At 39 years and still going strong, Legaltech has earned its rightful reputation as the industry’s largest and most important annual event — bringing together esteemed exhibitors and speakers to showcase and discuss the latest innovations and trends in legal technology.

This year, Knovos employees from around the world convened at the New York Hilton Midtown to staff our booth, offer detailed product demos, host pre-booked meetings, and answer attendees’ questions. We also spent a lot of time networking with industry peers, and once again hosted an opening-night reception at the Museum of Modern Art.

Our focus during the three-day event was on highlighting how Knovos’ suite of holistic solutions can help organizations navigate the legal risk management cycle — mitigating the potential financial loss and reputational damage associated with increased litigation, internal investigations, data breaches, and failure to achieve regulatory compliance.

Other subjects of discussion at Legaltech included cybersecurity, data privacy, machine learning/AI, the cloud, eDiscovery, collaboration, compliance, project management, product licensing, and data analytics.

The importance of the knowledge shared throughout Legaltech cannot be overstated, whether during an educational session or while networking. When contacts with specialized roles within their organization have the opportunity to interact with other industry experts, they are able to glean valuable insight from a knowledge management standpoint. Organizational efficiencies identified through such interactions often result in the implementation of technologies designed to address multiple needs across a complex distributed data landscape.

In the coming months, it will be interesting to see if there’s a significant drop-off in these valuable face-to-face opportunities and if event organizers are able to pivot to producing more online educational events with networking components.

Cloud learning

As an avid social media user, I often find that the content being shared online during conferences is a good reflection of the key topics being discussed with the greatest frequency. Based on an analysis of hashtag keywords on Twitter that referenced Legaltech, I generated word clouds to gain some interesting insight into the key issues discussed this year.

There are some keywords that I readily expected to be present, such as “artificial,” “intelligence,” “sharing,” “secure,” “cloud,” “planning,” and “management.” In addition, the term “legal IT” appeared prominently, which makes sense as it speaks to the two main categories of conference attendees — legal professionals and information technologists. Surprisingly absent to me, however, were such words as “privacy” and “innovation.” Many of the conversations I had at Legaltech this year included discussion of innovations and the impact of data privacy laws on data governance obligations.

The terms “artificial” and “intelligence” are certainly linked, with many focused on the use of AI and where it can be used effectively to assist in a legal context. One common topic related to AI is the use of data analytics technologies. Effective use of data analytics can help attorneys identify issues of concern within a data set that might never have been discovered otherwise. Further, such technologies can be used to trigger alerts to compliance officers and legal professionals to help reduce certain organizational risks.

It is also understandable that “sharing” appeared as a frequent term, as many of the discussions at Legaltech related to the use of collaborative technologies. Similarly, the term “secure” reflects concerns about the need to keep cybersecurity protocols in place. Secure sharing environments that allow parties to limit access to specific information based on individual user rights are being relied upon with increasing frequency.

References to “cloud” are reflective of the fact that many Legaltech attendees rely on cloud-based storage environments. Also increasingly common are hybrid models that allow certain data to remain behind an organizational firewall while other data resides in the cloud. The need for data governance policies and technologies that reach across an enterprise, garnering insight into information regardless of where it is stored, will continue to impact organizational decisions about what solutions to employ.

From both a micro and macro perspective, it also makes sense that the terms “planning” and “management” both appeared in the word clouds. Despite significant advancements in AI technologies, many conference participants expressed frustration with their current project management capabilities and the resulting inefficiencies they routinely experience. Technologies that help manage workflows and track communication, as well as assign job tasks to team members, are gaining increased industry use. Also increasingly in demand are project management technologies that provide real-time status reports and budget projections.

Legaltech takeaways

While technological innovations are critical to optimizing organizational efficiency, it is also important to understand which technologies are readily available from third parties, as innovating from scratch is not always the most cost-effective option.

Implementing the right technology to address a true organizational need can provide substantial return on investment, while also reducing organizational risk. Establishing plans to control organizational workflows and processes is essential for the proper implementation of new technologies, as is defining the user rights for those tasked with employing the solution. One concept that rings true each year is that three core elements remain vital to any Legaltech-related discussion — people, process, and technology.

For more insight into this year’s Legaltech and the issues discussed by attendees, I encourage you to check out this brief video featuring an interview with my colleague Sid Jiwnani, director of Knovos’ European operations. Also, stay tuned to our product webinar series, during which we will continue to demonstrate the unique capabilities of our full suite of legal solutions.

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