Big Ideas ALA President’s Letter

Gettin’ Techy with It

“We are trying to solve 21st century problems with 22nd century technology using 19th century business structures,” said Yves Bergquist, Director of the Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience in Media project at the University of Southern California.
James L. Cornell III

There’s a lot to unpack in that fairly short sentence. I’ve been pondering it since I read it in a summary of a panel session that Bergquist participated in during the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, this past March. My takeaway is that technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), enhances the way we work, including our ability to solve problems and improve society overall.

It’s pretty ambitious stuff. However, if you think about it, we hold a reminder in our hands daily of how far we’ve come — our smartphones are more powerful than the computers used by NASA during the Apollo missions. The way we work in the legal industry has changed dramatically in just the last 25 years, and we’ve had a front row seat watching technology shape the practice and business of law.

This edition of Legal Management is about technology trends shaping the industry right now, so read on. Perhaps take the continuing education course on cybersecurity for credit and consider how you as a leader in the business of law are using technology to improve your organization.

ALA’s vision is to empower our members to be leaders and managers in the business of law, and technology is a large component of that. With that in mind, ALA is involved in several initiatives that place us right in the middle of what’s evolving and shaping our future.

ALA’s vision is to empower our members to be leaders and managers in the business of law, and technology is a large component of that.

One is our membership in the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC), which is comprised of more than 250 large companies, law firms, software companies and universities that have joined together to develop standards to govern the use of blockchain technology in the business of law. Specifically, the GLBC focuses on the following:

  • The interoperability between large corporate legal departments and law firms
  • Productivity improvements and cost savings in the operation of legal departments and law firms
  • The use of blockchain to fortify and augment existing legal technology investments, adding important functionality to legacy systems to extend their useful life

ALA is also a founding member of the SALI Alliance (that’s Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry), which is a nonprofit organization comprised of legal industry professionals from legal operations, law firms and solution providers with the goal of developing open, practical industry standards for efficient and innovative legal services.

Additionally, ALA has established itself as a contributor and host to the annual Global Legal Hackathon, the world’s largest legal technology hackathon. This event brings the legal industry together with technology and innovation with one purpose — rapid development of solutions for improving the legal industry worldwide. I’ve been fortunate to have participated in the Global Legal Hackathon twice; both times were amazing and insightful experiences.

The business of law is not a single component, nor is developing leaders in that space. That’s why ALA is involved in a number of emerging areas so we can stay abreast of trends in our industry while also being a part of shaping our industry for the future.

I hope that you enjoy this tech-focused edition of Legal Management and that you are reminded that ALA is your source for networking, knowledge and resources, which means you can boldly go into the future prepared to succeed and thrive as our industry continues its evolution.

Want to know more about the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium or the Global Legal Hackathon? Drop me a note and we can continue the conversation.