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.

Diversity has long been widely discussed in the legal industry. In the past year, however, new questions have been raised about equality in the profession, driven by prominent movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp. Even as stories continue to pour out of Hollywood and elsewhere, the legal industry is confronting difficult questions about whether women in law firms, or in the legal profession in general, receive equal representation and treatment.

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

What do #MeToo and #TimesUp mean for law firms? Law firms are often hired to represent the victims of alleged wrongdoing, but harassment and discrimination within firms are very real problems, even as firms work to install and shore up policies to prevent and punish such behavior. We’ve also seen high-profile class actions contending that women in law firms still don’t receive pay equal to that of their male counterparts.

Equality, along with many other diversity-related topics, will be a special focus at this year’s Legalweek conference. This year, a special forum, Legal Diversity & Talent Management, will be held on Jan. 30 and 31 as part of the larger conference. Leaders from top corporations and law firms will be on hand to discuss the current state of diversity and equality in law, as well as possible solutions for establishing a respectful workplace culture going forward.

Here are some of the sessions during the Legal Diversity & Talent Management forum that will address diversity and equality in the legal industry. Descriptions are taken from the agenda.

DAY ONE
10:30–11:30 a.m.
View from the GCs: Driving Diversity in Law Firms

Although many corporations now have effective D&I initiatives in place, their law firms are lagging behind. In this session, GCs will discuss how they view their law firms’ diversity initiatives, effects of Mansfield Rule 1.0, and measures they are taking to ensure law firms move the needle forward in diversity.

Key takeaways:

  • Successful corporate D&I initiatives that can be implemented in law firms
  • How GCs are holding law firms accountable

Moderator:
Joe West, Partner, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Duane Morris LLP.

Speakers:
Tami Collingwood, Attorney, GCFC US Enterprise Commercial, Microsoft; Simon Des-Etages, Deputy General Counsel, Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management, HSBC; Ann Kappler, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Head of External Affairs, Prudential Financial; Andy Yoo, Former Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Pearson.

1:30–2:30 p.m.
Getting Buy-In from Law Firm Leaders and Engaging the Institution

Law firm leaders will discuss how and why they became D&I allies. Panelists will share their buy-in and engagement success stories as well as strategies for overcoming resistance.

Key takeaways:

  • The Business Case for Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce
  • The Mansfield Rule and how is it affecting law firms
  • The Need for and path to Diversification of Equity Partnerships

Moderator:
Bernard Guinyard, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Goodwin Procter LLP.

Speakers:
Austin T. Fragomen, Jr., Chairman, Fragomen Del Ray Bernsen & Loewy; Andrew Kassner, Chairman & CEO, Drinker Biddle; Jami Wintz McKeon, Chair, Morgan Lewis.

DAY TWO
11 a.m.–noon
ALM Legal Intelligence – State of D&I in the Legal Industry

Panel will examine by ALM and the American Bar Association on retaining and advancing experienced female lawyers into upper levels of the profession.

Moderator:
Patrick Fuller, Vice President, ALM Intelligence.

Speakers:
Haley Altman, founder and CEO, Doxly; Steve Kovalan, Director of Research, ALM Intelligence; Catherine Krow, founder and CEO, Digitory Legal Corp.

2-3 p.m.
The #MeToo and #Time’sUp Movements: Tackling Gender Inequality in the Workplace

How are #MeToo and #Time’sUp affecting corporate legal departments and law firms? What is acceptable behavior in the workplace? How are women fighting for more representation and equality? In this session, lawyers from corporations and law firms will discuss potential solutions for gender inequality and implementing a respectful workplace culture. Panelists will share their views on how to bring about meaningful change.

Key takeaways:

  • How to get buy-in from senior management – top-down approach
  • Gender bias training
  • What resources and toolkits are available
  • How to determine effectiveness of training sessions
  • The women exodus & how to retain senior women lawyers

Moderator:
Michelle Matiski, Vice President & Head of Corporate Legal Group, Aetna.

Speakers:
Jill Backer, Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development, Pace Law School; Talita Erickson, General Counsel, Americas, Barilla; Nathalie Hofman, Principal, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, Ernst & Young; Eben Krim, Chief Labor & Employment Counsel, PMT, Honeywell International.

You can check out a full agenda for the conference 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.