The big data topic is definitely in vogue and the chatter surrounding what it is, what it could be, and why law firms and all legal professionals should care is louder than ever. Although written for the legal administrator/executive director audience, the lessons learned apply to all legal professionals:
Big data is real and here to stay, so start figuring out what it means to you/your firm/company.
According to a 2012 IBM Big Data study, 71% of businesses are still in the big data education and exploration phases versus only 6% who have deployed two or more big data (mostly analytics) initiatives.
When asked how big data might positively impact legal IT within the next five years, 16% of those participating in the 2013 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey, said that "big data would lead to more strategic use of data via predictive data modeling, data mining and more accessible data analytics".
Big data does not mean you have to have ginormous volumes of data and information. The smallest data sets, if properly mined and analyzed, can yield the largest nuggets of KM and business intelligence 'gold'.
Big data analytics is often the big data default when it comes to answering the 'what is it?' and 'how do I use it?' question.
The business world is excited about big data because it provides a proven method for integrating structured and unstructured data sources for mining and analysis purposes.
Big data ROI is not an oxymoron. There are dozens of real world use cases of big data in legal.
Do you prefer to listen versus reading? We previously recorded a 'Big Data for Lawyers' podcast for ABA's Law Practice Today which provides a good big data primer and legal insights.
Over the years, we have worked with legal conferences regarding speaker selection - from the process to communicating it to potential speakers throughout the legal community. Not surprisingly, this is something vendors ask us about quite a bit. Thought leadership, especially via speaking at conferences, is so important when it comes to elevating a vendor and their 'credibility and believability' status, and often makes the difference among competitors. With that said, speaking opportunities for vendors can be few and far between, and too often in the legal community, the same vendor speakers are selected over and over. Part of the reasoning for that is thought leadership and name recognition, but trust in the speaker plays a huge part as well.
Speaking at ILTA Conference: Proven Tips
For some vendors, the annual ILTA Conference is the pinnacle of their annual marketing program and what better way to be represented than to speak. ILTA values thought leadership across the entire legal community, and as such has always been open to vendors as writers and speakers when many other legal organizations haven't. Although there isn't a way to secure a speaking opportunity for sure, there are ways to increase your probability:
ILTA is a peer organization focused on education and therefore requires 65% of their speakers to be ILTA members. This allows for 35% speakers from the vendor/consultant community.
The members select the content. Keep this in mind when you are submitting topics and draft your proposed topics (we'll get to this process below) accordingly. Too often, vendors submit a topic that is too self-serving.
Increase your chances of acceptance by partnering with an ILTA member for your presentation.
Reputation, reputation, reputation. It goes without saying that selling from the podium is the ultimate no-no. Keep in mind, once you have a reputation for selling, it will be almost impossible to overcome it. There are too many options for great conference speakers versus the risk of going with someone that has crossed the line.
Overall, remember that this is an excellent opportunity to network with ILTA members and build thought leadership.
ILTA's Call for Topics and Speakers
"Times are changing and so is the course catalog. Once you submit a course, it
will be reviewed by Gail Persichilli, ILTA's Programming Coordinator. Based on
feedback from members, we will work closely with the peer groups and regional
member liaisons (RMLs, formerly known as city representatives) to schedule
webinars and local meetings. You might be asking, "What can my team
do?" Please continue submitting ideas to the course catalog throughout the
year. We also encourage you to work directly with the course catalog instead of
contacting local RMLs. This will allow us to give you a better opportunity to
get your content in front of ILTA's members.
In addition to submitting topics for webinars and local meetings, it's time to
submit your topics for consideration by the 2014 conference committee! We are
also looking for topics for LegalTech Asia Summit in Hong Kong (March 3, 2014)."
Step 1 - Submit any course ideas you have to the course catalog here. You can submit numerous ideas but make sure they are all high quality. Tip: Look at last year's program to see what was selected by the members and what was offered.
Step 2 - Everyone within your orgranization that is a subject matter expert and is interested in speaking and/or writing for ILTA should be registered in ILTA's Expertise Database. From the main ILTA site, click on "MyILTA" and then "Expertise Database". Note: Each person has to have their own account and register through it, however, the process to get in the expertise database takes under a minute.
Topics are due to the course catalog by November 1, 2013!
When's the last time you woke up in the middle of the night and thought "I wish there was more innovation and market disruption in legal technology, and, how do I get involved?!" At the end of the day, who actively looks for the 'new and cool' versus most of us who just end up playing the technology cards we are dealt? InsideLegal has been pushing the innovation envelope (i.e., encouraging those 'wake up in the middle of the night' moments) for several years through our ongoing 'In Their Own Words' thought leadership series; our Thought Leadership Digest publication; and Ignite Law (now LexThink.1), the innovation event series we have co-produced with Matt Homann since 2009. In June, our Legal IT Today article "Welcome to Legal Market Disruption. Are you Ready?" discussed the value of new technology and to what extent the legal market is even ready (or willing) to embrace new technologies.
Ponder this ... would more of us care about innovation and next generation legal technologies if we could actively and easily get involved from the ground-up/idea incubation stage with minimal risk or committment? Probably. Thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, virtually anyone with a great idea and viable business plan can appeal to the masses for support and help fund their innovation.
This all leads up to today's InsideLegal exclusive conversation with Lev Rosenblum, the co-founder of Lexprompt and co-creator of LP Writer, "intelligent writing software for everyone", currently campaigning for start-up funds on Kickstarter. We think Lev (currently an associate with Dorsey & Whitney LLP) and his business partners' new technology invention is rather clever, its origins peculiar, and the Kickstarter fundraising campaign definitely unique in legal.
While the LP Writer software 'value proposition' (see below) is quite appealing, we are equally intrigued by Lexprompt's creative approach to raising awareness (and funds) via Kickstarter, which since its origins in 2009, has funded 49,000+ creative projects backed by 4.9 million people pledging more than $800 million. Music, film & video projects make up over 50% of all ventures. Of the 49,000+ sucessful projects (a 42% success rate based on all funded projects), less than 2% (947 as of September 26) are technology-focused, with LP Writer possibly being the sole (if not one of a few) legal technology-specific innovation.
We reached out to Lexprompt to find out more about the big idea, the grand plan and Kickstarter. Lev (LR) was kind enough to answer ...
IL - What’s in a name? Please shed some light onto the LP Writer name. Why now? Why use Kickstarter to promote the technology?
LR - Our initial focus was on helping attorneys prepare documents more efficiently. “LP” is short for Lexprompt, our company name, and “Writer” implies that the software will have some level of intelligence capable of assisting the actual writer (i.e., the user). Why now? While computing power has increased exponentially over the past few decades, the basic functionality of word processing systems has largely remained unchanged. Today, personal computers have sufficient computational power to allow our application to provide suggestions essentially instantaneously as the user types. For example, using LP Writer, an attorney writing a brief will be able to get suggestion sentences or paragraphs from other briefs, while a writer working on a research paper may get suggestion sentences or paragraphs from previously written papers and research materials.
While our focus was on how LP Writer will help attorneys, we realized that the software can be useful for non-attorneys as well. We launched on Kickstarter to introduce our software to the broader public and to discover new applications and markets for LP Writer. In fact, initial feedback from Kickstarter backers has already helped us identify markets and uses that we have not focused on to date. For example, we realize now that LP Writer is not just a writing tool - LP Writer can manage information and knowledge; it can help users research; it can be an open innovation tool that can help companies explore and sort through existing research and many others uses.
IL - What came first … the solution to the ‘problem’ or the ‘problem’ that led you and your partners to invent a ‘better mousetrap’?
LR - The problem led us to the solution implemented in LP Writer. At the time, I was doing commercial litigation work and was annoyed by the amount of time I spent rewriting existing sentences and paragraphs as well as by being unable to effectively search through existing documents. We wanted a better way to locate useful information, essentially in real time, as the user types in their working document.
IL - You are an engineer and experienced in tool and die design … how has your background helped conceive LP Writer and how are manufacturing tools and building technology solutions similar or different?
LR - All of us have engineering and science backgrounds in hardware and in software, and like most engineers, we love solving problems. We have software and algorithm development experience that we could tap into to develop a solution for effectively finding and using information from existing documents.
IL - You mention algorithms ... this reminds me of (big data) analytics? Do you see LP Writer as a useful tool for handling and utilizing existing data (small or large) that firms have to keep up with?
LR - There is data and there’s DATA (petabytes, exabytes). Law firms typically deal with the former, largely because most of law firm information or knowledge is in textual form, which is very compact as data goes. However, we use some technologies that are also applicable to big data analysis.
Editor's note: At first glance, what I like about LP Writer is that it can serve as a workhorse with existing documents and pulls in text and content as you create new documents. It seems like Word's 'Add to Dictionary' on steroids. Plus, like Lev mentioned, there are many potential uses, from helping authors break through writers' block to assiting non-native speakers formulate more cohesive documents and content.
IL - Your Kickstarter campaign is based on reaching a $30,000.00 funding goal by October 18. What happens if you meet the goal? And if you don’t succeed?
LR - If we meet the goal, we will have LP Writer available for our backers in February of next year. We are excited to be able to get LP Writer in our backers hands, get their feedback and implement changes they want to see in LP Writer. We will have a dedicated channel for feedback just for them (either via a dedicated email account or a backers-only page on our website). However, we welcome everyone to submit feedback and suggestions through the Contact Us page on our website. If we do not meet our goal, it may take us longer to fully develop LP Writer plus we won't be able to offer the same level of 'backer incentives' currently advertised as part of the Kickstarter campaign.
IL - Along those lines, peek into your crystal ball and tell us where LP Writer and Lexprompt might be in three years from now?
LR - We see Lexprompt as a sustainable business continuously innovating our software platform, and LP Writer tailored to serve the evolving needs of our customers. Our main focus is the legal market and especially cost-conscious law firms and attorneys, and we expect to see substantial growth in this market.
Take a few minutes and peruse the Kickstarter campaign page. It includes short prototype demos, benefit lists, essential features & functions, the founders' back story, and of course ample options to donate. In fact, we counted 10 pledge options ranging from $5 to $5,000. You can also see who has already backed the project and the comments section which includes enhancement suggestions and the like.
We really enjoyed meeting Lev and the Lexprompt team and seeing their innovative approach to launching their product in legal. We look forward to hearing a lot more from Lexprompt and LP Writer in the future.
TED Session #1 - What is the Market for Legal Services in the Future? (from Buyers Point of View) Presented by Anne Lee Gibson, PhD, Ann Lee Gibson Consulting Session Download - Presentation/Slides
TED Session #2 - Innovation in the Law Firm Presented by Jordan Furlong, Partner Edge International and Senior Consultant, Stem Legal Web Enterprises Session Downloads - Presentation & Accompanying Article by Jordan
The College of Law Practice Management (COLPM) is an organization formed to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals, to set standards of achievement for others in the profession, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of law practice management.
The College of Law Practice Management (COLPM) is hosting their Annual Futures Conference this Friday and Saturday at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. InsideLegal has been partnering with the COLPM for the past few years and their Futures Conference (which was closed to Fellows only until recent years) is the best event for networking and gathering insight from all areas of legal practice management (management, marketing, tech, pricing, HR, facilities management). We often call the COLPM "the best kept secret in legal" and an excellent way to meet the industry's true thought leaders - including COLPM President, Ron Staudt; Friday's keynote Stephen Mayson; and Ann Lee Gibson and Jordan Furlong who are both leading Friday's TED sessions.
Dinner with conference attendees at local restaurants
For information on the full program, visit the brochure. This conference is ideal for law firm leaders, vendor executives, CIOs, CMOs, directors of professional development and law school deans and is designed to offer ideas meaningful and actionable ideas to firms of all sizes, across all legal disciplines.
The 2013 Futures Conference co-chairs are Susan Duncan (President, RainMaking Oasis, Inc.), Deborah McMurray (CEO and Strategy Architect, Content Pilot LLC) and Steve Nelson (Managing Principal, The McCormick Group).
If you are interested in attending Friday (or the full conference), contact the COLPM Administrator Karen Rosen at 720-271-7015 or by email as soon as possible to register.
Editors Note: InsideLegal is a Platinum sponsor of the COLPM & InnovAction Awards.
Congratulations to the College of Law Practice Management's (COLPM) 2013 Fellows that will be inducted into the COLPM this Saturday, October 5, at the College’s Annual Meeting and Futures Conference in Chicago. The COLPM is an organization "formed in 1994 to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals, to set standards of achievement for others in the profession, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of law practice management." Membership is restricted to Fellows who are nominated by their peers and meet the criteria (i.e., 10 years of service; high level of integrity; significant contributions to law practice management, etc.).