The Fringe Legal Podcast is a collection of conversations with legal innovators on how to put ideas into practice. Each episode is a discussion with a change-maker who shares their ideas, insights, and lessons from their journey.
Reinventing Associate Training with Abdi Shayesteh (AltaClaro)
While technology races ahead, improving legal training and education has lagged behind. Law schools excel at teaching students the law, but critical and practical skills development is often lacking. With the traditional law firm apprenticeship model fading, junior lawyers frequently lack opportunities to gain hands-on experience.
Abdi Shayesteh, founder and CEO of the legal training platform AltaClaro, is on a mission to close this practical skills gap. Frustrated by the inefficiencies he experienced firsthand as a junior lawyer, Abdi has reinvented legal education and training. AltaClaro leverages experiential learning techniques rooted in education science to provide associates with hands-on practice on simulated legal matters.
[00:01:14] Abdi's early entrepreneurial experiences managing a cafe and starting a t-shirt business in college
[00:08:02] Why Abdi decided to start another company after previous exits
[00:10:25] Overview of what AltaClaro does
[00:17:38] Issues with the traditional law firm training model
[00:23:00] Explanation of the learning science principles AltaClaro leverages
[00:34:59] Training trends Abdi sees law firms requesting for 2023
Workflow Reimagined: How Generative AI Transforms Legal Operations
As part of our series of examining Generative AI in Practice, Fringe Legal spoke with Stephanie Corey, founder of legal operations consultancy UpLevel Ops, and Brandi Pack, UpLevel’s Legal Tech Analyst & AI Consultant. They share how legal teams can thoughtfully leverage generative AI to transform workflows, augment human skills, and futureproof roles. With proper governance and training, we can keep pace with the evolution of AI and maximize its potential.
[00:02:19] Getting early access to GPT-4
[00:08:00] How are the Uplevel Ops team grew adoption internally
[00:11:53] People don't care about AI[00:14:51] Why to document prompts[00:18:06] How are legal teams reacting to the changing landscape
[00:28:38] GenAI as a workflow tool[00:31:03] What's the future?
[00:34:16] Will my role be displaced?
[00:38:47] What one thing can organizations do to see immediate value from GenAI?
Moving Past The AI Hype - A Conversation With LexisNexis' Jeff Pfeifer
We sat down with Jeff Pfeifer, Chief Product Officer at LexisNexis during ILTACON 2023 to get his insights on legal AI progress, hype versus reality, increased law firm adoption, and the importance of demonstrating tangible benefits.
Navigating the legal AI hype cycle
AI’s potential to enhance legal workflows
Growing law firm interest and hands-on exploration
Avoiding the “trough of disillusionment”
Real-world benefits driving adoption over hype
Definely’s Blueprint for Disrupting Contract Workflows
In this episode of Fringe Legal, host Abhijat Saraswat interviews Nnamdi Emelifeonwu and Feargus MacDaeid, co-founders of legal tech startup Definely.
Definely creates software plugins to simplify drafting, reviewing, and analyzing legal contracts in Microsoft Word using AI/ML.
The idea originated from Feargus' need as a blind lawyer to access information in documents more easily.
They validated demand with a scrappy prototype and early pilots despite its flaws.
After leaving law firm jobs, their mission-driven approach focuses on access, efficiency, and transparency.
Their blueprint for innovation includes launching an MVP, inclusive design thinking, gathering user feedback, and carefully leveraging AI.
Maintaining ethics and reputation is central, not rushing new technology to market.
When solving problems for underserved groups, solutions often benefit everyone.
A framework for evaluating AI: accuracy and understanding real-world impacts.
Connect with Nnamdi Emelifeonwu
Connect with Feargus MacDaeid
Learn more about Definely
Decoding ESG: A Practical Guide for Legal Teams
ESG (environmental, social, governance) factors have become essential considerations for companies seeking to manage risk, attract investment, and operate sustainably.
Yet myths and misconceptions persist around what ESG is and how best to approach it. This leads many legal teams to view ESG as an amorphous compliance exercise rather than a strategic priority.
Recently on the Fringe Legal podcast, Abhijat Saraswat interviewed ESG expert Kai Gray, CEO of advisory firm Motiv, to demystify ESG and offer practical guidance for legal professionals. In this episode, learn what ESG means and how legal teams can pragmatically prioritize it. Get clarity on ESG frameworks, strategic rollout, and avoiding common pitfalls.
Why "New and Shiny" Tech Often Flops at Law Firms with India Preston
In this insightful episode of Fringe Legal, host Abhijat Saraswat has an in-depth discussion with India Preston, Director of Platform Solutions at legal tech startup Lupl. They delve into India's winding journey into legal project management, tactical approaches to driving adoption, and how to effectively challenge established processes.
India shares learnings and advice drawn from her diverse experiences - from helping build out Linklaters' LPM function from the ground up to make the leap to an early-stage legal tech startup. She provides a rare longitudinal view of how legal project management has evolved from a little-known concept in 2013 to a widely recognized, if still poorly understood, discipline today.
While LPM has gone from barely existing in 2013 to being commonly known today, there is still substantial room for education on how to apply it effectively. LPM principles empower lawyers to run matters like projects, but specialized LPM roles create incremental value on complex matters.
Project management qualifications alone don't cut it for legal project managers to be successful. Soft skills to integrate smoothly with lawyers and legal teams are just as important, if not more so. Technical skills can be learned on the job.
Identifying concrete problems that need solving is absolutely crucial before adopting any new solution or technology. Without an anchor in specific pain points, adoption will struggle no matter how exciting the new solution seems at first glance.
Rollouts of new technology or processes should start small and be targeted before expanding more widely across a firm. The tendency may be to go big with a splashy firmwide launch, but this rarely succeeds.
Resources like use case guides, template libraries, and informal user communities help drive adoption by making the novel feel familiar. However, these need to be grounded in solving real firm problems.
Process mapping workshops - with the help of an unbiased external facilitator - can challenge status quo thinking and processes in extremely constructive ways. Just asking "why" repeatedly can unearth entrenched inefficiencies.
Actionable Takeaway: Start Small Before Going Wide
Explore in detail at Fringe Legal.
THIS IS GREAT CONTENT!
I recently crossed paths with Fringe Legal in a Mastermind Group - AND CANNOT GET ENOUGH! I keep an episode queued up for any time I need a bit of creativity/inspiration... it has not failed me yet! Keep em' comin!
Great launch series
Ab has put together some great content here and pulls off the trick of getting people to talk enough about themselves to make it easy to relate to what they’re saying.