Emerging Legal Technology Forum 2021: Law firms need to leverage legal tech to stay competitive

The emerging legal technology dynamic brings with it issues of risk management, technology prioritization, and the evolutionary requirements associated with these emerging technologies, all of which can significantly affect the pace and delivery of legal services today.

This topic dominated the recent 2021 Emerging Legal Technology Forum, presented last week by the Thomson Reuters Institute in Boston.

Many panels discussed general issues and needs that are essential to be competitive in a dynamic legal technology industry, such as: B. the use of AI in functions such as contract development, workflow automation and blockchain.

The sessions also discussed the provision of legal tech services, assessing project finances and priorities, remote working and customer-facing technologies, with risk management and security also being ubiquitous topics.

Held at the historic Boston Park Plaza Hotel, the forum was a boutique event, a convenient setting to start conversations (and hopefully longer-term relationships, too) with an impressive collection of legal technology thought leaders.

Participants listen to a panel discussion at the recent Emerging Legal Technology Forum in Boston.

Without supplier parties or occupied dealer booths, the intimate nature of the forum was suitable for a deep discussion of future-oriented ideas, both in podium and network exchanges. It was not unlike the environment of a boutique law firm or a smaller legal tech shop, where the high quality of the professionals generally leads to quick exchanges or ideas at an elite level.

Some of the panel highlights were:

AI & the human element

This panel explored the topic of artificial intelligence, starting with a very interesting example of Tesla’s driver safety ratings and how there is currently no formalized process to challenge safety rating decisions made by AI. Panelist Stas Gayshan, General Counsel of CIC Health, held a discussion on who has the right to know about the decisions of a machine learning system and the need to respect the protection of intellectual property, which is an interesting exchange on governance Raised questions and concerns.

Of particular interest was a presentation by Boston-based data scientist Sally Gao of Thomson Reuters Labs, who identified five key theoretical issues related to AI governance. These considerations include:

      • Human-user interaction;
      • Transparency and explainability;
      • algorithmic fairness;
      • Robustness and reliability; and
      • Data privacy.

The main premise is that continuous, broad-based improvements in these areas will help maintain the quality of AI applications across society. Overall, this panel showed that AI is an evolving field where ethical AI, transparency, fairness, reliability, threat resistance, data protection and differential privacy are all issues that need to be addressed before we achieve favorable long-term frameworks.

The broad horizon of blockchain

Highlighted by subject matter expert Dazza Greenwood, founder and CEO of CIVICS.com Consultancy Services, this panel covered governance and regulation for blockchain and, interestingly, how blockchain itself can help in these areas. Greenwood also outlined the need for a legal definition of blockchain and highlighted his efforts to crowdsource the same on his MIT Media Labsite.

Also, Doug McCalmont, co-founder and chief technology officer of Chrysalis Digital Asset Exchange, used a sports bet on the podium as an example of a very simplified (in a good sense) example of a smart contract that demonstrated how a sports bet rely on an oracle – a fact-finding authority like ESPN.com in our sports betting analogy – to secure contract outcomes or, in this case, game winners. McCalmont also noted that there are templates and technologies already available that can provide common implementation tools for smart contracts.

Study the importance of investing and leadership

In the panel I moderated on, we temporarily shifted our focus away from the sexy, emerging tech topics to a collection of key decision points in law firm day-to-day operations, z-oriented or security / regulatory projects. The panel examined how improvements to core law firm technologies such as collaboration software, document management systems, and security programs are critical for law firms today.

Our diverse group, which included panelists from a law firm, consultancy, and software company, sifted through a variety of priorities and approaches to resolving disparate stakeholder opinions and reached consensus on how the law’s current technology budgets are distributed. Business in today’s legal profession.

At the end of the day, the panel on business disruptions and third-party risk management moderated by Christina Ayiotis, a member of the Global Advisory Board of VigiTrust, provided a lot of useful advice, such as management and operational staff in the risk assessment process and how to accept a process audit rather than fear it.

The opinions expressed are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of Reuters News, which are committed to trust principles of integrity, independence and bias. The Thomson Reuters Institute is owned by Thomson Reuters and operates independently from Reuters News.

Kenneth Jones

Kenneth Jones oversees various aspects of technology at Tanenbaum Keale LLP as Chief Technologist. He leads efforts to support TK’s computing environment and infrastructure, which is pursuing a strategy of professional protection and processing of customer data in the cloud with highly qualified and respected leading technology business partners. In addition, Mr. Jones helps direct and support various telecommunications programs in the areas of security, compliance, business continuity, and corporate administration.

Comments are closed.