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16 May 2017

Key Themes From 2nd Annual Legal Innovation & Tech Fest

Over 370 Legal Professionals, thought-leaders, and sponsors came together for another highly successful Legal Innovation & Tech Fest. This is the 2nd year this thriving community has come together to explore the leadership, technology, ideas and innovations that are transforming the way law firms and in-house legal teams operate, and this year proved to be bigger and better than the last.

There were three broad areas of focus at this year’s Legal Innovation & Tech Fest:

1. Innovation Culture

Creativity, innovation and inclusion were three words that stood out in many of the sessions presented this year. Our community were keen to hear about creating an innovation culture, how to inspire people to go on a journey and create an environment where employees expect and demand change, rather than fear it. To answer this, we heard from the likes of Michelle Mahoney, Executive Director, Innovation, King & Wood Mallesons on how they are working to create a mindset of innovation for their lawyers, including some real examples and challenges from the front-line. As one attendee remarked “Having those real-life examples was incredibly useful for people like me who are trying to drive innovation at their organisations”.

One of the stand out sessions was the “Innovation Survivor”, led by the enigmatic Amantha Imber. She gave us some practical tools to aid memory retention and out-think the competition. As one attendee put it:

“Absolutely outstanding. Amantha clearly knows her stuff and presented her topic in a new, fresh and interesting way. Thoroughly engaging and the highlight of the day.”

From an In-House perspective, we heard from Loreal’s ANZ General Counsel on how their legal team has partnered with the business to “go digital” – the challenges, the wins and some practical examples of how they have achieved this. We also heard some innovative ideas from other in-house teams including ING, Staples and Energy Australia.

2. Rise of the Machines

Machine Learning, AI, and Automation are not new to the legal industry but only recently has some of the very latest technology become more mainstream. Our legal community were looking for real practical examples of how they can use technology to drive innovation in addition to improving efficiency. And they weren’t disappointed…

Sam Nickless from G+T gave an excellent introduction to AI for legal professionals, providing some practical ways for legal teams to get started with AI as well as some examples of how G+T have embraced this technology.

Beth Patterson from Allens also took us through some feasible applications of this new technology, and gave some fascinating examples of what Allens is doing in this space.

In the Emerging Technology Roundtable Discussion, we heard some interesting perspectives from Johnson Winter & Slattery, ING Bank, Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Allens on the opportunities and challenges in this constantly changing market, including the big question of how to get IT, finance, LPM, BD and fee earning professionals2 aligned on the criticality of understanding where costs, profits and value lie.

3. The Future of Legal

There are numerous alternatives entering the legal market. Virtual law firms, low-cost offerings, project-management, all attempting to disrupt traditional firms and their approach. But firms are innovating too: Hackathons, innovation hubs and true originality in pricing structures are changing the options for clients.

At Legal Innovation & Tech Fest 2017 we heard a number of fascinating ways legal firms and in-house teams are shaking things up, including Telstra’s design thinking workshops and innovation sprints which led to them being named Asia Pac’s most innovative legal department for 2016 by the Financial Times, as well as Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s “Open Innovation” approach that has helped to reconcile the legal industry’s requirement for certainty with the unavoidably fluid innovation process.

There were also some spirited discussions around developing agile, profitable and innovative pricing strategies in the “Pricing Roundtable Discussion”, and some unique ideas on bringing the younger generation into the forefront as future leaders driving innovation during the “Mentoring the Next Generation Roundtable Discussion”

The event was an overwhelming success on all accounts. Here are just a few sentiments from our Legal Innovation

“Practical and relevant. Great stuff!”

“Extremely useful – great mix of theory and practice”

“Relevant, entertaining and engaging”

“This was phenomenal!”

“Insightful and practical”

“Great practical uses of technology driving innovation”

“Useful content and well presented from start to finish”

“WOW…great content, clear and inspiring”

Looking Beyond Legal Innovation & Tech Fest 2017

Our aim here on in is to keep the learning going from this wonderful event. Even if you weren’t able to attend this year, keep an eye out for articles and practical tips from the event sessions we will be sending out over the next few months (great for a refresher for those who attended too!). We’ll also be making full recordings (audio and slides) from selected sessions available for you to download and experience at your leisure.

We’ll be running our annual roundtable discussion groups in September 2017, so if you’d like to be a part of shaping the agenda for Legal Innovation & Tech Fest 2018, get in touch with Simon Yeowart or Ian Collier.

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