If you are reading this blog, then I don’t have to tell you: Little has more dramatically changed the practice of law than technology. For better or for worse, the technological advances of the past decade have irrevocably changed the legal industry and forever transformed the way we practice law.

This is one in a series of posts previewing the upcoming Legalweek/Legaltech conference, Jan. 28-31 in New York.

From e-discovery to cybersecurity, technology is integral to virtually everything that happens in law firms and legal departments of all sizes. A boom in legal tech startups has spawned a treasure trove of useful apps and software, with new products appearing on the market seemingly daily. Artificial intelligence is helping to streamline operations, offering lawyers new ways to do more with less.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. While technology greatly enhances our abilities to serve our clients, it also exposes us to new threats. Data breaches and cyber-attacks are at an all-time high, putting sensitive and confidential information at risk and threatening privacy. Never before has it been more crucial for law firms and legal departments to understand and secure their data or for lawyers to understands how technology affects them and their clients.

And then there is the ethical duty of technology competence!

Getting a handle on all this can be daunting. One way to do so is through the programs presented at legal technology conferences. The Legalweek conference starting next Tuesday, which includes the venerable Legaltech conference and the parallel LegalCIO conference, is a good opportunity for this. Programs will cover the current state of legal technology and a wide range of speakers will offer insights on how technological innovation is transforming the practice of law.

Here are just a few of the sessions during Legalweek that will address the current state of technology in the legal industry. (Descriptions are taken from the agenda.)


DAY ONE – LegalCIO – 10:30–11:30 a.m.

The Future of Legal Services: Staying Competitive & Collaborative Amidst Growing Client Pressures

As the legal industry continues to become technology heavy and client expectations grow, how can CIOs adapt and develop strategies to propel their firm to the forefront of legal services? Law firm IT departments today must provide a competitive edge and deliver excellent, tailored, client-centered services. In order to succeed, CIOs must stay ahead of the curve by developing a plan, identifying potential threats and understanding future trends.

Key Takeaways:

  • A CIO’s mission: How to add value to your firm and clients.
  • Exploring key trends expected to shape the future of legal services.
  • Constructing a plan for success: Driving your firm to the forefront of legal services.
  • How collaboration platforms are changing workplace dynamics and what law firms should look for when considering a collaboration platform.

Moderator:

  • Michele C.S. Lange, Vice President, Legal Marketing – Workstorm

Speakers:

  • David Cambria, Global Director of Legal Operations – Baker McKenzie.
  • Joan Holman, Chief Information Officer – Clark Hill.
  • Scott Rechtschaffen, Chief Knowledge Officer – Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • Kermit Wallace, Chief Information Officer – Day Pitney LLP.
  • Andrea Markstrom, Chief Information Officer – Blank Rome LLP

DAY ONE – Legaltech – 1-2 p.m.

Adopting Analytics in Legal Practice

Many aspects of legal practice are being transformed by the availability of better analytics and better tools for using analytics to support legal decisions, especially decisions about litigation strategy. Litigation analytics tools can surface important insights on courts, attorneys and law firms to help guide the best trial strategy; and inform litigation timelines, resource needs and budgets. This session will feature a panel of litigation experts who have led the way in adopting litigation analytics in their firms.

Moderator:

  • David Curle, Director, Market Intelligence – Thomson Reuters

Speakers:

  • John Courtney, President Los Angeles Chapter – ABOTA.
  • Meredith Williams-Range, Chief Knowledge & Value Officer – Shearman and Sterling.
  • Kate Orr, Senior Innovation Counsel – Orrick

DAY ONE – Legaltech – 1:00-2:00

Technology Adoption Done Right: Implementation Lessons to Live By

Most people hate change. But implementing new technology to maximize efficiency and reduce operational cost has become almost routine for most organizations. This session will offer practical strategies and tactics that successful technology implementers use to make changes stick. Our experts will share their perspectives on how to achieve success when adopting new applications.

  • How to overcome legitimate resistance to change
  • What it takes to embed new technology into an employee’s workflow
  • Why and how to pilot, communicate, entice and train

Moderator:

  • Brad Blickstein, Principal – Blickstein Group, Inc.

Speakers:

  • Brad Rogers, Managing Director, Chief of Staff/COO – TIAA.
  • David Cambria, Global Director of Operations – Baker McKenzie.
  • Monet Fauntleroy, Senior Manager, Practice Innovation – White & Case LLP.

DAY TWO – Legaltech – 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Using Technology to Build a Culture of Inclusion in the Legal Profession

How can a company’s legal department contribute to overall organizational diversity? There isn’t a single answer to this question: there are many! This panel of in-house legal experts will describe how technology has advanced their internal recruiting, hiring and promotion practices and external vendor selection with an eye toward improving diversity. We’ll also explore how ground-breaking analytical tools and metrics can help legal teams examine the demographic and ideological range of their outside counsel and how they can use technology—whether as a carrot or a stick—to promote more inclusive practices within their teams and across their outside service providers.

Moderator:

  • Lindsay Cox, Vice President, Review Solutions – Consilio.

Speakers:

  • Lani Quarmby, Associate General Counsel & Managing Director – Bank of America.
  • Jennifer Heil, Deputy Head of Litigation – MUFG.

DAY THREE – Legaltech – 9:30-10:30 a.m.

From Conversation to Conversion: Getting Lawyers to Use New Tools

Costs are exploding. Staffing is tight. Budgets need to be maintained. Whether you buy or build new legal knowledge and technology products, there is no guarantee of adoption. Email announcements remain on opened. The promise of food will not get associates to a conference room anymore. What is the answer? A panel of seasoned knowledge professionals will outline some of the techniques they use to drive, monitor, and assess digital adoption of new tools.

Takeaways:

  • Identify potential obstacles to new product adoption
  • Discuss best practices in the selection of products or initiatives
  • Discover strategies for driving adoption and communicating more effectively
  • Utilize metrics to gauge success and identify potential learning opportunities

Speakers:

  • Cynthia Brown, Director – Research Services – Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • Jean O’Grady, Senior Director of Research & Knowledge – DLA Piper LLP.
  • June Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services – Sidley Austin LLP.
  • Cheryl Smith, Director of Information Services – O’Melveny & Myers LLP

You can check out the full agenda for the conference here.