Law firms have always been enthusiastic adopters of best of breed technology – practice management, document management, time and billing, expense, human resources and more. Unfortunately today, despite the significant investments that law firms have made in these systems, the software is falling short.
Why? Well the economic and market landscapes have changed – there are increasing competitive and market pressures forcing law firms to change the way they operate. There is a heightened need for operational efficiency like never before as clients demand value for money, greater transparency and the highest levels of service. The siloed PMS solutions are not designed as enterprise-level technology platforms.
ABA Techshow 2015 has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of activity from start to finish and it’s only now that I finally have a chance to take a breath and look back on it. Here are my thoughts.
As is the case every year, ABA Techshow 2015 turned out to be a great place to connect with like-minded people with an interest in the intersection of law and technology. So if that sounds like you and you’ve never been, mark your calendars now for next year’s show (March 17-19). You really shouldn’t miss it.
Just as the legal profession needs to change with the times, so too do legal conferences. Even though many studies and books have been released in recent years on how people best absorb information, the format of most legal conferences have changed very little. Most take place in cavernous rooms with horrible acoustics and no Wi-Fi and consist of multiple, back-to-back, hour-long panels where each panelist sits behind a table and provides their own mini-presentation in monotone, replete with PowerPoints straight out of the 1990s consisting of text-heavy, bullet-point-laden slides. In other words, they are the perfect antidote to insomnia.
Earlier this month, I joined several thousand legal professionals congregating in New York for LegalTech as well as the 11th annual Law Firm CIO & CTO Forum where I ended up. Thanks to an invite from the Tikit folks, I was asked to moderate a panel presentation entitled, "Engaging Human-Computer Interaction & Ergonomics Experts to Boost User Experience and Profitability". More or less, it's a fancy way of saying what are the best ways to design an app and to develop the user interface (UI) for the ultimate user experience (UX) and productivity? Mark Garnish (MG), Tikit’s Development Director, Peter Zver (PZ), Tikit North America’s President, and Justin Hectus (JH), CIO at Keesal, Young & Logan made up the panel.
At the beginning of the month, I made my annual pilgrimage to New York City to cover Legaltech 2015. I’ve attended Legaltech since 2009 and every year I learn something new and meets lots of really interesting people in the legal technology space. In fact, I think that’s my favorite part about Legaltech—it’s a place where like-minded people from across the globe converge and enthusiastically discuss the intersection of technology with the practice of law.
Legal IT columnist Joanna Goodman attended KM Legal Europe, Managing Partner’s annual two-day knowledge management event
KM Legal Europe in Amsterdam concentrated on the role of knowledge management (KM) to identify and exceed clients’ expectations. The themes were familiar but the perspective has shifted – towards client-facing initiatives. Conference chair Dr. Raffael Büchi, Head of Know-How & Business Development at Bär & Karrer, Switzerland highlighted the blurring lines between KM and other business support functions, particularly marketing and business development. Legal KM is looking for continuous improvement and broadening its focus to help deliver the ‘Wow factor’ that differentiates them from the competition. This review is a snapshot of a highly interactive event – bringing together knowledge professionals from law firms and corporate legal teams across Europe to share ideas and insights.
Security is not a new concern for law firms. However, with news of breaches—including just this January when tens of thousands of phishing email scams were sent, looking as if they came from some of the top US law firms--persistently hitting the headlines, so too are clients’ demands to increase security measures.
It is no surprise that the subject dominates much of LegalTech New York’s 2015 agenda. LegalTech is always one of the best conferences for the legal industry to discover innovative products to meet their current and future technology needs. But law firms may be questioning how the necessary new security products, updates and releases showcased at LegalTech can fit into their budget.
Dear legal technology vendors,
It’s a competitive marketplace and you want to get press coverage at LegalTech New York next month. Trust me, as someone who is employed by a legal software company, I totally get it. It’s a big investment to exhibit at this conference and you want to get your money’s worth.
In addition to lots of foot traffic, new leads, and new customers, you want to trumpet your company’s achievements to the world. So, you scour the press list and you either have an employee of your company reach out to the media or you hire a PR firm to do it for you.
In July, the American Bar Association released the 2014 Legal Technology Survey Report. Included in the results was an interesting break down of lawyers’ and law firms’ use of cloud computing in 2014. The survey results showed that while the use of cloud computing had essentially stabilized since 2013, overall familiarity with the concept of cloud computing increased as did the willingness of lawyers and firms already using it to continue to do so.
Let’s start with the overall use of cloud computing. According to the report, the overall use of cloud computing didn’t change much from last year, with 33.3% of lawyers reporting that they used cloud computing for law-related purposes.
For corporate legal departments, among the highest priorities today are improving efficiencies, reducing risks, cutting costs and being better partners with the businesspeople. While there are many different paths to achieve some of these goals, document automation is one of the few ways that in-house counsel can hit them all simultaneously.
However, before launching into document automation, corporate legal departments need to understand what document automation is and how it works, as well as the benefits that come with automated document drafting and approval.
Last week saw retirement drinks for Janet Day, who is standing down as IT director of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) after 18 years with the firm. Janet hands over to Mike Nolan on 1st January, but she assures us that she isn’t disappearing completely from the legal IT scene!
As befitted a reception for the undisputed leading lady of legal IT, BLP’s client suite was packed with Janet’s friends, including numerous IT directors from top City firms and beyond, suppliers, consultants and more – as well as many current and former clients and colleagues.
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