LegalTech New York is here, again. The Super Bowl and Groundhog Day are over; the snow is here, so it must be time for another LTNY. This year marks our 15th LegalTech attendance and if you aren't able to be on-site with the 1,000s of attendees, 200+ vendors and countless legal technologists, consultants, media/bloggers and influencers from literally all over the place, tune in to our daily LTNY reports and recaps. To kick-off our 2014 edition, here’s our short list of pre-show topics, sessions to watch, trends to notice and conference stats.
LegalTech or eDiscoveryTech?! We have long tracked and reported on the trend of eDiscovery vendors taking over LTNY and 2014 is no exception. 82 of the 216 registered vendors (38%) touting eDiscovery solutions vs. 41% in 2013. 30 of the 64 sessions (including keynotes and plenaries) are EDD-themed and 11 of those are solely focused on the buzz around predictive coding and technology assisted review (TAR). 65% of the official LTNY educational sponsors are eDiscovery product and service providers.
Big Data: Ready for prime time? We’ve likened the interest of legal big data in 2012 and 2013 to a ‘first date’ ... lots of uncertainty and nervousness about what’s next. Consider the 2014 ‘big data and legal’ relationship a serious one. New big data technologies are steadily emerging and established eDiscovery vendors are increasingly joining the big data mix with ‘industrial strength’ enterprise search and predictive coding/TAR technologies ready to assist legal professionals with more than ‘just’ tackling gargantuan sets of documents. Of the 7 dedicated big data sessions spanning two educational tracks by the same name, only three are not TAR/predictive coding themed, so the big data = eDiscovery stigma is still alive and well. 10 LTNY vendors are what we would label big data -- spanning predictive analytics and search, legal spend management and machine-enabled data processing. We did not include eDiscovery companies in this count, some of which are starting to promote aforementioned big data processing capabilities.
Information Governance: The LTNY 2014 agenda word cloud cites information governance (IG) as the hottest topic based on educational content covered in 14 IG-themed sessions. Consider IG as an umbrella topic including risk management, IT security, governance policies/procedures and privacy. Governance is an ‘equal opportunity’ hot topic, challenging law firm CIOs and other C-Levels, GCs and CISOs to come together and devise best policies and practices to protect their own and their clients’ information interests. We also counted 23 LTNY exhibitors focused on various information governance products and services ranging from secure data storage to email archiving and IG process and workflow management.
The cloud all grown up: Law Technology News’ latest cover story features Thomson Reuters’ new president and her quest to accelerate development of the company’s cloud and mobile technologies. Last month, LexisNexis published its “Cloud Technologies in the Legal Industry” report citing that 72.4% of the surveyed attorneys say law firms are more likely to use the cloud in 2014. These numbers also jive with what we analyzed and reported on in the 2013 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing survey. So what’s next: Like we mentioned in our LTNY word cloud post, the time for talking is over with the focus on real world cloud applications beyond DR/BC and storage. David Whelan, manager of legal information for the Law Society of Upper Canada, also says so in his recent LTN piece ... “mobile apps are enhancing lawyer productivity and new tools are emerging to manage and integrate cloud services with existing web-based legal technology.” There are 17 companies offering practice, case and matter management products, some client-server but many of the being offered in the cloud or via SaaS model.
Sessions worth getting up for: With 58 educational options, as well as a daily keynote and plenary session to choose from, it might be tough to narrow down the ‘best bang’ for your educational buck.
· Beyond the Buzz: Perspectives on Big Data & the Challenges of the Digital Age for Legal Practice [Tuesday, Track 3, 10:30-11:45] Explore big data tools & learn about real world applications
· Day One Plenary Session: “Disrupt” for Lawyers - Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in the Legal Industry [Tuesday, Track 12:30-1:30]; international bestselling author Luke Williams shares ways legal professionals can innovate and disrupt
· Information Governance Best Practices: Taking your Organization to the Next Level [Tuesday, Track 2:00-3:15]; Good IG primer presented by an esteemed group of panelists
· IT: The Catalyst [Tuesday, Track 7, 3:45-5:00]; ILTA’s advanced IT track is always a LTNY winner. This session features rapid fire presentations on the power of IT as change agent
· Total Cost of Ownership - Cloud vs. Premise: An Appellate Court-Style Debate [Wednesday, Track 7, 2:15-3:30]; Should I choose cloud-based software or software that’s installed at my office?
· Day 3 Keynote: Privacy and Security [Thursday, 9:00-10:00]; The biggest challenge facing all of legal, co-presented by ILTA Distinguished Peer Awards ‘Thought Leader’ winner Donna Payne. A must see!
· Measuring for Value: Addressing the Challenges in Measuring Performance Quality In and Outside of the Corporate Law Department [Thursday, Track 1, 10:30-11:45]; Kia’s Casey Flaherty, Lex Machina’s Josh Becker and Reinvent Law’s Daniel Katz look at metrics that can fully measure law firm and vendor value and quality.
Direct mail Noise: Is it worth it? We read a tweet last week of a legal professional exasperated with the barrage of vendor mailers and emails leading up to LTNY. He mentioned receiving 150+ emails/vendor communications and ‘I’m not even attending LegalTech”. We agree, vendor pre-marketing efforts are unprecedented this year. In fact, we have been collecting the ‘best and worst’ of the mailers and emails we have received ... done right, a mass email can actually solicit a positive response or a neutral delete. Done wrong (10 misspellings in a 50 word sales pitch or a 2000+ word ‘direct mail’ novel meant to ...) these expensive pre-show efforts can really back-fire and make sure you’ll be singled out, for all the wrong reasons. Our perfect example of what not to do is referenced above. That intro was the beginning ... of numerous errors and typos within the email introduction to their company. We do feel like we know them now!
If you are in New York, we hope to see you this week ... on the exhibit floor, in conference sessions and keynotes, at the media and bloggers breakfast, or at Friday’s ReInvent Law event.