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Tom O’Connor Blog Post: Recap of LegalTech 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

At the show itself Tuesday, crowds at the start were thin, as might be expected with the weather issues, but they picked up by the afternoon. The official LTNY mobile app listed only 190 vendors with booths, compared to 220 in 2014 and 263 in 2009. Of those 190, 44 percent were selling eDiscovery products and services, and another 5 percent were consultancies. So half the vendors were in the eDiscovery space.

Other areas of vendor booth concentration were
• Analytics: 4 percent
• DMS/Document assembly: 5 percent
• Practice/case management: 7 percent
• Information governance [privacy/security/DR/governance]: 8 percent

(Thanks to InsideLegal for the stats: See their full report at http://insidelegal.typepad.com/files/legaltech/)

Overall, the show is clearly a Big Data/IG/corporate security showcase. The biggest buzzword this year was absolutely security, followed by information governance. The biggest topic attendees were asking about that wasn’t a vendor buzz word? Analytics.

The biggest plus for me was getting to meet all my new friends at Advanced Discovery. …I’m still trying to put names with faces! …And seeing all my old friends like Craig Ball, Jonathan Maas, George Socha, Henry Dicker, Neil Aresty (it wouldn’t be a TECHSHOW without Neil), Doug Kaminski, Ron Friedmann, Bob Ambriogi, Kevin O’Keefe and, of course, the always delightful Judge John Facciola.

Of special interest, of course, was the retirement of Monica Bay, who will leave her position as editor of Law Technology News but not the legal profession. She will accept a position as a fellow of the CodeX Project at Stanford.

And speaking of CodeX, that has been the biggest disappointment of the legal space for the past year. Their charter, according to one press release, is to “… solve systemic problems in the law through the exchange of ideas around legal technology, which will empower individuals and impact our legal system for the better.” In plain ole English, they purport to be one of the new “disruptive” forces that will be part of the movement to “reinvent” the law.

So let’s look at the list of the new companies they showcased at LegalTech. Patent Vector is a new take on using big data for IP. IP Nexus is a kind of IP marketplace for inventors looking to protect their inventions. Plain Legal is a cloud based collaboration application for IP filings. Docket Alarm: Yes, another docket product but focused on IP filings. MeWe sells automated compliance services to corporations. Wizdocs is focused on streamlining complex team based M&A document drafting. And DealManager allows lawyers to manage diligence reviews.

OK, I’m no software expert but it seems to me this focus on IP law that may “reinvent” things at the top of the pyramid but is going to have absolutely NO impact on the 60 percent of attorneys in this country who work in small firms, the local practitioner in St. Bernard Parish, LA or Ames, IA or Northfield, VT or Reading, CA, etc. I don’t think they are going to see much disruption here. As Judge Facciola pointed out on the Wednesday afternoon Judges Panel, the high cost of civil litigation has made the federal courts inaccessible to the middle class. He went on to say that unless THAT paradigm is disrupted, most Americans will never see the inside of a federal courtroom.

Hopefully Monica will have some impact on that focus. In the meantime, I’ll see you down the road at our next conference or one of my speaking engagements. More info on those dates will be in my next blog post.

 

Guest Author: Tom O’Connor, Senior eDiscovery Consultant, Advanced Discovery

Tom O’Connor is nationally known as a consultant, speaker and writer. In his consulting work, Tom specializes in working with law firms and their corporate clients to manage their electronic discovery needs. As senior eDiscovery consultant for Advanced Discovery, he assists clients in database design, implementation and training. He also addresses specific eDiscovery issues such as retention policies, litigation holds and document exchange protocols. Tom speaks at major legal conferences and writes for both the Advanced Discovery blog and national legal publications.

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