By Ken Adams
Allow me to introduce to you Ned Barlas, LegalSifter’s new advisor on intellectual-property matters.
I claim the credit for Ned joining us. Ned and I go way back, to 1988, when we were both on Penn Law Review. I was a comment editor; Ned was in the year below, so he was an associate editor.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to suggest this is a story of camaraderie forged in the white-hot heat of cite-checking campaigns. I recall little of Law Review, other than the mugs I created and sold. (Ned and I still have our mugs.)
Instead, Ned and I reconnected ten years ago, though a friend of Ned’s. I found myself increasingly seeking his advice, and over the past year we’ve worked on a number of projects. So when LegalSifter decided to add some IP-heavy contracts to their document types, it was clear that Ned would be the ideal person to provide the expertise we needed.
I’ve tried working with a few IP specialists over the years, and my collaboration with Ned has been the most fruitful. One reason is that Ned has a scholarly bent—instead of being expediency-driven and satisfied with halfway-plausible conventional wisdom, he worries at an issue from all angles. It’s also relevant that he’s game to allow me to hack away at whatever language he comes up with. He has plenty of the necessary experience, including 15 years at the law firm Akin Gump. And somehow we manage to have fun.
But why Ned is interested in working with LegalSifter? I suggest it’s a function of the same restlessness that had him joining a small Philadelphia-area law firm in 2018. He found he wasn’t satisfied with being wheeled in to provide IP advice on big deals. He wanted to be able to better serve his clients and build a practice that better reflected his interests. And he also wanted to leverage his expertise in some manner. LegalSifter gives him the opportunity to do that.
For example, you’ll soon be able to use LegalSifter to help you review sponsored research agreements. Ned’s expertise is playing a big part in the determining what sponsored-research-agreement issues our technology looks for and how it looks for them, and it's playing a big part in the help text users will be offered.
My LegalSifter colleagues and I look forward to continuing to work with Ned.