16).

Not only have legal researchers had limited information about the algorithms used by these black box systems, the researchers have not been able to customize algorithms to contextualize their research. Fastcase 7 now allows users to perform a customization of the relevance algorithm.

On the Advanced Search display in Fastcase 7, if you check the option to “Customize Relevance Algorithm” the customization tool allows you can customize the relevance algorithm by adjusting the sliders for seven relevance factors. These factors are the Search Relevance Score (this scores each document based on the numerosity, proximity, diversity, and density of your keywords); Large Document Relevance (This shows the relevance for larger documents); Small Document Relevance (this shows the relevance for very short documents, such as appeals that simply affirm the lower court); Authoritativeness (this scores judicial opinions by how many times they have been cited); Frequently Read (This machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently read in the Fastcase service); Frequently Printed (this machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently printed in Fastcase); and Frequently E-mailed (this machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently e-mailed in Fastcase).

I must admit that in my brief non-scientific trial of adjusting the relevance algorithm, I did not observe any significant variation in the search results produced. However, I hope to engage with Fastcase to discuss the weighting and application of the customizable factors. For now, some transparency and customization does help me at least feel somewhat more in control.

Fastcase algorithm

Who’s in Control? The Algorithms that Run our Legal Research Platforms

Growing Your Law Practice by Publishing Content

I often have lawyers tell me that they know they should be doing social media marketing or maybe blogging, but they really don’t know how or what they talk about and how to target it to impact their practice. And no one believes that they have the time.

I’ve known Nancy Myrland for a fairly long time, although not extremely well. We occasionally have visited at conferences, but she’s a law firm marketing expert and generally goes to different conferences than I do. But let repeat. She’s an expert. I’m fairly certain when we first met in person we both already felt we knew each other because of reading each other’s online articles and social media posts. That’s how social media marketing should work.

Today she published Lawyers, Can You Grow Your Practice By Publishing Content? You should read it. You should also feel free to click on the link Myrland worksheet to download her simple worksheet for content creation. You’ll have to give her your email address and she may reach out to you again in the future. That’s how the world works.

Nancy doesn’t know I’m going to do this blog post. But her worksheet is a nice way to collect your thoughts for your law firm marketing and so I am sharing it with you. Again, that is how social media marketing works.

Kevin O’Keefe, CEO of LexBlog, writes frequently on his Real Lawyers Have Blogs blog about developing connections and relationships through social media. That is his business, but also his passion. If you haven’t visited his blog, today is a good day for reading his content.

Marketing by content sharing involves sharing your expertise with others without counting an immediate and direct return from any particular content. But the content you share should be thoughtfully targeted to highlight the services you provide to an interested audience. But share great content regularly and something good will happen in return.

Growing Your Law Practice by Publishing Content

Who’s in Control? The Algorithms that Run our Legal Research Platforms

Post by Darla Jackson, OBA Practice Management Advisor

Darla JacksonAlgorithms greatly affect the results produced by legal research tools. While legal information professionals have understood this for some time, only recently has an independent study documented the variance in legal research results produced by the unique algorithms employed by different research platforms. A report of the study, conducted by Susan Nevelow Mart, The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search is available on SSRN (or an abbreviated comparison of results produced by the algorithms utilized by a number of research tools is available at https://www.aallnet.org/sections/rips/pdfs/21st-Legal-Research-Teach-In/Handouts-and-Guides/Algorithm-Comparison).

Despite the influence that algorithms have on legal research, most legal research tools have released minimal information about their proprietarily developed algorithms, which has been called a lack of Algorithmic Accountability. Understanding the Technical Bias of Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Fastcase, Google Scholar, and Casetext, Three Geeks and A Law Blog (12/12/16).

Not only have legal researchers had limited information about the algorithms used by these black box systems, the researchers have not been able to customize algorithms to contextualize their research. Fastcase 7 now allows users to perform a customization of the relevance algorithm.

On the Advanced Search display in Fastcase 7, if you check the option to “Customize Relevance Algorithm” the customization tool allows you can customize the relevance algorithm by adjusting the sliders for seven relevance factors. These factors are the Search Relevance Score (this scores each document based on the numerosity, proximity, diversity, and density of your keywords); Large Document Relevance (This shows the relevance for larger documents); Small Document Relevance (this shows the relevance for very short documents, such as appeals that simply affirm the lower court); Authoritativeness (this scores judicial opinions by how many times they have been cited); Frequently Read (This machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently read in the Fastcase service); Frequently Printed (this machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently printed in Fastcase); and Frequently E-mailed (this machine learning tool prioritizes documents frequently e-mailed in Fastcase).

I must admit that in my brief non-scientific trial of adjusting the relevance algorithm, I did not observe any significant variation in the search results produced. However, I hope to engage with Fastcase to discuss the weighting and application of the customizable factors. For now, some transparency and customization does help me at least feel somewhat more in control.

Fastcase algorithm

Who’s in Control? The Algorithms that Run our Legal Research Platforms

OBA Program on Delivering Limited Scope Services (aka Undundled Services) Effectively and Safely

Our citizens all deserve equal access to justice. Those with financial means can afford the best representation. There are many who can afford to pay something for a lawyer’s help but cannot afford full representation. Next Friday, August 18, OBA Practice Management Advisor Darla Jackson and I teach a three-hour program on Delivering Limited Scope Services Effectively and Safely. (Some refer to the service model as unbundled legal services.) Lawyers can attend this program in person at the Oklahoma Bar Center (registration) or by simultaneous webcast (registration). Early bird registration for these programs ends at midnight Friday, August 11.

What are limited scope services? This term refers to a lawyer agreeing with an appropriate client to provide less than full-service representation under existing Rule 1.2(c) of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. In June 2017, the Oklahoma Supreme Court added a new rule, Rule 33, to the Rules for District Courts of Oklahoma. The rule provides that lawyers who prepare pleadings or other documents to be presented to or filed with the court must disclose their participation on the document, but may do so without entering appearance in the underlying matter.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details. While this rule change now provides an opportunity to help those who cannot afford full-service legal representation, this is intended to provide a viable and profitable business model for lawyers to use to help people. However, attorneys who deliver these services need to appreciate the ethical duties they must satisfy. Additionally, attorneys must recognize that some clients seeking limited scope representation may later have a complaint about the scope of the services provided.

This program will provide practical guidance and suggested sample forms relating to delivering limited scope services. It is offered for three hours of continuing legal education credit including one hour of ethics.

OBA Program on Delivering Limited Scope Services (aka Undundled Services) Effectively and Safely