Thanks to ARK, ALM, PLLIP and SCALL for inviting me to speak at upcoming events:

Panelist, From Conversation to Conversion: Getting Lawyers to Use New Tools, Legal Tech, New York, NY,  January 31, 2019.

Moderator, Start It or Stop It? Jump Starting Initiatives and Innovation in 2019. PLLIP webinar, Feb 6, 2019

Panelist, Buyer Beware: Evaluating Analytics Products – How to Select an Analytics Product. Ark Law Firm, Library, Research and Information Services Conference, New York, NY, February 21, 2019.

Speaker, Not the Robot Apocalypse: AI as Opportunity for Librarians and Knowledge Professionals, Santa Barbara, Ca. February 22, 2019.


Next week  the International Legal Technology Association will hold its annual meeting at the Gaylord  Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland outside of Washington, DC. Steve Lastres, Director of KM at Debevoise &  Plimpton and I will be presenting:

A Whirlwind Tour of the Hits and Hyperbole in Legal Research, Workflow, and Other Products, featuring Steven Lastres, Director of KM at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Jean O’Grady, Sr. Director of Research & Knowledge Services at DLA Piper. Session description:

There are a multitude of practice support and collaboration products and apps available with new ones arriving on what can seem like a daily basis. Many of these products tout features and functionality designed to help lawyers and law firm staff work smarter and more efficiently. Filtering out the hype can seem like an insurmountable task. A panel of industry experts will rapid fire through the latest new practice area specific applications. Within two minutes you’ll learn something about one of a minimum of thirty newer and more popular products and leave with data that can be used to help make the decision about which will work for you and, perhaps more importantly, which won’t.

Date and Time: August 22nd, 1:30 -2:30

Also of Interest Deborah Panella . Director of Library and Knowledge Services, Cravath, Swaine & Moore  and  Sharon Lee, Knowledge Management Specialist, Wilson Sonsini have put together a terrific summary of  programs of interest to Library and Knowledge Management professionals at this   link. of interest to Library & KM professionals. In addition to those listed at the link, Katherine Lowery, Baker and Hostetler  will be speaking on the Future of Blockchains at 9am on Thursday, 8/23.

ALM Legal Intelligence has released the 2018 Survey of Law Firm Knowledge Management, Library and Research Professionals.

It appears that most of the largest firms opted out of this survey or missed the deadline to participate. The median law firm size  of participating firms was down from 500 attorneys in 2017 to 376 in 2018 . And the responses actually suggest that there was a disproportionate number of very small firms responding as evidenced by an average staff size of 1.5.

So…. CKO’s and Law Library Director’s  in the largest ALM 100 firms need to make sure that their Executive Directors and Managing Partners who see the survey understand that the data comes from much smaller firms.

The author of the accompanying article “Law Librarians are Focusing on Business Intelligence Research” — refers to the varying composition of surveyed firms as resulting in large swings in data from year to year. It would be helpful to disclose how many firms in various size tiers responded each year.

The article  focuses on one issue – the growing volume of competitive intelligence research handled by research departments. This isn’t a particularly new trend. In my opinion the most interesting trends involving AI and analytics was buried at the end of the article.

Even though there appears to have been low participation in this survey by the largest ALM 100 firm’s there is an over arching theme that is of value. The largest firms are generally on the cutting edge of adopting new technologies and workflows. This survey shows that the transformation of law libraries  is pretty mature. Information professionals in all size law firms have fully embraced not only business intelligence but also  knowledge management, project management, process improvement and analytics.


So while I  am reluctant to cite much of the data reported in this report  especially where it is  skewed by a dramatic change in  size  of the responding firms—I do believe there are some useful insights.

Key findings

  • 65% of the firms said their budgets had increased–29% reported increases of 3 to 5%.
  • There is significant evidence of the transformation of libraries beyond providing traditional resource support functions into supporting a wide range of innovation initiatives enhancing workflow and insights for lawyers.
  • Volume of both business of law research and practice of law research have been increasing.
  • Significant number of respondents are involved in the creation of pitch materials.
  • 29% of the respondents are engaged in developing in house tools for AI and analytics.
  • 47% have staff involved in programming.
  • 29% are involved in custom development of tools using AI and analytics.
  • 87% work closely with IT in setting priorities and strategies.
  • The sole CALR provider trend appears to have faded away. No  firms reported  having selected a sole CALR provider. All firms had Lexis,  Westlaw and Bloomberg – (although there was no indication if  firms were referring to Bloomberg Law or the BloombergBNA products).
  • Westlaw was rated the most valuable product for practice of law. (However I noticed that Lexis was not on the list of 9  products to be evaluted. ALM explained this omission to me as a mistake on their part. Two Lexis owned products Ravel and Lex Machina were on the list – Lexis Advance was not)
  • Bloomberg Law was rated the most valuable product for business of law research.

Suggestions for next year

Client billing.  The client billing question completely missed the mark. In asking how research time was described on client bills,  it simply combined three different descriptions (librarian, research analyst and library services  in one question)– – – which is pointless. There is nothing to contrast. The issue that is on law library directors’ minds is whether time is more likely to be written off or written down if it is attributed to a librarian rather  research analyst. Evidence seems to suggest that a research analyst will have the highest recovery. They also include a description called “Library service” and I know from my years of discussions with lawyers that this is a total loser. A billing description of library services is interpreted as possibly encompassing administrative activities which would never be billed clients. This is a good question which was poorly framed.

Analytics Add more questions about analytics. There was no specific question regarding the adoption of analytics prop products—- which I would identify as the fastest growing sub set of legal research materials. These products deserve greater analysis.

The Lead That Got Buried. Eve-Marie Nye, director of research services at Pillsbury Winthrop and Charles Frey director of the library at Munger Tolles  & Olson provided important insights into the a trend that I hope will get more attention next year. Both offer insights into the volume of sophisticated new tools offering analytics and AI enabled functionality.  Nye points to the challenge of training lawyers to use these tools effectively. Frey highlights the need to have information professionals screen out the products which are all hype and lack substance. Both highlight the biggest challenges of analytics products –understanding the quality and the limitations of the data. These are serious issues which deserve further examination. and I hope they will  be explored in greater depth in the 2019 survey.







I will be speaking at these upcoming events:

 Driving Adoption of AI Enabled Research Tools and How the New Technology Will Affect the Role of the Information Professional, SLA New York Chapter, May 8, 2018. Panel also includes Steve Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management, Debevoise & Plimpton, Nicole Dupras, Director Legal Research Division at Chase Cost Management, Robyn Rebollo, VP at Chase Cost Management:.

It Takes More than A Dumpster to Build a  Digital Law Library, Webinar , Sponsored by Lucidia. May 16, 2018, 2 pm est.

Knowledge Management: Generating Interest and Adoption, Webinar, Sponsored by International Legal Technology Association, May 22, 2018. Register here  Panel also includes: Steve Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management, Debevoise & Plimpton and Marlene Gebauer, Director of  Knowledge Solutions, Greeberg Traurig.

Here are the results of the 2017 Start/Stop Survey questions related to processes and projects which are being cancelled or launched.

Print Decline Continues

The decline of print in law libraries continued to dominate the workflow changes in law libraries. Libraries are shrinking. Workflow is changing to focus on digital resources and KM support. Almost all the processes and projects being terminated by respondents related to print resource maintenance or management.

New Initiatives 2017/2018

The top 2017 and 2018 initiatives were focused on AI and competitive intelligence alert enhancement.Artificial Intelligence was the top technology mentioned by respondents. AI is being examined as a feature of commercial products from the major vendors (Lexis, Thomson Reuters, Wolters Kluwer, Bloomberg Law) as well as start ups, Fastcase,CARA, Ross. It is also being examined as a technology for internal Knowledge Management and Business Intelligence Projects. Enhancing Competitive intelligence workflow and resources ranked second in the new projects undertaken  by respondents.

Specific initiatives include: Continue Reading Start/Start Survey for Processes and Projects: AI and Algorithms Lead New Initiatives, Print Libraries Continue to Shrink

For years I have been heaping praise on Thomson Reuters for producing one of the first marketing pieces that took a crack at quantifying the time savings delivered by one of their workflow products.  The chart offers a simple comparison of several tasks and shows the time it takes to perform each task and with and without the use of the Practical Law Resources. See Illustration below.

It is probably five years since I saw that first chart and I recently began investigating whether Thomson Reuters has moved from producing a marketing piece to delivering a real tool that could actually help a customer determine or even estimate the time savings or efficiency delivered by Practical Law.   I am picking on Thomson Reuters but the truth is that none of the large legal information publishers ( LexisNexis, Wolters Kluwer or Bloomberg Law) which have enhanced their research products with workflow solutions are offering any resource to measuring the ROI of their products.  For Continue Reading Your Workflow Product Costs Half a Million Dollars — Now How Do I Measure My ROI? Where is the Quickview and PowerInvoice for Practical Law and Lexis Practice Advisor?

Courtroom Insight was originally designed to as a Yelp-type directory to enable litigators to locate and share insights about expert witnesses. In a recent interview co-founder Mark Torchiana explained that since the launch in 2010 he has learned that lawyers do not want to share their comments about experts in a public forum. Courtroom Insights has evolved into the dominant internal expert witness knowledge management solution for law firms.

That transitional pivot occurred when the  Scott Rechtschaffen, The Chief Knowledge Officer at the Littler firm contacted Torchiana and asked if the product could be used to manage internal information about arbitrators. After eight years the company has become totally focused on private installations in law firms and content has expanded to include profiles of Continue Reading Courtroom Insight: Enhances Expert Witness Knowledge Management Platform

Today Judicata released the results of a first of it’s kind ranking – the quality of their briefs. Founder Itai Gurari authored a blogpost on their website which explains the study. Judging Lawyers: Objectively Evaluating Big Law Litigation Departments.

Last November I wrote a post describing how the Judicata Clerk product can be used to evaluate the strength of a brief during the drafting process. Forget the Robots You Might Just Need a Clerk.

Gurari’s post describes Judicata’s goal in releasing this ranking  as an effort to illustrate how clients can use data to evaluate the quality of a law firms work product. “Data has yet to significantly impact how clients select their litigation counsel. Lawyer and law firm evaluation has traditionally been a subjective measure: driven by perception, personal relationships, and word-of-mouth recommendations of a law firm’s litigation.”

Guari acknowledges the work of analytics pioneers such as Lex Machina in utilizing docket data to gain granular insights into a vast array of strategic insights such as motion outcomes and judges behavior. “Yet that higher level docket-based analysis is still far removed from the more fundamental motion practice skills at the core of every litigation — the drafting and argumentation that go into the briefs filed in support of a court motion.”

The Ranking Methodology Judicata compared briefs from the 20 largest law firms in California. These 20 law firms are among the 100 largest law firms in the world, and include firms in the global twenty.

Judicata ran 500 briefs filed in California state court through the Clerk evaluation process. The briefs spanned a diverse set of lawsuits, covering everything from individual employment actions, to complex contract disputes, to billion-dollar startup founder fights. The clients included young California companies like Lyft and Snapchat, Silicon Valley behemoths like Apple, Facebook, and Google, and international giants like BP and Toyota. Some of the lawsuits were highly publicized, and some involved well-known celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Carrie Fisher, and Manny Pacquiao.

The result of this evaluation is the first-ever ranking of law firm litigation departments based on an objective measure of their lawyering skills.  Although all the briefs that were analyzed were filed in California state court, Guari points out that Clerk ‘s evaluation criteria “are fundamental to motion practice and translate to both federal court and other US jurisdictions.” Here is the Judicata rankings of law firm briefs. The full report including ranking for arguments and drafting is here.


Law Firms are sensitive to their placement  in ranking lists. Most of these rankings have been based on either survey responses or financial metrics such as profits per partner or value of deal representation. This is the first survey I am aware of offering an algorithmic assessment of a law firm’s work product. It is likely that more rankings of this kind will be developed. One positive outcome is that the focus on work product rankings will underscore the importance of knowledge management, process improvement and human – machine interaction to improve the quality of work product and reduce reputational risks.


SUNY Global Center

ARK Group will be hosting their 12th Annual Best Practice & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services. I believe I have been at every conference in every role including: attendee, speaker, moderator, chairperson and keynote. Over the years the program has become more focused on strategy and innovation.

The location has also improved.  I spoke at the first ARK conference which was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan.  It was unforgettable because a pipe burst in the ceiling above me in the middle of my presentation. We literally moved on and I completed the presentation without benefit of an umbrella. The past few years the conference has been held at the SUNY Global Center on E 55th St in Manhattan. It is a comfortable high-tech presentation environment.

This year I am co-presenting with colleague Stacy Pangilinan. Our presentation is entitled: “Why are we paying for that? Reinventing the Budget Process with Project Management and KM Principles.” Which will be a case study on the development of new budget workflows and analysis using KM and Project Management tools

Ark Group’s 12th annual Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference will once again provide an ideal platform for discussion and debate concerning the convergence and impact of technology and economics on evolving practice strategies—as we take a collective view at the “Big Picture” of Librarians as Disruptors, the importance of interdepartmental support and technology, how to change the stereotypical image of the librarian, and how to run the Library as a business. As usual the speakers include a terrific mix of KM thought leaders, legal tech innovators, and law firm consultants.

  • DATE: February 22, 2018
  • Where: SUNY Global Center, New York, NY
  • Register Here.

Here is the full agenda:

9:00AM   Opening Remarks: Conference Chairperson

9:10AM   OPENING/KEYNOTE on the Front Lines: Assessing New Products and Setting Expectations for how they will Perform at the Firm Legal technology is moving quickly, and so is the marketing language about AI. Separating value from the noise can be difficult. What can AI actually do today? When do you want a product built with it, and when does it not matter? What are the important questions to ask about how a specific AI product works? How can you identify when the emperor has no clothes? KM professionals and law librarians are at the front lines of assessing new products and setting expectations for how they perform at the firm. Answers to these questions are essential for finding solid ground in the rapidly shifting tech landscape. Get critical insider knowledge from someone who has built and sold AI about how you can identify the good, bad, and the ugly.

Daniel Lewis, CEO & Co-founder, Ravel

9:50AM   SURVEY RESULTS & PANEL DISCUSSION Beyond Virtualization: Transforming the Law Library  “What is the Modern Law Library?” The role of library services within firms and organizations has shifted. Rather than being a target of downsizing or outsourcing, librarians are moving beyond traditional roles, reinventing themselves to support the business of law. However, administration must be open to this evolution. Without this support, library modernization cannot be fully realized.  This segment will address the steps firms need to take for maximum efficiency and delivery of legal information resources—and the role of the Modern Law Library.  How is “Library Modernization” being defined?  This session—inclusive of a panel discussion with key experts from the field— will speak to the “Big Picture” of Librarians as disruptors, the importance of interdepartmental support and technology, how to change the stereotypical image of the librarian, and how to run the Library as a business.

Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer, Jackson Walker LLP,  Shabeer Kahn, Director of Research Services, Morrison & Foerster,  Nancy Rine, Director of Research Services and Conflicts, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Michael Feit, President, Feit Consulting , Monice  Kaczorowski, Vice President, Library Strategy & Innovation, Feit Consulting

10:35AM Morning Networking & Coffee Break

11:00AM   CASE STUDY  Why are we Paying for That? Reinventing the Budget Process with Project Management and KM Principles: DLA Piper Case Study Budgets can’t be managed effectively  in a once a year budget recalibration.  Cost optimization is an ongoing process which should be built into your departmental workflow. Digital resource budgets have exploded over the past ten years and expanded the complexity of resource acquisition and renewal. How do you    account for the cost of enterprise, local and practice group spending?  How do you get practice group participation in budget accountability and cost control? Learn how one firm moved from a decentralized and painful budget process to developing a streamlined and effective tool for ROI reporting  by starting with a whiteboard and  workflow analysis.

Stacy Pangilinan, JD, MLIS, Senior Manager, Knowledge Solutions, DLA Piper LLP (US) AND Jean O’Grady, JD, MLS, Sr. Dir of Information, Research & Knowledge  Management, DLA Piper LLP (US)

11:45AM   CASE STUDY The Knowledge Desk… A One-Stop Shop Often law firms roll out multiple search engines, databases and portals to provide information to their lawyers, and then are surprised when lawyers don’t use them.  The belief is that lawyers don’t use these tools because they are not tech savvy.  In reality, it’s because there are too many options and it’s difficult to figure out where to find something.  Enter Knowledge Desk.  Knowledge Desk was launched in 2016 and is designed to provide Littler attorneys with a “one-stop shop” for all legal answers – copies of complaints, answers to legal questions, legal research, SMEs, etc.  The Knowledge Desk has handled more attorney  requests in the first nine months of 2017 than in all of 2016 and is on track to

respond to over 26,000 requests by year-end – a 35% increase year-over-year. In an environment where so many firms and libraries are shrinking, the Littler library has had dramatic growth without taking on new departments.  In this case study, Cynthia Brown will share the secret(s) to Littler’s success.

Cynthia L. Brown JD, Director – Research Services , Littler Mendelson P.C.

12:15PM Networking Luncheon

1:15PM   CASE STUDY  Absorbing Library Services into KM – A Case Study    In early 2016, Ogletree Deakins dissolved its library services department and absorbed all library functions into KM. Two years later, the team behind that (ultimately successful) transition is here to discuss the impetus for the change, its execution, what went well, and what went wrong.

Jennifer P. Mendez, Senior Manager, KM Firm Solutions, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Evan J. Shenkman, Senior Manager, KM Counsel & Research, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Patrick V. DiDomenico, Chief Knowledge Officer, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

2:00PM   INTERACTIVE SEGMENT Teach Your Children Well:  Preparing Law Students For Law Firm Practice Conventional wisdom says that legal education needs to evolve to meet the  current demands of the market place. But what, exactly, should change, and how can legal educators best prepare law students to hit the ground running at their firms? This interactive discussion will allow conference participants to share their thoughts with a law school librarian teaching legal practice technology at Fordham University Law School.  We will begin with an overview of the current state of legal technology education in the resource and information realm. Then, we will evaluate its sufficiency based on law firm needs now and anticipated skills necessary for the future. This will be an opportunity for attendees to share their perspectives directly with the source on educating students for the modern practice of law.

Jocelyn K. Sagherian, Reference Librarian, Fordham Law School Library

2:45PM Afternoon Networking & Coffee Break

3:15PM   PANEL DISCUSSION   Practical Magic: Read/Write AI in Law Firms In the past, law firms could use artificial intelligence only by subscribing to  software that incorporated it – read only.  But today, law firms are using artificial intelligence to create their own tools and solve long-intractable problems – read/ write AI. In this panel, Fastcase CEO Ed Walters will moderate a discussion among law firms who are building their own AI-enabled tools to create the datapowered law firms of the next generation.

Edward J. Walters, Chief Executive Officer, Fastcase, Others TBA

4:00PM   CLOSING PANEL DISCUSSION   The Leadership Imperative:  Leveraging Strategic Relationships Across Departments  In line with the increasing professionalization of law firms, paralegal, docketing and litigation services managers have become key sources of innovation,  intelligence and change. This evolution directly impacts workflow, data capture, and the very provision of legal services by law firms; it also represents an  important opportunity for law librarians interested in broadening their portfolio of knowledge enabling services to help their firms leverage existing talent and resources. This session will provide an overview of key trends in docketing and paralegal relevant to library, as well specific examples from these groups.

Kara Buzga, Paralegal Manager, Mayer Brown , Tara Kim Eberhart, Director of Paralegal Services and Docketing, Dentons, Jessica L. Bengels, Managing Attorney, Manager of Litigation Services, Latham & Watkins LLP, Steven E. DeJesus, Docket Specialist, VedderPrice — Moderated  by:  Anna McGrane, COO, PacerPro

Here is a rundown of the articles in the most recent issue of Thomson Reuters Practice Innovations.

Strategic Content Management, or How to Stop Being a Gatekeeper

By Elaine Egan, Director, Global Libraries & Information Services, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, New York, NY and Kathy Skinner, Director of Research & Information Services, White & Case LLP, Palo Alto, CA

Retaining and Growing Clients – What’s Next? by Silvia Coulter, Principal, LawVision Group, Manchester, MA

Tactics for Strategic Partnerships and Building Institutional Knowledge Interview

by Elaine Egan, Director, Global Libraries & Information Services, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, New York, NY, with Marlene C. Gebauer, Director of Knowledge Solutions, Greenberg Traurig, and Chris Laut, Director of Law Libraries and Knowledge Services, Liberty Mutual Insurance

 Learn Your Firm’s Secrets: Conduct Exit Interviews

By Sharon Abrahams, National Director of Professional \Development/Diversity and Inclusion, Foley & Lardner LLP, Miami, FL

 Can An Attorney Be Replaced by a Machine?

By Don Philmlee, Legal Technology Consultant, Washington, DC.

Outsourcing Trends in Business Development

By Bradley Christmas, Managing Director, NSource, Chicago, Il.