The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

LegalTech 2016 – a New Zealand Perspective

February 5th, 2016

As I post this, I am just about to make my way back to New Zealand after another LegalTech in New York. For those that have not heard of LegalTech, it is the largest legal technology event on the calendar.

In early February each year legal technology professionals make the trip to LegalTech to hear, share and experience all that is new in the world of legal technology. Anybody that is anybody in the legal technology space is at LegalTech. As has become the norm, I was again the sole representative from the New Zealand legal technology industry.

For any first time attendees, LegalTech can be overwhelming with the event attracting over 10,000 attendees, featuring multiple educational tracks and nearly 200 exhibitors, all held over 3 days at the Hilton in midtown New York.

Luckily over the years I have got better at planning of who and what I want (and need to see).

A fast changing environment

One year is a long time in the legal technology world. Year on year we see greater advancements of how technology is being used to improve the efficiency of lawyers and law firms. Each year there are so many new developments to learn about and to see for yourself.

As far as software it is not solely about what is happening now, but what many have on their road-map for the next 12-24 months. Throughout this year’s event there was considerable talk and excitement about the explosion of eDiscovery software being provided through the cloud.

As always LegalTech provided a great opportunity to experience new software, with many providers launching new releases at the event. I still get amazed with what is now possible with the aide of technology and how this is changing the practice of law. The key for all of us is to continue to encourage greater adoption by lawyers and their practices.

Each year at LegalTech I try and learn more about something outside of my comfort zone. This year I was fortunate to sit in on a number of cybersecurity sessions, and realise how important the issues are that may soon face many of the clients we work with.

My highlight was the opening keynote on the second day by Former FBI counterintelligence operative Eric O’Neill on “Cybersecurity and Data Espionage”. Eric was one of the most polished presenters I have seen, as he provided a thoroughly entertaining yet real presentation on the threats with cybersecurity and recounting how the FBI took down Robert Hansen, who had be selling state secrets to the Russians.

Networking, networking, networking…

The new technologies and practices are great, but for me the greatest value that I get from LegalTech is the networking opportunities. Everyone is in the one place, all the leading experts and technology providers.

The event is a unique platform to share experiences and discuss issues that we are coming across with lawyers and with legal technology.

This year I spent time with professionals that had successfully encouraged greater adoption of technology within law firms. These were interesting conversations, as exploring the different methods were a real eye opener, and something I will try to take further with lawyers in New Zealand. Many of their experiences and challenges that they encounter are similar to what I find in New Zealand law firms.

The event is not just meetings, demos and conference sessions, as it would be amiss not to mention the various functions each evening. These are great opportunities to network further (in more relaxed surrounds), discussing what is happening in our fast changing industry. Each evening you have to juggle different events. Fitting them all into your schedule seems a good idea at the time, although you soon regret that ‘one last drink’, first thing the next morning.

LegalTech continues to be three of the most well spent days of my year.

The dates for 2017 are already in my calendar.



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