LegalWeek 2023 ended a few weeks ago, and we all survived! We say survival, but really, it’s a renewal of sorts, because LegalWeek is the first big conference of the year that so many of us attend. We appreciate the opportunity to see our long-lost legal industry colleagues, friends, clients, as well as meet new faces to kick off the new year!
Each year, I like to attend the Legal Week Market Trends session presented by ALM to see if it lines up with what I hear from clients and partners throughout the year. During this session, there were several interesting discussions and common trends I’d like to share with you:
LegalWeek 2023 Key Takeaways
- In-house teams’ biggest challenges were still focused around cyber risk and data privacy, as well as regulation around global compliance for their organizations. Additionally, the increase of the need to measure value internally in their legal departments and economic concerns that might lead to trimming in their departments, specifically legal operations, seem to always be the one leadership teams look to first when spend is lowered and costs become a concern.
- One of the most frequent conversations I had was around the management of mobile phones, social media, and chat. For me, personally, throughout the last three conferences, this was the biggest ask from in-house teams and law firm partners I talked to and also heard in the sessions. Many are learning how to manage the exploding data sources, store it, review it, and analyze it in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
- There continues to be a vast interest in discussing ChatGPT. Many (including myself) are incredibly fascinated with the automation and algorithms that make up the AI program, what that means to all of us, and how this will come into play for the legal industry. This was definitely the most discussed topic of the week. Everyone begged to learn more to see if it would increase efficiency for legal teams. But, then there was the typical unwillingness to adopt the usage for fear that it would control decisions in their process or workflow of managing their case, day-to-day activities, or how their clients expected them to work. However, it became clear that if lawyers are not proactive in learning the new AI tools in the market, they will be left behind as more work will continue to move to those who incorporate them.
- IG-related tools seem to be gaining more traction in helping corporations better understand where their data resides, the types of PII they are storing, where security needs to be enhanced, and if their data retention policies are effective in helping to lower risk and cost associated with maintaining it.
- Another big discussion point during the industry trends was around managing compliance, specifically around AI tools that were discussed at the conference. It will be imperative that lawyers’ partner with experts who understand how to manage this process and are in tune with the tools available to them. The Net-Net is that it will be imperative for organizations and firms to have the right policies in place around how to comply with numerous regulations or to respond to a breach.
Collaboration and Transparency
- Lastly, and most interesting to me, was a quote provided in the Market Trends session by Global General Counsel who was discussing what was important to legal teams, specifically around the importance of collaboration of partners.
Ironically, I saw this quote right after leaving one of our long-term client’s annual business review meetings. During the annual meeting, we spend quite a bit of time walking through where they were seeing changes in their firm, their team, internal challenges, trends, and goals they have for the year. It’s part of our normal partnership process to understand how we can help support them, but also a time to reflect on what we can do better for them and help make their day-to-day tasks easier.
On this day, the client told us that they most valued a partnership that is honest, transparent, and frank. Too often, they said they are simply told what they want to hear, which doesn’t help either side of the partnership. He said “I would rather hear what partners think is the right approach, good or bad, and let me weigh it instead of telling me what they think I want to hear. Collaboration is key, and while that seems easy, it’s rarely practiced by partners.”
Thankfully, it really reinforced that we have been taking the right approach with them. How else would we know, right?