For some the dog days of summer are the most uncomfortable time of year, best spent in a hammock near a body of water. For at least 1500 hardy souls, the hottest days of August are the best time to head south to Nashville — not for barbeque, not for music, not for line dancing, and definitely not for vacation. These folks will be attending the International Legal Technology Association’s 2011 Conference to participate in some of the best educational sessions produced for people interested in technology for the practice of law. If you are attending the conference, you’ll soon discover that there are more terrific sessions than a single mortal can attend, so you’ll have to make some choices. To help you with that, may I recommend some sessions that I’ve had the privilege of helping to prepare for the conference:
Future-Proofing Your Law Firm (Monday, 8/22, at 11am in Governor C ):
How would your firm cope if the 2008 upset of the financial markets happened again this year? Is your firm prepared to take advantage of another major upheaval? Come to this session to hear some leading thinkers and practitioners in the world of legal technology discuss key trends that will have an impact on your IT, knowledge management and client services processes over the next 3-5 years. While we don’t have a crystal ball, Ron Friedmann, Michael Mills, Gerard Neiditsch, Jeffrey Rovner and I will do our best to identify the sure bets that should affect strategy and spending, as well as the riskier bets that could well yield even greater returns for your legal practice.
Twitter Hashtags: #ILTA11 #INFO1
Offshoring and Outsourcing: What it Means for your Firm and for Your Job (Monday, 8/22, at 1pm in Governor C):
Along with the recent disruption of the capital markets has come a disruption of the legal market in the form of outsourcing and offshoring on behalf of a growing number of clients and law firms. This is no longer a remote possibility on the fringes of the legal practice. In fact, it may well be coming to a client or law firm near you soon. Are you ready for the growing importance of outsourcing and offshoring? The forces that are driving legal work towards LPOs seem unstoppable and are already changing the way clients think about legal work and the way law firms carry out that work. This affects lawyers and technologists. Have you considered the impact on your firm and, more specifically, on your job? Toby Brown, Kevin Colangelo and Jordan Furlong will be leading a discussion of this issue, with a particular focus on why it matters to you. Each brings a different perspective: Toby works within a law firm, Kevin represents an outsourcing company, and Jordan is a law firm strategist and consultant. Their combined expertise will help you get a better understanding of how you and your firm should respond and adapt to the pressures (and opportunities) of offshoring and outsourcing.
Twitter Hashtags: #ILTA11 #INFO2
The Electronic Matter File Challenge (Tuesday, 8/23, at 9:15am in Governor C):
The electronic matter file is touted as the holy grail of legal technology. Is it a true step forward toward improving the practice of law? Or is it merely an over-promoted variation on document and email management? Is there even a need for a “better” file? Joshua Fireman and Stuart Kay will discuss how to identify the electronic matter file, consolidate the entire file for easy use by lawyers and support staff, and assess the challenges and opportunities for a firm that pulls this information from various repositories and business processes into one location. See some visionary and some practical examples of what this could look like for your firm. Do you dare continue the quest?
Note: This 75-minute session is structured as a workshop so there will be lots of opportunity for members of the audience to tackle this topic in concrete ways. Please come prepared to participate.
Twitter Hashtags: #ILTA11 #INFO5
Low-Cost Info Management (Tuesday, 8/23, at 1:30pm in Governor C):
Do you need to spend a fortune in order to provide your legal practice with state of the art information management and knowledge management? Maybe not. As Kingsley Martin and Scott Preston will explain in this session, some of the best things in life are free (or low cost). In fact, this session is built on the belief that you don’t need to spend a king’s ransom in order to provide the benefits of intelligent information management. Customized for law firms and law departments that may not be able to invest in large IT or knowledge management departments, this session will offer suggestions for free to low-cost tools available to enable KM, as well as key principles of data governance and information management that apply to legal practices of all sizes.
Twitter Hashtags: #ILTA11 #INFO7
You can keep your “must see” TV. For my money, these are some of the “must attend” sessions at ILTA11. I hope to see you there.