I attended the Legal Tech Fest in Rosebank recently and I thought I would share what I learnt from the 2 day conference.
The organising and control of the conference ran like clockwork, I tip my hat to The Eventful Group for a well run conference and I thank you for including Tech4Law as your media partner.
For me, two topics rose above everything else at the two day event, innovation hubs and data, whether the data was big, historical, everyday or personal data.
Graeme Grovum and Shaun Temby from Australia shared what they had gone through in their law firms when implementing innovation changes, speaking about the teams, how they gathered information, selected technolgy partners, trained the designated partners and team members and how much they budgeted and measured costs throughout the process.
All of that was impressive, but I think the thing that grabbed my attention, was how it seemed to be the norm in the bigger laws firms, to have an Innovation Hub team, who not only are taken very seriously by the law firm but also have a seat in the Exco table.
It was always my view that South Africa and Australia were on a par when it came to technology in the legal space, but from what I saw, it seems we are trailing rather far behind.
Every law firm has data - lots and lots of data, from matter data to client information.
Each day just through the day to day running of the law firm, the creation and use of data is ever-increasing. We have for years mastered how we keep that data, or even how we gather it, but unlike commercial business we have not used the data to help our business decisions or to assist the law firm with more efficient processes.
Big data players are now helping law firms extract, manage and use the data to improve decision making and find applications where they can use the data to provide better services to their clients.
At this conference there were 3 exhibitors who specialise in data services for law firms - this means that Business Intelligence has finally arrived for South African law firms and although there are some challenges to overcome with things like privacy and security, this factual data from inside your own law firms is going to change the way you practise law.
For example, if your firm wanted to change your billing methods - you could look at the data and see how well the clients reacted to the billing arrangements. Maybe when clients are billed a set fee, you got paid 90 days faster than when you had hourly billing. That is a simple example, but you see the effectiveness of using your existing data to improve your business going forward.
The conference covered many other topics, maybe in the coming weeks I will cover one or two, but for now, these two stood out for me.