Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Law2020: Emerging Legal and Business Opportunities

These are my notes on the second keynote session at the ILTA conference. I found it to be an intriguing presentation, interesting in the projects of long-term impacts of some current technology trends, a bit flaky on a few of the projections, but also effectively coming back to some approaches to effectively talk to law leaders about the future.

Formal Description: The next ten years could see a dramatic rewriting of the law firm playbook as innovators and entrepreneurs break from the pack to change the rules of the game. What's driving these changes and how can law firms respond?

...Global futurist Rohit Talwar will deliver a keynote presentation and then be interviewed by Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News. In his presentation, Rohit will draw on ILTA's latest 'Future Horizons' research to highlight how law firms can leverage emerging technologies coupled to new paradigm thinking to transform everything from firm strategies and business models through to the way tomorrow's lawyer is recruited, developed and rewarded. Rohit will illustrate his talk with the latest findings, technology opportunities and case examples emerging from ILTA's Legal Technology Future Horizons research Project. The study is designed to examine how emerging technologies could impact the design and delivery of legal services over the next 10-15 years. The research is also exploring the resulting implications for how law firms need to evolve the management of the IT function to address an ever-quickening pace of technological change.

Speakers: Rohit Talwar, Monica Bay

See twitter conversation at #key2.

He's the CEO of Fast Future in London. He's the project director of ILTA's Law 2020. His legal sector clients include LinkLaters and Norton Rose.

How do we use insights on emerging technology to drive better decisions today?

Where could technology impact legal organizations?

The study involved interviews with vendors, peers, and legal technology thought leaders.

His cross-industry research concludes that organizations that innovate and adjust to technology change think in three time horizons. Over 12 months they look for operational excellence. Over 1-3 years they try to innovate, grow, and be efficient. Over 4-10 years they create the future. Corporations need to allocate people to these different areas and allocate time at management meetings for future-oriented discussions.

The next decade will be quite turbulent. The global economy is $65-70 trillion, there are still around $700 trillion in derivative contracts. There is no historical model from which we can learn because of the internet and rapid changes in technology.

The growth of the middle class will occur in Brazil, China and India.

Business cycles are faster. There are talent shortages, disruptive technologies, and rapid spread of science and technology advances.

For instance, if autonomous cars can't have accidents, why would consumers buy insurance? How would we work out who is responsible in accidents between manual and autonomous cars?

The landscape by 2025 will be quite different. The population is aging and life extension technology is evolving. We're looking at extending life by 4 to 10 times. How do you motivate a 190 year old network manager? Looking after the elderly will be a phenomenal growth sector for the economy and the legal industry.

Every business is having to think about the potential impact of rising energy costs.

The "23 and me" website will provide a personal genetic profile for $99-299. We'll be starting to use the information in contracting or purchasing.

New materials might lead to novel energy sources or indestructible materials.

The internet will be more immersive, conveying touch, taste and smell.

Could we knock out genes for rage, obesity, and stress? Human enhancement is a real present development.

Every industry will have to go through 2-3 iterations. Vertical farms may transform the food industry. All the industry changes will lead to opportunities for legal work. Let's make our partners and associates have the same awareness of the future of the industries as the industry participants.

Clients will press to innovate around making information more available and online. Traditional services will be provided at a commoditized price.

Don't panic, ask how you want to engage and stay informed.

There are five strategic challenges for the legal industry.

How do you leverage transparency, and artificial intelligence?

What are the new working practices and models for delivery of legal services?

Is there an over capacity of talent at all levels?

New technologies and investors are driving new players into the marketplace with a different perspective ("legal is about big data and process improvement")

New types of companies have different expectations for their law firms.

He's set out recommendations for the legal industry in a series of ideas organized around words beginning with "M."


Technology gives us the ability to create new services. 60% of the world is in Asia. With the new technologies come opportunities to focus on growth industries, like 3-D printing, energy, robotics, and biomimicry.


You can't wait for others to do things, you need to have foresight. What are the big trends in a sector that have been announced? Lawyers and accountants create maps, for instance, about the future of travel and tourism. Taking an insight map to a client shows that you're thinking about their business.

Process excellence is another aspect of mastery. In the Narayana hospital in India they can do heart surgery at 4% of the cost with a higher success rate. They do a lot of the same kind of surgeries and work out the complete process with all of the possible variations.

How do we create more insight from the data? One insurance defense firm looked at the characteristics of success & failure at trial and created a platform for analyzing & predicting when to go to trial. They are then selling that platform to insurance companies.

How will we gear up technology solutions for the future platforms?

Instantaneous translation will change business.

Artificial intelligence-IBM's Watson is being used to diagnose cancer, and it does better than human doctors at that and at recommending post-diagnosis care.


The anatomy of faster decisions is part of muscle. Coke looked at a UK firm that put out smaller tasty drinks at great speed. How to execute faster is also muscle. A company in China can build an energy-efficient office building in six days (after the foundation is laid).

Internal social media might be more effective than traditional knowledge management systems at providing good answers. For instance, someone looking for help with an oil contract in Uzbekistan might post about that need, and receive not only sample contracts but a message to call a particular subject matter expert.


How do we give our clients access to the scarce knowledge of our partners?

Latham has a series of apps called “The Book of Jargon,” on various corporate, capital markets, and investment topics.

Mofo has a court analyzer / dashboard that shows the key information about complex financial litigation.

Baker Donelson is providing client access to workflow, so the client can see what is happening on their matters.


Build in the three-time-period orientation. Be tolerant of uncertainty, encourage people to try things.


Make time and space for change.


Turn risks into opportunities. We can choose how to address the future.


Monica Bay then interviewed Mr. Talwar. The Law2020 survey will close in January. Take it at http://s.zoomerang.com/s/futurehorizons and http://s.zoomerang.com/s/ILTAEmergingTech .

30% of respondents see the role of CIO shifting to embrace innovation. You also have to reengineer to deliver to mobile.

Key Takeaways

It's very hard to maintain a strategic conversation if the DMS isn't working. CIOs need to talk to firm leaders about using technology to create new business opportunities and delivery models, how to create value and open up innovation.

Motivate lawyers to change by framing the problem as the risk of losing something.

Some of the most disruptive technologies are artificial intelligence, the next generation of collaboration tools (spanning law firms and law departments), and human enhancements.

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