This article is the first in a series focusing on the major themes that emerged from the recent ILTACON conference.
Three years after the last full in-person ILTACON, the biggest and most important legal tech event was back in force in August 2022. The show sold out, with about 3000 participants and a high energy level. We think four main themes stood out in the conference sessions and hallway chatter.
If one theme permeated the entire conference, it was that legal workflows, and the products that enable them, need to become more integrated and work better together. The solutions that legal professionals work with have to become less isolated from each other and need to share the data on which they operate. Workflows dependent on data from other applications need to easily ingest and use that data seamlessly.
There is work to be done, but energy is being put into this issue from at least three directions:
- Law firms and in-house legal teams are increasingly tending to their data. Dozens of presentations at the conference showed the growing importance of allied professionals who know how to wrangle data – data scientists, analysts, and process managers. They are learning how to manage data in the practice of law (in areas such as eDiscovery and contract analysis) but also in the business of law, where more and more firms are leveraging data about their operations to make better decisions about pricing, staffing, and business development. Getting on top of all that data is a prerequisite for being able to share it across applications. (By the way, the growing importance of those allied professionals was a key theme in Litera’s The Changing Lawyer Report this year. Download a copy here.)
- At the same time, many of the legal tech vendors at ILTACON are showing signs that interoperability is key to their success. Most legal tech offerings are point solutions, which solve a specific problem but don’t manage an entire workflow. More vendors are actively promoting offerings’ integration with other vendors’ functionality and data, especially through APIs. Legal tech companies are starting to act more like an ecosystem with interoperable parts than as a series of separate silos, as they have before. That’s the tone and ambition at any rate – the reality is there are still many barriers to achieving that state of interoperability. Still, most vendors acknowledge the importance of some level of interoperability for everyone’s success.
- The SALI Alliance had a significant presence at ILTACON and is working on the interoperability issue from an industry-wide perspective. SALI is a collaboration among law firms, legal tech providers, and legal operations professionals working to standardize terminology around legal work so that law firms and legal tech products adopting the standard will more easily be able to exchange data and use a common language. Much of the interoperability in legal tech is centered on data about things that law firms measure, such as types of work, jurisdiction, types of actors, etc. The idea is that widespread industry adoption of SALI standards would take some of the friction out of data exchange for the industry.
Stay tuned for the next blog post: Part 2 - AI Conversations Have Matured and Calmed Down.
Posted in ILTACON