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A Smorgasbord of Impressions from ILTACON 2022

Christy BurkeJudging from the bursting-at-the-seams session rooms at ILTACON 2022 this week, some of which were standing room only, current interest in legal technology was a sight to behold! ILTACON executives said the conference had about 3000 attendees this year, all in-person because there was no virtual curriculum offered.  Keynoter and business futurist Patrick Schwerdtfeger of Trend Mastery, Inc. referred to legal technology as a “smorgasbord’ – so with his inspiration, here is a smorgasbord of trends and session highlights from ILTACON 2022 which made indelible impressions.

Schwerdtfeger’s Keynote on Big Data

Mr. Schwerdtfeger (who had a great sense of humor about his consonant-laden last name by the way) shared some striking statistics during the Tuesday keynote address.  According to an Amazon study, in 2000 the cost of storing 1 terabyte of data was about $17,000 USD compared to $2 USD in 2020.  With such cheap storage, it is not wonder that big data just gets bigger, and bigger…

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Another intriguing point from the keynote came from research from supply chain technology provider SAP – apparently, 95% of the company’s customers are only using a tiny fraction of their expensive SAP software’s vast capabilities. Deducing that this same predicament must occur for legal technologies, the speaker’s plea to the ILTACON audience was to get any training available to them so they could more fully use the technology they had already bought. Legal technology trainers are more important than ever because they are responsible for making sure software purchases add real value to the organization. Training professionals are often some of the most unsung heroes in the legal tech world.

AI for Images in eDiscovery

George Socha, a legend in the eDiscovery world, told me about his exciting new position with Reveal-Brainspace, AI-powered technology which the company calls “the future of eDiscovery and investigations.”  At a panel discussion moderated by Socha which showed Reveal-Brainspace and other products which can assign searchable text associated with photos and pictures.  This was truly fascinating as the technologies could accurately determine what objects the photo contained based on deep learning and neural nets. One of the speakers noted that massive amounts of data were required to train the systems to work properly, so freeware “DIY” solutions to solve these problems may not be successful. 

eDiscovery Job Pivots

In its heyday, eDiscovery was a source of seemingly infinite legal technology jobs.  However, according to a session that focused on eDiscovery job pivots, eDiscovery jobs are evolving as quickly as the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology that surrounds them.  The speaker panel, comprised of eDiscovery professionals from different backgrounds including several former lawyers, encouraged attendees to overcome “impostor syndrome”, approach jobhunting with a sense of humor, and consider non-traditional next steps in their career journeys. Vast opportunities in data analytics and visualization were cited as receptive fields where skills honed at eDiscovery roles could be successfully leveraged.

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Monday Night Exhibit Hall Party

The Monday night of ILTACON is forever commemorated with a big bash in the Exhibit Hall, and this year did not disappoint.  The theme was “superheroes” and many vendors donned colorful capes, masks, and gloves for the occasion (Worldox and others went all-out!)  Affinity Consulting Group had a great idea of celebrating their local heroes – namely their towns’ firehouses - with a unique fundraising effort. This was a meaningful gesture, showing that ILTACON can reach beyond the conference walls to benefit the community at large.

A Taste of Business Partner News

At ILTACON, product and service vendors – also known as “business partners” – put their best feet forward.  In an Aderant update, CEO Chris Cartrett spoke about the company’s recent acquisition of viGlobal, a popular provider of people management software to the legal profession. Cartrett also emphasized the company’s “It Starts with the A” focus on customer service and product integration.

Also, Afinety, a longtime provider of managed cloud and IT services for law firms, launched its new ACP 2.0 hosted desktop workspace.  Powered by leading cloud platforms including AWS and Citrix Cloud, ACP 2.0 is optimized for an increasingly hybrid workforce, offering enhanced security, tight integration with collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack, and optimized performance.  Afinety’s preexisting ACP 1.0 platform will continue to be used and sold by Afinety law firm customers.

Women Who Lead (WWL) – De-coding Your Future

ILTA’s Women Who Lead (WWL) program has been an extraordinary initiative which has brought new awareness and energy to advancement of women in legal tech professions.  ILTA’s Women Who Lead mission is “to empower women to advance to, and succeed in, technology leadership positions within law firms, corporate legal departments and technology providers serving the ILTA community.”

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My company was thrilled to co-sponsor the session entitled “De-coding Your Future – Life Lessons from A CIA Officer” which featured former CIA Officer Melissa Mahle, now a Senior Analyst at Dentons. In a fireside chat format, Mahle shared her incredible insights and perspective from her years as a spy working in the Middle East and other regions. 

As epic and trailblazing as her path to success in the CIA was, Mahle’s advice to women rang true for those of us in the legal technology industry. She said if women are to succeed, they must walk through the doors set in front of them. Also, she emphasized that the ability to admit failure was essential to learning and growth.

ILTACON 2022 – Providing Much Food for Thought

With such a rich variety of educational options, it is impossible to see every product, every session, and every person at ILTACON.  The best one can hope for is to digest each part of the experience and pay that new knowledge forward to improve their workplaces and themselves. ILTACON 2022 delivered as a total experience – it was a fantastic conference providing an abundant smorgasbord for anyone in the legal technology world. Certainly, everyone who attended will leave the event with tremendous food for thought.

Christy Burke is President of Burke & Company, a PR and marketing firm specializing in content creation, media relations and communications consulting for legal tech clients.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter @ChristyBurkePR or visit burke-company.com for more information. 

 

 

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