LegalTech NY 2014 is set to open up on February 4th which causes us to wonder: What will be the key trends this year? Niki Black points to the cloud which may be shaping up as a serious contender in the legal industry.
In considering what might be trendy at this year’s show, we thought it would be useful to review content about last year’s show.
Here’s what we found:
1. The Ediscovery Blog: LegalTech 2013: A Look in the Rear View Mirror
In this post, Michele Lange summarized the themes she saw at the show, a few sessions, and had this remark on attendance:
This year, once again, LegalTech set attendance records, with registration numbers slightly topping last year’s numbers. At our annual board meeting there was strong consensus that the quality of this year’s show was the strongest yet.
2. Above the Law: That’s a Wrap, But the Predictive Coding Debate Is Only Heating up
The venerable ATL blog published several pieces from LegalTech 2013 – from the fun, like photo caption contests, to the serious, like technology fear and loathing. However, a summary post after the event captures what several blogs highlighted as a major theme last year – predictive coding:
As expected, the biggest hype revolved around predictive coding and computer-assisted review…At the conference, attendees got to hear from the naysayers, the enthusiasts, and everyone in between.
3. E-Discovery Beat: The E-Discovery Buzz from LegalTech 2013
As the post title and blog name might indicate, this post looks at LegalTech from an e-discovery vantage point. One in particular stands out – legal holds. Did the prediction come true?
For those immersed in the legal industry, legal hold sort of feels like yesterday’s news. That’s why it came as a bit of a shock when Barry Murphy, lead analyst for eDJ Group, predicted 2013 to be the year of legal hold management. Despite all the attention paid to other emerging e-discovery topics, such as the cloud, big data and predictive technologies, legal hold still remains one of the most vexing e-discovery challenges. Moreover, a surprising number of large organizations still haven’t matured past the point of spreadsheets and emails, which are becoming increasingly incapable of supporting the complexities of a defensible legal hold process (e.g. periodic reminders, automatic re-issuance notices, custodian interviews, etc). So while legal hold might be a “classic” e-discovery problem, the need to solve the problem continues to be strong.
4. Condon Forsyth: Emerging Trends Underscore Need for Information Governance
Diana Gurfel Shapiro took a look at several trends including, yes, predictive coding, but also BYOD and big data. We saw a lot of big data in 2013, and while it’s not new in other industries, it is, just like the law cloud and predictive coding, relatively new to the legal industry. She writes:
Big data is a term used to describe data sets so large that commonly-used software tools cannot be used to capture, curate, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Examples include internet search indices, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, consumer transaction records, sensor data, and a host of scientific data. Most of the
LegalTech discussion focused on defining the big data trend, how it can serve as the basis for gaining competitive advantage and the increasing importance of sound information governance policies. According to IBM, 90% of all electronic data that exists in the world today was generated in the last two years. This statistic raises further questions about how companies will be able to keep up with this ever increasing data store and the impact it will inevitably have on litigation.
5. InsideLegal: Top 10 Big Data Facts in Legal
The editors at InsideLegal also cast their votes for “big data” as well, although they also offered a quantitative break down of vendors exhibiting at the show. InsideLegal did a word cloud analysis of the sessions descriptions prior to the show, and while eDiscovery was certainly noticeable, big data shows up in several ways. After the show, the site published this analysis:
What does it [big data] mean for law firms? Law firms don’t have a big data problem as much as they are challenged with what a big data world means to them, i.e., their clients’ big data issues. Firms will never reach a scale/capacity issue like government or Fortune 500 companies, but they will be expected to offer sound advice on data security, ethics, overall compliance and risk aversion as it relates to big data.
6. Legal IT Insider: LegalTech 2013 – making the most of IT
Andrew Haslam notes his summaries of LegalTech got started when Editor Charles Christian asked him to pinch hit in 2008. He’s been writing them every year since and his review last year was very thorough – to the tune of more than 7,700 words. His write up will provide any reader with a sense of the good, bad and otherwise at the show, but he also gets a bit philosophical about three-quarters of the way into the post:
I was not alone in reading Richard Susskind‘s latest book on the way out to the show. In Tomorrow’s Lawyers Susskind identifies new roles that current entrants to the legal profession can expect to fill. Many of these; “Legal Knowledge Engineer”, “Legal Technologist”, and “Legal Project Manager” would seem to be tailor made delegates for LegalTech. This is the showcase for the technology they will need to master to be effective in these new roles, and perhaps we will see a rise in interest from the young bloods.
7. Eastern Legal Systems: Impressions from LegalTech 2013
Writing for Eastern Legal Systems, Andrea Prigot of Amicus Consulting, provided a summary of what she saw from vendors and sessions at last year’s show. She includes a brief note about LexisNexis but was most interesting is that she notes social media as a trend.
The big themes this year were big data and social media. Big data refers to the need to control, make secure, and access all of the firm’s data for compliance, eDiscovery, and archiving purposes. No easy feat in the age of Dropbox, smartphones, laptops, and remote access from anywhere.
In a newswire post syndicated form The Daily Record, Correy Stephenson conducted a brief review of several different vendors. She finishes by touching on practice management apps by Onit designed for solo-attorneys:
Onit Apps looks to own that niche by providing 10 pre-figured Onit Apps for Legal. The existing apps cover areas like matter management, intake and contract administration, with each app customizable for a sole practitioner or small firm’s specific requirements. In addition, the company provides a template for lawyers to create their own custom apps to simplify any manual, paper-intensive process. After opening the app, the user fills in the relevant fields, which can then be used to sort or search for information. For example, the matter management app organizes all of the information for a given matter in the app from documents to e-mails, invoices, deadlines, dockets and time sheets. The app increases productivity by streamlining administrative activities and also provides greater visibility about issues like where a matter is in the legal process and what the possible strategies for resolution may be.
9. LLRX.com: LegalTech 2013: Old habits die hard, but die they do
In this analysis of the show, writer Niki Black suggests that the lack of session on mobile technology or cloud computing in favor of big data an e-discovery suggests a level of saturation:
Aside from e-discovery, other tracks included knowledge management, information governance, records management, project management, practice management, risk management, and big data-lots and lots of big data. And, interestingly, there were no tracks devoted to mobile technology or cloud computing, although there were a few individual sessions which addressed these topics.
The minimal focus on mobile and cloud computing was in glaring contrast to last year’s conference, where these topics were covered extensively. My colleagues and I discussed this curious shift at length, eventually concluding that the apparent lack of interest was likely due to the ubiquity of these technologies and a reluctant acceptance by the legal field that mobile and cloud computing is here to stay.
10. US Legal Support: Impressions of LegalTech 2013
Andy Kass provided a five page summary (link opens up to a PDF) that he sets up his observations with a rather elegant with a description of the ambiance:
LegalTech 2013 felt upbeat: I wasn’t alone in commenting on this. This wasn’t the most crowded LegalTech, nor a font of revolutionary products or services; it was showcase for progress and process improvements in eDiscovery. Indeed, I felt like I needed a squirt of SPF50 sunblock walking through the bright white LexisNexis booth at the main point of entry, where their Evolution turned from theory to fact.
Bring your sunscreen and shades Andy – we’ll be at the same location in booth #100 this year!
Nicole Lindenbaum described LegalTech 2013 as “alive,” but her focus takes an interesting twist among the other links offered here – and that might well be insight into the popular culture of LegalTech. She writes:
The entertainment for the evening was a fantastic cover band, wearing wigs to rival Fabio’s coif. I thought this look was dead, but it was made un-dead by the band, who followed everyone around with microphones, spooking us into singing along with their tunes. It was fun, but let’s be real: like most zombies, 80s hair should stay dead.
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What do you think? Were there any obvious trends that didn’t pan out promised at LegalTech? Were there any surprises – things we didn’t expect like the rise of the “large enough” law firm?
Is there a post that we missed? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below – we’ll review it and consider adding it!
See You There!
If you’re attending the show this year, come on by and visit us – the LexisNexis booth will be right by the entrance (booth #100). If you’re not able to attend, rest assured we’re planning to cover some of the happenings and session on these pages here.
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