It’s hard to believe that yet another Legalweek conference (formerly known as Legaltech), has come and gone. J. Alfred Prufrock once claimed to have measured out his life with coffee spoons. These days it seems like we here at Larimer Law are doing the same with Legalweeks. Fortunately, Legalweeks are more interesting than coffee spoons (to us anyway) and Legalweek 2018 in New York City was no exception. According to Legalweek, more than 9,000 in-house counsel, firm partners, legal professionals and others attended the 2018 session. Self-billed as an event that “brings together the legal industry to address the biggest challenges and issues facing legal professionals,” this year’s Legalweek had something for just about everybody.
“Cybersecurity” was a prominent theme: both of the Legalweek keynote speakers focused on it and it was the topic of many panel discussions during the week. For instance, keynote speaker Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security 2013-2017, addressed cybersecurity from a national security perspective. Although interwoven with humor, Johnson’s keynote address served as a sobering reminder that cyber attacks continue to be a national security threat and that it is up to all of us to take measures in our own daily lives and workplaces to guard against it.
For legal professionals working at the intersection of law and cutting edge technology (that’s us), there is the ever popular “Legaltech,” the technology track of Legalweek. In addition to presentations and panel discussions addressing the use of technology in law, Legaltech features a gigantic tradeshow crammed full of exhibitors peddling their technological wares – and handing out free water bottles. This year, we spent considerable time wandering through the exhibits halls, visiting both familiar faces and getting acquainted with new ones. The diversity of products out there is impressive and frankly, can be a lot to take in. But love it or loathe it, technology in the law is here to stay. Legaltech demonstrates, and our own experiences as a law firm teach us, that the practice of law can and must embrace the use of technology. The judiciary is increasingly embracing it – see our article on Judge Peck’s fairly recent decision endorsing the use of technology assisted document review HERE.
For you legal luddites out there, fear not – we wholeheartedly agree that the practice of law can never solely be about technology: the brain still has a seat at the table – and yes, we are talking about the human brain. However, when used wisely, technology can free lawyers up to solve their clients’ problems more efficiently and cost effectively. It’s really an exciting time to be a lawyer.