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Legaltech West Coast, Wearables, and a SciFi series

Nicole BlackEarlier this month I had the good fortune to travel to San Francisco to speak at Legaltech West Coast on a panel at that was sponsored by the San Francisco Bar Association. The panel’s focus was wearable computing and the Internet of Things. It was called “Legal Implications of Wearables/Internet of Things (IoT)” and my co-panelists and I discussed this emerging era of computing and the legal implications of Apple Watch, Google Glass, and smart apparel, including how privacy, intellectual property, ethics, technology and the law intersect.

It was a fascinating conversation and my co-panelists, James Blaha, Co-founder and CEO Vivid Vision and Pierre Zado Founder and Attorney of Zado Law, offered interesting and unique perspectives.  We had a lively discussion with our audience and debated the benefits and drawbacks of these new technologies, both from a societal perspective and also from the viewpoint of law firm management. The consensus was that wearables are here to stay, privacy and security issues abound, and there are no easy solutions to be had. But there was an liveliness to the discussion and an enthusiasm for the topic that was very energizing. 

In fact, that was the overall sense I had about the conference itself. It was my first time attending Legaltech West Coast, but it seemed as if there was a lot of excitement and interest on the part of attendees and staff. So I wasn’t surprised when I read Bob Ambrogi’s recent post about the conference. Bob is a long-time veteran in the legal tech space and he suggested that this year may have been a turning point for the conference.

He explained that in year’s past, the conference tended to fall flat:

I have to confess that I had come to view LTWC as of increasingly lesser importance in the tiny universe of legal technology trade shows and conferences. Every year, it seemed, I had been hearing from both vendors and attendees who questioned its value and whether they would return. Their concerns ranged from insufficient traffic and engagement in the exhibit hall to programming that was not consistently on par with the New York event.

But he suggested that this year there had been a sudden change in the tide: 

From both vendors and attendees, I have heard that this was the best LTWC in years — that there was a level of activity and vitality unlike anything they’d seen in recent LTWCs and one that may signal a new direction for LTWC.

Although I’d never attended in the past, I’d heard the same types of feedback about the conference and never had an interest in attending. So I was surprised this year by my positive my experience at the conference and am excited to see that the conference appears to have taken on a new life and may provide another outlet for interesting and cutting edge discussions on the intersection of law and technology.


Now that being said, I realize a few of you may have started reading this column based on the title and the promise of a discussion about a science fiction series. You’re also probably wondering what this has to do with Legaltech West Coast. 

Well wonder no more! The connection is simple. During my panel I referred to a few science fiction books and a television series as examples of ways wearables were being used or could be used in the near future. Afterwards, one of the attendees came up to me and asked if I’d ever read any books written by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. When I indicated I hadn’t, he suggested I start with her “Retrieval Artist” series. 

I’ve been on the lookout for a good science fiction series for a while now so was thrilled to receive this unsolicited recommendation. After researching this author, I learned that she’s both incredibly prolific and talented and am now happily consuming the second book in the “Retrieval Artist” series. As a result, I’m passing along this book series and author recommendation to you, my loyal readers. You’re welcome.

Nicole Black is the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, a law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, New York, and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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