This year the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting will be held July 13th to 16 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington DC. AALL 2019 will celebrate the innovators within the legal information profession and highlight the skills, talents, and attributes that benefit  the institutions  they serve.

The Educational sessions cover a wide range of practical and substantive issues including hot topics such as GDPR, Privacy, analytics and the #metoo movement.

Attendees can also:

  • Network with colleagues from around the country and around the world.
  • Meet  with vendors and see the latest features and products including the latest from legal tech start-ups.
  • Immerse themselves in the national  museums, libraries and archival treasures of the Nation’s Capital.

Keynote: A Law Library Saved My Life

Shon Hopwood will deliver the keynote: “A Law Library Saved my Life.” This year’s keynote will be sponsored by LexisNexis. and will be held on Sunday July 14th 0-1015 A.M. Shon Hopwood is an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. His unusual legal journey began not at law school, but federal prison, where he learned to write briefs for other prisoners. Two petitions for certiorari he prepared were later granted review by the United States Supreme Court, and he won cases for other prisoners in federal courts across the country. His story has been featured in the New York TimesWashington PostThe New Yorker, and on NPR and 60 Minutes.

Other Special Events include

Learn about AALL’s information policy issues, and then take our message to Capitol Hill—sign up by May 17.

The PLLIP Summit will focus on the “Road to 2030.”  The Summit will be held on July 13th at the Marriott and requires a separate registration.

Register for the AALL Meeting, the PLLIP Summit  and other events at this link

First time and returning vendors can learn about exhibiting at the annual meeting  at this link



Fastcase keeps picking up new partnerships to expand the scope of their offerings well beyond their original focus on AI enhanced primary law. My first  Fastcase blogpost  8 years ago  was subtitled the “Little  Engine that Could” and boy have they exceeded my expectations.  Like the “energizer bunny – they just keep on going” and growing!

Starting today Fastcase subscribers will get access to select titles from the American Bar Association.

In the press release Steve Errick, Fastcase Chief Operating Officer, offers observations of the current state of legal publishing, ” While traditional legal publishers were ramping down their book divisions, the state bards and the ABA stepped up and kept legal book publishing vibrant…The vision for Fastcase is to make it easy for users to connect the legal research workflow dots, from primary law and public records, dockets, expert witness, legal analytics, and legal news,” Errick said. “The collection includes law review articles from HeinOnline, alerts, digests and blogs from LexBlog, and now our fast-growing collection of more than 1,000 market-leading expert treatises. To see it all come together and be able to showcase these fantastic books represents the culmination of 20 years of effort, and we feel like we’re really just getting started.”

Bryan Kaye, Director of editorial and Licensing for ABA Publishing is quoted in the press release: “We are excited to partner the ABA’s highly regarded book content with Fastcase’s dynamic platform. We share Fastcase’s vision to provide lawyers with the secondary content they need to excel in their work and advance the Rule of Law; and are pleased to join Fastcase in its commitment to grow creative, expert, sensible content written by lawyers for lawyers.”

Fastcase users will be able to search the new treatises within the Fastcase legal research platform immediately. For assistance with accessing the new secondary materials, users can contact customer support at 1-866-77-FASTCASE (866.773.2782). Those without a Fastcase subscription can try the new integration by signing up for a free trial at

Print  copies of the ABA titles will be available for purchase in conjunction with Fastcase’s other publishing partners, as well as its own publishing imprint, Full Court Press.



Today Casemaker is announcing an expanded relationship with vLex a global legal research provider. Members of the Casemaker Bar Association Consortium will  have an opportunity to get access to vLex intelligent legal research assistant, Vincent. Several months ago I wrote about the very unique functionality in vLex’s Vincent. It is the only legal research product that can simultaneously analyse documents in two languages– English and Spanish and deliver results across multiple jurisdictions.

Users of Casemaker4, currently in beta test, will get one click access to Vincent. Members of the Casemaker Consortium will be offered a one week free trial of Vincent as will as an exclusive 50% discount off year one pricing.

“This is an exciting time for vLex,” shared Lluis Faus, CEO. “By creating this direct pathway from Casemaker4 to Vincent, hundreds of thousands of U.S. attorneys will now have the ability to tap into the
power of AI at unprecedented scale.”

“We’re thrilled to announce this next step in our partnership with vLex,” said Sarah Gorman, Chief Operating Officer at Casemaker. “Members of our consortium bar associations will greatly benefit from the ability to go beyond traditional keyword or Boolean search into a more robust contextual search that begins with Casemaker’s rich content and is accelerated by artificial intelligence.”

Under the terms of an existing agreement, vLex users will continue to receive access to  Casemaker’s full
collection of U.S. federal and 50-state primary law content. Likewise, Casemaker4 users will retain the
ability to search databases of international legal materials provided by vLex.


It is now a given that what we think of as “AI”  is simply software which has not yet become so  pervasive that it is baked into our everyday experience.. Yet AI retains a whiff of mystery which begs to be explored and illustrated  through artistic and scientific videos which can range from absurdist to ominous to  visionary. Without any prior coordination 4 out of the 5 panels at the recent SCALL  Institute offered videos to enhance, contrast, amuse or amaze the audience.

The Southern California Law Library Association hosted  their annual Institute which focused on “AI and Machine Learning Demystified”  in Santa Barbara at the Hyatt Centric on February 22 and 23rd. I was honored to be invited to give one of the presentations at the Institute. I have reassembled to the best of my ability a representative collection of the videos which were shown at the SCALL Institute.

As part of my presentation “Not the robot apocalypse: AI as Opportunity for Librarians and Knowledge Professionals” I highlighted the risks and opportunities of AI with 2 videos.

One of my favorite recent  “binge watches” is a British Mockumentary called W!A which is a hilarious send up of  organizational dysfunction at the BBC – and of course one of the recurring gags is the malfunctioning AI system. In the following  clip AI system is mangling the world news  audio to  text translation of world leaders names.


A Ted talk from Dario Gil shows Watson responding to research queries and populating a data matrix comparing companies

June Liebtert Moderated a panel “So Bright You’ll Need to Wear Shades: Practical Appliations of AI in the Legal Space.” AI experts from  Lexis,-Serena Wellen, Westlaw- Tonya Custis and BloombergLaw – Clint Stauffer, participated in the lively discussion. June used videos of  IBM’s Project Debater and a computer generated Sci Fi Movie script to illustrate the possibilities and limitations of AI.


She also showed a video of a SciFi movie Zone Out with a screenplay  written by a computer named Benjamin which had been fed thousands of SciFi Scripts.

Matthew Turk a Professor at University of California Santa Barbara presented  a terrific keynote “Flowers and Light” What to Expect from AI.” provided foundational concepts and misconceptions about AI. His videos included a dark Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man” and a series of awesome robotics videos.


Here is a link to a payload  of Boston Dynamics Videos.

Michael Saint-Onge delivered his 23rd annual presentation of “30 Sites in 30 Minutes” for SCALL. His list included AI text editor deemed “too dangerous to release by its creators. Here is a link to a story and video.

Richard Re, of UCLA gave a thought provoking and video-free presentation “Preparing for Artificially Intelligent Justice.”

Thanks to the SCALL Institute Chair, Eric Adams and Committee Members Paul Mooreman Jennifer Berman, Jim Senter, Patrick Sullivan and Michael Saint-Onge for inviting me to speak and providing such a memorable program.















Today Fastcase is announcing the addition of speciailized risk data from Trans Union’s alternative, non-credit, public records product.  TransUnion  is well known to librarians as a leading global aggregator of public records and credit data.  This new public records content will assist researchers in performing due diligence, locating parties and  witnesses and a variety of litigation support activities .

Fastcase’s Chief operating officer Steve Errick indicated that the alliance with Trans Union arose from “repeated requests from our subscribers for data on people assets and businesses.”

Over the past year Fastcase has accelerated it’s trajectory towards becoming a full-service legal information platform. Recent alliances include Courtroom Insight for expert witness data, the acquisition of the Docket Alarm analytics platform and the launching of a publication arm under the Full-Court Press imprint.

Leveling the playing field

In the first  quarter of 2019 Fastcase will deliver  TransUnion data  on their new Mercury platform. While large law firm’s with sophisticated research and knowledge teams have long had access to public records data,  Fastcase is now making sophisticated analytics and data from TransUnion available to the small and medium size firm market.

“For years our state and local bar partners and consumer bankruptcy customers have asked us for risk solutions that include public records data. Now we’re seeing interest among our AmLaw 250 subscribers as well,” said Fastcase President Phil Rosenthal. “Naturally, when the chance to partner with TransUnion was presented, we jumped at the opportunity.”

Errick described the Fastcase strategy in this way “ we spent 2018 building differentiator products—for 2019 we are doubling down on foundational products expected by our customers”

The legal research market was for decades dominated by Lexis and Westlaw. Fastcase’s steady growth as lower cost alternative to Lexis, Westlaw and BloombergLaw is one of the most fascinating and potentially disruptive developments  which law firms should factor into long term strategy for research resources.

On Thursday Tom Goldstein co-founder and publisher of  SCOTUSblog announced  a partnership with Casetext. “to help our readers access the court opinions, statutes and other primary legal content we cite in SCOTUSblog posts.” SCOTUSblog  is one of the oldest and most highly respected legal blogs. It provides a “one stop shop” for dockets, opinions, videos and nuanced, expert commentary on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Casetext has been a pioneer in providing free public access to caselaw while creating AI driven commercial products such as CARA which analyses briefs for missing precedent.

Pablo Arredondo, Co-Founder and  Chief Product Officer  at Casetext described the new alliance as supporting public access to high value legal content: “We are excited to partner with SCOTUSblog, and to launch a program that will let legal bloggers all over the country link to beautiful, free, case law.  Creating a free resource for people to read and understand the law has been one of Casetext’s primary objectives from day one.”

Read the full announcement here.


Today Thomson Reuters is announcing the release of a major new workflow and pricing solution called Panoramic. The product merges features of Practical Law their knowledge management platform with their cloud based accounting solution 3E.

Several years ago I had an opportunity to see an early version of Panoramic when it was known as Project X and more a “wireframed” concept rather than a product. It is exciting to see the ambitious idea of merging workflow and billing into an actual product.

Panoramic links standard work processes which are called “matter maps” with the firm’s billing system. This allows a firm to use its billing history for similar matters to develop pricing. It also allows lawyers to leverage practice templates and workflows developed by attorney practitioners  at Practical Law. Practical Law attorneys update practice guidance as required by changes in the laws or regulations.

Panoramic Matter Maps

According to Elisabet Hardy, Vice President, Financial & Practice Management, Panoramic was designed to address the challenges presented by client driven billing innovations such as AFA’s. This product represents s a serious attempt to corral legal practice and Billing activities into a common yet customizable streamlined workflow.

I also anticipate a product which can standardize both billing processes and workflow activities would address the special challenges of large law firms with many practices and many offices. The size and complexity of Amlaw 200 law firms is often further compounded by the legacy cultures of merged firms which linger long after the rebranding press release.

Let the Guidance Find the Lawyer

“Let the guidance find the lawyer – don’t make the lawyer find the guidance.” – Elisabt Hardy

Panoramic offers in a single dashboard the ability to plan manage and execute a matter using data. An attorney can compare the current matter’s scope with prior matters. Matter maps developed by Practical Law attorneys provide specific guidance on a task going four levels down in granularity. Since matter maps are integrated with the accounting system, partners can easily see attorneys billing rates when assigning tasks and designate the activity codes associated with the task. The assigned attorney receives an email with their assignment and can also track and prioritize all of their assigned tasks.


Here are some additional features:

  • Matter maps can be customized based on firm practices.
  • Matter maps and budget reports can be shared with clients.
  • Matter maps can be linked to specific documents created by the law firm.
  • The dashboard provides Real-time matter reports.
  • 3E will have five years of firm data history and cab e leveraged for scoping and pricing a matter.
  • Assigned and transfer tasks between attorneys.
  • Link DMS documents to matter map tasks.

 Benefits to Partners

Partners have a matter overview page. It makes it easy for Partners to manage all work activities. Task of guidance allows lawyer to access a billing history of similar tasks and matters. Partner can assign tasks, due dates and billing codes. Christopher Lange a partner at LaClairRyan testified to Panoramic’s value to improved pricing predictability and allowing lawyers to proactively manage their book of business.

Panoramic Analytics and Insights

Benefit to Associates

One of the hidden benefits  I see is the potential of Panoramic as a training tool for associates .  A new associate who is assigned a small task in a large matter is somewhat like of the blind men I imagine them off and being like the blind men in the   parable of the bind men and the elephant. Each associate is exposed only to  a specific set of tasks but other has no idea how large and complex the entire matter is or where their work fits into the whole project.

This product will provide associates with a  contextual understanding of their work and show how their assigned tasks fit in an overall workflow. An additional benefit is showing them the financials related to their work and the overall matter.

Enhanced Time Billed

Every law firm fears the under-reporting of billable time. Panoramic has a feature to elp lawyers reconstruct their day in order to capture all billable time associated with delegated tasks. A Reconstruct My Day will remind lawyers of tasks and activities related to their assigned work as a reminder to have a complete billing record.

Panoramic – Reconstruct My Day Feature


The Facts

Available modules include corporate M&A capital markets litigation and finance. Six other matter types will have matter maps at a high-level but not the same granularity. The platform is most robust for subscribers to the Elite 3E platform. Firms on Elite Enterprise can get access to some of the Panoramic functionality but not the time building and profitability tools.

Matter maps are currently available for four major practice areas: Mergers and Acqusitions, Capital Markets, Litigation and Fiance. High level matter maps will also be available for six additional practices.

Additional information  about Thomson Reuters Panoramic is available:









The American Association of Law Libraries has been supporting free access to Pacer information for nearly two decades. This week they joined with 15 organization and signed a letter calling for passage of H.R. 6714 the Electronic Records Reform Act. In addition to requiring free access to the federal dockets and documents, the legislation  directs the Administrative Office of the US Courts to consolidate the Case Management/Electronic Case Files system into a single system.  Here is the AALL press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact: Rod Hughes

(610) 559-7585 Ext. 101


AALL Calls on Congress to Improve Access to
Electronic Records of the Federal Court System


CHICAGO – Feb. 13, 2019 — The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is advocating for the passage of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. This legislation would, for the first time, allow free access to electronic federal court records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and improve the efficiency and transparency of the courts.

AALL coordinated a letter signed by 15 other organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Data Coalition, and the Project on Government Oversight—urging passage of the bill.

“Access to the law, and information about the law, is the cornerstone of any democracy. The American Association of Law Libraries has long advocated for no-fee access to federal court records through PACER, and the Electronic Court Records Reform Act would finally make that vision a reality,” said Femi Cadmus, president of AALL. “Eliminating PACER fees will improve transparency of the courts and allow law libraries to preserve and provide access to court records. We urge Congress to enact this legislation.”

The Electronic Court Records Reform Act would:

  • Consolidate the case management/electronic case files system and require all documents in the system be searchable, machine-readable and available to the public and to parties before the court free of charge
  • Protect private information, requiring the courts to redact any information prohibited from public disclosure

AALL has a long history of advocating for no-fee access to PACER, dating back to the early 2000s when the association worked closely with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman on language that was added to the E-Government Act of 2002 to direct the Judicial Conference to charge PACER fees “only to the extent necessary.” Most recently, AALL joined the American Civil Liberties Union and several other organizations on an amicus brief in response to National Veterans Legal Services Program et al v. United States of America supporting the idea that the First Amendment guarantees the public a right of access to judicial records through PACER. The case is currently before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

About AALL

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is the only national association dedicated to the legal information profession and its professionals. Founded in 1906 on the belief that people—lawyers, judges, students, and the public—need timely access to relevant legal information to make sound legal arguments and wise legal decisions, its more than 4,100 members are problem solvers of the highest order. AALL fosters the profession by offering its members knowledge, leadership, and community that make the whole legal system stronger. For more information, visit

Two years ago Lexis launched Lexis Answers which leverages AI to deliver responses to natural language research queries with a declarative statement of law with supporting citations. Since that time there have been intriguing references in the legal tech press to the development of Lexis chatbots. Lexis pulled back the curtain on their new chatbox “Lexis Research Assistant” at a press event held during LegalWeek in New York last month.

Lexis Research Assistant Chatbot

What If Alexa Went to Law School?

Serena Wellen who works at Lexis Labs introduced her demo of the bot with the question: “What if legal research was Continue Reading Lexis Prepares to Launch a Research Bot –  And a CourtLink Makeover

I was a panelist on one of the two American Association of Law Libraries sponsored panels at ALM’s LegalWeek. June Liebert, Cheryl Smith. Cynthia Brown and reviewed the life cycle of technology adoption from product selection through testing, marketing, training and measuring adoption. Lawrence Colletti, executive Producer at Legal Talk Network invited us to sit for an interview. Listen to the podcast below –

From Conversation to Conversion Panel at LegalWeek

 Episode Notes

Many lawyers may not know they need a new product, but their support staff is always on the lookout for technology that will keep the firm running at its best. Laurence Colletti hosts this On The Road report with a panel of law librarians about their presentation about getting lawyers to use new tools. They discuss how they select products through research, testing, promotion, and review. Through demonstrations of use and data, they are able to show lawyers what tools will help them get the best results for their clients.

June Liebert is the firmwide director of library and research services at Sidley Austin LLP.

Jean P. O’Grady is currently senior director of information, research & knowledge at DLA Piper US, LLP.

Cheryl Smith is director of information services at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

Cynthia Brown is director of research services for Littler Mendelson.

Continue Reading Legal Talk Network: AALL Members Interviewed at LegalWeek On Driving Lawyer Technology Adoption