Your time is short. This quick read gives you 5 things you need to know from LegalTech in the past seven days.
60-second CLOC rundown
“CLOC is the conference with all the mojo right now,” argues Ed Sohn in Above The Law. News came in thick and fast from Las Vegas reflecting the agenda-setting status of the world’s biggest ever gathering of global legal operations professionals. This included a study on the anatomy of the powerful Director of Legal Operations role (72% of legal ops directors have law degrees; 59% are female ); the challenges of women in legal leadership (this “exceeded my expectations in their honest and nuanced view of the range and shape of the landmines women are forced to navigate in the legal industry,” says Basha Rubin, CEO, and Co-founder of Priori Legal). It continued with a 12-step program to rate legal department maturity (Jeff Franke, former legal operations head at Yahoo!, estimates only 5% are mature). Meanwhile, Mitratech, a provider of legal and compliance software, chose the conference to announce the acquisition of ThinkSmart, developer of a workflow automation platform used by corporate legal departments (Mitratech CEO Jason Parkman and ThinkSmart CEO Paul Hirner first met at CLOC three years ago).
See also: Mary O’Carroll, Head of Legal Operations at Google: My Closing Remarks from CLOC’s 2018 Institute.
Panel of women general counsel talk about holding outside counsel accountable around diversity, pay gaps for women. Genuine partnership with firms would include disclosure of data on those issues. #CLOC2018 pic.twitter.com/ZFl2pUJ9IZ
— InHouse magazine (@CLInHouse) April 23, 2018
DocuSign rings in legal changes
Investment site Seeking Alpha pointed out that “next to the IPO of Dropbox, the IPO of e-signature leader DocuSign was one of the most highly-anticipated deals of the year, and the pent-up demand clearly showed in the way that shares performed on their first day of trading”.
DocuSign shares popped 35% on their first day of trading and closed at $39.73, giving the company a market cap just north of $6 billion. Investing.com explains: “Even if you have never heard of DocuSign, you have probably used them at some point. The company facilitates e-signatures, removing the traditional cursive paper signature with something simpler and cheaper. In its SEC report, DocuSign states that “Since our founding in 2003, our customers have completed over 700 million Successful Transactions on our platform.” Speaking to TechCrunch, DocuSign CEO Dan Springer was asked about the competitive landscape which includes Adobe Sign and HelloSign. He remains confident that DocuSign is well-positioned to remain the market leader. “We’re becoming a verb,” he said.
Legal Hackathon winners
The world’s biggest ever Legal Hackathon saw 5000 participants hack away in 40 cities in 22 countries on six continents. In the end the four winners were announced 1) Revealu, an app from Hungary allowing people to download their personal data from online service providers under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2) LexLucid, created by a team from Colorado, rates online consumer contracts 3) Hong Kong’s Decoding Law helps users navigate statutory language 4) New York-based RightsNow a voice-activated legal information app. Richard Tromans of Artificial Lawyer says: “It’s been great to see what can be done, and the level of enthusiasm and participation around the world is a testament to just how much interest there really is in leveraging technology in the legal world.”
“The creativity, depth and potential socio-economic benefits of each of the 14 finalists were inspiring. There were no losers…The winners were society, youth and democracy ” — @grbeaton_law on judging the final #GLH2018 teams! https://t.co/H73mcVwcir pic.twitter.com/0DA7LLcDHX
— Global Legal Hackathon (@worldhackathon) April 27, 2018
Law firms get serious about LegalTech
American Lawyer, in extensive coverage of the 2018 edition of The Am Law 100, found that revenue at the biggest law firms in the U.S grew at the fastest rate since the great recession, up 5.5 percent to a record $91.4 billion. In his take, legal innovation writer, Ken Grady says: “As a lean thinker, I view the Am Law 100 as a place where general counsel send their precious dollars to die. As a general rule, for each dollar a GC spends at an Am Law 100 firm, he or she gets .25 cents of value in return.”
But the key to keeping the golden goose alive could be tech. Reed Smith entered the legal technology market with GravityStack – creating and licensing the firm’s technology products. Allen & Overy announced the second cohort for its Fuse LegalTech incubator.
Not to be outdone, other UK’s law firms – led by Barclays Bank – are joining the banking giant’s newly-announced legal tech incubator. The venture is backed by the Law Society of England and Wales and major firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, and Simmons & Simmons.
Exit Interview of the week: Mark Britton, Avvo
The online marketplace to connect consumers and lawyers, Avvo, was recently acquired by Internet Brands for an undisclosed sum. Mark Britton spoke to the ABA Journal after leaving the company he founded and led for 13 years. He says, “Hands down, what I’m proud of is all the people we helped, whether that’s consumers or lawyers.” He continued, “You’re talking about tens of millions of consumers that we helped and you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of attorneys where we changed their lives.” But he says there remains a failure to embrace the mentality around customer service in the legal profession. “If you look at it through the lens of innovation, one of the things that was hard—and will always be a little frustrating for me—is the pace at which the profession is willing to move,” he laments.
Get Your Free 2018 edition of the In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyer’s Guide
The highly-anticipated In-House Counsel’s LegalTech Buyer’s Guide 2018 will launch in May. Ensure you get your copy first in your inbox as soon as it launches. The guide is relied upon by the world’s leading law departments in their tech buying decisions — and has been described by leading General Counsel as the “bible” for all in-house legal teams. The fully updated and revised guide for 2018 includes more categories, more vendors and more first-hand accounts of legal buying journeys. It now tackles nearly 20 major areas of pain for in-house lawyers and legal departments, from contract drafting to legal research, communications, matter management, e-discovery, and digital signature platforms.
It includes a deep-dive based on legal departments at companies including Facebook, Google, Twitter, AIG, McDonald’s, Microsoft, NetApp, and many more. It includes expertise from leading legal experts including Sterling Miller, Vicky Lockie, Lucy Bassli, Richard Tromans, Caroline Hill, Mary Redzic, Nilema Bhakta-Jones, Casey Flaherty, Caroline Hill, and Michael Mills,
The Buyer’s Guide is a free, downloadable guide that showcases more than 100 must-know technology solutions which solve the daily challenges faced by in-house lawyers.