The problem with LegalTech New York is that you can't be five places at once. Or six. Or 20. It's just so hard to choose among so many compelling choices keynotes, seminars, plenary sessions, exhibits, briefings, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, receptions, awards. To use my favorite California exemplar, it's like being told you can only eat one piece of See's Candies out of the two-pound box.
But select we must. So here are just some of the many highlights of LegalTech New York 2013.
>> Shift Change: Nuix CEOs Eddie Sheehy and Mark Chardack (North America) took advantage of the new Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday LTNY format, and scheduled a Monday night launch party for Luminate on the 36th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Barclay Blair , president of ViaLumina (who wrote for LTN last fall on Big Data and e-discovery), was a featured speaker, discussing his new research into the costs of owning unstructured data.
The bash drew many from the e-discovery A-list, including consultants George Socha and Tom Gelbmann; attorney Craig Ball; U.S.D.C. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, and retired M.J. Ronald Hedges (right) to name a few. It also was the official debut of Nuix' brand-new CMO Deborah Baron, (left), just snared from HP Autonomy.
A few of us slipped away after cocktails to join the team from Portland, Ore.-based Zapproved, at a Voce, (in the same neighborhood). CEO and Chair Monica Enand, Chris Bright (vice president of marketing) and Brad Harris (vice president of legal products) hosted a lively group, including M.J. Frank Maas, and D. Casey Flaherty, corporate counsel at Kia Motors (whose series of articles about his technology audits in beauty contest have been Topic A lately.)
>> Opening Bell: Back at the New York Hilton, LTNY officially kicked off with the Tuesday keynote address from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Theodore Olson, former U.S. Solicitor General. Robin Sparkman, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer, interviewed Olson immediately after his speech, discussing upcoming marriage equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
>> Predicted Topic: Of course, predictive coding (aka technology-assisted review) was ubiquitous at the conference. LTN reporter Evan Koblentz spent Day 1 diving deep, starting with a panel featuring Discover Ready senior vice president Maureen O'Neill, Oracle Corp.'s director of e-discovery Pallab Chakraborty, University of Waterloo computer science professor Gordon Cormack, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz counsel Maura Grossman. Reported Koblentz: Humans are not more accurate than computers, said Grossman, but we shouldn't expect software to achieve perfection. "If you go out on the [exhibit] floor and someone tells you they're going to find 95, 98 percent of the documents, I'd run," she joked. "That's not possible."
Koblentz also attended a jam-packed session addressing law firm security, featuring Lathrop and Gage's Carlos Rodriguez, and Rogers Townsend & Thomas' Mark Brophy who lead security operations at their firms. They explained that risk awareness training, not technical security training itself, is the best way to school attorneys in handling valuable client data.
>> Breaking News: It's become a tradition to launch new or upgraded products at LTNY, so that kept our technology editor, Sean Doherty, very busy! He spent most of the three-day event in vendor briefing suites, learning about developments such as Kroll Ontrack's decision to launch a new managed service provider partner program, starting with two partners: Hudson Legal and NightOwl Discovery; and Iron Mountain's new Total Offsite Records Solution for law firms, which combines off-site records storage and document scanning along with KwikTag scan technology from DocSolid, a document scanning software and workflow provider." And among the many e-discovery upgrades was Ringtail 8.3, from FTI Consulting Inc.
>> Thumbs Up! Doherty, who is an attorney, also reviewed Guidance Software's new Encase Forensic. "Guidance Software has made it easy for EnCase Forensic v7 to collect, process, analyze, and report forensic evidence from computer and smartphone sources," he said. "Without formal training, I feel confident that I can use new version to forensically collect and process evidence for trial. But looking at the 500-plus pages of the user guide, I have barely scratched the surface of EnCase Forensic."
>> Judicial Notice: One of the signs that e-discovery is maturing is when it starts to generate nuanced, thoughtful criticism. Over the last two years, there have been vocal voices from jurists pushing lawyers to become more educated about and less afraid of technology; and the American Bar Association last summer put a few more teeth into the professional conduct rules, insisting that lawyers really must start understanding the role of technology in law.
Cecil Lynn III, in his third annual Year in Review of e-discovery cases in the February issue of Law Technology News magazine, declared that 2012 might as well have a Frank Sinatra soundtrack. In "New York, New York," Lynn discusses the strong influence of the Southern District federal court jurists, who have been pushing for faster adoption of technology in discovery. But one member of that bench is singing a counter melody, and calling for restraint. In " Judicial Modesty: Not an Oxymoron," Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV argues that his peers may want to be careful not to morph from intervention into interference. He discusses his essay here in his LTNY video, and addresses e-discovery proportionality here.
Francis not alone in his cautions. In the same issue, in our inaugural "Vendor Voice" feature, attorney Howard Reissner, CEO of Planet Data, says he came to the same conclusion after attending the recent Georgetown Law Advanced E-Discovery Institute and poses the question, are we moving " Too Fast, Too Soon?" Here's his video from LTNY.
>> Off for much needed sleep. Watch for Part 2 of my LTNY report next week. In the meantime, I leave you with a link to my interview with ALM's CEO and president, Bill Carter. (And here's our Video Center if you'd like to see more LTNY videos).
Monica Bay is editor-in-chief of Law Technology News and a member of the California bar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lawtechnews @LTNMonicaBay