But Wait... There's More - Legal Innovation and Tech Fest, Part 1

By Joanne Kiley posted 04-14-2016 12:19


Did you notice references to the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest on ILTA’s website? What is it? Who is it? And where is it?

This spring ILTA is collaborating with The Eventful Group for a conference in Melbourne, Australia. I spoke with Peggy Wechsler and TJ Johnson of ILTA and Ian Collier, Simon Yeowart and Claire Hastings of The Eventful Group to learn more about this new conference in the legal technology field.

The Eventful Group specializes in building enterprise technology communities and conferences for business and IT professionals in HR & Payroll, Business Intelligence, Financials and Engineering. Simon Yeowart said The Eventful Group worked in the technology sector for about 20 years and decided to research the legal technology sector last year. To start this research, Ian Collier spoke with legal practitioners in Australia and New Zealand. ILTA “kept coming up” and ILTACON was described as “best event looking at Legal Tech in the world, bar none.” To learn more, The Eventful Group spoke with Berys Amor, an ILTA Knowledge Advisor and Director of Technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Australia. Ian then contacted Peggy Wechsler explaining his organization’s research project on the global legal technology landscape, the impact on Australia and New Zealand, and the areas of engagement for innovators around the world. He asked to attend ILTACON 2015. At ILTACON, Ian appreciated the welcoming community atmosphere especially given the large size of the conference, the vendors and the networking. Peggy and TJ Johnson liked the “Circle of Customer Engagement” model used by The Eventful Group. They agreed to work together on the “Circle of Customer Engagement” process to test the waters for a legal event in 2016.

Ian and Simon explained the Circle of Customer Engagement process. To begin, The Eventful Group held several research meetings in Melbourne and Sydney of 25-30 practitioners to brainstorm the biggest challenges and barriers to achieving success and getting projects off the ground. They discovered Australia and New Zealand have many innovative thinkers but no community. The Eventful Group decided to develop that community starting with a conference modeled on exactly what the research groups said they wanted to learn. Next an advisory committee formed to shape the content for a conference in May 2016. Ian and Simon summed up the Circle of Customer Engagement model as, “Ask a community what they want to hear and then provide a conference on what they want to hear.” The model comes full circle with the advisory committee working at the conference in small groups to identify and develop the content for next year’s conference.

The Legal Innovation and Tech Fest will gather people from corporate legal departments, law firms and innovators in technology. A nearly equal number of conference attendees will come from in-house counsel and law firms. Ian said, “We were told those groups don’t mix well. We didn’t believe that.” They spoke with corporate legal departments and said “You are being squeezed to do things cheaper and better. What do you do internally to drive that innovation and what do you ask of your law firms?” This information enabled The Eventful Group to meet with law firms. They said, “This is what in-house counsel needs. What are you doing to innovate, change and drive better value for the client?” In asking these questions, not only could The Eventful Group identify programming ideas but they seek to transform the legal practice.

I asked Ian and Simon what attendees will gain at the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest. They want attendees to build a reliable group of networks where corporate counsel and law firms will come together to drive innovation and discover what is possible. Ian shared that organizations “know it’s paramount that they change. We hope that this event creates an atmosphere where people who have that spark of innovation can share it with the community and disrupt the way the organizations think.” People from all over the world will attend, gain international contacts and learn about issues on a global scale. This conference goes beyond technology, attendees can learn how we can drive change and culture across the legal landscape.

When The Eventful Group outlined their event for May 2016, ILTA agreed to help develop the content and find speakers. In exchange ILTA members receive a discount to attend the event.  You will recognize many ILTA volunteer names in the speaker list. ILTA is excited to partner with The Eventful Group to provide valuable programming to our members across the globe. Here’s more information on the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest and registration. Before the Tech Fest, read the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest blog to follow some themes to be elaborated upon in May. In the weeks leading up to the conference, I will talk with some Tech Fest speakers about their sessions and share these conversations with you.

Your “Feel Good” Moment of the Day

Besides a conference focused on innovation, disruption and improving the way we work in the legal field, the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest has incorporated a social responsibility component. The Eventful Group selected Hands Across the Water as their Tech Fest Charity. The closing keynote speaker, Peter Baines OAM, will speak on true leadership “the importance of leaving an indelible impression, making decisions without deliberation and focusing on results and not excuses.” He also founded Hands Across the Water (HATW) after working in Thailand following the 2004 tsunami and seeing the tremendous need for children orphaned by the disaster. In association with Hands Across the Water, The Eventful Group is launching the 2016 Tech Fest HATW Bike Ride to be held in Thailand in December 2016 to raise needed funds and awareness for HATW. There’s still plenty of time to train for the 500 km week-long ride through Thailand. Let’s get pedaling!