I guess I do owe you a report on the recent ILTA legal technology conference. It was a lot of fun. ILTA is a very well-run conference that seems to get all the details just right. I learned a lot and I got to hang out with some great people. And I had my RSS epiphany.
You probably wanted more than that, right?
In part, this question is really a variation on “why do you seem to be writing less about legal technology?” In the past year, I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to learn about products and services that are still in the development stage. I’m having more conversations where people are asking me not to talk about these developments in advance. I’m OK with that, but these developments are, to me, the most interesting things going on in legal technology these days. Some of the other things I might write about aren’t as appealing to me or they may touch on developments that I’m not able to talk about. I’m less inclined to write about them because I can’t paint the whole picture.
Here are some thoughts from ILTA.
1. Take a look at blog posts from Alex Lubarsky, Bill Gratsch, Roger Bonine (here’s a guy who really does “get” it) and Jeff Beard to give you a flavor for the conference. I got to spend a lot of time with Jeff (we first met as co-presenters at the 1998 ABA TECHSHOW and have been good friends ever since), which really made ILTA fun for me.
2. My friends Greg Krehel and Bob Wiss helped me out by making me a temporary member of the CaseSoft team for ILTA. I spent some time “working” at the CaseSoft booth with Bob and Lynn. That gave me a new perspective on the vendors’ view of conferences and has led to my wish that we break down the artificial barrier between vendors, speakers and attendees at conferences when we do LexThink Conferences and consider the idea of “unconferences.” Other than just having fun hanging out with Bob and Lynn, I enjoyed getting to see how much CaseSoft’s customers really seem to enjoy the products and the customer support they get from CaseSoft (and it really is true that an existing customer will interrupt Bob or Lynn and explain to a prospective customer why they need to get CaseMap – it’s an amazing thing). It was also fun to see people who know me do a double take when they saw me in the booth wearing a badge that said “CaseSoft” on it – a great conversation starter.
3. My main mission at ILTA was to try to get a better understanding of the electronic discovery market. I think I made some significant progress in that area. I got the chance to join Michael Arkfeld and Browning Marean in a conversation about electronic discovery. If there were a poll taken on who the two most knowledgeable lawyers in the US on electronic discovery are, my bet would be that Michael and Browning are those two. Michael had just left the US Attorney’s office to start his own consulting business and noted that the new edition of his book (THE book) on electronic discovery was due out soon. I talked to as many electronic discovery vendors as I could with the goal of learning what each one was best at. No one has convinced me that they are a “full service” electronic discovery company, but I don’t believe that there are truly “full service” law firms either. Admittedly, I had a somewhat CaseSoft-centric view of things, but I found the seamless interaction between a number of the electronic discovery tools (including CaseMap and Adobe Acrobat) to be the development that I found most interesting and most beneficial to lawyers. I have also resolved to write an article that argues that the combination of Adobe Acrobat 7 and CaseMap will become the tool of choice for small electronic discovery cases.
4. I first put together a document assembly application for my then law firm more than 15 years ago. Who would have thought that document assembly would not yet have much traction among law firms and that it would return in 2005 to be one of the hottest areas in legal technology? I am very, very, very interested in what’s going on at DealBuilder (http://www.business-integrity.com/DealBuilder.html). For a hint at why, take a look at this customer list. I got a lot of my questions answered and this one is another probable article topic for me. Another fascinating and attractive approach to document assembly was an application called D3 demoed by MicroSystems. When you add Exari and Ixio to the mix, you get a sense of energy and excitement in document assembly that I haven’t seen for many years. I’ve noticed some commentators this year suggesting that lawyers need to learn to be faster typists. I don’t even understand the premise – document assembly takes you into a completely different world. I’d be asking about that – not typing speed.
5. I felt like I was one of a handful of lawyers at ILTA. That was fine with me, but I think lawyers who see this as an IT-only event are missing the boat. Corporate counsel would be well-advised to attend this show (and, of course, ABA TECHSHOW 2006) to see what technologies their law firms are NOT using.
6. There are some more things that will eventually turn up in blog posts, articles and probably my legal tech predictions article for 2006.
As I said, I had a great time and really feel energized by what I see happening in legal technology today. I’m more convinced than ever that the name of the game is becoming what I’ve been calling “client-driven technology.” The major benefits of many of today’s technologies accrue to clients and innovative law firms, not to the traditional firms. Clients are starting to do some tentative pushing and poking, but they may soon start to shove lawyers toward technology.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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