I just returned from the International Legal Technology Convention in Las Vegas. ILTA is big law’s technology association; the conference is ILTA’s biggest of the year and attracts vendors and law firm IT professionals. It has keynotes and educational sessions and not a few networking parties.

This was my first time at ILTA and I wore 2 hats: one hat was that of a practicing lawyer, one of the few in attendance, a fact which, as I discussed in a recent Lawyerist post, makes little sense.

I pointed out in the post that lots of lawyers seem content to farm out technology decision to “staff” to which @jordan_law21 commented “They might be farming out their future relevance” which I though was a pretty good observation.

The second hat was as a contributor to the Lawyerist. This gave me a press pass and access to folks I might not otherwise get. If you’re interested in what I did in this capacity here is a link to an article I wrote on the new decision making as well as some posts on various announcements and a new view of collaboration in law.

So, it was an interesting conference for me. Some sessions were primarily IT oriented and frankly over my head. And I was trying to do something—be a “Journalist” in a loose sense-that I have never done and wasn’t trained to do.

But that’s sort of the point with technology and the law. We have to stretch. We have to do and try new things and new ways of thinking. For several years, I have been fascinated by technology and how it impacts both the practice of law -and our everyday lives—and the law itself. It’s interesting to see how for example, the judiciary and regulators and even legislatures grapple with new questions, issues and nuances posed by technology and technological developments. Are Uber drivers employees, independent contractors or something else entirely new? What does standing mean in the context of the theft and invasion of privacy? Can a robot commit a tort? What does informed consent mean within the context of apps and IoT? How do we resolve these issues as judges, lawyer and society?

On the flip but related side, what does technology mean in the context of the business as opposed to the substance of law? How will it change lawyers and the profession? What skills will lawyers of the future need to have to succeed (however you want to define it) in their practice and to serve their profession and society in general? And how do these two issues: change in the law itself and change in the practice of law—affect each other?

These questions were on full display at ILTA. The keynote, Pablos Holman, challenged us to seek new ways of decision making. Andrew Arruda let panels on artificial intelligence and what it means for us. Brain Kuhn of IBM in his keynote talked about the impact of artificial intelligence on the business side of the law. And underpinning this all were questions about what it all means.

So, yes, I wore two hats at the Conference: one to learn and one to report. To say one didn’t affect the other would be like saying law schools don’t effect how lawyers think. And so it is with this blog. I plan to teach as I learn and report as I learn on technology and the law and technology and the legal profession. As Leo LaPorte says at the opening of his weekly show, the Tech Guy, this blog will be about everything with a chip in it…and how those things impact the law and lawyers at the TechLaw Crossroads . My goal: be as interesting as I find the issues to be. Or as Bill Rasmussen puts it, “Remember ‘ABC NBC’—Always be curious, never be complacent”.

 My goal: be as interesting as I find the issues to be. Or as Bill Rasmussen puts it, “Remember ‘ABC NBC’—Always be curious, never be complacent”.

So, what did I do on my summer vacation: I learned new things, I stretched. It was exhausting. It was exhilarating.

Photo Attribution: mazzm via flickr