Key Observations from LegalWeek 2023

Every Spring, ALM’s LegalWeek serves as an annual pilgrimage for professionals in the legal industry. The 8,000 attendees from 34 countries meet in New York to do more than just catch up with old colleagues, pick up swag, and swap e-discovery stories. They also have a chance to hear from more than 300 speakers, talk to the people behind the latest legal technology apps and services, and learn how rapidly changing technology affects their work. Visiting booths and having face-to-face contact with vendors provides them with the latest information about current and future developments.

“You get to know more about the company, and you learn about features that they may not often advertise. You get insider knowledge about the application…and what I love about going to legal technology conferences is the panel discussions,” Phil Weldon, Director of E-Discovery and Litigation Support at Kaplan Hecker & Fink, said in an interview for BDO’s Legal Tech Talk podcast co-hosted by Forensics Leader, Jared Crafton and Enterprise Managed Services Leader, Daniel Gold.

Eli Nelson, counsel at Sidley Austin, also interviewed for the podcast, said, “I want to learn what people are talking about and how they're talking about it. What's the buzz? What's in the zeitgeist for this year?”

LegalWeek gave conference goers a glimpse of what’s to come. This year, the theme of the conference was “Addressing the Changing Legal Landscape,” and hot topics included generative artificial intelligence (AI) and ephemeral messaging. 

LegalWeek Buzzed with Talk about ChatGPT and Other AI

ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, dominated discussions amid heightened concerns about its quick adoption. As ChatGPT and similar apps become more prevalent, organizations and regulators likely will have to address ethical and security issues stemming from their use. 

E-Discovery tools are likely to see immediate changes related to AI, but some providers are feigning AI integration as part of their standard workflows, but it is often machine learning, robust search, or non-existent. Buyers must scrutinize their providers thoroughly when making decisions based on AI.

The electronic discovery reference model (EDRM) is evolving as AI is infused into different parts of the model, from collection through production. It’s more important than ever for potential clients to understand the knowledge required to use complex AI features correctly.

Ephemeral Messaging Isn’t Going Away

Ephemeral messaging apps are inherently difficult to monitor, especially when employees use personal devices for business communications. With chat messaging replacing ad hoc employee conversations, companies and law firms are looking for information governance solutions to address these challenges. Others view ephemeral messaging as a welcome tool to avoid storing data. 

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