Law Firm Information Professional Elected to the AALL Executive Board

Congratulations to Jean O’Grady, Director of Research & Knowledge Services at DLA Piper on her election to Board member of the 2017-2018 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Executive Board.

As a blogger for Dewey B Strategic Jean has always championed the roles of private law firm information professionals and she has been active for many years in AALL and the Private Law Libraries and Information Professionals-Special Interest Section of AALL. We are proud of her and know she will be a great spokesperson on the Board for law firm librarians and all law librarians and legal information professionals.

New Vendor on the Block: An Interview with co-Founders of Start-up Company Clause

An interview with Houman Shadab and Peter Hunn of startup company Clause.

What is your background?

Clause was co-founded by Houman Shadab and Peter Hunn. Houman is a former BigLaw attorney turned professor of financial law. He has always had an interest in technology, and in recent years increasingly focused on how recent rapid advances in technology can impact business law. Peter read for multiple law degrees in the UK, worked in private equity, and was involved in startups that were funded by leading accelerator programs.

Why did you create this product?

We created this product to bring contracts into the 21st Century by connecting them to the physical world that surrounds them. This means that legal contracts are able to respond to dynamic and data-driven changes. Doing so will help to automate commercial processes, significantly reduce inefficiencies, and create new business models. Contracts unfortunately still remain largely unchanged from how they’ve been for millennia: static documents that capture parties’ agreements at a point in time.

What was missing from the market and how do you think your product will address/solve this need?

What is currently missing from the market is: (a) a way for parties’ contractual and broader commercial relationships to reflect, respond to, and monitor, in real-time, the changing world around them and (b) a system that can extensibly work with the other services that enterprises and attorneys use.

Clause offers a revolutionary new contracting paradigm that uses proprietary technology developed over the last year to enable commercial contracts to ‘come alive’ and autonomously manage themselves in response to the state of the physical world through real-time data from the Internet of Things, data streams or APIs. For example, when a manufacturer orders parts and there are a lot more defects than expected, an autonomous contract will reduce the invoice price, extend the warranty coverage, and refund payments automatically. An autonomous legal contract can also search for and replace an existing supplier in response to persistent part defects. But these contracts can also help suppliers: severe weather conditions or an earthquake that delays delivery or drives up supply costs could immediately be reflected in a price increase or revised delivery schedule. Ultimately, autonomous contracts create value for both parties by enabling pricing and other terms to instantaneously adjust in response data analytics, including about profit margins, delivery times, and the correlation between sales and location. This helps to solve the pervasive business and contract management problem of contracts being inflexible and not reflecting the changing world around them.

What are the future plans for your product as it relates to helping with attorney’s transactional documents?

Attorneys’ transactional documents will become a more integrated part of their clients’ business by being plugged into and reflecting the company’s current operations. Our product will help lawyers know the status of contract performance and history in real-time and thereby help them to advise their clients with respect to contract compliance, re-negotiations, and their standing in case a dispute arises.

How can law librarians/legal information professionals partner with you and what would be the benefits of the partnership?

We can partner by integrating our platform with developments that impact contracting, from transactional trends to legal developments that may require new terms and structures or undermine enforceability.

Have you or do you plan to attend events or exhibit your product at any upcoming law library, legal, or legal technology association meetings?

Yes, we are planning on attending several events in 2017. We would be happy to demonstrate to the AALL.

For more information about Clause read The World’s First ‘IoT-Enabled’ Legal Contract and feel free to contact them via their blog: or Email: or follow them on Twitter: @clauseHQ

AALL Spectrum—Leader Profile of Library Services Director Sarah Mauldin

Sarah Mauldin, the library services director for Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, and a long-time member of the American Association of Law Libraries, was profiled in the latest AALL Spectrum.  Below are a few highlights of the interview, but you can read the full profile in the November/December 2016 issue of the Spectrum.

Sarah on demonstrating the library value’s to the firm:

When asked how she demonstrates the library’s value to the firm, Sarah responded that part of it is “being very good at what I do.”  She also “take[s] on projects that aren’t necessarily library projects, but are for the good of the fi­rm” and spends a lot of time onboarding new associates and summer associates.  According to Sarah, “My fi­rm has given me the opportunity to spend two hours training associates instead of the usual 10 to 20 minutes that many other librarians get. In the end, the associates look better and I have a wonderful selection of attorneys who understand when to seek my assistance, because eventually, they will be the leaders of the firm.”

Sarah on challenges facing law libraries:

“From a law ­firm standpoint, getting people to understand the balance of print and online – and that even if something costs more, there may be value in purchasing it – is a constant struggle. Intellectual property law is in all four of my offices; but I can’t have the print of everything in every office.  The goal is to provide the same services to people in outlying offices without spending any more money. You need to shepherd people through what’s best for the fi­rm and the future of the ­firm.”

Sarah thinks outsourcing is also a challenge. “It raises the question, what about our value? How can someone who doesn’t know the attorneys provide the same level of service? Having a professional law librarian who understands your ­firm’s business can’t be replaced.”

Sarah on being an effective leader:

“It’s also important to understand that you don’t know everything – be willing to appreciate the fact that someone might know more about something than you do. Every now and then you’re going to need to reach out to someone who knows more.”

Thanks to Sarah for being an active and dedicated member of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section of AALL.  As information professionals, we are well aware that we don’t always know everything, which is why it so essential to have a great network of law librarians and information professionals like Sarah available to us!

Forensic Business Development Research

Librarians are Uniquely Positioned to be at the Heart of This Growing Trend

By Eric Dewey, Principal at Group Dewey Consulting


Companies that run into legal issues, more often than not, had warning signs which provided clues to these developing problems. Warning signs are, almost by definition, easy to see in hindsight. The challenge is in accurately forecasting which of the many unusual business activities of a business, over time, are reliable predictors of future problems.  Fortunately, several industries have worn a path that law firms can use to help them develop these financial forecasting skills.  If law firms stay informed and pay close attention to these clues, they can gain a competitive business development advantage, learn a company’s business more deeply, and provide distinctive value to clients and prospects.  And librarians are well situated to be at the heart of this growing trend among law firms to gather rich data about their clients.

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More on ILTACON 2016—Tips and Tricks for Implementing an Expertise Location System at a Law Firm


By Julie Bozzell, Chief Research and Knowledge Services Officer, Hogan Lovells

Finding who knows what or has experience doing XYZ quickly in most law firms today is not as simple as we’d like it to be.  At ILTACON in August, I participated in a panel  titled “Finding a Needle in a Haystack with 21st Century Expertise Systems.”   Other panelists included Kate Cain, Director of Market Intelligence at Sidley Austin LLP; Marybeth Corbett, Director of Knowledge Asset Services at WilmerHale; and Joshua Fireman of Fireman & Company.

Our session included discussion of expertise v. experience, expertise systems and solutions, why firms need expertise location tools, and the fun range of challenges that exist with implementing any such solution in a law firm.  I emphasized to the audience the expertise librarians can bring to these projects based on their experience with, and love of, developing and managing controlled vocabularies and taxonomies.  Along with that, librarians and information professionals have a deep passion for searching and for refining search tools to better meet our discovery needs.

ILTACON Session Description:

Expertise location systems are ubiquitous at law firms of all sizes and are key solutions that help with everything from responding to client proposals to finding the right attorney to help with a particular matter. An effective expertise location tool can be a differentiator for law firms, yet they are tricky because of the need to pull together multiple sources of information while providing clear answers. People from the trenches will share their experiences of implementing various solutions and tips and tricks to keep in mind when you’re evaluating a new solution.

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