ILTACON 2017: What’s all the buzz about?
by John Zahradnick
We’re back from the whirlwind adventure commonly referred to as ILTACON. All kidding aside, ILTACON is an exciting week for InOutsource. Every year we get to hear great new ideas about emerging trends within legal and this year, InOutsource was in the thick of it.
On top of everyone’s list this year in emerging technologies was Business Intelligence and Analytics. While BI is not new to legal, law firms are beginning to look for enterprise platforms that serve more than a single use case.
Last year we introduced many firms to the possibilities of what they could accomplish with an enterprise business intelligence platform. This year they came back ready to learn more. While financial metrics are a common first use of BI, there are a wealth of opportunities outside of finance. In one session, a law firm described how they are using Qlik to compare case alerts from Westlaw, Lexis Nexis & Bloomberg against the firm’s client list. In doing so, they are identifying opportunities to proactively develop new business with existing clients. This use case provides a great opportunity to justify the ROI of your BI purchase, while driving new revenue and supporting growth strategies.
Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the rise in law firms. There is a lot of buzz about what AI really means and a lot of excitement about the possibilities. I heard the term “robot lawyer” at least half a dozen times in the hall. Maybe AI won’t live up to the hype, but a few firms are doing some pretty cool stuff. Some, like Bryan Cave, are using AI tools to review time entries to better understand the breakdown of tasks involved in client engagements so that they can be better budgeted in the future. InOutsource clients and prospects were excited to see Natural Language Generation (NLG) in action, with Narrative Science’s Narratives for Qlik extension. This technology in-action will actually write a narrative or story about the data, making more complicated chart types, like scatterplots, more accessible to the non-data scientist.
The latest hot topic garnering attention from ILTA members is the future promise of blockchain technology entering the law firm space. Someone called blockchain “the new internet” and my mind melted. It has some huge implications for the technology world but I’m more interested in the impact on law firms. Will law firms be able to take advantage of any aspects of the open and distributed nature of blockchain, or will the need for confidentiality and attorney-client privilege keep this technology at bay? From smart contracts to public and verifiable transactions, firms are working hard to predict where and when blockchain will disrupt the norm.
We also heard a lot about cloud computing, which has been a popular topic of conversation for several years now. Aside from new advances in the technologies and security, the question remains the same: “to Cloud or Not to Cloud.” Firms argue both sides of the coin back and forth and they are all right in their own way – so we will just leave it at that.
Attendees were also able to talk to our team about successful Intapp Open implementations and our wealth of knowledge in the Conflicts and New Business Intake space. As Intapp rolls out new modules and new releases, new projects continue and existing clients happily return for Phase 2 and Phase 3 projects. We treated select ILTA attendees to a preview of our Conflicts Essentials training program, offering deep professional development to administrative teams and lawyers, alike.
I can’t wait to go back next year and talk about all new applications that firms are rolling out.