Belated Thoughts on LegalTech New York

I attended LegalTech in New York this past week and despite my best intentions, I am now just getting around to posting about the show (other than posting my interview with IncisiveMedia).

I was invited by Law.com to attend as a blogger who is part of the law.com network. (By the way, I thought this was a very smart move by IncisiveMedia, the show’s sponsor. Inviting bloggers insured that LegalTech would be discussed in the blogosphere.) While I had every intention of “live blogging” about some of the sessions I attended, unfortunately, technology was not cooperating and I never got a Wifi connection (how ironic!)

Technology is not really my thing professionally although I am always looking for technology solutions for my own business and for my clients. Nonetheless, I attended the show feeling like it would give me a mood boost; and it did so in spades. It was very stimulating to be at a trade show where many people are excited to talk about their companies. This was particularly true this year because of the economic downturn. It was a nice refuge from the recruiting world where most of our clients are doing more layoffs than hires.

The exhibit halls had hundreds of vendors who represented a broad cross section of technology solutions for law firms. In reality, though, over 90% of the show seemed to focus on electronic discovery and document management. This leads me to my first observation which is: it is very hard to stand apart from the pack when there are many vendors just like you. I actually spent more time talking to vendors who are not involved in EDD. Could some of the EDD vendors done a better job of standing out? Maybe. But maybe attending this show is just defensive marketing for document management companies.

There were also a lot of sessions on issues surrounding electronic discovery. I attended an interesting session on data privacy which highlighted for me that anyone dealing with business records in EU countries needs to beware of a host of privacy laws which seem to directly conflict with common business practices.

There were numerous networking opportunities and I really enjoyed the serendipity of it all (I did not attend with a particular agenda–only a desire to recharge and maybe make some new business contacts.)

My favorite part of the show, however, were two sessions I attended on legal process outsourcing. These sessions were somewhat peripheral to the main themes of the show but to me, they were the most interesting because they called into question the fundamental way that law practice is going to change in the next decade. I’ll summarize what I learned in my next post.

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