Every year, the folks at the legal marketing and public relations firm InsideLegal analyze the agenda of the Legalweek/Legaltech conference and create a wordcloud revealing the show’s major and not-so-major themes.

With the conference kicking off next Tuesday, they’ve done it again, and this year’s wordcloud reveals that the two dominant themes are … (drum roll please) … “legal” and “technology.”

That might sound anticlimactic for a conference about law and technology. But it is notable for showing that Legalweek is finally shaking off the image that haunted it for several years — as a conference dominated by e-discovery vendors and programs. In fact, the wordclouds for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 all showed e-discovery as the overwhelmingly predominant theme.

(All of the past wordclouds are included in InsideLegal’s post.)

E-discovery is still a major theme this year, but it no longer dominates the show. Other major themes revealed by the wordcloud are innovation, data, risk, artificial intelligence, business, litigation and legal department.

Thanks to InsideLegal’s Jobst Elster for putting this together.

On Tuesday next week, the combined Legalweek/Legaltech kicks off in New York, one of the world’s largest conferences devoted to legal technology and the business of law. But on Monday night, a pre-conference program will consider, “How To Build A Better Tech Show.”

Sponsored by Above the Law and Evolve the Law, five panelists — me among them — will discuss how attendees and vendors can make the most of legal trade shows, how to navigate Legalweek, and how to make conferences more compelling, timely and relevant.

Speakers will be:

  • Joe Patrice (moderator), senior editor, Above the Law.
  • Me.
  • Jenevra Georgini, associate general counsel at American International Group.
  • Dera Nevin, senior associate attorney, information governance and e-discovery, at Baker McKenzie.
  • Dean Sonderegger, VP, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the panel begins at 7 p.m., followed by continued networking, demos and cocktails.

All proceeds will be donated to The Legal Aid Society of New York.

Register here

With Legaltech, one of the world’s largest and most-important legal technology conferences, just two weeks away, we are at a time when it has never been more obvious how tech is transforming the practice of law. With the proliferation of legal tech startups and new apps on the market seemingly every day, lawyers are in a prime position to take advantage of innovations that offer the possibility to achieve what once seemed unachievable – doing more with less.

Perhaps no legal technology has grabbed as much of the spotlight in recent years as artificial intelligence. As AI’s capabilities in law continue to expand and its use becomes more widespread throughout the industry, lawyers are coming to a better understanding of what AI technology can offer. With the help of AI, streamlining legal operations is a real possibility, allowing lawyers in all walks of practice to improve operational efficiency while reducing both costs and risk.

As we gear up for Legaltech, part of the larger Legalweek, Jan. 28-31 in New York, I plan to publish a handful of posts looking ahead to what the conference is offering in key areas of interest. With AI so much in the spotlight — from contract review and e-discovery to administrative operations, data analytics and legal research — it seemed the perfect topic to start with.

Here are a few of the Legalweek sessions on AI that stood out. The full agenda, including other sessions on AI, can be seen at the conference website. Descriptions are taken from the agenda.

Legaltech Conference Track

DAY ONE – 4:00-5:00
Friend or Foe: A Debate About Contract AI and Whether It Will Steal Your Job

AI is sweeping through our daily lives and stirring up a frenzy of speculation. For lawyers, the use of AI to perform contract analysis is both exciting and scary. This session is a panel debate on the different theories about whether your job is, or isn’t, at risk and what you can do to ride out the AI wave rather than drown in it.

Speakers: Benjamin Polster, Corporate Legal, Process & Technology Management, Siemens Healthcare GmbH, and Gregory Culloo, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Moderator: Jamie Wodetzki, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Exari.

DAY TWO – 10:30-11:30
Why Lawyers Are Adopting AI Faster Than You: Law Firm Leaders Share Technology Strategies

Predictive coding paved the way for a new era of AI-enhanced law firms. Where do we go next? Automated document summaries, claims extraction, multifaceted chronologies, sentiment analysis, and more on the horizon. Law firm leaders are looking to these technologies to grow their competitive edge and realize new client service enhancements. During this breakout, panelists will share their insights on the problems and pain points faced in their practice, their innovation journey towards developing technological solutions, and the new AI-enhanced technologies that they are actively pioneering with software developers right now.

Speakers: David Lapresi, CEDS, e-Discovery and Litigation Support Manager, Phillips Lytle LLP, and David Stanton, Litigation and eDiscovery Partner, Information Law & Electronic Discovery Team Leader, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Moderator: Adam Kuhn, Director of Product Marketing, OpenText.

LegalCIO Conference Track

DAY ONE – 1:30-2:20
Re-Imagining Business Functions Through the Use of AI & Predictive Analytic Tools.

In this session participants will be able to create artificial intelligence powered tools in their law firms, based on actual projects built by their non-computer scientist peers. They will be able to identify different types of projects—including those related to knowledge management, billing and analytic, contract analysis, and personality insights—that can use AI inside of law firms. Participants will also be able to summarize the key features of AI tools from IBM Watson, LexPredict, Neota Logic, and others, and be able to apply a basic understanding of public and private data sets for projects in their libraries.

Speakers: Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer, Jackson & Walker LLP; Mark Sportack, Chief Information Officer, Crowell & Moring LLP; Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer, White & Case LLP; and Catherine Bernard, U.S. Litigation Professional Support Lawyer, Mayer Brown LLP.

Moderator: Phil Rosenthal, President and Co-Founder, Fastcase.

DAY ONE – 2:20 – 3:30
Developing A Playbook to Evaluate AI Technology

This will be an interactive session session where the audience will be separate into groups and tasked with coming up with their own AI playbook. After this session, attendees will be able to define AI, develop standards and metrics to determine AI product value and establish measurements to determine business cases and opportunities within AI.

Speakers: Bennett Borden, Chief Data Scientist, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; Dan Linna, Director of Legal R&D, Michigan State University, and visiting professor of law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; and Ameen Haddad, Assistant General Counsel, Oracle.

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


Some items I’ve been meaning to blog about:

LexPredict open-sources its contract analytics platform. LexPredict, the technology consulting and development company founded by CEO Michael Bommarito and Daniel M. Katz, professor at Chicago Kent College of Law, has announced that it will open source the development of ContraxSuite, its platform for contract and document analytics. Starting Aug. 1, the code base and LexPredict’s public development roadmap will be hosted on Github under a permissive open-source licensing model that will allow organizations to implement and customize their own contract and document analytics. LexPredict will provide support, customization and data services for organizations that need it. As for why they’re doing this, Bommarito and Katz have published a detailed explanation.

A primer on AI in law. Speaking of Dan Katz, I recently came across a primer he’s published on artificial intelligence in law. In six parts spanning 290 slides, Katz provides an accessible introduction to AI for anyone interested in better understanding this burgeoning area of technology.

Alexa, tell me what’s up with Cooley LLP. You can now ask Amazon’s Alexa for updates from the Facebook page of Cooley LLP. Cooley has signed on to be a “skill” with Witlingo, a company that enables enterprises to deliver conversations on voice services. Users will be able to ask Alexa to read posts from Cooley’s Facebook page, share the posts on their walls, and ask that links of the posts be texted to them. To try it, ask Alexa to “enable Cooley LLP.” This brief video demonstrates:

Does ILTACON now overshadow Legaltech New York? At eDJ Blog, Greg Buckles finds that ILTA’s annual convention (which kicks off Aug. 13 in Las Vegas) now surpasses Legaltech in numbers of exhibitors (217 at ILTA compared to 152 at Legaltech) and in numbers of event sponsors (25 at ILTA compared to 13 at Legaltech). “ILTA still tries to be a ‘vendor free’ zone, but 217 sponsors and 39 vendor sessions on the agenda clearly demonstrate the marketing penetration of the event,” he says.

Lee Rosen

Two years as a digital nomad lawyer. For two years, I’ve followed lawyer Lee Rosen as he’s traveled the world while still running his law practice, posting regular updates to Instagram, and I’ve wondered, “How the heck does he do it?” Well, now he’s answered that question.

A new podcast on legal marketing has been launched by the legal marketing firm Good2BSocial. Hosted by Guy Alvarez, the firm’s founder, and Tim Baran, its chief marketing officer, the podcast features guests from inside and outside the legal industry. Episodes so far have covered such topics as niche marketing, law firm CRM, social media ethics, marketing analytics, and more. Subscribe in iTunes or follow on SoundCloud.

ALM treatises now on LexisNexis Digital Library. A new deal between LexisNexis Legal & Professional and ALM puts more than 250 treatises published by ALM on the LexisNexis Digital Library, a service that provides law libraries with ebook lending capabilities for more than 3,000 titles. The deal adds titles from Law Journal Press, The National Underwriter Co. and publications such as The Legal Intelligencer, New York Law Journal, New Jersey Law Journal and more. Read more here.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York last week.]

Just after the 2012 LegalTech, I wrote about the new direction taken by Onit, a developer of process-management applications for legal and business uses. After originally launching a Web-based, soup-to-nuts process-management platform three years ago, last year Onit announced it would henceforth focus on developing a new line of simpler, task-specific apps (still cloud-based), called Onit Apps, each designed to address a specific legal or business process within an enterprise or law firm. It also announced that it would be rolling out the Onit App Builder, enabling customers to build their own apps.

Fast forward to this year’s LegalTech, and Onit now has developed a broad array of process-management apps for use in HR, legal, governance and compliance, contract review, sales and other functions. At LegalTech, Onit was demonstrating 10 apps it has developed specifically for legal processes:

  • Contract Review & Approval App, for simplifying and managing the contract review process.

    In the contract review app, any authorized user can initiate the review process.
  • Contract Administration App, for managing contracts and business documents.
  • Matter Management App, for organizing a company’s legal information, from documents and emails to invoices and dockets.
  • E-hold Management App, for implementing and managing legal holds.
  • NDA Request App, for processing NDAs.
  • Collaborative Budgeting App, to use in the process of requesting, collecting, reviewing and approving budgets from outside counsel.
  • Alternative Fee Arrangement Approval App, for pricing staff and committees to use in managing the review and approval of AFA requests.
  • Outside Counsel Engagement App, for managing outside counsel, matters and budgets.
  • Legal Process Outsourcing App, for assigning work, tracking progress and reporting on service level agreements.Matter Intake App, for law departments to manage, assign and follow through on the matters they handle.

From what I’ve seen of the Onit Apps, their task-specific nature makes them extremely easy to use. There is virtually no learning curve involved. Likewise, they are easy to set up and configure, so you can be up and running quickly, and they are easy to customize, so one size is not expected to fit all.

One way to look at these is as alternatives to more complex enterprise systems. The truth of the matter, however, is that many organizations are probably managing these processes not through sophisticated systems, but through email. Email is not an effective process- or project-management tool. Things get lost, forgotten and misplaced. These apps are easy ways for companies and law firms to bring order to processes that may currently be closer to chaos.

[Disclosure: Onit has periodically been a paid advertiser on this blog.]

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

Launched nearly five years ago, Clio was the first of an ever-growing array of cloud-based practice management platforms. At LegalTech, Clio announced its first major overhaul – a ground-up redesign and dramatically improved user interface.

The redesign will be rolled out in stages over the coming months, according to Jack Newton, Clio CEO and founder. In the changes implemented this week, Clio’s forms have been redesigned to increase ease of data entry and a new “quick-start” sidebar timer has been added that allows users to start, stop and modify timers with just a few clicks.

Additional phases of the redesign will continue to be rolled out over the coming months, Clio’s announcement said, until every aspect of the platform is redesigned.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

For Thomson Reuters, the big news at LegalTech was the announcement of its new “legal solutions” product strategy and its release of three products tied to that strategy: Concourse, a suite of tools for corporate and government legal professionals; Firm Central, a practice management platform for small firms; and Hosted Practice Technology, a suite of litigation-related tools. But for readers of this blog, that was old news, since we gave a preview of these developments two weeks ago.

Thomson Reuters did have one other piece of notable news: the announcement that it is partnering with CQ Roll Call – a provider of congressional news, legislative tracking and advocacy services – to add a new feature to WestlawNext, Washington Briefings. The briefings will cover three practice areas – securities, banking and energy – and will appear in WestlawNext as part of its new Practitioner Insights feature. Slated to start by the end of March, the service will cover both legislative and regulatory matters, providing news and analysis.

Here is how Thomson Reuters describes it:

The alliance between Thomson Reuters and CQ Roll Call will provide WestlawNext customers exclusive current awareness content and analysis from the CQ Roll Call newsroom in Washington, D.C., leveraging CQ Roll Call’s world-class expertise in legislative and regulatory policy reporting. Regulatory content will focus on activity involving federal agencies in each practice area, providing news and analysis on proposed and enacted regulations, trends and other developments. On the legislative side, CQ Roll Call will provide Thomson Reuters with news and analysis of legislative proposals and congressional actions, with an eye toward the needs of lawyers and other legal professionals.

You can read the full announcement here.

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

TitanFile is a SaaS file-sharing service – in the vein of Dropbox or Box – but designed for lawyers and other professionals and offering a couple of creative twists. Unlike other such services, it is organized not around files and folders, but around people and relationships.

In TitanFile, you organize files by channels. A channel can be whatever you want. In a law firm setting, a channel could be for a practice group, a specific case or deal, or a project. It could also be used as a client portal to share documents with clients.


 Add people to the channel, then drag and drop a document to the channel, and it is almost instantly shared with all them. Adding someone is as simple as entering the email address. You see the channels you’ve created or are part of, organized by the most recently used and on down. Each channel appears as a horizontal strip displaying the people who are part of it.

A timeline charts all channel activity, creating an exportable audit trail of every event. When new documents are added to a channel, users receive notification within the application and by email.

TitanFile can be used from any device. The company offers high levels of security, both for data transfers and storage.

The Canada-based developers of TitanFile have won numerous awards for the product. The basic version is free; the professional version with enhanced features is $14.95 per month per user. There is no charge for the people with whom you share documents (such as clients).

[Another in a series of mini-reports on what I saw at the annual LegalTech conference in New York this week.]

Picture it SettledPredictive analytics are all the rage in e-discovery, but here is a new product that uses artificial intelligence and deep data to predict the course of a negotiation, estimating when the parties are likely to settle and for how much.

Called Picture It Settled, this web-based tool draws on data harvested from thousands of cases. Its developers claim that it is able to estimate when parties are likely to settle and for what amount with a high degree of accuracy. Advocates in a negotiation or mediation can use the tool to plot scenarios and plan strategies.

Here is how the website describes it:

Negotiation between legal parties has historically been a process dominated by uncertainty, guessing games and anxiety. However, today’s professionals can make strategic decisions based on deep data and predictive analytics to improve conventional wisdom and correct cognitive errors in judgment. Using neural networks to examine the behavior of negotiators in thousands of cases, Picture It Settled can predict what an opponent will do, thereby saving time and money while optimizing settlements. Picture It Settled does not replace lawyers – instead, it is a critically important resource that gives them a distinct edge in the negotiation process.

The tool was developed by a team led by Don Philbin, a San Antonio-based attorney and mediator. Its release at LegalTech follows the 2011 release of Picture It Settled Lite, a less-robust mobile app. (In fact, data collected through the mobile app was used to augment the case data collected from other sources.)

Until March 31, you can try Picture It Settled for free. After then, it will be available via subscription as a software-as-a-service.