LegalTech 2011 thoughts

This year’s main LegalTech show is now over – three days in wintry New York City and all the challenges that brings. Before I head back to London, here are my quick thoughts.

I managed to shoehorn 24 meetings into my time at the Hilton and only managed to see one session, Chris Dale’s judge’s panel at the end, which was performed as a play, and very good it was too!  Not sure if anyone managed to get a picture of Judge Simon Brown brandishing a copy of e-Discovery for Dummies (he was making a point, rather than consulting it for advice, obviously!) but it would make for an amusing image.

I initially was swamped with vendors showing me new user interfaces rather than underlying innovations in their engines, however there were a few innovative things to note. I’ll put more of that in a longer note for our clients shortly.

I was struck by the number of software and service providers landing or expanding in the UK. They clearly see it as a growth opportunity in itself and of course a bridgehead to the broader EU market. They’re also curious about the risks and opportunities caused by the introduction in April of the UK Bribery Act.

Service providers are placing a bit less emphasis on self-built technology in the past, more settling on the best of breed tools.

Billing by the hour is passé it is almost all volume based pricing, or at least volume-based or flat rate pricing is almost always offered.
On the technology front, if your processing engine can’t process 1TB a day, you’re falling behind the curve.

And coming back to the user interface point at the start. It’s worth remembering amongst all this technology that for many lawyers, a new UI is what they really need right now. They are finding it hard to keep up with the latest text analysis tools and are being assaulted from so many angles with technology, competition, the threat to their business caused by in-sourcing of e-Discovery that some really do want just a well-designed user interface on their review tool that clearly shows how much the review will cost and  how far along its progressed.

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