On 18th of March I had the privilege of attending and addressing the 2015 LawTechNZ conference. This was a gathering of legal practitioners and managers, e-discovery experts and futurists whose purpose was to examine how legal services will be delivered in New Zealand in the years to come. Both Erin Ebborn and I attended and the standard of presentation and content was formidable. Of great interest to me was the innovative new products and services that have developed offshore. The bar was set high with the eminent list of speakers. Topping that list was Judge David Harvey PhD - a jurist who combines an in-depth knowledge of technology with a well practiced and engaging delivery, honed to a razor edge on hundreds of former law students at Auckland University.
Cristina Libro from Doing Law Differently, a Sydney firm, spoke passionately about the mash-up of technology and law, and how different ways of thinking could save much time and money. Her insight into the value clients place on being kept informed of progress was an eye-opener. Erin was taken with the presentation of Warrick MacLean, GM of Coleman Grieg Lawyers - a Sydney based firm - and his methods of encouraging staff to be adopters of technology and social media.
A presenter close to my heart was Caroline Jones from Aderant, who outlined her vision of lawyers as "mobile road warriors" (Aussies have such a deep connection to the Mad Max franchise!) empowered and unencumbered through smart mobile technology that links back to the office.
Our technology partners P&L Limited represented at the conference along with CodeBlue, who are providing our new server suite. P&L promoted the JEMIMA practice management system that is being co-developed with us and will introduce a new level of service and efficiency to law. My presentation on challenging the way law is delivered in New Zealand received positive feedback. Many people told me afterwards they were pleased to see a law firm with such forward-looking ideas. You can read the paper by clicking the link below.
LawTechNZ is a fantastic concept whose time is still to come. There is a strong commitment by EY (Ernst & Young) and E-Discovery Consulting to continue the conference. Judge Harvey expressed some disappointment afterwards at the low number of Auckland lawyers present, but I would go further and voice surprise at the number of law firms overall who sent staff: I feel this reflects a general lack of awareness of the fast-changing environment that lawyers are working in. I hope this does not mean frantic knee-jerking and hair-pulling when firms are forced into change. I hope that this conference and the people who support it succeed in their efforts to educate and prepare the profession for the future. I hope we see a managed progression that takes the best of the old and combines it with the exciting prospects of the new.
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