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Lexis to have a crack at running a legal IT event

Hey, just what the world needs in a recession – another legal IT event.

Butterworths are throwing their hat into the water with what is being called The Alternative Legal IT Event (yes, we know this was an idea and name first mooted on the Orange Rag blog months ago) that is to take place on the Thursday 17th & Friday 18th September (and, yes, we know Fridays are not usually a good day on which to hold conferences). The event is being pitched as something for mid-market firms as “following our survey of 500 firms, the consensus was that existing events cater only to the needs of the big international firms and that the mid-market firms have not hitherto been given a voice.”

Or as Marcella Barron, head of conferences, put it “We have not hitherto run any events for the legal IT community but it seemed to me that there was a gap in the market for a hard-hitting, content rich conference as opposed to the Gleneagles, Legal Technology jollies, hence the title. Given the current economic climate, this year seemed like a good time to provide a “no frills” (or fewer frills anyway) conference for mid market and regional firms who were possibly not being served by the existing events.”

OK – mid-market eh? But in that case (and we'll gloss over the fact that some of the speakers are from relatively large firms, such Cobbetts, Brodies and Mishcon de Reya) are topics such as Six Sigma, HR systems, e-billing and e-learning really on the agenda of mid-market firms? We've heard some odd ideas for dealing with the economic downturn but as yet we've heard nobody clamouring to bring in a load of consultants on a Six Sigma project.

However, its when it comes to the practicalities that you wonder whether this event has legs. For example, it is rather late in the day to be launching a new event – particularly as any would-be sponsors or exhibitors have either slashed their marketing budgets or already assigned them by this point in the year.

And then there is the competition element, because Butterworths are part of LexisNexis, which is now a major player in the UK legal systems market through its Axxia, Visualifiles and Interaction product lines. According to Barron “Yes, as a company we own a number of legal software products but Butterworths conference department is an entirely separate division.”

Well that's as maybe but it hasn't stopped a number of vendors, who've been approached to support the event, describing it as the 'Axxia User Conference' – which is not helped by the fact the timing is almost exactly the same as the old Axxia annual user conferences. The view of these vendors is that LexisNexis as a group is now a competitor and they are not spending their marketing money supporting an organisation that is competing with them in the PMS and case management software markets.

12 replies on “Lexis to have a crack at running a legal IT event”

Charles Christian adds… To be fair to the old Axxia User Conference, they did at least pay their speakers a fee + expenses whereas LexisNexis Butterworths say “As a matter of policy we do not pay them (speakers) as the event offers them a platform to raise their own and their organisation’s profile and an opportunity to network with potential clients and other professional contacts.” In otherwords, expect the usual suspects consultants delivering sales pitches.

The last I heard the guests (and suppliers expected to pay for it all) were going to stay at Penny Hill Park.
Apart from being a haunt for the rich and famous it also apeared more recently in a well known SW1 based expenses scandal.
If this is no frills I would love to do luxury in Butterworths World?

Definitely not going to the Lexis thingumy. I've had the hard sell from them but it seems like a very mistargetted and, to be blunt, confused jolly (in my opinion).

Clearly SOS and Pilgrim are happy to be “spending their marketing money supporting an organisation that is competing with them”, since they're listed as sponsors.
One wonders if the event organisers will be equally sucessful in persuading cash-strapped mid-market Managing Partners to cough up £750/850 for their IT heads to indulge in a 'no frills' stay at the luxury haunt of England rugby stars and world leaders!

and they asked me (from a 100+ partner firm) to be a speaker even though they quote on the event details “discover how other firms of 50 partners or less are responding to the turbulent economic conditions” – do your homework Marcella!

This 'we're Butterworths and not LexisNexis the legal software vendor' event – has anyone else heard the rumour that the ex-sales manager of Axxia Bill Kirby has put the conference programme together?

“discover how other firms of 50 partners or less are responding to the turbulent economic conditions”
50 partners or fewer. Publishers should use proper grammar.

Dont forget Lexisnexis whether they like it or not still have joint clients with SOS for the time being anyway – hence reason for SOS sponsoring the event – not sure about Pilgrim

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