We are excited to reconnect with our legal tech brethren this week as we head to Vegas for ILTACON 2021. It's hard to believe that my last travel to conference was TECHSHOW in February 2020 when baskets of ABA branded...
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ILTACON 2021: Legal Tech's Lollapalooza Back in Full Swing

ILTACON21We are excited to reconnect with our legal tech brethren this week as we head to Vegas for ILTACON 2021. It's hard to believe that my last travel to conference was TECHSHOW in February 2020 when baskets of ABA branded hand sanitizers sat untouched in the exhibit hall. 

I know the hype, anticipation as well as apprehension surrounding ILTACON this year is high so not having major expectations might be the best M.O. Regardless, one thing is certain, the conference content, delivered via nearly 90 in-person and virtual sessions, will be high caliber and provide many opportunities to learn, share ideas and trade war stories. A brief look at the session 'areas of focus' provides a preview of what ILTA members are looking for: 8 sessions are focused on Corporate; 7 on Litigation Support; 6 on Security; 6 on KM; 5 on Marketing as well as numerous sessions on AI, O365, Legal Process Improvement, Leadership and Data Science. You can also check out InsideLegal's word cloud from the ILTACON 2021 session grid here.

While there are too many intriguing sessions to list, here's a handful that caught my eye:

Disrupt the DMS - How We Made SharePoint Work, 8/25, 11AM 

Who Watches the Watchers? Vetting and Securing Cloud Services, 8/25, 2:30PM (onsite only)

One Size Does Not Fit All: Leveraging Client Feedback to Co-Create Innovative Technology Solutions That Strengthen Relationships, Create Value, and Drive Revenue, 8/25 4:00PM 

Looking Beyond the New Normal: Maximizing Productivity in a Permanently Hybrid World, 8/25, 2:30PM 

All Together Now: Co-Authoring With or Without Your Document Management System, 8/24, 4:00PM – Michelle S.

I'll be roaming the Mandalay Bay exhibit hall and conference space this week so look forward to seeing many familiar faces. #myILTACON

        
 

ILTACON 2021 Educational Sessions in Word Cloud View

For the last decade, InsideLegal has created word clouds from legal industry event agendas to give an overview of session content and areas of interest. To view the entire educational content grid, click here. Here's the word cloud from ILTACON 21's educational agenda and you can also view it at https://bit.ly/ILTA21_Cloud.

ILTACON21 Word Cloud_InsideLegal
(Click image to view in greater detail)

 

        
 

Thinking Out Cloud: Has Legal Reached the Point of No Cloud Return?

InsideLegal first started asking law firms and legal IT professionals about the cloud and if/when/how their firms would consider cloud computing well over 15 years ago as part of our annual ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Surveys. Thanks to new cloud innovations and legal cloud-specific applications, law firms with a well-defined 'cloud first' strategy, and oh yeah, a pandemic that has accelerated remote working and reliance on cloud architecture, and we can finally exhale and confidently say that cloud computing in legal has arrived ... for good.

LegalITToday HeaderInsideLegal's Jobst Elster, who originated Legal Management Magazine's "Thinking Out Cloud" recurring column on all things legal cloud, once again has his head in the cloud's with his recent feature in Legal I(nnovation)&T(echnology) Today. Legal I(nnovation)&T(echnology) Today is a must-read publication covering legaltech and legal innovation and is available for free online here. You can also access past issues here.

Thinking Out Cloud-Has Legal Reached the Point of No Cloud Return? takes us on a cloud journey, examines what a ‘why not cloud vs why cloud’ reality looks like and pulls in legal tech luminaries and experts to get their take on the state of the cloud in legal.

Enjoy the read and remember to subscribe to Legal I(nnovation)&T(echnology) Today online.

        
 

Replacing Legal Market Trends with Real World Realities

Welcome to the 'new (ab)normal'! When is the last time you were glued to the TV, social ... pick your media to figure out what's next, not only in your own life but with the economy, your own businesses and anything and everything you care about? Oh yeah and there's the working from home 'thing', 24/7, with or without a proper place or space to call your office.

While we are all looking to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and somehow come out stronger on the other side, the reality of what the legal community is going through is as many commentators like to say "fluid", at best. In other words, we have no idea what's next or what we are supposed to do, how we are supposed to act, and how aggressive we should be about business as usual without coming off as annoyingly tone deaf.

I was recently invited by Qorus Software (producers of sales enablement/proposal/RFP automation technology) to address the "how the hell should we market right now, what's our reality and how does this match up with 2020 marketing trends and developments." We decided to host a "10 Marketing Trends and Realities" webinar to drill-down further and provide law firm marketers with some guidance (and a sanity check) as to what they could/should be doing during this crisis.

Adapting to Change eBook

In addition to the webinar (which in exchange for some contact info you are free to access here), Qorus also produced an easy to follow and practical to use eBook: Adapting to Change: Definitive Guide to Law Firm Marketing in 2020. The eBook includes 8 practical tips on how legal marketers can seize the moment and put their best marketing foot forward. If you don't have time to download the webinar or the eBook, check out the 14-slide PDF (with all ten trends and realities) from the program.

Here are a few of the trends (and realities) that legal marketers should not only acknowledge but consider acting on now:

Client first imageClient-centric marketing: This might be a no-brainer ... "all marketing should focus on clients", but you'd be surprised how many campaigns miss the mark. Check out any corporate legal survey and you'll quickly realize how much outside counsel DO NOT listen to client challenges and demands. The current crisis gives you a 'do-over' of sorts when it comes to revealing your authentic marketing self. Your clients are swimming with you in the deep end so why not work together to your collective advantage

Content is king imageStrategic content marketing is king: Content marketing is nothing new. Devising a clever strategy of how to leverage and amplify hard earned content is still novel and not the norm in legal marketing circles. Spend some energy on "marketing your marketing" with a 1-4-7 approach. Focus on one concept; develop four related content pieces such as newsletters, webinars, eBooks, and whitepapers; and chose seven distribution channels for your content including online, social, communal and direct. 

Community building imageCommunity building ... the new black: Acquiring new customers is 6-7 times more expensive than marketing to an existing community base. These days, word-of-mouth means engaging through social platforms, sharing educational resources while introducing clients to your network of subject matter experts and influencers. Legal communities are out there and waiting with open arms. Check out ILTA, LMA, ALA, and ABA Law Practice for starters.

We will be sharing more legal marketing trends and realities in future posts gleaned from legal marketing and business development experts.

        
 

Inside Legalweek 2019: State of the Legal Industry

Legalweek_logo-Article-201712111729‘Pre’ Legalweek New York began Monday with various premium boot camp-style intensives, but for us, Tuesday’s ‘State of the Industry’ general session at 8:30AM (Grand Ballroom East) marked the official kick-off for Legalweek 2019.

Nicholas Bruch and Erin Hichman, both senior analysts with ALM Intelligence, took some time out of their busy schedules to provide us with some insight into their ‘state of the union’ keynote. Enjoy the Q&A.

IL: Before we dive into some of your findings for 2019, can you tell us a bit more about your research scope/areas of focus for this 'state of legal' presentation?

ALM Legal Intelligence: The State of the Industry presentation is meant to look at the entire legal market. This makes the scope of the presentation and the research process ahead of it quite broad. We look at trends in the law firm space, in the legal department space, and also look at alternative legal service providers (ASPs) and legal tech. The goal is to see how all of these moving parts fit together and what the trends in each space mean for the industry as a whole.

IL: In 2018, you focused much of your presentation on "what the data says" about the future of the legal market. Is this a focus in 2019?

ALM Legal Intelligence: Yes. We feel strongly that any analysis of the legal industry needs to start with the data. For this year’s presentation, we dove deep into the data on the legal industry to understand what the big trends were. We then combined those quantitative findings with some of the qualitative information we gather in interviews or in conversations we have with industry leaders. Those qualitative “data points” add context to the data and help bring it to life. The end goal is to try to create a cohesive narrative, supported by data, which tells us where the industry is going and what different market participants should be aware of in terms of the risks they might face and the opportunities that they should be taking advantage of.

IL: In terms of data, what are the top 3 significant data points, perhaps even ‘wow moments’ you will be sharing during your session?

ALM Legal Intelligence:

  • Law firms had a good year: Law firms performed very well in the past fiscal year. They grew revenue by over 5% and 80% of firms saw improvements in profitability. Nearly a quarter of firms grew profitability by 10% or more. By almost any measure this is a great performance. Perhaps most importantly, all of the data we have suggests the year that just ended - the year that law firms are reporting to ALM Intelligence right now - will be even better.
  • Law Department Insourcing: Most people know law departments have brought a lot of work in-house in the past decade. What I think most people don’t fully appreciate is the size and speed of the change.

 

"Our data suggest that law department in-sourcing is the primary driver of disruption in the legal industry right now." ALM Legal Intelligence

 

  • The evolving vendor landscape: We think most people are aware there has been a lot of change in the vendor landscape in the past year in the legal industry. We see ASPs being bought and sold. We see the Big Four entering the legal market in a lot of different areas. In the presentation, we try to show the extent of the change and discuss how that change is going to impact the legal market over the next decade or so.

IL: You mention that based on your data analysis, the legal industry is undergoing a significant, if subtle, shift. What are you seeing in 2019?

ALM Legal Intelligence: 2019 is going to be a year of mixed signals. We are likely to see accelerated growth for ASPs and increased presence by new players like the Big Four. We are also likely to see law firms post their best year in over a decade. The subtle shift we are seeing is related to continued divergence in the law firm market. The law firm market is splitting into two distinct segments, each with differing business models and with differing performance (in terms of financial performance). We believe this divergence is going to continue in 2019 and accelerate, if only slightly.

IL: Of the six major trends you highlighted in 2018 (see below) as impacting the legal industry this year, which ones do you think had/will have the biggest impact? The Big 4. Consolidation. Divergence. Litigation Finance. Law Firm Failures. CLOC Movement

ALM Legal Intelligence: All of these trends are going to be important in 2019. The Big Four had a very busy year in 2018 and we expect that trend to continue. We will see them solidify their position in certain areas of the legal industry and expand, if cautiously, into a few new areas. Litigation Finance will be an interesting space to watch in 2019. It has been growing rapidly over the past several years below the radar. Its impact on the industry has not yet been fully appreciated or understood. We think that may change this year. It is now large enough that we can understand how litigation funders will fit into the broader legal market ecosystem and what impact they will have on supply, demand, pricing, and profitability. The area we are watching most closely is divergence.

As we mentioned above, law firms are looking and acting increasingly different. Some are sticking with a “lawyer centric” model focused on expertise and talent. Others are starting to figure out how to use their scale as a competitive weapon. This model will still require talent but it will also rely on process improvement, technology and scale to deliver legal services in ways never seen before. We suspect the differences between law firms will only accelerate over the next decade or so.

"The legal service provider landscape is going to change significantly over the next decade. That change will create opportunities for some and risks for others. It will also change the way legal services are bought, sold, and consumed." ALM Legal Intelligence