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  • My Legal Briefcase

    LawTechCamp London
    Posted: 2012-07-09 05:00:05

    As you may or may not know, I started lawTechCamp with Mitch Kowalski and Sapna Mahboobani in Toronto in 2011. We organized the event again this year in May 2012. Renee Knake and Dan Katz, the brains behind lawTechCamp London, did a fantastic job and they couldn’t have done it without their co-organizers David Allison, Jon Harman, John Flood, and Lisa Webley. The execution of the event was fabulous.

    I have to admit that I’m a bit of a nerd. Who else would be totally energized by a room full of lawyers, legal innovators, and legal tech aficionados?

    Unlike other events, most of the talks were delivered in 5 – 10 min chunks (even the one in Toronto), so as to allow more people to participate. It was great because you were able to absorb a lot of information in a short period of time. The event was initially set to be 3-4 hours, but because of the demand it was extended to 6 hours.

    In general, though, it was a great way to absorb a lot of information in a short period of time.

    There were several themes or messages at the event. One such theme was that the profession was not changing quickly enough. It should then not have been surprising to learn that even with the deregulation of the legal profession in the UK, there is limited evidence of law firms trying to deliver legal services in innovative ways. You would think that if organizations such as Co-operative or Admiral Insurance were investing or looking to enter your market that you would be scrambling to shore your resources in order to effectively compete with them.

    It seems that this opposition to change is also seen with respect to adoption of issues in the profession with respect to innovation and technology. Susskind, in his well received keynote address, referred to this as “irrational rejectionism”. I prefer to call it the “late adopter effect”. As was pointed out at the conference – even accountants are more likely to adopt and work with technology than lawyers. It seems that companies like LegalZoom and Trademarkia benefit from the lack of innovation in their country – creating million (maybe billion) dollar opportunities for these companies. I’m not sure if we should be happy that our profession is sitting idly while others who do innovate are whizzing right by.

    Unlike other conferences or unconferences I have attended, I was surprised by the large presence of government officials and regulators. They are innovating. The National Archives launched their new tool for legislative tracking. Geoff Wild, who works with Kent County, is actually generating money for the county by selling legal services! Regulators were discussing the challenges they are facing with adoption of the new rules. As one person pointed out, regulators and government in the same room as legal innovators is an unlikely thing to see in North America.

    It was a great day, and I am very much looking forward to future lawTechCamp London events.

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