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ILTA 2014

Without a doubt, the biggest news in the enterprise collaboration world this August was about ILTA 2014, the annual legal technology conference this year held in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nicole Blake Johnson of BizTech Magazine gave a quick summary of the keynote speech by Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation. His keynote focused on the power of disruptive technologies and how they’re changing the way we work, communicate and live. Nicole explains that Diamandis often uses what he calls the six Ds to explain to CEOs and students the life cycle of exponential technologies, which are: digitised, deceptive, disruptive, dematerialisation, demonitisation, democratisation. You can watch Diamandis explain the six Ds in a video on his website.

Our own COO Stuart Barr spoke at ILTA too, in a talk titled Do Robot Lawyers Dream of Billable Seconds? together with fellow speakers Joshua Lenon of ClioNoah Waisberg of DiligenceEngine and Michael Mills of Neota Logic. The session was put together and moderated by Ryan McClead of Norton Rose Fulbright (and 3 Geeks and a Law Blog fame).

Stuart wrote a blog post about their talk, where he asks the question, What will the law firm of the future look like? Stuart focuses on how technology is changing the way we work, how it’s shaping our organisations and how it’s affecting organisational culture. In his blog post, Stuart considers three things:

1. How rapidly evolving technology is already fundamentally changing the way we live and work
2. How organisational structure and culture will be shaped by this changing technology
3. What working for a law firm might be like in the future

Stuart concludes with his prediction that the future of work is certain to be inextricably linked to technological advancements and is global, collaborative, social, networked and mobile in nature.

In his article Four visions of the future of law, Joshua Lenon also writes about the topics covered in their talk. In the article he details the predictions that each of the speakers in the panel made on the future of law firms. Joshua’s prediction was called the Lawyer-Robot Buddy Movie, whereby law firms in the future will use AI systems to review case law, write briefs, and provide a basis for tailored advice, from a position of knowledge that was never capable before.

Joshua calls Noah Waisberg’s prediction the Ever-Expanding Legal Universe, which implies that legal solutions are not simplifying; instead, Noah predicts that in 2024, there will be more professionals than ever working on high-end legal services. Joshua names Stuart’s prediction Swarm Law, where he expects that technology will make it possible for law firms to coalesce instantly to tackle complex legal work.

Finally, Joshua labels Michael’s prediction A Grim Reaping: where he believes that innovation in the legal space will only come from outside of law firms. As Joshua points out, every prediction was at slight odds with the others. Interestingly, he notes that when polled, the attendees at the talk seemed to equally support each prediction: a four-way tie.

On enterprise social collaboration…

Apart from ILTA round-ups, there have been several articles on the subject of the practical applications of collaboration and shedding light on enterprise social networks.

In his article for Constellation Research, analyst Paul van Essche clearly details the ways in which to get your company/organisation/unit to collaborate better. He explains that there is far more to it than simply implementing collaboration technology. In fact, Paul explains that it requires a number of different factors, starting with defining collaboration it in a way that brings value to your organization, and aim for that definition.

Next, Paul explains that collaboration must be built on a solid infrastructure with guidelines, tools and data; eradicate email and provide a physical environment and company culture conducive to collaboration. Finally, Paul asserts, social is a vital ingredient to collaboration, creating a party-like environment where everyone gets involved. We wrote about this subject in detail in our eBook The enterprise social networking handbook.

Rich Wood covered the topic of enterprise social networking in his article for CMSWire, The 3 most damaging enterprise social network myths. In the article, Rich debunks the myths that 1) you need everyone in the organisation on the same social network to see real business benefits from adopting ESN; 2) enterprise social networks are just another productivity application you can deploy to make user’s lives easier; and 3) you can get everyone using enterprise social if you invest enough time in planning and communication.

In her article for for CMSWire, Carrie Basham Young states that corporate social networking software is now a commodity, not a community. Carrie argues that with the inability to prove that standalone enterprise social software has ROI, the commoditisation of social networking will continue and eventually bury the industry as we know it.

Carrie reiterates the message told by Paul and Rich: if you invest in social technology and, more importantly, strong program management, you can create an effective, robust community of employees. Choose the tools that are right for you and be content with slow, steady progress toward a true community.

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