Blog Viewer

Why Attorneys Should Attend ILTACON

By Jason Dirkx posted 07-29-2016 16:01


If you’re an attorney reading this post and you’re curious about why you should attend ILTACON, the answer is simple:

            It’s all about you!

Most legal technologists are well aware of the benefits ILTACON has to offer folks in legal IT world.  However, as a Knowledge Management Attorney, I was asked to write about why attorneys should attend ILTACON.

As I was preparing to write this post I struggled to zero in on one specific reason that an attorney should attend the conference.  Because in reality, there are sessions up and down the schedule and across the timeslots that are relevant to the practicing lawyer in today’s legal market.  Regardless of your position in your firm or legal department, your experience or the stage of your career, there is a smorgasbord of sessions that address topics such as improving your practice, law firm management, law firm-client relationships, tools and technology and general professional development.

With such a deluge of interesting and engaging sessions, you’re probably thinking “How can I possibly pick out a lineup of sessions for myself?”  Well, in addition to Maria Smith’s great pointers, here are some of my own:

  • Treat the conference like you (should have) treated law school: sample anything and everything that interests you.  You have an opportunity to safely learn about new things and steer outside of your comfort zone…which leads me to…

  • Steer (way) outside of your comfort zone: In my experience, some of the best and most rewarding sessions have been topics that piqued my curiosity but with which I had little-to-no prior experience. For instance, if “artificial intelligence in the law” is something that grabs your attention, even though you have no idea what it actually means, ILTACON is the perfect avenue to do some exploring of the unknown.

  • Broaden your “T-shape”: Take advantage of the variety to build a curriculum at ILTACON that broadens your horizons and experience, transforming you into a more robust attorney and legal professional.

To get you started, below I carved up some of the sessions I saw for attorneys of all stripes: 

Improving Your Practice

Data Analytics You Can Do Now in Legal

Mon 2:30-3:30

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.

The Next Generation of Legal Innovators

Mon 4:00-5:00

Can traditional legal service providers be truly innovative? If not, what can be done to allow the next generation of legal innovators to bring change? Join the conversation where our panelists will discuss traditional law firms, new law and client perspectives on being innovative; providing valuable legal advice versus technology innovation; future law students bypassing traditional law firms in favor of working with IT/software partners or creating their own law firms; old-school mentoring of next-generation leaders; and automation, artificial intelligence and LPM providing the opportunity to bring smaller companies back to using legal services.

Bigger and Shinier: Legal Technology Innovation and Its Effect on the Profession

Tues 11:00-12:30

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.

Making Sense of Competing Legal Project Management Methods

Tues 1:30-2:30

Let's make sense of the differences and similarities between Agile and Lean project management methodologies. Discover what techniques should be used over others in particular legal departments.

Grading Susskind: The State of Legal 20 Years After the "Future of Law"

Wed 11:00-12:30

2016 marks the 20-year anniversary of Richard Susskind's book "The Future of Law." Since its release, many legal futurists have tossed out predictions about where legal is headed. Our panelists will take on these predictions and debate whether futurists were right or wrong and where we’re headed from here.

Face Your Fears: Embracing Change in the Legal Environment

Wed 1:30-2:30

Many attorneys and legal staff have grown uncomfortable in the face of an uncertain and tumultuous industry, especially when it comes to advanced technology. The fear that robots will someday replace attorneys is real, even if the potential for that reality is far-fetched. When attempting to create new products and services, or utilize new technologies, we must address the fears of practicing attorneys. How do we explain the potential for these projects in a way that cuts through the fears? A panel will share stories and strategies for confronting fears, discuss how to work with attorneys and legal staff on these projects, and identify possible opportunities for embracing change.​

Automated Contract Review: Machine Learning Comes to Corporate Law

Wed 3:30-4:30

​While technology-assisted review has been a mainstay in e-discovery for years, corporate contract review traditionally has been conducted with little assistance from technology. Following the recent boom in the development of contract review and analysis technologies, this paradigm is bound to change. Join our distinguished panel and learn the capabilities of the technologies available today as well as those on the horizon, the problems firms and clients are looking to solve, and the challenges and techniques to successfully navigate them when implementing a solution in your organization.​

Helping Lawyers Meet Ethical Obligation of Technical Proficiency

Thurs 1:30-2:30

Lawyers are now ethically obligated to keep up with changes in technology and be proficient in using that technology. How can we better prepare lawyers to succeed in meeting these new obligations? Learn from experts in legal technology training, CLE training and professional development how you can help lawyers at your firm understand and meet their requirements for technical proficiency.​

Hacking Law Firm Innovation

Thurs 2:45-4:30

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.

Law Firm Management

From the Front Lines: Actual Jobs in New Law

Mon 11:00-12:00

​​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.

No Safe Harbor: The Latest in European Data Protection Laws

Mon 1:00-2:00

With the demise of Safe Harbor, the negotiation of the Privacy Shield and the passing of the new General Data Protection Regulation, how are U.S. law firms with operations and matters within the EU able to safely move data between the EU and the U.S.? Get an update on the Sedona Working Group 6 discussions held in Berlin in June, the current regulations and how best to navigate these difficult waters.

Timekeeping: It's Not Always a Dirty Word

Mon 4:00-5:00

​Timekeeping is a perennial challenge for many firms, but it doesn't have to be. Join a panel of law firm experts who will reveal, from scope to adoption, their novel approaches to timekeeping pain points, including mobile solutions. ​

Law Firm Finance 101

Tues 11:00-12:30

Here's everything you need to know about law firm financials but were afraid to ask. This introductory session will guide you through how law firms recognize revenue and distribute profits, how to read law firm financials, the difference between operating and capital expenses, and more!​

Client and Matter Profiling That Matters

Tues 11:00-12:30

​​Client and matter profiling benefits marketing and business development, knowledge management, legal project management, pricing and profitability, associate development programs, and more. It also takes a village to create logical, timely, pain-free workflows and accurate, current, data-rich databases and dashboards. After a look at third-party tools built to streamline matter profiling, we'll hear how several firms gained up-front and ongoing support from attorneys and administrators and then designed their processes and technology to address their particular objectives. ​

Let’s Talk Law Firm Performance Measurement

Tues 1:30-2:30

Join corporate legal operations professionals as they share insights into issues that keep them up at night.​

Using Competitive Intelligence To Improve Strategies and Decision-Making

Tues 1:30-2:30

​The use of competitive intelligence (CI) as a critical tool to improve performance, drive revenue and gain competitive advantage is now commonplace in law firms. Yet there are marketing and library professionals who have taken big (and little) data to great new heights. Learn about their innovative processes, including the use of marketing and competitive intelligence dashboards that provide users with easy-to-use CI data.

A View from Above: The C-Level Perspective on Change

Wed 1:30-2:30

​Carrying on the tradition from prior conferences, C-level executives from law firms of different sizes will discuss big issues affecting firm management. Considerations for this year will include virtualization, going paperless, adopting legal project management, change management, leadership development and overcoming objections to innovation.​

Effectively Managing Outside Counsel Guidelines

Wed 3:30-4:30

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.

Law Firm-Client Relationships

Understanding Client Systems for Better Collaboration During Litigation

Tues 8:30-10:00

A panel of in-house e-discovery leaders and outside technology consultants will share challenges they have faced when preserving and collecting data from corporate technology systems during litigation. Learn what in-house leaders wish their outside counsel knew about the technology their companies use and gain a better understanding of common technology systems that need to be considered during litigation data preservation and collection.​

Empathetic Design in Legal: Redesigning Law for Clients

Tues 11:00-12:30

Can legal services be redesigned to be more human-centric and approachable? Some firms and companies are weaving the disciplines of human-centered design and design thinking into their legal solutions, aiming for major effects on behavior change, adoption and client satisfaction. Our panelists will explore the effects of design thinking on legal technology projects, legal service delivery and legal work in general. Come learn hands-on techniques to apply to your projects, from design planning to the first client experience and to overcoming barriers to adoption.​

Mapping the Customer Journey

Wed 1:30-2:30

Mapping the journey our customers take will help us identify touchpoints so we can serve them better.​ Hear from law firms and vendors that are bringing together a full spectrum of marketing technologies, including client relationship management, social media, websites and business intelligence tools, to help firms identify the who, what and where of client engagement.

Can We See What They See? A Preview of What Law Department Analytics Tools Look Like

Wed 3:30-4:30

​Take a look behind the curtain at the tools clients use to track their law firms' productivity, costs and performance. Hear from clients about what they are using now and building for the future. Gain a greater understanding of how law departments are using the data gathered to drive decision-making.

Innovating Together: Building Partnerships Between Law Firms, Clients and Vendors

Thurs 11:00-12:00

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.​​

A New Approach To Aligning the Objectives of Outside Counsel, In-House Legal and Corporate Business

Thurs 2:45-4:30

​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.​

Tools and Technology

Building the Exponential Law Firm

Mon 11:00-12:00

Drawing on an extensive and ongoing research program to explain the current state and future potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in legal services, we will define a broader set of opportunities presented by the AI-enabled transformation of global political and economic systems, industry sectors and business concepts. Hear an outline of scenarios for how these developments could evolve over the next two to 10 years and implications for the future of law firm business and technology strategies. Attendees will also learn a pragmatic approach to embracing, understanding and exploiting AI opportunities.

Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) and the Future of AI and the Law

Mon 4:00-5:00

​​The mixture of open-source algorithms, APIs and machine learning as a service (MLaaS) is the most significant development in the analytics industry. In 2016, hardly a week has passed without a new release of another proprietary algorithm via open source or through an MLaaS offering. While IBM Watson was among the early MLaaS offerings, other elite technology companies (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.) are starting to shift the economics of the entire analytics landscape. Geared for those familiar with enterprise IT and the enterprise analytics landscape, this presentation will explore these developments and what they imply for analytics in general and legal analytics specifically.

Alternative Document Management Systems

Tues 11:00-12:30

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.

The Newest and Coolest in Legal Technology

Tues 1:30-2:30

Join us for heated discussion, occasional agreement and lively discourse as we bring an all-star group of experts together for a discussion on what emerging technologies we could expect to effect the legal arena in the next few years.​

Maximizing Efficiencies with Technology-Backed Workflows

Thurs 9:00-10:00

As we continue to work in an era of “do more with less,” law firms have to maximize productivity by increasing efficiency. Using technology to streamline and automate existing tasks/workflows allows attorneys, staff and IT to decrease the amount of time spent entrenched in a firm's many processes. Join us ​​for more information about maximizing efficiencies with technology-backed workflows.

General Professional Development

Bridging the Gap: Your Guide To Getting Boomers, Gen X and Millennials To Work Together

Tues 8:30-10:00

​​The millennial generation is entering employment in the legal sector in vast numbers, and they will shape the world of work for years to come. By 2020, millennials will make up 59 percent of the global workforce. Attracting the best of these millennial workers is critical to the future of providing key legal support services. Millennials say they are comfortable working with older generations and value mentors, but there are signs of tension with high percentages of millennials expressing that senior management does not relate to younger workers, that their personal drive is intimidating to older generations and that managers do not understand the way they use technology at work. Join us for a panel discussion on how to bridge the gap between baby boomers, Gen X and the millennial generation in legal.

A Field Guide for Agents of Change

Tues 3:30-4:30

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. If you are a change agent, you will have to show the way. In this interactive session, we will provide a practical guide of tips and tricks to help you lead your organization through the change it needs. Take advantage of this opportunity to practice some of the techniques covered. We cannot make change easy, but you'll leave with a field guide to make it more achievable.​

Women and Leadership: Same Problems, Same Approaches?

Tues 3:30-4:30

Women and men encounter common problems in the workplace. However, their strategies for effectively handling those issues often differ. During this highly interactive session, attendees will work in facilitated groups to discuss and then report on ways women can be more successful when identifying, leveraging and understanding the differences between mentors and sponsors; when offering and accepting criticism; and when asking for more money, responsibility and flexibility. This session will be followed in the fall by three teleforums — one to review each of the three topics, the insights of your colleagues and the experiences of those who have tried the approaches identified in the session.​

A Lab for Next-Generation Leaders

Thurs 11:00-12:00

Come join a select group of our next-generation leaders to help us identify, discuss and solve the challenges new leaders will face as they lead our legal organizations in the future. We’ll discuss the behaviors, skills and talents both current and next-gen leaders must possess to guide our industry into an world fraught with change. For example, what skills are necessary to manage the post-millennial generation (workers born after 2004) or to better incorporate those with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) background into our organizations? The outcomes from this Lab will help ILTA build relevant leadership programming for our next decade.