By Greg Wildisen, International Managing Director – Neota Logic
There will only ever be 250 people who can say they were at the inaugural CLOC EMEA Conference which took place this week in London. If you are one of them, congratulations–and I’m positive you will have enjoyed it as much as I did. The venue for next year is already being investigated to ensure it can house double the attendees, a wonderfully interesting and rapidly expanding group of people.
So what did we learn?
Richard Susskind, author of The Future of the Professions and Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, as eloquently as ever conveyed that the most unlikely future is one without change. This is evidenced by fact that the most significant characteristic of technology is that it is becoming increasingly capable, and that for technological change to occur, there is no finishing line. Lawyers should consider that clients don’t want professionals, they want the outcomes they provide. So it is inevitable that technology will provide more and more of those outcomes in the future.
Susskind’s call to arms is simple: In the demand for changed legal service delivery, in-house lawyers (clients) have been “unresponsive”, and without their demand for it, law firms won’t change. –As such, the future of law is in the hands of clients, and CLOC is exactly the type of organisation that can foster and harness that change.
I also had personal interest in the discussion by Mary O’Carroll, Head of Legal Operations from Google. She discussed the AI landscape in law using an infographic designed by one of Neota Logic’s founders, Michael Mills.
Of course I know this infographic very well, and it is broadly used at various conferences, but Mary identified the benefit Google had received through deploying ‘expert systems’ technology. Of course Google can afford to build their own, but there are proven products available to all. The advantage of focusing on this area versus, for example, Machine Learning, is that it enables a quick win, without the complexity associated with building out Deep Neural Network or gathering and curating Big Data sets. It was refreshing to hear someone from a large corporation speaking about AI without just referring to the oft used AI = ML/DNN + Big Data formula.
The day continued with thoughtful interaction between lawyers, in-house counsel and vendors. A truly inclusive environment was created, where CLOC’s mantra of Learn, Share, Connect was both lived and breathed. The day was rounded up by a panel of the CLOC Executive Board members, each one a legal professional leader with a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience within their own rights, let alone as a highly functional team. They are:
Connie Brenton – NetApps
Christine Coats – Oracle
Mary O’Carroll – Google
Steve Harmon – CISCO
Brian Hupp – FaceBook
Aine Lyons – VMWare
In brief, they discussed the benefits of the role of Legal Operations executive within a business. They shared views on the significance of early wins in adopting any new technology as being particularly important for creating impactful change and a better way for getting work done within an in-house legal team.
There was no doubt in my mind about the excellence of the leadership of CLOC and their ability to support their constituents and the broader ecosystem. If you are in-house counsel or part of that ecosystem, and you’re interested in making legal operations more efficient and effective, I recommend you make the effort to read about and get involved with CLOC. I’m sure you will find it an invaluable use of your time.
Neota Logic will also be participating in the 2018 CLOC Institute in Las Vegas April 22-25, 2018. See you there!