Law Firms & Technology – 6 Vital Questions to Ask Your Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Vendors

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By June Hsiao Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services at Sidley Austin LLP

New artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics products are flooding the legal information space, and they claim to do everything from predicting the outcome of a case to writing briefs.  What do you really know about these products and how they work?  How do you separate the valuable products from the junk?  As the global director of library and research services at a large law firm and a former law school CIO, my team and I are constantly finding and evaluating legal information tools that can improve the work that our firm does.

Many of the newest information tools employ a mysterious algorithm that magically spits out results.  Users are expected to trust that the vendor is providing results that are reliable, accurate and unbiased.  Blindly trusting a third party, however, is a risky move for any law firm.

The vendors may not be willing to release details about the algorithms they are using, but you can evaluate the data that goes into the algorithms to begin with.  I am also a former database programmer, so the concept of “garbage in, garbage out” is ingrained in me.  We need to understand what is going into these magical algorithms in order to evaluate what is coming out.  Continue reading

A 360 View: Essential Steps for a Successful Next-Gen Online Catalog Upgrade (Part 1 – System Selection)

By Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Knowledge & Research Services, Bose McKinney & Evans, LLP, and Michayla Sullivan, Knowledge & Research Services Specialist, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

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A mere thirty to forty years ago, albeit light years ago in terms of technology, most law firm libraries were converting from card catalogs to online catalogs. The records contained in those old online catalogs were largely bibliographic records for print titles. However, the balance of records in today’s online catalogs has shifted to primarily records for electronic titles. Due to this change, many law libraries may be contemplating upgrading to next-generation online catalog systems. Doing so entails several considerations and steps. Continue reading

With Thoughts of Spring, Come Thoughts of Training

The March/April 2017 AALL Spectrum is now available online from the American Association of Law Libraries, and it looks like baseball players aren’t the only ones focused on training this spring!  The issue features some great articles on training and on teaching legal technology, including some contributions by the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) Special Interest Section members.

Check out the articles below to see what PLLIP members have to say on best practices for effective training and education. Continue reading

Librarians and Vendors: Some Thoughts As Conference Season Approaches

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by Charles J. Lowry, enterprise sales representative for Fastcase

The poet Dante took great relish in describing the sign over the entrance to the underworld. There is a part of that sign that all vendors secretly fear is in the hearts of librarians as they contemplate the exhibit hall:

Per me si va ne la citta dolente,

Per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,

Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Inferno III.1-3

“Through me you enter into the grieving city; through me you enter into unending sorrow; through me you enter to be among a forsaken nation.” What I hope to do over the next few paragraphs is to offer a couple thoughts that might enable both librarians and vendors to appreciate the opportunities and challenges of the exhibit hall. These thoughts are based on years of experience, but it is my experience only. I make no claim to speak for all vendors or for any particular vendor, including my employer. Continue reading

LIBRARIAN, CONFERENCES, VENDORS AND EXHIBIT HALLS: PROFITING FROM PROXIMITY

handshakeChuck Lowry is an enterprise sales rep for Fastcase, the winner, with Hein, of the 2014 AALL new product of the year award. Chuck can be reached at 202.999.4975 or clowry@fastcase.com.

The other day, I got my thirty-year pin in the mail from AALL. Now this only poses a mid-life crisis for me if I am able to live to one hundred twenty-eight years of age, and my family history screams that such a span is unlikely. Still, I like to think that there may be some benefit to others in thinking about my experience dealing with law librarians, especially at conferences. Much of what I say will be obvious to those of you who have attended several conferences; if I am only able to help you express or articulate what you have learned from the conferences, that will perhaps be useful to some of our readers. Continue reading