The big, extravagant Clio legal tech Conference kicked off today in Nashville. ClioCon is one of the most attended and well respected legal tech conferences. It’s famous for its well known keynote speakers from all walks of life, its training sessions and tracts, workshops, and of course, parties. This year’s Conference is the first in-person Conference since 2019. It’s been missed.
Several weeks ago, after ILTACon, I wrote a piece questioning what the maturing of the legal tech market could mean. I specifically wondered what the influx of venture capital and the acquisition mania whereby the big get bigger might mean long term. I also questioned the long-term impact if those without legal experience and understanding become more dominant in the field. Or as larger legal tech players focus more on integration than products themselves. Or those businesses traditionally not in the legal space try to adapt their products to legal.
This week I had a chance to catch up with Joey Seeber, Level Legal CEO, about this very issue and his concerns. Level Legal provides global legal related managed services to law firms, in-house legal departments, and government agencies. It specializes in privacy, compliance, regulatory, antitrust, and eDiscovery issues. Level Legal recently announced a jaw dropping 191% increase in year-over-year revenues through the first half of 2022. It also announced several impressive additions to its leadership team.
The more I am around legal product and service providers, the more I think many of them have a lot to learn about lawyers and marketing. Too much jargon, too much BS, and too little understanding of what drives lawyers. I’m not a vendor, but I did practice law for a long time and have seen lots of pitches. So at the risk of perhaps stating the obvious (which some vendors still seem to need to hear), here are my top 10 tips for legaltech vendors:
Earlier this month, EY, the mega accounting firm and one of the Big 4 accounting firms, announced plans to spin off into two separate businesses. One business would be devoted exclusively to providing audits to EY clients. The other business would be devoted to providing a variety of consulting services to EY’s business clients. The consulting business will likely be a public company which suggests where EY is putting its future priorities.
The split must be approved by some 10,000 EY global partners, which will take some time. The thought is that this split will eliminate conflicts created by EY’s auditing function. The split will remove obstacles to the consulting and business services EY can provide.
As I have discussed before, the legal profession, especially the law firm end of it, can’t be thought of as a monolithic marketplace. Instead, today’s legal marketplace is composed of various segments. These segments have business models and goals that are so different that they might be thought of as distinct businesses entirely. Marketers and vendors need to understand that different the sizes and types of law firms are have fundamentally different motivations and concerns. They also need to know where all law firms are similar. And various surveys can help in this understanding.
Toward the end of this year’s ILTA conference, for example, ILTA released an Executive Summary of its annual technology survey. This tech survey, along with those done by the ABA and ALM, forms the basis of much of our law firm knowledge when it comes to tech. The ILTA survey respondents tend to be from larger firms and are people who work in the legal tech field as opposed to practicing lawyers.
It’s an accepted truism that lawyers and law firms are notoriously slow to adopt technology. With all the publicity surrounding new technology and automation, it’s tempting for law firms and lawyers to rush to some tech—any tech—hoping that technology will somehow miraculously solve all their problems. But it won’t unless the tech adoption is carefully considered and well thought out. Ill-considered tech adoption often has the opposite effect from that which is intended. Poor adoption will sour users on tech in general and further exacerbate the reluctance to use any tech—even that which can help.
But the legal tech field is full of products and vendors, all offering what they trumpet as the be all and end all solution. So how do busy lawyers and legal professionals figure out what and how to adopt tech?
Here are ten tips:
I just got back from this year’s annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association (commonly referred to as ILTA). The Show, held at National Harbor near Washington DC, was the first in-person ILTA conference since 2022 and may be the biggest post- pandemic legal tech show. It was great to see so many people and be more or less back to normal. And ILTA, by and large, pulled off a great show, although to some extent, the Show, like the legal tech market itself, was a study in contrasts. But it may have provided a look into the future of the legal tech market.
Here are my impressions.
It’s often said that privacy is dead. Indeed, most of us don’t think much about privacy anymore as we opt for convenience. But recent events suggest that the loss of privacy can have dire implications for all of us. Particularly since the government and others have the ability to know everything, and I mean everything about us.
I have written before about the potential ability of law enforcement, prosecutors, and others to obtain highly personal information about you. And about what you are doing. Indeed a recent unconfirmed report out of Nebraska suggests that that is precisely what is starting to happen.
There has been a noticeable trend in legal tech the past few years toward more AI, more machine learning and, perhaps as a result, more user friendly legal tech. More user friendly tech means more hands on tech usage by lawyers and legal professionals. Which is a good thing.
I just got back from 3 days at AALL (American Association of Law Librarians) 2022 conference where these trends—as well as others–were evident. (This was the first in-person conference for AALL in a couple of years). My fellow Legaltech Week panelist, Zach Warren summarized the conference very well in his recent article. But here are my impressions.
First, for the most part, the conference seemed to be a back to normal event. Like Zach, I don’t know the exact attendance numbers. But session attendance was about what you would expect. The exhibit hall looked pretty much normal, and the vendor parties were well attended and lavish.
The 2022 AALL Conference opened yesterday on a solid note of collaboration and cooperation.
The 2022 AALL Conference kicked off yesterday, July 16 in Denver. It’s the first time the groups have gotten together since 2019. Perhaps appropriately, the keynote speaker was Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is the first woman Chief of the California Supreme Court and an engaging and charismatic speaker.
The Chief Justice talked a lot about access to justice and the way courts are viewed in today’s society society. She also talked about how to deal with the new realities growing out of the pandemic. But more than that, she talked about collaboration and consensus building, collegiality among those who disagree, and leadership. She struck the right and appropriate note for the Conference.