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

Highlights of the Legal Technology Stream

May 5th, 2015

Over the course of my next few posts, I am providing a summary of each stream from the New Zealand Law and Technology Conference. New Zealand’s premier legal technology event, which was held in Auckland last month.

In my last post I summarised the Legal & eDiscovery Stream from the event. Today is the turn to take a further look at some of the highlights from the Legal Technology Stream.

As I have previously mentioned we expanded the New Zealand Law and Technology Conference this year from solely eDiscovery to appeal to a wider audience of legal professionals, including not only lawyers but also CIOs, practice managers, knowledge managers, IT professionals, Librarians and professionals from government agencies. The expanded focus of the event provided the opportunity for us to explore wider topics with legal technology that can assist in improving the efficiency and productivity of law firms.

Privacy is Dead

Russell McVeagh CIO Craig Columbus opened the Legal Technology Stream, presenting on Digital Privacy and Security.

To capture the audience from the outset, Craig underlined that in today’s digital paradigm privacy no longer exists – you can no longer run or hide !

Craig considered how law firms manage an ever evolving IT environment that on the one hand is being asked to help unshackle lawyers from their desks, but equally protect itself and its client data from hackers and rogue employees.

“security risks are real – and here in New Zealand” – Craig Columbus, CIO Russell McVeagh

He emphasised the importance of law firms developing cyber resilience to protect information. At the same time Craig reiterated that with all the systems in place, it is the human element that must also be addressed.

Often it is thought that NZ firms do not have the same security concerns as other countries. Craig accentuated that security risks are real – and here in New Zealand.

Different ways of thinking

Cristina Libro of consultancy firm Doing Law Differently spoke on Taking Knowledge Management into the 21st Century and beyond. Cristina challenged the traditional concept of knowledge management and how professional services firms can leverage an innovative approach to knowledge management to differentiate and add value to legal services.

Throughout Cristina discussed simple and easy ways in which law firms can harness knowledge to enhance legal service delivery. Cristina emphasised the importance that clients placed on being kept informed – with good news or bad ! It is increasingly important to understand the business needs of the client.

The session was interactive and thought provoking. Attendees were left with the thoughts to challenge their traditional thoughts around knowledge. Different ways of thinking could help law firms (and their clients) save considerable time and money.

Designing technology with the user in mind

Caroline Jones, William Davis and David Carter of Aderant provided a thought provoking insight on Strategies for Driving Adoption of technology solutions in law firms.

The presentation identified how the digital landscape has radically changed over the last 5 years, and Mobility has had a profound impact on our personal and professional lives.

With the changes, mobile has profoundly changed user expectations, with accessibility being a must and how to combat the fear of change, all in order to deploy products that will provide to the most value to your end users, your firm and your clients.

The speakers considered how users now expect the best user interface and experience from their technology, as well as the actual usability. They made special mention that the technology needs to be designed with the user in mind (as we know, it so often seems that the user experience appears to be one of the last considerations).

The messages that came from the Aderant speakers are relevant to any law firm.

If you own it, champion it !

Joining us from Sydney, Warrick Mclean CEO of law firm Coleman Greig provided an entertaining yet thought provoking session on Practice Management. Warrick identified the considerations in rolling out technology driven projects.

In today’s technology driven world, Warrick underlined how software alone is not the answer. It is still important to look at culture, implementation and workflow. At the same time it is essential to continue to explore and evolve the way the law firm uses technology.  Keeping with the theme of legal professionals effectively using technology, Warrick highlighted the importance of ‘Ongoing Training’ – you cannot have enough. 

Throughout the presentation, Warrick encouraged all lawyers and law firms to adopt technology and participate in the use of social media.

Challenging the way law is delivered

Jarrod Coburn, CEO of Ebborn Law spoke about challenging the way law is delivered. He outlined how technology is challenging the traditional law firm business model and changing the way law is delivered.

“the opportunity that technology can bring for law firms” – Jarrod Coburn, CEO Ebborn Law

Jarrod walked us through the journey that Ebborn Law have undertaken. Attendees were taken by how Jarrod has challenged the way law is delivered, but also hearing about how the measures he has introduced have worked in practice.

Jarrod explored major global technological trends and related them back to the practice of law here in New Zealand. At the same time the session raised some opportunities and threats that are just around the corner for law in this country. He asked law firms to challenge what they currently do, and challenge the way that law is delivered. Jarrod emphasised the opportunity that technology can bring for law firms.

It is refreshing to see a New Zealand law firm with such forward thinking ideas in how they are using technology. 

Read more about the New Zealand Law and Technology Conference here –

Overview of the New Zealand Law and Technology Conference

Highlights of the Legal & eDiscovery Stream

Highlights of the Legal Demonstrations & Case Studies Stream


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