Recently, I attended CodeX’s fourth annual FutureLaw 2016 conference, which was hosted by the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. The conference featured an impressive group of speakers and attendees, who ranged from academics and policy makers to lawyers, investors, engineers and entrepreneurs. The conference focused on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession, the law itself, and how these changes will eventually impact us all.
I had the honor of participating in one of three breakaway sessions on “Barriers to LegalTech Adoption and Possible Solutions.” Our moderator, Monica Bay, facilitated an interactive discussion with Elizabeth Lowell, Stanford; Ralph Baxter, CodeX; Brad Newman, Cooley; Joshua Walker, Airbus Silicon Valley; Nick Abrahams, Norton Rose Fulbright and myself on key issues surrounding successful legal technology adoption.
Some of the other topics discussed at the conference included the challenges of selling into the legal market, the emergence of in-house legal operations and their influence on the adoption of legal technologies, and how emerging technology entrants can bring new ideas to the legal market. From the discussions, it became clear that many companies are building legal operations groups and are preparing to inject greater change within their in-house legal organizations and the company/law firm relationship to make legal services more efficient for everyone. This change is being viewed as a positive step in motivating the legal industry to more readily embrace software solutions.
Also discussed was that software products truly need to be built with the end user in mind. As a former legal executive at a Fortune 500 company, I was often surprised to receive pitches for technology solutions that seemed to be seeking a problem to solve, rather than addressing an immediate need that my team and I were confronting.
Lastly, software platforms, which provide open, third-party technology interfaces, resulted in a lively discussion. The initial thinking was that there was an inevitable need for consolidation within the legal technology market. The counter point was that such consolidation only needs to occur if there aren’t platform providers which can easily integrate third-party solutions.
It was encouraging to see that there is clearly a tech-driven transformation of our legal system underway. Exciting times are ahead!