Postcard from Legaltech New York – Day 1

They say you have to have a strategy to survive Legaltech New York and as a first timer, I can vouch for that.

Rebranded as Legalweek – which going forward I suspect will make it harder for competitor publications to write about – the conference in the New York Hilton Midtown Manhattan is a beast.

On day one (31 January), aside from some interesting vendor announcements summarised below, the highlight for many was the first keynote of the day on Trends, Technology and Talent in the Second Machine Age, delivered to a packed ballroom by Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and author of The Second Machine Age.

McAfee’s talk was food for thought on both the pace of change in machine learning and how change is delivered – or not delivered – within successful organisations.

Using the example of teaching a computer to play the traditional and largely instinctive traditional Chinese game of Go, computers were previously limited by the ability of humans to explain their own thought processes – otherwise known as Polanyi’s Paradox. McAfee said: “Now, we have absolute digital superiority. Polanyi’s Paradox is not a barrier. The team built a technology where they could pour in 200,000 high level Go games and say ‘you figure it out’ – and the tech could.”

Reflecting on the way change is embraced within a business, McAfee forecasts that disruptors will be evidence-driven, outward-looking platform operators with geeky leadership. Out will go the HiPPOs  – the model where decisions are taken based on the ‘highest paid person’s opinion.’

In examples given by McAfee of crowdsourcing problems within the ‘geek community’ (a term of praise rather than criticism), when asked to sequence white blood cells for a competition on TopCoder, the leading algorithms overcame the best current conventional solution in medicine with no medical training.

The overwhelmingly positive reception to McAfee’s talk is testament to the fact that, just because we’re the legaltech crowd, doesn’t mean we want to only hear about legal tech or what is happening right now on our doorstep.

It set a tone of change and McAfee said at the start of the keynote: “The book [The Second Machine Age] conveys technological progress. We badly underestimated the scale. I would feel worse but for fact that everybody else did too.”

He added: “I’m blown away.”

Legaltech Announcements

LexisNexis has integrated direct access to the Lex Machina Legal Analytics platform into its online legal information and research solution Lexis Advance.

With this integration, judge summaries from Lex Machina are now accessible directly within full-text case law for all Lexis Advance users. By selecting active links on judge names, users can access Lex Machina summary charts, graphs and information, as well as judicial tendencies in patent, trademark, copyright, antitrust and securities cases.

It’s worth a demo if you’re at LTNY. 

Casepoint just announced the launch of CaseAssist, what is claimed to be the first artificial intelligence ediscovery case evaluation system available for all clients on all matters hosted in Casepoint, at no additional cost. See the full article here.

Baker Botts has made the decision to move from iManage Work on premises to iManage Cloud. The significant step for the 1,500-user firm is being led by CIO Rick Boulin, who said: “To be more agile as an organisation, and to deliver innovation to our stakeholders more rapidly, we want to take advantage of the cloud as much as possible.”

Fronteo has been named as one of the first RelativityOne Certified Partners by kCura. RelativityOne is the cloud version of Relativity and the partner program recognises partners who have made a significant commitment to offering solutions using RelativityOne.

Ricoh has unveiled an enhanced eDiscovery on Demand solution – users now have access to new analysis and review functions that help them interact with and filter ESI before review or production.

Neota has announced a global collaboration with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – see our write up here. 

If you have an announcement be sure to email me – – or let me know where you are and I’ll try to come and say hi.