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ILTACON 2016—Sessions of Interest To Knowledge Management Professionals

By David Hobbie posted 07-29-2016 15:00


As I did last year I am delighted to be able to share my take on which of the fabulous slate of educational sessions at ILTACON 2016 might be of particular interest to knowledge management professionals, at each of the sixteen time slots when choices must be made and during other key points. My role as the Team Coordinator of the peer professionals managing the Information Management track sessions has not changed, however, the areas of focus associated with team has shifted slightly to include marketing, and in addition the conference theme overall is embracing change. 

As before, there is such a wealth of educational content related to knowledge management that difficult decisions must sometimes be made. Please be aware that it is not considered rude or unprofessional to leave the educational session you’re sitting in favor of another; rather, you should focus on getting what you need out of the content and other opportunities available at ILTACON. Lastly, as KM professionals concerned with improving the processes and content of supportive peer organizations, please make every effort to review sessions and speakers that you’ve attended, through the mobile app, so the conference organizers can continue to do better.

Sunday, August 28

Communities of Interest

I will be hosting a knowledge management community of interest, in a location to be determined but from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM on Sunday.  Come mingle, meet and greet your peers, and perhaps hear a little live viola music!

Monday, August 29

Mike Walsh will lead off the educational sessions at conference in the morning at with his keynote “Re-imagining Legal Technology for the 21st Century.”

Session 1:  11 AM-noon

So that you don’t start off the day just sitting and listening, the first KM-focused session will be the hands-on, interactive “Design Thinking for Applications Development and Knowledge Management:  An Interactive Workshop” #ilta6 featuring KM stalwart, now consultant to Fortune 100 companies, V. Mary Abraham.  Take advantage of the high caliber of ILTA members attending ILTA and, after getting up to speed somewhat on design thinking, try your hand at applying those powerful user-focused principles to a legal knowledge management problem.

Session 2: Monday, August 29 1:00-2:00 PM 

This slot has a clear KM favorite but also at least two other sessions that could be of interest to knowledge management professionals.

The favorite is “The Future of Legal KM” #ilta18, featuring Patrick DiDomenico, CKO at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Rob Saccone of NexLaw Partners (and formerly of Seyfarth Lean consulting) and  Sam Nickless, of Gilbert & Tobin.  The formal description:

​Knowledge Management in law firms has generally been a key component to the successful delivery of client services, but thanks to recent advances in better analytics, less expensive start-up costs, and a focus on empowering the next generation workforce, the knowledge management of the future is shining bright. As law firms move quickly to address new client first imperatives, they are leveraging knowledge management to support smarter answers, improved decisions and better outcomes.

Another session that should be of interest to knowledge management and other professionals who deal with the presentation and use of quantitative and qualitative information is “A Picture Is Worth More Than a Thousand Words: Data Visualization Best Practices” #ilta15. Speakers include David Cunningham, CIO of Winston & Strawn, Alan Luu, Director of Enterprise Data Services at Morgan Lewis.  I will be moderating (additional disclosure: David was briefly interim CIO and in my superior’s chain of command at Goodwin).  The session description:

​We have all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but that is selling the picture short. Humans have tremendous capacities to absorb information visually, and today there are data visualization tools available to help everyone from an attorney preparing trial exhibits to a CFO preparing end of year financial reports that convey complex information in a compelling visual format.  Our panel of experts will discuss key requirements when building a secure data visualization process.

 One view I’ve heard about legal knowledge managers is that their primary skill and emphasis should be on managing or buffering change within their organizations, particularly with respect to how lawyers practice and leverage technology for their clients.  If that is your focus then another session in this time slot “Riding the Wave of Change” #ilta13 could also be of interest.  Speakers known to date include change management consultant Jeff Casper and Sherry Kappel of Litera, who has the wonderful title “Chief Consigliara.”  Session description:

Managing change is a key competency for leaders at every level within an organization. As IT leaders, our abilities to engineer, navigate and respond to change are constantly challenged often putting us in a defensive posture. Learn new ways to approach change and resistance to change in this engaging session led by IT professionals who have spent their careers leading change and helping others through it.

Session 3:  Monday, 2:30 PM

In a long-awaited development, social collaboration tools other than email are making inroads in legal organizations other than the U.S. Army JAG Corps. Learn about tools, change management techniques, and more in the session titled “​The Social Collaboration Tools Making a Meal Out of Email." #ilta13. The experienced and well-versed panel includes Patrick DiDomenico, Katherine Lowry (Director of Practice Services        at Baker & Hostetler), Ginevra Saylor the National Director of KM at Dentons (and the organizer of this year’s ILTA KM White Paper as well as the ILTA KM Blog), Raul Taveras the Manager of Litigation Technology Solutions at Fish & Richardson P.C. and Cindy Thurston Bare, Director of KM at Orrick. 

Social collaboration tools are (finally!) finding traction in law firms and improving the way we collaborate on projects and matters.  See how Slack, ThreadKM, Yammer, and Beezy are challenging email’s dominance as a communication hub.  In this session you will learn what conditions are needed to make social collaboration successful, the challenges involved in implementing social collaboration tools, and which tool is right for your firm."

Another strong session in this slot addressing change management and techniques, potentially of interest well beyond the KM community, is “You Wanted It To Do What? Effective Ways To Translate What Lawyers Want into Tech Requirements​" #ilta32.  The panel, chosen so that the voices of requirements gatherers and technology implementers will be heard, includes Jennifer Beaudette and Brownie Davis from Fish & Richardson and Gwyn McAlpine (KM Director) and Mark Thorogood (Director of Applications Services) of Perkins Coie, with former ILTACON co-chair/president/ILTONES leader Joy Heath Rush (now with Litera) as moderator and rabble-rouser. 

Formal description:

We have all done it: Created a new process, bought or built a new tool, or otherwise fixed a problem we thought was high priority, only to find that adoption is lacking. What if we tackled the wrong problem to begin with because we didn't truly understand the issue we were solving?  This panel will feature people from both sides of the divide, from technologists interested in web services and API calls to KM and project management professionals who don't know what any of that means but know that they have a problem that needs to be fixed.  Learn how to effectively translate business requirements into technology that solves the right problem.


Session 4: Monday 4:00 – 5:00 PM

The last session on Monday has another lineup with many riches for the KM professional.  Of the two sessions in this slot addressing data and data analytics, the one titled “Using the Right Data To Drive Your KM Program” #ilta38 is obviously focused on the KM crowd, though it should be of interest to others seeking a more data-driven approach to program management. Speakers include leading KM consultants / innovators Karl Haroldsson of Janders Dean and Kingsley Martin of KM Standards. The formal description:

“Big Data”, “AI”, “Machine Learning”, “Data Mining” - these are commonly cited concepts when people talk and write about the future of law. Come learn about what kind of data should you be collecting to measure and enhance your KM program?  If you are just starting a KM program, what data do you need to guide the decisions you will make about initiatives to implement, technology purchases and of course to secure the support of firm leadership and show the proverbial ROI. "

The session “How the Past Drives the Future with ​Predictive Analytics” #037 is much broader and more general in focus than the KM data session. David Cunningham of Winston & Strawn and Andy Peterson of DWT De Novo are joined by Dr. Zev Eigen of Littler Mendelson.  The formal description:

The growing field of predictive analytics in law takes the past and turns it into risk management for the future.​ ​Every day, law firms gather information from clients, opposing parties, and the Internet to use in handling matters.​ This session explores how we can capture that data and put it to good use, as well as why predictive analytics will become more important for all lawyers.


Tuesday August 30

From 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM on Tuesday there will be another keynote, this one by Dan Katz titled “Measure Twice, Cut Once: Solving the Legal Profession's Biggest Problems Together,” focusing on the unofficial secondary conference theme of collaboration between clients and law firms.

Session 5.  Tuesday 11:00 AM-12:30 PM

KM, uniquely among the ILTACON areas of focus, encompasses legal substance and changes in the practice of law.  Blockchain technology is a new development that, because it facilitates new mechanisms for managing interparty trust and information sharing, has a potentially major impact on how contracts function and are managed.  Receive an introduction to blockchains in “When Will Blockchains and Smart Contracts Be Important In Legal”#ilta61. The panel will be moderated by Ron Friedmann of Fireman & Co., who has published extensively on the subject. Speakers include Tori Adams, Senior Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, Shawn Amuial and Joe Dewey, attorneys at Holland & Knight, and Bill Marino, a researcher at the Cornell Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts.  Formal Description:

If you knew in the early 1990s that the web and hypertext would explode on the scene in 1995, would you have done anything differently?  Will we ever have a chance to relive that moment? Maybe, if you believe some pundits, we are at a similar moment for blockchain technology. Numerous mainstream media articles have covered it and associated smart contracts and cryptocurrencies, but what is blockchain technology exactly?  Learn what the technology is, how smart contracts could change business and law, and how big companies in many industries are testing or using the blockchain and smart contracts.

Another session at this time of interest to kmers addresses document management, a core if comparatively basic and well-established component of a successful KM program.  The session “Alternative Document Management Systems” #ilta56 will cover some of those off the beaten path that may have practice management features as well. Formal description:

There are many outstanding document management/practice management systems available to the legal industry.  Many firms gravitate to a handful of systems, but there are alternatives out there as well.  Listen to a panel of your peers discuss which of these alternative systems they chose, their selection criteria, and their implementation and use stories, to learn of several excellent options available to you. 

Session 6, Tuesday 1:30-2:30 PM

Another technology that may come to significantly impact the practice of law is computational linguistics.  This field or collection of competencies treats text as code, and looks at how computers are increasingly able to appear to comprehend it. Come see “New Tools for Old Data:  Computational Linguistics and the Practice of Law” #ilta66 for more. Speakers include Shipra Dingare and Sangha Gurinder of Lit IQ, Jan Van Hoecke of RAVN, and noted blogger and Seyfarth Shaw Lean Law Evangelist Ken Grady. 

​The document you are working on isn’t just words on a page, it is data. Lawyers are some of the original coders, turning ideas into text built into documents for other people to execute. If people were the original computers, documents were the original software. The problem has been that only one program (the one in our brains) could read and execute the software. Today, our ability to use other computers to read what is on the page and act on it is growing. The field of computational linguistics (actually a collection of fields) is helping us take those documents and do something with them. This session will cover the basics of computational linguistics, real examples of CL for the practice of law, and tips to prepare your firms to put CL to good use.  "

Session 7, Tuesday 3:30-4:30 PM

In this slot an interactive session titled “A Guide For Agents of Change” #ilta81 featuring Above and Beyond KM’s V. Mary Abraham will be of interest to knowledge management practitioners and many others who need to implement organizational and technological change. It aligns with the theme of the conference, and follows on to last years’ outstanding session Agents of Adoption.  This session should have an unusual combination of concrete takeaways and also hands-on learning—the more diverse the crowd, the better the learning, so come to this one.

There is an old saying: “Change is easy. You go first.” In fact, change is not easy, and it is very hard to be the first to change. Yet if you are a change agent, you will have to show the way. In this interactive session, we provide a practical guide of tips and tricks to help you lead your organization to the change it needs. You will have an opportunity in this session to practice some of the techniques we will be sharing. We cannot make change easy, but with this field guide it will be more achievable.

4:30 PM-- KM Reception

On Tuesday at 4:30 PM, please join me and vendor sponsor Closing Folders at the annual reception for knowledge management practitioners and people interested in knowledge management, location TBD.  Law department people are particularly invited / encouraged to attend.

Wednesday August 31

Session 7 9:00 – 10:00 AM

Expertise identification and leverage is a key area for large legal organizations where there has been significant recent application and approach development. Come here more in “Finding Your Needle: Expertise Systems in the 21st Century​” #ilta94 with Julie Bozzell of Hogan Lovells, long-time ILTAn Kate Cain of Sidley Austin, and Marybeth Corbett of WilmerHale, moderated by Joshua Fireman of Fireman & Co. 

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 key differentiator for law firms, yet they are tricky because of the need to pull together multiple sources of information yet provide clear answers. We'll feature people who have been "in the trenches" implementing various solutions and the tips and tricks to keep in mind when you're evaluating a new solution.

 Session 8 Wednesday 11:00 AM—12:30 PM

There may be as many as four sessions of interest to KMers in this slot.  I will highlight two and mention the others.

First, consider revisiting a perennial hot topic and key KM technology with “Is Enterprise Search Worth the Money?” #ILTA099 This session has an outstanding panel including long-time kmers Phil Bryce of Mayer Brown and Sally Gonzalez of Norton Rose as well as leading IT technologist and  frequent ILTA speaker Michael Tominna of DLA Piper.

Once upon a time, a few vendors ruled the roost, and many installed enterprise search without wondering why. The last few years have changed all that. Learn how law firms ensure a return on investment for enterprise search through technological advancements in the product combined with unexpected and innovative implementations. See some of the problems users experience with enterprise search and how they are being solved. Learn how some firms are leveraging their existing enterprise search investment within a SharePoint intranet, and get a peek at how successful enterprise search installations are tuned and tweaked to meet user requirements.

At the same time, Michael Mills is speaking on “The State of Play of Artificial Intelligence in Law” #ilta95.  Michael is a perennial best-speaker-at-ILTACON contender, always worth hearing.  His session follows up on a well-received series in three parts posted earlier this year.

Another entertaining and informative presentation at this time promises to be “Grading Susskind:  The State of Legal 20 Years After “The Future of Law” #ilta103.  In a more data management vein, the session “Matters from Laterals:  A Matter Mobility Workshop” #ilta096 will address the onboarding process that KMers are often involved in in various ways.

Session 9 Wednesday 1:30 – 2:30 PM

In this slot I’m really looking forward to “Building KM Together:  Creating Collaboration Between Law Firms and Law Departments” #ILTA112. This session will feature three law department speakers, Tami Baddeley and Lucy Bassli of Microsoft and Peter Krakaur of Solar City, as well as Sally Gonzalez of Norton Rose Fullbright LLP.

How can inside and outside counsel work together effectively? Collaboration and sharing are keys to building effective relationships, and, while law firms with robust KM programs are comfortable sharing resources internally, they might not know how to leverage internal best practices when working with clients, and law departments might not know about the KM programs of their outside counsel. Let's discuss ways law departments and law firms can work together to jump-start an effective KM program that builds stronger relationships between attorneys on both sides.

Session 10 Wednesday 3:30-4:30 PM

The “core” KM session in this slot actually takes the “capturing lessons learned” aspect of traditional knowledge management and applies it to IT and KM projects. “Don’t Do That! Lessons from the IT and KM Trenches” #ilta129 is a follow-on and refocus of past years’ Failure Parties.  In an unrecorded session peers will share frank stories about success and failures, and avoiding and overcoming pitfalls.

Another session in this slot covers the direct application of technology to the practice of law; Automated Contract Review:  Machine Learning Comes to Corporate Law #ilta133 addresses some new and interesting services that are the next artificial-intelligence-related developments to impact the practice of law.

Also of interest is How to Effectuate A Better Legal Services Model #ilta126 that discusses collaboration between law firms and law departments on improving the delivery of legal services, KM’s core mission.

Data junkies (mae culpa) could also attend The Essential Toolbox for Data Quality Management and Visualization #ilta123.

Thursday September 1st

Session 11 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

There aren’t “core” KM sessions in this slot, however these two may be of interest. 

In “Maximizing Efficiency With Technology-Backed Workflows” #ilta139 address leveraging technology to improve internal legal organization processes.

Innovative Data Exchanges and Collaboration With Clients #ilta137 addresses the increasingly important role of information passed between client and law firm on a variety of issues.

11:00 AM- Noon

The “core” KM session in this slot is Supporting Lateral Attorney Integration Through Knowledge Management, #ilta144, which highlights real-world examples of leveraging KM approaches to improve the key business problem of getting new experienced attorneys connected and sharing with the people and information they need for success in their new firm.

Another data-junky session in this time slot is “Data Mining:  Leveraging Information To Make Strategic Decisions”, #ilta146.  Shouldn’t KM always have been about better ways to use legal information to make decisions?

A third of potential interest again mines the client/law firm collaboration, this time with vendors included in “Innovating Together:  Building Partnerships between Law Firms, Vendors, and Clients" #ilta145.

Thursday 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Last year a speaker from IBM’s Watson program was one of the first to formally address artificial intelligence (AI) focused on legal practice at ILTACON. Things have been evolving quickly in this space with extensive media attention and product / vendor development.  Come hear about the different flavors of AI and when they can best be applied in Choosing the Right Artificial Intelligence for the Job #ilta157.

One data junky session in this slot is How To Establish Data Classification and Improve Client Audits #ilta155. This may be more focused on security needs and information governance than most kmers would prefer.

Thursday 2:45 PM -- (varied duration)

The last slot of conference can be a challenge to the weary brain and body. 

The best way to get the energy flowing may be to join an interactive session.  A standout in this slot is “Hacking Law Firm Innovation” #ilta168, featuring one of last year’s keynote speakers, Matt Homan.

Law firms have traditionally been very conservative, and "failure" is generally unacceptable. How can you innovate in this type of environment? An innovation tournament can provide the focus needed to honestly analyze ideas and give those most likely to succeed the chance they need. Come explore the payoff of solving a problem or meeting a need successfully and earning a reputation for wise stewardship of your IT/KM resources.

Another strong session for kmers as masters of internal experience in this slot is Learning to Prosper Using Client Data You Already Have, #ilta170. 

Law firms have much more client data available to them than they realize. Financial data, matter experience, client budgets, client touchpoints and your knowledge of your client's business exist in different places within your firm and from increasingly sophisticated external sources. If brought together, this information can help you do a better job for your clients, make your firm more profitable, improve your development of new business and strengthen your client management. We'll look at ways firms can break down the walls between business units to uncover, share, analyze and use information to accomplish multiple goals. We will explore real-world scenarios in which you can use data you already have to improve results and then rethink the results to tell the next chapter in the story.


In closing I want to steal a few pointers from Cynthia McCollough’s excellent post for marketing folks.

  • Get social – if you’re on Twitter, tweet the key takeaways from each session. Not only will you be helping peers that couldn’t make the conference (or the session) but you are also improving your chances of being quoted by media following the conference (yay personal branding!). Follow ILTACON on Twitter @ILTAConf and use the hashtag #ILTACON plus the hashtag of the session you are attending. [I’ll be tweeting also]
  • Newbies: take advantage of the ILTACON 2016 Buddy System -  you’ll be paired up with an experienced ILTACON attendee who will you take you under their wing and give you the insider’s perspective on having a great ILTACON experience.

Hope to see you there!


ILTACON 2016 Team Coordinator, Information Management
Senior Manager, Knowledge Management, Litigation