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Business and Legal Process Improvement at ILTACON 2016

By Chris Emerson posted 07-18-2016 14:29


With ILTACON less than six weeks away, I wanted to share some thoughts about the fantastic roster of Business and Legal Process Improvement sessions available for you this year.  With 60(!) sessions tagged as Business and Legal Process Improvement sessions, deciding which sessions to attend will be a delightful challenge.  Hopefully this post will help you navigate the session agenda and anchor your calendar with a few must-do sessions that are not to be missed.  As with every conference, you will periodically find yourself torn between different sessions at the same time, so please make sure to check the ILTACON site after the conference for session materials like PowerPoints and audio recordings.


1.      Title:  Award Nominees Present! Come Vote for Firm-Facing Project of the Year  #ILTA010

Description:And the nominees are...Fish & Richardson, Stikeman Elliott LLP and von Briesen & Roper. Watch as the short list of nominees for ILTA's 2016 Distringuished Peer Award for Innovative Firm-Facing Project of the Year present their innovations. Attendees at this session will vote for their favorite, and the winner will be announced on Tuesday evening at the Awards Dinner. This session will NOT be recorded.”


This first session after the Monday morning keynote is at 11am and is a great way to learn about projects other firms are tackling and how they are addressing usability and adoption.  The award sessions are always among my favorites and your vote counts in selecting which firm will receive an award.


2.      Title:  From the Front Lines: Actual Jobs in "New Law"  #ILTA006

Description: “Many futurists have predicted shifts in the makeup of personnel in the future of law. The future is now, and many law firms are creating new positions faster than they can throw out their law books. From piecework attorneys to matter management and pricing support to product creators, law firms and law departments are asking individuals to assume a cornucopia of new roles and responsibilities as everyone attempts to adapt to changing times. What positions are here to stay, and what skill sets are needed to deliver legal services in the "new law"? A diverse panel will discuss real new jobs in new law.


This is another Monday morning 11am session choice.  Given that business and legal process improvement has only existed for a couple of years, the jobs discussed could be your current or future job.  This session is particularly interesting in that could help develop career paths for the audience.


3.      Title: Data Analytics You Can Do Now in Legal  #ILTA032

Description:Many have said that big data does not exist in law. However, many modern data analytics techniques can apply to comparatively smaller data sets. We'll identify baseline analytics every law firm and law department can perform today.


This session is on Monday at 2:30pm.  Interest in data analytics is growing in leaps and bounds at law firms and law departments alike.  Lawyers are desperate for actionable information and not reinventing the wheel constantly.  This session promises to deliver ideas that should be applicable to most firms.


4.      Title:  Bigger and Shinier: Legal Technology Innovation and Its Effect on the Profession  #ILTA051

Description:Coming back for a third year, this popular panel discussion will explore what is on the frontier of legal technology innovation. Our thought leaders will also share what is not changing, with special attention to developments since ILTACON 2015.


This session is on Tuesday morning at 11am.  Focused on leading edge and future technologies, the session can offer a vision forward and help participants think about where they might steer their firms over the next couple of years.


5.      Title: Implementing Software-Based Workflows  #ILTA083

Description:See how firms of all sizes have built workflow solutions that go beyond new business intake to automate sophisticated administrative and client-facing processes. Listen to firsthand experience of implementing off-the-shelf and custom-built programs to create solutions to both common and unique legal business problems.


This session, Tuesday at 3:30pm, is particularly interesting as this type of legal process improvement can enable law firms to perform profitable work and simultaneously reduce the costs to the law department.  


6.      Title:  Finding a Needle in a Haystack with 21st-Century Expertise Systems #ILTA178

Description:Expertise location systems are ubiquitous at law firms of all sizes and are key solutions that help with everything from responding to client proposals to finding the right attorney to help with a particular matter. An effective expertise location tool can be a differentiator for law firms, yet they are tricky because of the need to pull together multiple sources of information while providing clear answers. People from the trenches will share their experiences of implementing various solutions and tips and tricks to keep in mind when you're evaluating a new solution.


This session, offered on Wednesday at 9:30am, offers insight into new techniques for solving a perennial issue at large law firms:  what is our expertise, how can we find someone with particular expertise, and how do we get our lawyers to contribute to the system? 


7.      Title:  Effectively Managing Outside Counsel Guidelines  #ILTA179

Description:Clients have become more sophisticated in how they manage their law firms, and this is reflected in their detailed outside counsel guidelines. These guidelines can effect all areas of law firm administration and matter management, and law firms are struggling to effectively meet the dizzying array of client demands. We'll explore best practices and tools for managing outside counsel guidelines throughout your firm.


This session, offered on Wednesday at 3:30pm, addresses a critical issue at most law firms:  how do we manage to the varied expectations our clients have of us?  As the number of clients with differing outside counsel guidelines continues to grow, it is imperative that law firms have systems, tools, or processes to address them.  The panel will help identify a path forward on this issue.


8.      Title:  How To Effectuate a Better Legal Services Delivery Model  #ILTA126

Description: Representatives of in-house law departments and outside counsel will discuss how they have worked with their counterparts to improve the delivery of legal services using different approaches to pricing, project management disciplines, new technology tools, process improvement and data analytics.


This session, also offered on Wednesday at 3:30pm, offers the refreshing perspective of collaborative process improvements involving both the law firm and the client.  This approach offers a deeper view into more holistic solutions that solve real business problems and enable the client to meet their many objectives, including reductions in legal spend.


9.      Title:  Innovating Together: Building Partnerships Between Law Firms, Clients and Vendors  #ILTA145

Description:Instead of going it alone, many firms have found eager partners in clients and legal technology vendors to develop new and innovative products and services. Our panel of innovators will explore strategies and opportunities for cultivating those partnerships, dividing the work, sharing the costs, and their solutions. Through a series of SPARK (short, provocative, action-oriented, realistic and knowledgeable) talks, followed by a Q-and-A discussion, panelists will draw on their personal experiences to present bold ideas for maximizing the value of these partnerships.


This session, offered on Thursday at 11:00am, continues the prior theme of collaboration and expands to include the role of vendors in legal process improvement. 



10.   Title: A New Approach To Aligning the Objectives of Outside Counsel, In-House Legal and Corporate Business  #ILTA173

Description:The past few years has brought a lot of discussion about how to better align the interests of law departments and their outside counsel through alternative fee arrangements, but the discussions generally end there. What if there was an approach that aligned outside counsel and legal departments in their pursuit of better business outcomes that extended beyond pricing? How can the strength of that relationship help demonstrate the value that the legal department brings to the organization as a whole? Come hear a case study exploring how one legal department and its panel of law firms have partnered differently and how their holistic approach to solving legal problems has the power to transform the way the department delivers value to the business.


The final recommended session, offered on Thursday at 2:45pm, displays a third type of collaboration, between client and multiple law firms, where the parties are working together to improve legal and operational processes.


I hope you found these suggestions valuable and I look forward to seeing you at ILTACON 2016!


Best regard,