6 Quick Thoughts on LegalTech NY 2014

by rocketmatter-admin February 9, 2014

Larry Port is the CEO and Founder of Rocket Matter. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.
Last week saw more ideas being thrown around regarding legal technology than I’ve seen in my seven years of running Rocket Matter. Yesterday I covered ReInvent Law. But LegalTech New York was the main event. My observations:
1) Optimism and Energy is Back.
It’s hard to quantify a mood. But several people mentioned that this was the most upbeat LegalTech since the global financial collapse. And in spite of the New York snow-and-slush-fest weather that threatened to hamper the show’s success, the expo hall was crowded and vendors reported having a great show with lots of leads.
There were more parties than you knew what to do with, and events I checked out sponsored by Cicayda, Catalyst, and Relativity (by kCura) were packed wall-to-wall.
2) No Major New Stuff. Just More Better Software.
Several of the tech journalists I spoke with said they were surprised by the lack of surprises in terms of product developments. That may seem like a cold, harsh assessment for the software and marketing teams that rushed to get releases done in time for a big announcement at LTNY, but I can’t really say they’re wrong.
At Rocket Matter, for example, we released our Box integration, Android and iOS improvements, and drag-and-drop invoicing, which are great features but improvements over what we already have. Many vendors are moving their product in the direction of the cloud: one such company is Legal Discovery, which ported CasePoint to an HTML 5 version.
3) It’s Cloud, Cloud, Cloud.
When Rocket Matter entered the legal software fray in 2008, we were among the first outfits selling cloud software. At LegalTech 2014 the conversation was not about if using the cloud is safe and secure. Instead, the dialog centered on how to use the cloud and how inevitable it is.
LexisNexis passed out white papers at the bloggers’ breakfast demonstrating positive cloud trends and hosted a panel on the topic with Kevin O’Keefe (LexBlog) and Bob Ambrogi (LawSites). They hosted a separate session on the TCO (total cost of ownership) of cloud software, a subject we explored in a white paper five years ago.
Now that more products are in the cloud, you’ll see an explosion of integrations. A cloud app can’t really talk to a desktop app without a lot of contortions, unless it’s a product that has a lot of programming hooks like the Microsoft Office suite. So now that more and more vendors are taking their wares online, more products will be able to pull and push data to and from one another.
4) Feeling A Bit Verklempt.
Sometimes I have moments running Rocket Matter where I have to tell myself to back up for a second and recognize what I’m seeing. It’s easy to get caught in the flow of the current and only focus on what’s ahead. But it’s important to recognize the contribution made by Richard Granat, Steph Kimbro, Jack Newton, and me in fighting the cloud fight over the past six years to make this conversation even possible.
5) E-Discovery Still Dominates LegalTech.
It seemed like every other booth was an e-discovery booth and a rumor was floating around that over 70% of the vendors were e-discover vendors. With an estimated market size of $60 billion, according to one source I spoke with, no wonder.
6) ALM Itself is Very Impressive.
ALM, the company that runs LegalTech, is impressively nimble for a large organization, especially when compared to what we’re used to seeing in the legal technology ballgame. In the past decade, publishing has been turned on its head and they are able to adapt and thrive, creating and implementing new ideas to survive in the Internet age. They launched a new Law.com app and are in the process of redesigning their website.
So congrats to the ALM folks for a great show, fostering great conversations, and allowing all of us expo-only freeloaders to be part of your event.

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