After piquing your interest in But Wait… There’s More – Legal Innovation & Tech Fest, Part I, I thought ILTA should hear from the keynote speaker, Connie Brenton, and a key advisory team member, Berys Amor to learn more about this exciting new conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia on May 17 and 18.
I spoke with Connie Brenton, Chief of Staff/Director of Legal Operations for NetApp and 2015 ILTA Peer Award Winner for Technology Advocacy Professional of the Year, about her presentation and keynote at the Tech Fest. The Legal Innovation & Tech Fest appealed to Connie because of its global perspective focused on legal operations and the importance legal operations play in the paradigm shift toward collaboration across the legal industry. We discussed the nearly even split of law firm and corporate legal department attendees at the Tech Fest. She mentioned this meeting of the minds, law firms and corporate legal counsel, will also occur at the CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) institute two weeks prior to the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest. Connie shared, “That a 50/50 split will happen in the same month on different continents is an indicator that we have reached a tipping point.” Actions by early adopters and innovators are taking hold in the larger legal and legal technology industries.
In Connie’s keynote, “Challenging Your Legal Department to Be Disruptive,” she will discuss her role as the Director of Legal Operations and how it is inherently disruptive. She encourages everyone in the legal industry to “build a more collaborative and unified legal eco-system” aimed at the same end goal of efficiency and delivering quality legal counsel. She recognizes that all parties must improve efficiency by looking at technology and reassessing and re-designing processes. Law firms and corporate legal departments continue must to move from a combative relationship to a more collaborative one. For a sneak peek into Connie’s keynote, read her article written for the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest, “Challenging Your Legal Department to Be Disruptive.”
Connie Brenton will also present on “Capitalising on the Innovation and Technology Easy-Wins.” Connie underscores the importance of training lawyers in this new and constantly changing legal industry. Moving forward, everyone must understand technology and business for an organization to be efficient and succeed. She works toward this goal in the corporate legal department at NetApp but the importance of understanding technology and business is also a requirement for law firms. Law firms and corporate legal departments must collaborate because “you can’t change the way you do business if only one party changes,” Connie urges. We all need to become more efficient to become more effective.
In a conversation with Berys Amor, Director of Technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and ILTA Knowledge Advisor, we discussed her role on the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest advisory team and her presentation at the Tech Fest.
The Eventful Group assembled an advisory team of legal innovators including CIOs, partners and in-house counsel to help influence and bring together a compelling collection of presentations and presenters for the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest. The team called for submissions on selected topics and reviewed papers and presentations proposed. Berys stated, The Eventful Group collected “a good cross section of people to provide input and influence” for a conference that appeals to all in the industry. The advisory team members have varied requirements and perspectives about what they want to get out of a conference. The team is pleased that the conference has a diverse and interesting range of speakers and presentations to meet all attendees’ requirements. Berys looks forward to meeting with the advisory team in person at the Tech Fest. She has received valuable insights from her fellow advisory team members and has expanded her network. She shared the struggle, “as a CIO it is challenging for me to be able to get closer to in-house counsel. They are our clients. Often that relationship is managed by the client relationship partner and the senior marketing or business development person. So it’s great for me to be able to meet in-house counsel as well and build a network and relationship with them at this conference.”
In her presentation, “Creating a Truly Client Centric, Externally Focused, Technology Team," Berys will address that very challenge to connect with in-house counsel. Berys knows “there’s great opportunity for CIOs at law firms to add value around the systems that they can provide to their clients.” Law firms already provide extranets, reports on their spend and outcomes but Berys wants to take it to the next level. “We’ve gotten great traction at Corrs providing business solutions. A part of that business solution might be the provision of legal services but it’s also about providing our clients with technology platforms… they can use to streamline their internal processes.” By listening to client feedback, Berys has learned that the legal departments of even the largest corporations are a small part of the overall organization. Often they do not have all the tools and technology platforms that a full service law firm has. Berys sees Cloud technology as a great aid to providing platforms for clients because it is not intrusive. Berys says, “We are not asking them to install anything and are providing them a very secure platform. All they need is an internet browser. Then we are giving them the tools — almost a DMS. They can keep their precedence and input data. Then we can re-purpose it (or they can re-purpose it) to solve one of their business problems and to streamline their processes.” Berys hopes to teach people how to identify opportunities as a technology team and get involved in the conversation with the client to uncover their business problems and to develop sound business solutions.
Challenges Seen as Opportunities
To close each discussion, I asked both Connie Brenton and Berys Amor to identify the next great hurdles to overcome in the legal and legal technology industries. Connie believes we need to learn how to better leverage big data, create standards in the industry and collaborate more on technology. She worries that outside counsel technology can focus too much on profits per partner while in-house counsel technology works to keep costs down. She believes these competing technologies miss the correct goal of delivering exceptional legal services and she works to achieve a more collaborative approach. Berys trusts that the pressure on legal services providers to keep costs down will remain. “That’s a challenge but it’s also an opportunity for firms to certainly improve their internal processes.” She believes new technologies to provide non-intrusive services for clients and training the next generation of lawyers in legal project management can provide a better value for the client. Berys also recognized the need to improve data security and risk management. Though the investment in data security continues to increase, Berys knows part of the investment “is raising people’s awareness. You can have the best cyber security system but often the areas of weakness are people not understanding what their responsibilities are in relation to data security.” Thought leaders Connie Brenton and Berys Amor do not see hurdles. They see opportunities to grow.
Learn more about the upcoming presentations by Connie Brenton, Berys Amor and many other speakers on the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest agenda. 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 & Tech Fest and registration.