Joanna Goodman attended Thomson Reuters Elite VANTAGE EMEA regional user conference at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London
Although September is always a busy time for legal IT events, and this year is no exception, VANTAGE EMEA saw record attendance by law firms across the UK and an expanded group of vendor partners. The programme included keynotes from Thomson Reuters Elite senior executives, user group meetings covering popular product lines and new product launches and demonstrations.
Email has become the business standard for communication with colleagues and customers. In legal institutions, email can be an efficient and important conduit for conducting attorney-client communications. However, law firms can be caught between a proverbial “rock and a hard place” with regards to this form of correspondence. While clients demand a simple way to work together, it is essential that electronic communication does not lead to security risks: i.e. someone other than the client or privileged third party obtaining confidential documents.
The next generation of mobile technology is here. Is your law firm ready for the incoming tidal wave of wearable devices that your lawyers will want to incorporate into their workflows? I would hazard a guess that the answer is a resounding “no” if my recent experiences at legal conferences are any indication.
By way of example, earlier this year I attended a session consisting of a panel made up of partners and CTOs and CIOs from large law firms. When the topic of mobile and BYOD was discussed, the general consensus of the panel was that they’d finally begun to support iPhone and Android devices simply because they had no other choice.
At the 2014 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference, Microsoft made what could be a major splash for the legal vertical. Adding to their push for Office 365, Microsoft announced Matter Center. Although it is being marketed as “for Office 365″, Microsoft says it could also work in either hybrid or on-premises SharePoint environments. That said, the fact that the focus is on Office 365 tells you all you really need to know: This is it. This is the tipping point that Microsoft is betting on. The tipping point to grab a market share of legal Enterprise Content Management with an application that is geared to be delivered from the Cloud.
The big themes I took away from ILTA 2014, which was held in Nashville last week, were an emphasis on mobile, collaboration, and control. But more on that momentarily.
First and foremost, what I enjoyed the most about this conference was the people. No matter where I went, I soon found myself engaged in fascinating conversations with like-minded legal technology types, although our conversations sometimes veered off course into politics or current events.
Today’s legal worker is more mobile than ever. From case files to client communications, so much work performed by today’s attorneys is done via mobile devices. As a result, the risk of data leakage is becoming a heightened priority for law firms everywhere.
In fact, lawyers and their staff are collaborating and sharing files using any method that’s accessible to them, from any device they have on hand.
This week, three different stories appeared in my RSS feed that were bittersweet indications of how quickly our world is changing. All three articles were indications that technology is having a tremendous impact on the way that business is being conducted in the 21st century, sometimes to the detriment of tried and true institutions that, by all rights, shouldn’t be disappearing but are due to their leaders’ collective failure to innovate and pivot with the times. My continued hope is that the legal profession as we know it won’t fall victim to this same phenomenon.
A futuristic picture of how technology, artificial intelligence and big data might impact law firms in the future
Good morning Mr. Phelps and welcome back to the global law firm of DLA, Watson, Siri & Wal-Mart. I see from your expression that you have noticed the change in my voice. I am Stevie, a Mark 8 assistant. After the Apple-Microsoft merger on Tuesday, all the firm's assistants have been upgraded to the Siri/Cortana hybrid. I am sure you'll find the upgrades useful.
It looks like you have a very full schedule today. Your calendar and associated information have been transferred to cubical 45-38-7, which is your assigned office for your stay here today. Office lighting, temperature and virtual artwork have been updated with your stored preferences. Your personal assistant, Jordan 7188 has updated your iSlate II with a firm map and will guide you to your office.
My profession is in trouble. As a whole, the legal field has failed, and continues to fail, to adapt to unprecedented technological change. In less than a decade, the world as we know it has been turned on its head, beginning in approximately 2006, when cloud and mobile technologies re-shaped every aspect of our lives. In the span of just a few years, technologies that were once only envisioned in Star Trek episodes became readily available, changing the way that we communicate, interact, obtain information, and conduct business. And yet the vast majority of the legal profession continues to practice law as if it were 1995.
ReinventLaw London was well attended as ever and the list of attendees and presenters from all over the world demonstrated how the ReinventLaw concept has matured. I have attended all three London events.
Last Friday’s event represented an opportunity to catch up with numerous contacts and friends across the legal and legal IT world, many of whom had travelled to London to be there.
If you haven't yet heard the news, the Texas State Bar's Professional Ethics Committee now forbids non-lawyer processionals to have titles containing the word 'principal' or 'officer.' Lest you think this is some sort of new routine from Monty Python, sadly it is not. It is very real. The first question presented in Opinion 642 is "May a Texas law firm include the terms 'officer' or 'principal' in the job titles of the firm’s non-lawyer employees?"
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