Data-Driven Legal Evolution with Tom Baldwin, CEO of Entegrata

Tom Baldwin, CEO of Entegrata, discusses the legal industry’s transformative journey of data integration and AI adoption, the evolution from gut instinct to data-driven decisions, the critical role of data governance, and how law firms are maturing their data practices:

  • Firms want to break their data out of silos to see an integrated picture
  • Demand for data-driven insights and improved productivity is climbing
  • Firms are investing in data scientists, IT, and innovation groups as they realize the potential competitive pressures due to AI
  • KM programs are critical for the effective utilization of AI
  • Firms must strike the right balance between AI and traditional processes and technologies and acknowledge that AI adoption will take time and involve a gradual transition.
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Episode Guests

Tom Baldwin

CEO | Entegrata
With 25 years in the legal industry, Tom is a trusted advisor in legal data, tech, and knowledge management. Consulting with tom firms globally, he shapes data strategy and drives transformative change. As the founder of Entegrata, Tom specializes in solving complex data challenges for law firms.

Bill Bice

CEO | nQ Zebraworks
Recognized as a legal tech industry visionary, receiving Thomson’s innovator of the year award. Founder of ProLaw Software (acquired by Thomson Reuters), West km (used by 70% of the top 1000 law firms worldwide) and Exemplify (acquired by Bloomberg Law).


Bill Bice: Tom, it’s great to be here with you.

Tom Baldwin: Thanks, Bill. Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Bill Bice: We have been working on challenges and law firms for a long time. Both share a real passion for data. You’ve gone off and started something new, so why? Why? Why have you done that?

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. The genesis for this started pre-COVID several years ago in our prior consulting practice. We started getting queries from several law firms from their leadership teams, not just from a CIO or CKO or CMO, but the managing partner of the chairperson. The leadership was asking questions that were stressing the firm in their ability to turn around prompt responses and the leadership of the firm started to become more inquisitive and recognizing that whether it was pressure from clients or competitors they wanted to make decisions that were rooted in data and not so much gut instinct. And we started doing some custom projects to build data platforms and data lakes. And I realize that there was an opportunity to bring something to the market that would allow firms to be able to take advantage of this technology more cost-effectively and more quickly. And so wrote a business plan for it serendipitously right around the same time I did that. A good buddy of mine that I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known you, Andrew Sager, reached out. And we collaborated many years ago when he started relativity. We got together and he offered to fund the business and then COVID hit, and I got cold feet and finally realized that if I didn’t do it now, I wasn’t going to do it. So, we kicked back up conversations and started the business earlier this year.

Bill Bice: Well, I’m glad you’ve jumped in and you’re doing it. You needed to go create your own thing. It’s awesome.

Tom Baldwin: It’s been a minute. Yeah, it’s been a journey to get to this point, but certainly, something I’ve always had in mind to try and take a shot at running my own thing.

Bill Bice: And we, we’ve been talking about how, like, firms’ perspective on data, I mean it’s different today like there’s a level of attention here that. Wasn’t necessarily what we were seeing before.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. I mean if you go back even, I will say 5, seven years. Umm, firms weren’t really looking at their business the same way they are today. And it’s not just younger law firm leaders coming into power. It’s new leadership of any kind, realizing that there are too many market pressures that are forcing them to look at things differently. You know the old days, you know? Hey, we raised rates 6% every year we send bills, we get paid, there’s a Q4 collection push that we must factor into our cash flow and that’s really our business model. And for a long time for his kid. Get away with that. And still, there are firms today that you know can do that and be successful. But for most firms, they’re recognizing that they must look at data differently. They’re seeing it again. Their client base is pushing them harder. Where they’re seeing, you know, competition from not only their own peers but also Alsop’s and the BIG4 investments in AI obviously has triggered a lot of conversation. And AI is only as good as the data you throw at it. So certainly, there’s interest in getting their arms around their data for those kinds of use cases. But yeah, it’s been fascinating to kind of look back over the last quarter century, which is scary to think about what changes have I seen or witnessed and certainly we’re always behind in legal a little bit, and it’s I think it’s finally come to fruition that law firms want to run with better data and have decisions that are rooted in data. And that trickles down to, you know, how the rest of the C-Suite and the leadership team operate. They’re either individual administrative departments or business units. It’s been fascinating, and I only see that continuing. There’s, I mean, firms have been realizing that they needed to get their arms around their data. Many firms have built their own data platforms and a variety of different technologies. Certainly, Microsoft has made a huge splash around data.

I think that’s also helped socialize the notion that data is important. If you watched Build last spring, I used to be a developer conference, and they may as well just rebrand its data in AI because that’s all it was. And so, Microsoft made a big splash around data that has created a buzz that’s helped law firm leadership start to turn their attention towards it. And firms finally getting comfortable being in the cloud, maybe to life all about timing two years ago, this would have been a very different conversation to put all your data in Azure. But now, firms are a lot more comfortable with the notion that they can do that and do it securely and successfully.

Bill Bice: Yeah, it’s, I mean, it’s about, uh, a drum beat that I’ve been on for a long time, which is, which is integration, right? You have all these separate information stores and a firm, and so we’re talking about is, is how do you pull that together, make sense of it. Rationalize all that information.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, it’s hard. We don’t have big data in law firms. We have broad data. We have maybe 20 or 30 lines of business systems that are firms may rely on to run some partial portion of their business. And even yesterday, I was on a call with the firm, and we like to call these big tent projects. It can’t just be marketing driving it. It can’t just be finance or HR. They’ve all got to get together, and one of the conversation points was, well, the way we and finance just decide what an FTE is different than what HR thinks about FT. I said, well, we can handle that either way, but maybe this is an opportunity for the firm to decide and have one point of clarity on how we consider FTEs and lawyers. And so those integration points we’ve largely been working in these silos, and that’s been to your point earlier, Bill, it’s been adequate to operate that way for some time. And we’ve built, I like to call data debt. There’s a technology that we’ve built up data, debt, and law firms. We’ve got all these silos of data, and if you ask a firm how many lawyers they have, the answer always depends on who you ask, right? If I ask HR or accounting marketing, they’ve all got different answers because they’ve all gone through silence.

Bill Bice: We got some lawyers to tighten them. The closet? We just, we don’t know. We don’t know what’s going on.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, yeah.

Bill Bice: I love that term data debt. That’s awesome.

Tom Baldwin: I made that one up the other day, so I’ll stick with it. And, yeah, the integration challenge is not trivial, and we’ve got many robust systems that are easily integrated. And then we’ve got some more. We still have a lot of legacy mom-and-pop vendors and legal rights that we all rely on. And so challenges are bringing up well-known and popular systems and ones that aren’t quite as mature and trying to rationalize all that and give a firm a single source of truth. There’s a lot of ugly, unsexy data engineering work behind the scenes to do all that.

Bill Bice: Yeah, your perspective is about breaking all those silos down, which you’ve got this mix of cloud and on Prem, and the work may not be sexy, but the end results pretty sexy when you get everything pulled together in one place.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, I mean absolutely. And you start thinking about the use cases.
We talked about law firm leadership becoming much more inquisitive around data. I was talking to a CEO when I started the business, and she said, Tom, you know, just this week, I got asked by our leadership team. So that’s the managing partner executive committee. Hey, we want to return to work compliance report, and everyone in that room thought it was just a push button. Hey, it’s technology, it’s data. Certainly, you have access to it. They didn’t realize that that means card swipe reader data from many different systems. That means geolocated login data and mashed up with HR. That’s not easy, right? The report sexy the reports. Cool. But to get that together, it’s not easy, and the next day, the same CEOs asked for a spin on a de. I reported from a client that, again, they think the push button is not, so all that hard engineering work. Can yield these cool results, whether responding to those kinds of ad hoc requests or building what the other thing we’re seeing is that firms are trying to sort of. Elevate their internal financial reporting and use Power BI more meaningfully. And there are lots of vendors out there doing financial reporting but being able to have a single source of truth that’s disconnected a little bit from the line of the business system. There are individual limitations around reporting and saying I just have all the data now, and I can point Power BI at it and run any kind of report I want. It’s cool and makes it look modern and beautiful. Umm, yeah, those are very interesting use cases. The other thing we’re seeing firms do is lean into many martec Rev tech solutions that help identify revenue opportunities or experience management systems.

You know, colloquially, I call them data-hungry systems, right? So whether it’s in an uh foundation experience management implementation or something like origami, those all require a heavy dose of data from lots of different places, and those by themselves are big data projects and imagine a world where I don’t have to build up yet another data silo and creating data debt now that I’ve got a set, yet another system that requires its own, you know, combination of people, organization and matter data, I can do it one time and have it power everything in the future. It’s compelling, and then, of course, all the AI stuff, right? So, right now, firms are looking at AI and very niche use cases, which makes perfect sense. A lot of them are around work products and documents; there is a whole Greenfield opportunity of use cases for AI that are on the what I call, we call it the practice of law on the business of law is a little underserved in these use cases, and there’s lots of low hanging fruit to solve for some really simple problems to make lawyers more productive that don’t infringe on their ability to build time that you can solve for once you’ve loaded up a good chunk of your firm’s data and point it at an AI tool in a secure way, of course.

Bill Bice: Well, you’re capturing there. One of my favorite subjects is the importance of data management for AI, which I think gets skipped over a little bit, which is great. Great data is what powers useful AI.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. And it’s one of the nice things about the approach we’re taking: you get to see the best way to say this, that it’s hard to do data governance in a vacuum.
It’s really hard to do proper data hygiene on a sheet of paper in a conference room or a memo. You’ve got to see the data. You’ve got to touch it. You’ve got to identify where the bodies are buried, and sometimes. You don’t even know where the bodies are buried?
I was doing a project for a big firm before I started the business, and unbeknownst to firm leadership U M3, different departments have their own industry taxonomy codes.
So marketing was using one set of codes to describe matters that was not at all the same set of codes that accounting was using, and that at all said, the same set of codes that intake was using, and nobody realized that there’s such a big firm that they didn’t talk to each other. And so we only through some exploration as a group, did we identify this is a before you load up all this you all got to sort this out, no software is going to fix this for you.
Well, maybe you know Sally might help a little bit, but you know you don’t find those problems out until you have a problem to try and solve and go after. And so, I feel strongly that strong systems are great, but you must have governance, and you’ve got to have a way to illuminate some of these pain points, and some of the best ways to do that is to crack open your data and see what’s there. And oftentimes, there are things that you just aren’t simply aware of as an organization until you dig into it.

Bill Bice: Yeah, I mean, we’re here less than a year into the chat GPT experiment, which is, you know, brought all this attention on AI. Everybody’s already using AI it sounds like this is a brand-new thing, but every law firm is using AI right this second. Uh, it’s just useful AI because you don’t call it AI. It’s like it’s doing something. What I find fascinating about this is that for a lot of firms, I think continuing their investment in KM would be the best thing they could be doing around AI right now as opposed to the new generative AI i.e. Things that everybody’s excited about, which are going to have playoffs down the road, but it’s just so early that it’s really hard to make great decisions about that.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. If you look at and read what most folks that have been successful in any AR journey, they’re curating a very niche subset of work product for the AI to work off against. That can be a really hard effort if you don’t have good Cam already in place that’s been curating, you know, a library of precedence and forms, and know-how that you can draw from starting that from scratch is hard. And maintaining it, that’s OK, great. So now something some changes in the law have happened. Who’s staying on top of those changes to make sure that the models that the AI is trained on are the documents the AI is training against? And I know everyone says you don’t need a lot of. You still need documents if you’re going to feed it a subset to be able to answer very specific questions around specific types of documents. You must make sure those documents that you’re pointing to the AI adder are up to date, and someone has to stay on top of that. And again, firms that have mature, well-functioning KM programs already have a mechanism in place to make sure that someone staying taught on top of changes in the law and makes sure that what they’re feeding is the best of the best of the firm. And you know, without that in place, then you’re starting from Ground Zero, and that is a really hard lift. You see firms jumping into this building, AI committees, and they’re illegal. We’re so overreactive. So stuff right? So it’s like, OK, we need an AI community. Great. Let’s do that, and they should. But then the new car small wares off, and then six months later, that same person who’s been given sort of like Wink, Wink, billable credit to maintain this thing now actually has real work to do.
And they are not slow, and so they let that kind of slide, and then you get the loose nation in AI, or it’s not the work product set you’re feeding, it’s not up to date. And then there’s a problem with it. And then everyone says, oh my gosh, this thing is not as accurate as we thought. The whole thing now is trash. We should stop. Well, no, that overreaction is not good either. So, there’s got to be this balance, but your spot-on Bill, like good, great, good Cam programs that have a discipline in place to maintain and update collections, is super valuable right now. And certainly, we’re AI is, that’s probably the path to success on the practice of law side is having those curated subsets of work product that you can feed it. Otherwise, you have to go find it and have someone maintain it, and that’s not easy.

Bill Bice: Yeah, it’s neither the hype nor the backlash. It’s the. It’s navigating through that.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah.

Bill Bice: And what you’re really focused on is, is, building that central source of truth.
And you’ve talked a lot about bringing the data together, but it’s also going back in the other direction. Once, you’ve created that, you then want to leverage that data and feed it back into your systems.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. So, one of the things that’s really exciting is to be kind of rehydrate systems. So, if I take my industry code example, right? So, if I have a CRM system and accounting system and an intake system and all of a sudden, I build this new source of truth that has the one industry code that is the one above all, how do we get that updated record of data back into the CRM system back into the? Because as great as a data lake might be, you’re still going to have a lot of use cases where people are going directly and will go to those lines of business systems directly to run reports. People are still going to go to foundations around reports out of it. People are still going to go out of the elite for data.
They’re going to go to the line of business system in perpetuity, so being able to build a mechanism by which I can rehydrate or add data that wasn’t previously in there is exciting third-party data.

Bill Bice: Because you’ve been enhanced the data as part of that process. So why?

Tom Baldwin: That’s right.

Bill Bice: Why don’t we make the data better back at its source?

Tom Baldwin: Exactly. And then you get sort of this virtuous loop, right, where all of a sudden, over time, it’s not something you can do like that, but over time you start getting this virtuous loop where there’s a nice synchronicity around how data starts and line of business system gets into the central data platform, we’ll call it. And then other data gets improved, and then I can kind of just keep that flow going. one thing we didn’t talk about earlier, but I think it’s also important, is the improvement around third-party data enrichment law firms. All these systems rely on data; you’re only as good as the data you bring to the party, and many firms are not bringing the best data to bear. And so, how do I accelerate through some of that? Lots of firms subscribed to lots of third-party data feeds.
You know, one of the most, you know, kind of common ones we hear about today is how I can take a feed from like a Thomson Reuters or Alexis or any kind of docket feed in enrich, something like foundation, which is a great starting point. Umm, one of the one of the big use cases. You see it? Every firm that has litigation is something as simple as Hey, it used to see these emails all the time when I was on that side of the fence. How many cases have we had in front of Judge Faulk? How many cases have we won a French front of Judge Falk?
How many cases have we had in the motion for summary judgment granted for a judge’s fault? You pray that someone responds to an email, but that doesn’t always happen.
You can take these feeds from a third-party vendor that has all the docket data, especially in federal court cases where it’s all E filed and get that data fed in, and it’s normalized and consistent when you talk to the API vendors that sell this stuff.

The biggest challenge when they go to firms is the firms don’t know how to accept that data, put it somewhere, and rationalize it in a system that lawyers can use. And so, getting this data into something like foundations. Great, but what’s even better is getting that same data appended to a master central data platform that can feed the foundation, right? So, your idea about, hey, if I’ve updated the data lake or a data platform, I can then take, oh, now we have a judge attached to this client matter number that we didn’t have before because we didn’t collect it for whatever reason. Now that judge data can be appended to the foundation, it can go to some Power BI reports. It can go into the CRM system and can go to any downstream system I want. So, it’s that kind of 1 to many enrichments concept that we’re seeing more firms get excited about.

Bill Bice: It is the whole theme of this is that we’re talking about maturation and how firms are viewing data to make decisions, right? That’s what’s driving this need we need better data so we can make better decisions. Please.

Tom Baldwin: Absolutely. And the maturation’s happening at a few levels.
So it’s not just technology; it’s not just processes. We’re seeing firms invest in people, right?
So whether it’s data scientists, sometimes that can be viewed as a cart before the horse dilemma. But I know a very large firm is about to announce it. Chief. What they’re calling a chief digital offers their which is a Chief Data officer. You got folks like Cindy Barrett Frost Brown Todd. That is a chief data and innovation officer. And so not all these firms have to be, you know, 3000 lawyers, global firms. They can be firms with a domestic footprint, with four or 500 lawyers. You, see? What firms are doing, like Fisher Phillips down in Atlanta, right where they’ve gone all in on data? They’ve died their own data platform on Prem. They didn’t go to the cloud. They’re doing amazing things, and that’s a combination of collaboration amongst all the different chiefs that the firm is coming up with some strong governance policies, having a person spearheading it. So, they’ve got people, they’ve got the classic people process technology, you kind of game down, you’re seeing more and more firms lean into investing in people having some concepts around data literacy is important, like helping firms understand the power of data and also what it takes to maintain and update. It’s not. Everybody thinks it’s just a push-button thing that happens in the back office somewhere, and that’s not really the way it works. And so we are seeing, you know, a huge increase in firms. Uh. Understanding the power of data and what’s needed to make it successful for them, they recognize that it’s more than just technology. It’s more than just hiring a data scientist and blessing them with the ability to go grab stuff. It’s all the above.

Bill Bice: Yeah. I have been impressed with the investments that firms have now made in IT and innovation groups and the results that those teams are producing. I mean, if when it gets to the point where you can hit a button and get a result, that means somebody did a whole lot of work to make that button.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. Yeah, that’s. I mean, that’s the sad part. At the end of it, it is just if it’s done right, it is just a push button, and all this magic will seem super simple, and I guess that is the sign of a job well done. When you make something that’s complex, it seems easy.

Bill Bice: Yeah, it it’s another uh, you know, that investment is paying off in defining workflows in firms, which is very similar to the data management issue, which is if you know if you’re not doing good data management, if you’re not defining your processes and documenting them and it’s really hard for any of these things to pay off.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, it’s. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this topic, and workflow workflows are if it if it’s not one it’s 1B in terms of where firms are looking at using, whether it’s AI or some other kind of supplemental technology. I would also say that this is one of those classic conundrums that firms find themselves in where you want law firms to invest money in something that’s going to automate a process. And when you say automation, that means fewer billable hours and potentially less revenues. So, you really have to be thoughtful about how you look at your business model, and that’s the other thing.
I think what’s interesting is we are not saying it’s a seed change, but when you look at process improvement or process automation, you look at workflow. You know you don’t want cannibalizing revenue while investing money, right? So, you kind of like how you’re doing, you’re having a double negative. I’m paying money to make less money.
That’s not a great business model, right? So how do I identify opportunities to think about things differently, whether it’s fixed being more work aligning partner compensation to something that resembles? Umm, you know? A nod towards profitability rather than just bottom-line revenue and hours, which doesn’t lend itself to firms wanting to automate.
And, you know, make things more efficient. So, it’s you’re seeing all these sorts of things work. We’re kind of putting the car together as we’re driving it down the freeway in some instances, and that’s tricky. Still, these kinds of events forced firms to reflect on themselves and identify where the soft spots are, and workflows a huge, a huge contributor to how we think about enabling these technologies and how firms are thinking about their kind of internal processes.

Bill Bice: Yes, it’s more complicated on the practice of law side. You mentioned the business of the law side, which has huge opportunities and all kinds of automation upside, and that’s all. That’s all when.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, it’s funny. I and maybe because it’s because I’m not a lawyer and am more and more focused on the business side that these compel me. But I also think part of the perk of a business of law use case is that you’re not infringing on the intellectual property that lawyers hold dear to themselves, right? There’s always sort of the skepticism that you see with lawyers anytime you try and automate anything they do.
And, umm, the business of lost side skirts all that, right? So, I’m not. I’m not infringing on the lawyer’s enabled right to bill time, right? But there are so many interesting use cases, and I’ll just rattle off a couple that I think are interesting. Something as simple as the annual forecasting and kind of revenue process that CFOs, CEOs, and management partners go through. It’s much more art than science, and you can use many tools to help put some more meat on the bone in terms of forecasting where revenue is coming from the client’s life cycle. Umm, what can? This is a big one that I’m focused on, and it’s a long play.
But what contributes? What characteristics contribute to an associate that’s going to be both effective and stay at the firm? You think about the churn that you see, every law firm and how much they spend to, you know, recruit, train and finally get I think most people say third year they’re kind of breaking even and then by the 5th year, they’re a lot of them are gone.

Bill Bice: Right.

Tom Baldwin: That’s a terrible model, right?

Bill Bice: You did ask me. Yeah.

Tom Baldwin: Right. So, imagine if I can just dial that back a bit and identify and advance students that meet certain cultural criteria that work at my firm, right? Imagine that at the partner level firm, from a lateral recruiting standpoint, I think most firms would say that they’re if they’re at 5050 between successful and not. And that’s 7 feet for every lateral partner you bring on. I don’t care how big your firm is or your PPP. That’s a 7-figure investment between the head fees. You’re paying the recruiter the salary of that person all the time. The partner spends voting on the person interviewing them. They probably, if they’re a big partner or bringing on a team with them, imagine just being able to say, hey, I’m going to increase your batting average by 10 points. That’s a huge number for a big firm identifying cross-selling opportunities anomaly detection. This is fascinating. You know, going back in time, there are certain events where our CIO has been caught, you know, doing fraudulent activities with vendors. There have been instances, most recently in the press, where you’ve seen senior executives asking people in it to do certain things on the systems that they don’t normally do. Imagine having a system that can tell you or alert you to these sorts of fraudulent activities that might be happening within the firm. Umm, you don’t? It’s not. They’re not always the most, you know, like sexy, exciting stuff. But some of these things are important. So, there’s all doing things. It’s just as simple as auto-classifying a matter by area of law, integrating with Sally, for example. We can help support many processes that are more on the business side that won’t infringe on what the lawyers are doing that I think can have an equal impact on the firm’s success. UM, alongside some of those practice of law, use cases that seem to be saturating the market. Right now, there’s a whole other side of the fence that you’ll start to see more involvement from firms and vendors.

Bill Bice: Yeah, I’ve. I’ve always loved the business of law. Uh, side? Maybe it has something to do with those reasons. I mean, I’m deep into billing workflow these days, and it’s amazing how much data is in there that you can take advantage of that you can make; you can move the needle for firms by leveraging data they’ve already got and just making those processes better.

Tom Baldwin: Or you’ve been in this business a minute or two. What are you?
What is the biggest epiphany regarding data over the last couple of years?

Bill Bice: Well, I think the most important thing is the change in the view of its importance, which you have been talking about. I mean, we have, you know, there’s the joke in this market of you know this is this we’re running a law firm here, not a business, and that is, you know, that’s changing, and that’s a very positive thing. So, you’re seeing a lot; you talked about new leadership coming in and asking new questions, which makes a huge difference. I’m seeing that across firms of all sizes. Hence, it’s not just a large firm thing. It’s not just a mid-size firm thing; it is a change happening in the market. I think it needs to happen because we’re seeing the combination of AI. Regulatory change is the first thing I’ve seen that has a long-term potential to create competitive pressure for law firms, unlike anything they have felt before. Now is the time to be building that infrastructure and foundation so that you’re in the right place when you know when that fight.

Tom Baldwin: Interestingly, you mentioned sort of the long term when adults, as someone was mentioning the last time, we saw something as white-hot as an I was blockchain. You don’t hear much about blockchain anymore. But for a minute, that was all people could talk about. And I feel like to your point, I feel like this is different. I don’t think this is going to be as big of an impact as we think, but it’s certainly not going to go by the wayside where we don’t talk about that anymore. I mean, it’s not. It’s there. Blockchains there. It’s not like it’s the technology kind of way. We just don’t have this fever pitch. Focus on it like we did a few years ago.

Bill Bice: To the OK. I was going to become like the Internet in two important ways. One is it would be close to the same level of importance long term, but talking very long term, and two, we don’t sit around talking about the Internet all the time because it’s just sort of in the fabric, and that’s going to be the same thing with AI you know yeah, it’s just software. It’s most useful when it’s just an ingredient in something else; it is this brand-new separate thing when it’s most raw and most problematic. That’s the phase we’re at right now with generative AI.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. I was reading something else you wrote around prompt and Jenna AI. You know, just the consumption levels and are we being thoughtful around long term, is this the best tool for the job every time because there are some costs associated, there are hard costs in Microsoft is charging up premium for these services. I think the GPT, the copilot inside of the office, is an extra $30 per user per month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but that is a lot of money on top of your EA or whatever they’re calling it these days.

Bill Bice: Right.

Tom Baldwin: And then there’s also the other costs, right? I think you set up a Fiji water bottle for every X number of prompts on top of a base query inside GPT. Every time you run it like, that’s not nothing. Overtime.

Bill Bice: Yeah, just the processing, just the water required to keep the computers cool to support the processing necessary. I mean, it’s like bringing a bulldozer to a party.
When you needed a shovel, there are so many use cases where generative AI is just so oversized to the to the problem.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah.

Bill Bice: And of course, we can get much better at that, right. We’re going to get better at sending, OK this particular prompt or this particular issue can be dealt with a with a much simpler level of technology, effectively because we have the history to know that and pick the right routing for it.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, it was interesting. I was reading an article this morning where a lawyer kind of was going through all the use cases, and it just dawned on me, based on a conversation I had with a customer earlier, you know what you’re talking about be much better served by just an old school document assembly like pick one off the shelf that you probably already have one. You’re paying for that. You just need to dust it off and use it like you’d be much better off using that, and I’ll have much better, more accurate results. It’s not sexy. Umm, but yeah, there’s it. It’ll be interesting to see where everything kind of evens out. That’s the part that you, I think you’re alluding to bills like we’re in that sort of up and down cycle with AI. Umm yeah, it’s, you know, we’ve only been in this, what, 6-7 months? So it’ll be interesting to see what we’re talking about a year from now.

Bill Bice: Yeah. I mean, ChatGPT was released ten months ago. Seems like we’re in a different world because of that. If what you do is live in this, you know, Brian Inkster makes an interesting point about document assembly versus generative AI, which is document assembly. Is this great technology that works well? We know exactly how to use it. But we don’t really use it.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, fair.

Bill Bice: Why is this going to be different? I think it’s, I think it’s a great question.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah. And again, that’s maybe where we get off the AI hype.
There’s the sort of a leveling off. Everything must be generative. Everything has to be AI, and maybe the hype of that also sort of reintroduces us right to systems that we’ve had in the firm forever or processes, as you mentioned earlier; having a good knowledge management function will support this. Maybe this helps. Sort of. Reintroduce firms to the notion that I need a solid knowledge management capability to take advantage of AI. So, it’ll be interesting to see how that, umm, that all shakes out.

Bill Bice: Yeah. I just think I think it’s going to take a lot longer to play out than than people are predicting.

Tom Baldwin: Yeah, for sure.

Bill Bice: Well, Tom, this has been a whole lot of fun. I appreciate you doing this, we.

Tom Baldwin: Ah, my pleasure is great.

Bill Bice: We keep talking for forever.

Tom Baldwin: Thank you for, but I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to chat with you a little bit. It’s been fun.

Bill Bice: Thanks.




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