Legal Trends, Legal Tech, CloudMarch 28, 2023

Assembly Software Hits Legalweek 2023

Assembly at Legalweek 2023

Thousands of legal professionals and individuals who support the technology needed to make the wheels of justice turn flocked to New York City from March 20-23. Legalweek is one of the industry’s top conferences, a chance for all legal professionals to learn about new technology for law firms, acquire CLE credits, and mingle to share the latest ideas and spark innovation.LeVar Burton (most known for his role as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek) kicked off the conference as the keynote speaker. He spoke about storytelling's virtues and how to use it as a marketing tool to capture new audiences. During the rest of the conference, attendees chose from several different tracks sharing valuable content on everything from fighting burnout to trending analytics technology to the new UK privacy laws. The Assembly team was thrilled to greet attendees at our Exhibit Hall booth and to welcome them at our three-part session on how law firms can thrive by embracing (and anticipating) recent technology. Panelists discussed top legal trends such as analytics and digital payments to educate attendees on new threats, opportunities, and challenges they might encounter in the next several years and beyond. 

Session 1: The Future of Legal Technology

Panelists: Marissa Sapega, Director of Product Marketing at Assembly, and Paul Hernandez, President of Kalfus and Nachman, a thriving personal injury/disability/social security Virginia firm with several locations

In this session, Paul shared how he was using automation to free up time for his staff to focus on areas where their expertise had the greatest ROI (return on investment). He loves to automate mundane tasks to reduce the risk of human error and boost his staff’s productivity. He also discussed the criticality of meeting clients “where they are,” which entails communicating with clients on digital platforms they find most convenient – like SMS, email, and zoom.

Paul spoke at length about how Neos enables him and his staff to communicate faster and more efficiently with clients because all emails, texts, and even phone calls, are all automatically logged into the client’s case. He recommended taking advantage of a geographically dispersed workforce because firms can now find exceptional employees from the United States and abroad with lower living costs, lowering the total cost of labor. Finally, Paul ended by proclaiming that remote collaboration has never been easier, thanks to cloud-based case management platforms.

Session 2: The Future of Analytics

Panelists: McKay Ferrell, VP of Product at Assembly, and Jim Garrett, CTO of Assembly

McKay and Jim expanded on Paul’s emphasis on efficiency during their session. Jim noted that simply having data or “AI” technology won’t get you where you need to go; rather, it’s paramount to understand strategically (or at least categorically) what you are looking to analyze. Then you can build a data lake based on this understanding because simply having access to a data lake will not magically improve a firm’s efficiency. The beauty of the data lake (as opposed to access to simple transactional data) is that once you know what information you need from it, it becomes far more powerful than static data sets. You can use it for predictive insights.

McKay and Jim believe the future of analytics lies in answering questions around profitability (what is the return on spending and what levers you can pull to drive those ratios up), efficiency (where can you improve the speed to resolution), productivity (are you maximizing the resources you currently have), and predictability (what types of cases should you take on that will net you the best ROI).

Session 3: The Future of Digital Payments

Panelists: Michael O’Connor, SVP of Settlement Services at Western Alliance Bank, and McKay Ferrell, VP of Product at Assembly

Michael and McKay started by talking about Paul’s recommendation to “meet clients where they are.” Michael spoke at length about accommodating different generations of clients, sharing a story about his niece who has never seen a paper check and wouldn’t know what to do with it if she received one. He explained that Generation Z and Millennials have grown comfortable with the idea of digital payments and usually prefer them over paper checks, while more mature clients may still elect traditional payment methods. Offering several options to clients allows lawyers to accommodate diverse needs, which boosts client satisfaction and retention. He remarked that the growing adoption of digital payments bodes well for efficiency (cutting and mailing fewer checks and potentially reissuing them if the client loses them) and uptake of settlement funds. In large settlement cases, there is a marked increase in fund acceptance when the payment is offered digitally, as opposed to paper checks. The courts and legal professionals who fought for those settlements want their clients to accept that payment; it’s why they do what they do. Greater uptake means more clients get what they deserve and improved job satisfaction for all those involved in the legal process.

Key takeaways from attendees

Jim Garrett

“The gap between advancing technology capabilities and the adoption of the industry is growing.  Many of the sessions were ‘masterclass’ level information, and many of the exhibitors were promoting AI, Analytics, eDiscovery, etc. What I noticed in discussions and our session is that there is a vacuum on how to take steps into these advancing technologies, as well as enabling firms to use what they have more fully.

“We should provide partnership and guidance as what seems like most firms in our space have yet to really take first steps to leverage technologies to ensure they are getting the most out of all the data they have, as well as automating repetitive tasks.”

McKay Ferrell

“AI is hot right now. Firms want efficiency and to make their lives easier, but don’t know exactly what that means or practically how to implement or fully trust AI (yet). Firms don’t know how to measure their own efficiency (or lack thereof), which leads to firms looking for a magic bullet to solve their problems, but in reality, the firms need to define their business process before they can get the most out of any technology they use.”

As we close the chapter on Legalweek 2023, we look forward to attending next year! Hope to see you there. 


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