Looking ahead to Legalweek, The Experience

This year marks the launch of Legalweek, The Experience, a week-long series of events that is focused on business and technology within the legal industry. Legaltech New York,  a conference that I anticipated attending each year is now a part of this event.  It’s an opportunity to meet with and listen to some of the best minds in the business. The event always offers great insight into the technologies transforming the legal sector today as well as those that will define how the lawyers of the future work.

Here are some of the key technology trends I believe will be dominating conversations on the floor:

Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Artificial Intelligence

Whatever you want to call it, the age of deep learning technology is upon us. Its ability to transform the day-to-day life of lawyers is practically limitless in scope. Take search for example. We are familiar with the challenges lawyers face managing copious volumes of data. Machine learning will have the power to interpret the needs of lawyers, anticipating the content and context of searches and presenting the relevant data, regardless of the complexity of the content. The ability to streamline the search process and in effect make it more ‘intelligent’ will allow law firms to produce better outcomes in quicker time, freeing up lawyers to do more high value work.

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Blockchain

Whatever you want to call it, the age of deep learning technology is upon us. Its ability to transform the day-to-day life of lawyers is practically limitless in scope. Take search for example. We are familiar with the challenges lawyers face managing copious volumes of data. Machine learning will have the power to interpret the needs of lawyers, anticipating the content and context of searches and presenting the relevant data, regardless of the complexity of the content. The ability to streamline the search process and in effect make it more ‘intelligent’ will allow law firms to produce better outcomes in quicker time, freeing up lawyers to do more high value work.

Analytics

Data and analytics are integral to the future practice of law and we should anticipate an ever-growing number of companies offering cutting-edge solutions in this area. Analytics allows lawyers to find the information they need to make better, faster and smarter data-driven decisions. In its most advanced form, analytics can even predict case and legislative outcomes – it may even be able to anticipate behaviors. Given the potential benefits and competitive edge that analytics enables, we should anticipate law firms prioritizing technology investment in this area.

Cloud Security

Amid all this technology innovation, law firms still have something of a luddite reputation when it comes to embracing the new. To be fair, one of the many reasons for this is the volumes of highly-sensitive client and case data they work with – clients often have concerns about the use of cloud-based technology for this very reason, falsely assuming their data is at higher risk in the cloud. The technology industry (and particularly the legal technology industry) must do more to ensure law firms embrace new cloud security innovation and technologies like cloud access security brokers, while meeting rigorous security and compliance requirements.  

Data Residency

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One offshoot of cloud innovation is the importance of data residency, a topic that is particularly relevant to lawyers. In an article in BizTech, John Edwards makes the case that cloud providers must ensure transparency as to where a customer’s data will reside as numerous countries throughout the world have data regulations which specify country of residence for data. There are signs that regulators are taking steps towards giving citizens more control over their data, bringing clarity to the once grey area of data ownership, security and responsibility. As cloud technology companies target the legal sector it will be important to keep these regulatory realities in mind.

These are just a couple of the technology trends currently top of mind for both lawyers and technology vendors. We are in a wave of technology innovation right now that will likely transform the legal industry as we know it. While technology is unlikely to ever replace the need for human lawyers and human judgement, it can make the practice of law more efficient and more intelligent.

Valerie Chanlegalweek, legaltech