A powerful start: Lisa Damon (Sayfarth) compared innovation with exploding fireworks, but to move forward we need to take risky decisions. To learn, we need to make mistakes. To do this, she suggests looking at the firm not as if we were above it rather than in it, seeking a new, less biased view of everyday work.
Andy Wilson was much more direct, recommending that developers should create applications allowing lawyers to do their work cheaper, better and faster. Basha Rubin also talked about this, declaring that document automation is here to stay (referring to Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer). But lawyers must get the best out of it and incorporate it into their websites, offering added value in terms of advice. It is true that there is a great deal of legal information on the Internet, but if lawyers sometimes get a bit lost in it, imagine how a client must feel. The fact that a model contract appears at the top of a list of Google search results does not mean it is the best one. Lawyers continue to play a very important role in helping their clients.
In his provocative presentation, Jeff Carr, GC of FMC Technologies, said the legal sector was on a kind of burning platform and that all the institutions have failed us (justice, law faculties, lawyers’ associations, etc...) because none of them has worked out that here it’s the client, stupid.
Lawyers must orientate their organizations towards the client, as Mark Cohen, CEO of Clearspire, explained. His company’s management and communication platform, unique on the market and self-developed for the purpose, is a fundamental element providing transparency and value generation and bringing them very high levels of loyalty.
Technology plays a key role in the legal sector, and lawyers need to take on a new role in providing legal services while understanding that they now form part of a team. They are simply another piece in the jigsaw: although undoubtedly important they cannot work without the other elements. Along these lines, various companies exhibited the technological products that help lawyers to achieve higher levels of effectiveness and productivity, including the Diligence Engine, which makes it possible to analyze documents quickly, providing important time savings.
The last of the quick-fire sessions was given by Ron Friedmann, who stressed the need to increase preventive work on legal matters as a measure for saving costs and time, a concept described as #dolesslaw that does not yet fit into any professional category.
The session was closed by the always visionary Richard Susskind, whose retrospective analysis of the application of Artificial Intelligence to the legal sector and its predicted evolution led us to dream of a world of machines and robots, a world which is still far away.
Much more than an event.
Many other speakers at #ReinventlawNY made contributions, but we took away more than that. The long chats between coffees, lunches and dinners we had with businesses, consultants and firms gave us even more, if that’s possible!
It was wonderful to be able to talk to Mark Cohen (Clearspire) Peter Carayiannis (ConduitLaw) Andy Daws (RiverviewLaw) about their business models. Chatting with Janet Taylor-Hall (Cognia Law) Raymond E. Vayley (NovusLaw), Silvia Hodges (Columbia University), Toby Brown (Akin Group) and others. We spoke to Ron Friedmann about knowledge management and the change in lawyers’ behavior required to implement it in firms. We found out about the application of Diligence Engine directly from Noah Waisberg, one of its creators. We were able to talk to Joshua Lennon, from Clio, about his successful management application for firms.
And we had the tremendous pleasure of sharing the experience, enthusiasm and wisdom of George Beaton (Beaton Capital), one of the most famous professional firm consultants, recognized by David Maister himself. His latest e-book, NewLaw NewRuleswas distributed free to all those attending the event (10 of its authors were speakers and many others were there!). He also offered it via Twitter to any colleague who asked for it while #reinventlaw was being held.
The e-book can be purchased from Amazon, but George Beaton offers all business schools and universities interested in his work the chance to get it free for exclusive use by their students and faculty.
After three busy days in New York, we formed an overall view of the situation in the sector: a 3D photograph in which it is possible to see clearly which parts can be exported to our market, some models that could work here despite the differences, some new perfectly replicable products, and some unmet needs to which many clients would be delighted to be offered a solution. However, above all, we could see innovation processes run by multidisciplinary teams finding solutions, designing new products, making them accessible to businesses and individuals, and creating new market categories and niches. This is Legal by Design.
Who said the legal sector was complicated? In fact it’s more interesting than ever – pure passion!