This year’s ILTACON, held at Walt Disney World Hotels (WDW) in Orlando and covering over 430,000 square feet of campus, was an amazing event on many levels. For example, a few of the 3,400 attendees complained about walking long distances in the 90-degree heat required to attend educational courses and meetings. The energy was high throughout the conference despite the heat and spacious conference floors. Second, interest in emerging technology such as generative AI, automation, and e-discovery solutions for SMS data has shifted from “what is” to “how to apply” this technology to legal work to better results now. In other words, the ILTACON community is more tech-savvy than ever before. The “tomorrow” of the legal industry has arrived.
Here is the most important information we extract from the sessions we attended between meetings with clients and partners.
Understanding How Remote Work and Artificial Intelligence Changed the Legal World Forever: Findings from the ILTA 2023 Technical Survey
TJ Johnson of Qualitest, Todd Corham of Saul Ewing and others presented preliminary findings from this year’s ILTA Technology Survey. New topics for 2023 included Emerging Desktop Applications, Generative AI Tools, Collaborative Applications, and Hybrid Strategy. The full survey results will be published soon. In the meantime, here are the high-level results:
- Generative AI was named by most of the participants as the emerging technology that will have a significant impact on the legal technology profession
- Among those who say they apply generative AI in their work; The application used by the majority of those surveyed is Chat GPT
- The top three uses of generative AI: rough drafts, writing presentations, and brainstorming. Although the panelists agreed it was still too early to have a clear view of all the uses
- Cloud adoption continues to rise, with a notable jump in adoption in the past year or two. Reasons for leaning toward the cloud include better access to solutions, better data security, and faster release of new features
- In the words of one panelist, “You, as a society, have risen to the challenge[of implementing technology that helps telework]in the past year.”
- Cloud-based applications are primarily used for email, time/billing, payroll, document management, and e-discovery
- More than half of the professional staff in law firms use laptops daily (it will be interesting to see if there is a return to desktop use in next year’s survey with many firms choosing to work from office policies)
Navigating technology deployment in a hybrid world
Helpful suggestions were shared at a roundtable panel on how to ensure success with hardware and software deployments, in a hybrid post-pandemic work environment, with a mix of hybrid office consultants, technology provider implementation experts and IT leaders from weight companies.
At the beginning of the discussion, panel members covered reasons for the potential failure of the project, including lack of agreement from key stakeholders, lack of project planning or lack of clarity on requirements and accountability. In terms of accountability, there must be a clear vision of who is responsible for the success of the project, as well as who is the leader in getting the work done.
Wade Goldt, Helient’s Chief Operating Officer, shared tips on engaging stakeholders early on. “You need to include not only the executive team early on, but also employees and suppliers,” Goldt said. Ashley Alberi, Chief Operating Officer of Maptician, stressed the importance of engaging with stakeholders, and “demonstrating why this rollout is important using data. What are the benefits for employees, customers and shareholders?
Lathrop GPM, Chief Information Officer, Adam Yantorni, along with Allberry, have covered what to expect when it comes to rolling out technology in a hybrid environment, and include these tips:
- Implementations are shorter: the expectation is faster delivery. It is better to devote more time to planning, then make the execution timeframe shorter
- Leadership acceptance is essential: start the dialogue early and understand each leader’s goals to align project goals with their own
- Ownership required at all levels: With the hybrid experience now part of the culture of many organizations, employees must be involved in designing the launch experience. Solicit input and support from each company site from mid-level employees, those individuals who can be responsible for local training and start-up
When it comes to using the “new solution” at all levels, in another session on new litigation management technology, Katherine McPherson, Legal Technology Strategist at Bartlett Beck, shared that in order to get everyone to start doing things in a new way, selling it as a lifestyle choice, To make your daily working life easier.
Addressing the growing electronic discovery challenge: recent data
A panel of experts provided useful insights into how SMS data is collected, reviewed and produced. Monica Harris, product business manager at Cellebrite, presented statistics from her company’s research showing that mobile data in the private sector is now close to surpassing data collected from computers. SMS data is generated from the conversation exchange that takes place via a messaging or social media application, such as Teams, Slack, Zoom, Snapchat, etc. The complexity of handling this data in eDiscovery will continue to increase as the number of users, platforms, and volume of data increases year after year. Tips shared by Nordo Nissi, Goulston & Storrs, and others include:
- Conduct an early case assessment (ECA) to determine who, what, where, when, why and how to collect
- Determine the collection range. Do you just need basic data from a mobile device like SMS/MMS, contacts, call history, media, or on the other end of the spectrum, that’s in addition to app data, device information, full file system and deleted data?
- Consider using the new version EDRM Metadata introductory text As a reference model. This ongoing work is designed to enhance clarity and standardization for text and instant message data production
When it comes to processing, take the time to understand the file format you are dealing with for each data type, e.g., JSON, RSMF, native etc. and know your audit strategy and whether there is any ESI protocol in place. Aims to standardize how data is presented. On this last point, consider where an eDiscovery solution can display data in an almost native format e.g CloudNine Analyst Can.
This overview covers just one small slice of the rich information shared at this year’s ILTACON. Our biggest takeaway? The legal tech community is stronger than ever, and new ways of doing work are more accepted than ever; They are used today.