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LegalTech New York 2013 – a New Zealand perspective

February 14th, 2013

LegalTech 2013 is over for another year which gives me time to reflect on this year’s event.

Since LegalTech most of my time has been dedicated to making the final arrangements for the NZ eDiscovery Conference (which concluded yesterday). Luckily I have now found some time to share my observations from the latest version of the industry’s leading Legal Technology event.

What is LegalTech?

I explained in detail in my post last year of what LegalTech is. Nothing about the event has changed too much, so I refer any newcomer to read my post from last year.

This year’s event saw in excess of 10,000 over 3 floors attending in midtown New York. Yet again there were over 200 exhibition booths with providers showcasing their products and services.

Anyone that is anyone in the Legal Technology space will be at LegalTech in some capacity. I was told by a couple of people that if you are not at LegalTech the questions and speculation begins about your absence.

It is a long trek to LegalTech from New Zealand, but it is always one worthwhile for anyone that is serious about the legal technology industry. I count myself fortunate to have been the only representative from New Zealand, something that my experiences can provide a point of difference for my clients here in New Zealand.

LegalTech is a great opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals that face similar issues to what we commonly combat in New Zealand. It is vital to keep up to date with the latest practices and technology developments, as we all know technology is evolving at an alarming rate, so we all need to evolve with it.

LegalTech yet again saw a number of new products, practices and processes, but the 2013 edition also saw a consolidation of some of the themes from last year’s LegalTech.

Predictive Coding

It was not surprising to ‘predict‘ that the theme of LegalTech once again would be Predictive Coding.

Predictive Coding (or under whatever guise providers are packaging it), was everywhere as you walked the exhibition floors, or listened in to the conference sessions. Whatever the name, the technology basically does the same thing. Obviously some providers have more comprehensive and sophisticated features than others.

Attention around Predictive Coding has moved somewhat onto the transparency of the process. Many of the Predictive coding products now allow a full ability to audit the calls made.

For many there is still an apprehension about the technology, but it was often pointed out that this type of grouping/categorising information is not new. In my mind any tools that can be used to assist lawyers navigate large volumes of documents has to be a tool that must be considered.

Information Governance

Information Governance probably attracted more attention this year. One of the main focusses of Information Governance is being more proactive in the management of data and with it taking the tools that are used for eDiscovery to apply them to the rest of the business. Knowing where your data is and how to access it is vital for eDiscovery and investigations, but this ability also assists to enable organisations to make more informed business decisions.

The tools are available to assist with Information Governance programmes, but it is important to have clear and concise communication between all stakeholders to ensure you know what data you have, where it is and how to access it.


One refreshing aspect of LegalTech this year was the continued mention of proportionality – something that those of us outside of the US sometimes think wasn’t always on the US radar. Both proportionality and reasonableness was at the heart of many of the discussions about eDiscovery and managing information in today’s digital world.

It was great to see the number of judicial figures speaking at LegalTech and conveying how they were proactively assisting parties get to what’s at issue and to target the important information. The judicial representatives also identified the important role that technology can play in achieving a proportionate outcome to the issues in dispute.


Once again LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing) was a key theme from the event. Moving on from the logistical side of LPO, we are now seeing many more providers offering managed review services.

On the way to LegalTech, I met up with a number of London law firms that have been successfully providing their clients with LPO options. In Asia-Pacific this is definitely a space to watch, especially with the number of Australian firms going down this path. I know I have started offering a number of my New Zealand clients the option to outsource work overseas to provide them with considerable cost savings.

LPO and together with it comes the importance of project management, both from within the law firm and also from within the corporate organisation. Project management has become a new skill, especially for law firms as they look to manage the work of their service providers.

As well as the endless meetings, conference sessions and demos, LegalTech is an opportunity to catch up with old friends, some of which I only get to see once a year.

Needless to say I am already making sure my diary is clear to attend LegalTech again next year.



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