Last week I was at the Stanford CodeX FutureLaw 2018 Conference in Palo Alto with my CEO Josh Blandi and GC Jud Hemming, where I had the opportunity to meet some of the brightest minds and veterans in the LegalTech industry.
The event kicked off on 4th April with a Then and Now session by Ryan Alshak (Co-founder, Ping) and Haley Altman (Founder, Doxly) interviewing founders of some recently acquired #LegalTech companies. It was a pleasure listening to Alma Asay (Founder, Allegory), Daniel Lewis (Co-founder, Ravel) and Michael Sander (Founder, Docket Alarm) about their stories and experiences from starting up, to now a part of the larger corporate. One thing that everyone seemed to echo was selling to attorneys and law firms was the hardest part, but these founders managed to conquer it and move ahead.
Highlights from the CodeX FutureLaw conference on April 5th
I have picked only a few speakers and talks from each session that I found interesting. See the full list here
1. Sharad Goel in Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency of Algorithms
Sharad presented a great perspective of fairness of algorithms and how it is limited to what assumptions are made for results to be predicted in a particular manner and why could it be biased. One of the assumptions explained in the example was that the past human behavior was considered to be the baseline and the standard for formulating the algorithm and this did nothing but replicate the human behavior and intentions. However it never took into account that the human behavior and policies used itself could have been flawed and biased.
Algorithms give results based on what they are programmed to do and understanding how the inputs and variables could change, understanding how the sample data used for analysis was arrived at, is very important before making decisions based on the results of the algorithms.
“Algorithms are often good at synthesizing information, but we must still set effective and equitable policy.” – Sharad
2. Lightning Round 1
GDPR and an effort towards making privacy agreements simpler to understand on websites by introducing icons
Topic: Data Protection by Legal Design
3. The Legal Tech Startup Landscape
Pieter Gunst (Co Founder Legal.io) @DigitalLayer spoke about LeagalTechIndex http://techindex.law.stanford.edu/ This includes Categorization, Funding, MnAs, etc of Legal Tech companies around the world. This project is not just open source but the database is too. So if you are looking to pull some stats out of this data or add more value get in touch with Peter.
Speaker @DigitalLayer Slides
4. Are We in the Golden Age of Regtech?
Larry Bridgesmith was a real pleasure to listen to. He enforced the importance of Lawyers needing to adopt technology to compete in this day and age.
Some memorable quotes by Larry “The world is divided into two types of people from an Attorney’s perspective -Lawyers and Non Lawyers. Have you ever heard about a Non Plumber?””Diversity is means by which innovation takes place” Speaker @bnalaw
5. Blockchain as Legal Tech
Opportunities of #blockchain applications
i) documenting identity & property
ii) authenticating goods and services
iii) fraud – $3.5 trillion in 2016
iv) cyber crime – $2 trillion by 2019
6. Debroah Rhode – Closing Keynote
Prof Deborah Rhode came out with strong support for companies like Avvo, Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer and asked the BAR association to step out of the way.
My takeaways from the conference
1. Lack of innovation thus far could be mainly attributed to the slow adoption of technology by the legal industry or simply put, a taboo for technology by attorneys and law firms, which makes the sales cycle too long for startups and most fail before they get an opportunity to be adopted and tested. But this is changing now.
2. There is no denying that attorneys, law firms, and the legal industry, in general, are being increasingly aware of why they need to adopt technology – for efficiency, competition, and growth. Now more than ever. The doors a finally opening and there is plenty of room for innovation in this space.
3. Legal services are moving towards a flat fee model with customers demanding to pay for results rather than the traditional model of “by the hour”.
4. Ultimately the consumer of legal services will be most benefited by penetration of technology in the legal industry with better and more affordable legal services.
5. The future is now and seems like the market is finally getting ripe for Legal Tech companies to disrupt this space.