Legal Week … Not Your Parent’s Groundhog Day

Last night’s Super Bowl victory for the Kansas City Chiefs brought plenty of celebrations for my relatives from the State of (ahem) Missouri.  The night also brought joy to my family as we got to chuckle at a moment of brilliance from comic genius, Bill Murray, and his revisit of the film, Groundhog Day. 

It’s with no shortage of irony, then, that on the morning after the Super Bowl I find myself, once again, embarking on my own version of “Groundhog Day,” flying to New York City to join friends old and new for my 20th consecutive LegalTech Legal Week.

For those of you who have never attended Legal Week, it is the world’s largest legal technology show.  Leaders from every major legal technology platform and the world’s leading legal services firms will descend upon New York City to meet with customers, to consider the adoption of new solutions, to eye their competition, and to establish relationships with their next key hires.

For me, there are two critical aspects of this year’s Legal Week that bring a sense of renewal and optimism to the event. 

First, despite its reputation, Legal Week is no longer an “e-discovery show.”  Ten years ago, well over 80% of the participants in Legal Week were focused primarily on the field of electronic discovery, causing a massive logjam for mindshare or differentiation.  This year’s Legal Week will feature advanced solutions across nearly every aspect of the legal technology spectrum.  The market has recognized the need, efficacy, and ROI achievable from advanced AI solutions across the legal industry, including enterprise contract analytics (the market that Seal Software created and leads). 

Second, and more importantly, Legal Week presents a rare opportunity to spend time with friends, colleagues and business partners that we’ve known in many instances for two decades or more.  For years, pushing for the adoption of technology in the legal space was a constant struggle, regardless of the obvious benefits.  Many of us wear the scars of battles with counsel, with courts, and even sometimes our own clients, doing our best to evangelize and deliver on the promise of the betterment of our industry through the introduction of advanced technology.  War stories can get old, especially for those that were not part of the battle, but they are an invaluable part of the tribal custom and culture of legal technology.

So this week I will be raising a toast (again) to and with the slightly graying crowd of cohorts that I call friends and partners and for whom I hold the highest regard  … and I’ll hope that we all continue to see our shadows for many years to come.