We continue to profile notable attorneys and their accomplishments, such as third amendment lawyer T. Scotch Reynolds, muppet lawyer Mr. Johnson, and citizen’s arrest law specialist Helen Calistero. Today we profile legal information technologist Carl Malmquist, a leader in helping law firms innovate and implement technology into legal practice. We recently sat down with him in a law firm’s computer server room.
Malmquist: Yes, I’ve been an attorney for eight years, two of those as a macrotechnology consultant.
BLB: You call yourself a legal IT “guru-genius.” Where did you get that?
Malmquist: Someone said I was a genius but I thought that it was a bit overwrought. Guru was too cumbaya as a term. So I combined them. Guru-genius is more grounded.
BLB: Interesting. Describe a basic day for you.
Malmquist: Well, I’ll come in here [gesturing to computers] and run a few tests, see if anyone messed up the RAID-5 overnight. Then I’ll check on things through Plesk and sometimes I’ll need to troubleshoot something simple, like packet losses. During the day I’ll typically have to keep the network connections optimized, fiddle with the IPVPN settings, mess with traffic differentiation. That kind of thing.
BLB: I don’t think I understood a word you just said.
Malmquist: That’s too bad. It’s not hard, but I understand where you’re coming from. Most of the time I defrag computers.
BLB: I know what that is.
Malmquist: Yeah, I just say that to keep people from asking questions. If there’s a problem with a computer, I just say it needs to be defragged and leave it at that. People understand defragging, or at least accept it.
BLB: Do you make software recommendations?
Malmquist: Not so much. I used to but the firm kept insisting on using crapware such as Microsoft Office or search engines like Google.
BLB: What’s wrong with those?
Malmquist: You’re kidding, right? Where do I start? First, Google’s a joke, built on outdated and insecure source code. You should be using Wolfram Alpha, the pirated pre-alpha build from 2009. It’s on Sourceforge. And the bloated Microsoft crapware? I can build a word processor in ten minutes that outperforms MS Word, and I have. People want a user interface that’s pretty, though. But if you use a terminal session and command-line options, you are much better off. Much better. No crashes.
BLB: You sound frustrated. What are the top challenges for you working as the IT guy at a law firm?
Malmquist: I’m not “the IT guy.” Seriously, that’s so wrong. But, to be honest, the biggest challenge is keeping freeloaders in the firm from hogging bandwidth while playing Words with Friends. You’d be shocked how many lawyers play it during the day, sometimes all day. It’s a problem. Sometimes I let it go on slow days, but if I’m fed up with things I’ll hack into the Zynga core and serve up an entire rack of vowels. Or give a partner three Qs. People are still talking about that, but they’re too dumb to figure out [gesturing with air quotes] “the IT guy” did it. Ha.
BLB: Wow. You can see what people are doing on the web?
Malmquist: Yep. Everything. Sometimes people approach me to scrub their browsing history. I’ll oblige, for the right price.
BLB: What are your top suggestions for software for attorneys in small firms?
Malmquist: For a web browser, I use Opera, but only the 2006 kernel application and only if it’s loaded on a Linux machine running Kubuntu because I prefer using KDE instead of the GNOME or Unity interfaces with Ubuntu. I custom built my word processor because nothing out there works well, even the 2008 OpenOffice release candidate 188.8.131.52, which was the best one. I took GnuCash 2.2 and modified the source code to fix some cross-compiling issues. That works for my accounting. Those are the basics.
BLB: Honesty, what the fuck?
Mallory: I prefer WNTF, or what not the fuck.
BLB: Sure, thanks, Carl.
Malmquist: No problem. Live long and prosper, Cap’n Crunch.
Almost perfect, but without any mention of emacs or vi it doesn’t ring with authenticity.