November 2017 Business Meeting Round Up

The meeting was held at Berghoff Restaurant (17 W Adams St.), Thursday, November 16, 2017.

CALL President Clare Willis welcome the membership. There were 85 attendees at the meeting.

Meeting Sponsor

CALL Vice President Joe Mitzenmacher introduced and thanked the meeting sponsor, Bloomberg Law. Peter Kaiser spoke on behalf of Bloomberg and introduced the team members joining him at the meeting. Peter thanked the membership and spoke briefly about Bloomberg.

Meeting Speaker

CALL Vice President Joe Mitzenmacher introduced the meeting’s speaker, Casey Flaherty. He is a leader in the legal technology movement and the creator of the legal technology assessment creator. He is an ABA Legal Rebel and the AALL Champion of the Year and a self-described uber nerd. He is the founder of Procertas and is a legal operations consultant.

Flaherty began his talk by surveying the audience about using “control f” as a search function. In a room full of librarians, it was not surprising that audience was familiar with the tool. He commented that at a typical talk the audience is less familiar with the tool. He made the point that everything is obvious once you know the answer. He then went on to discuss digital natives. He talked about how young people are more comfortable with technology, but that does not mean proficiency in the office. He provided the example of giving his skills assessment test in a law school where 1 out 15 passed the proficiency test.  Flaherty talked about how skills are not intuitive. Apps, Google, and Apple products make using technology seem easy and efficient because the products are streamlined and easy to use on a basic level. However, as a general matter medium-complex skills drop significantly. He used advanced Google searching to support this argument and stated that just because you have the tools does not mean you know how to use them.

Flaherty went on to discuss technology and legal services. He commented that legal service is getting more and more complex and the demand for legal services has quadrupled since the 1970s. Lawyers are moving in-house, and there are more in-house attorneys than in AM 200 law firms. Flaherty is interested in changing behavior and feedback loops so legal service delivery improves. His goal is to change the way people think about lawyering. He would like to see a change where we think about the system as a whole, not the traditional view of the lawyer doing one thing in a vacuum. One way he does this is to use business language when presenting at law firms (key performance indicator, return on investment).  He also talks to lawyers about how to have data driven conversations.  Flaherty works with in-house counsel through the Association of Corporate Counsel and he works with law firms and bar associations.

He has tested associates and paralegals technology skills in AM 100 firms, and he believes firms need to get better at technology. He finds that firms blame their IT departments, and they often tell him that their solution to improve is to form IT committees. Basically, attorneys are using tools that they have, but they are not using the tools well. This is why Flaherty created the technology assessment test. He has found that nobody is teaching people how to maximize the tools that they already have. He pointed out that there is no “easy button” for technology, and even Google offers six week courses on Google searching. He noted that there is a trade-off between depth and ease of use. He noted that availability does not equal learning, and that learning takes time. An investment in training must be made to close the gap. Law schools and firms should invest in competence based learning because technical skills are not learned in the lecture format. He ended by stating that this is a solvable problem, and anyone interested in learning more about his assessment or services should contact him.

Committee Announcements

Before turning the mic over to the committees, Clare thanked Webmaster Britnee Cole for help with resolving the listserv issue. CALL will be using a new listserv provider and the switch will be occurring on November 17th.

Membership Co-Chair Lucy Robbins announced that a new networking tool has been added to Wild Apricot so that members may upload photos to their profiles. She also reminded people to make sure that their profiles are up-to-date.

Donna Tuke made an announcement on behalf of the Community Service Committee sponsored organization, the Center for Economic Progress. She said the organization is looking volunteers to help prepare tax forms, to be credit geeks (help families improve their credit scores), or to be a financial coach. She urged members to take a look at the organization’s website for volunteer opportunities.

The business meeting door prizes were donated by LexisNexis, and the winners were Nan Norton from Loyola and Susan Cochard from Perkins & Coie.