It feels like an eternity since I last set foot at a physical conference. I was fortunate enough to be back in person, recently speaking at Future Lawyers Week UK 4.0. It was simultaneously familiar and strange to be at a large event, and as you’d expect, there was plenty of discussion around the new normal.

This feeling of mild displacement isn’t confined to socialising. The legal industry is in the flux of a significant change, with Covid acting like a turbocharger. The old guarantees are no longer reliable indicators of future activity.

My session, We Just Want to See the World Dance, set about to dissect the questions, “Does the price tag outweigh the long term benefits of adopting the right tool? What is the true value in investing?” 

The panel included other industry experts:

  • Ellen Catherall, Senior Manager - Innovation & Legal Technology, Addleshaw Goddard 
  • Andrew Olsen, General Counsel, Globacap
  • Robert Marcus, Partner, Jurit LLP
  • Dr Catriona Wolfenden, Partner and Innovation Manager, Weightmans LLP

This insightful panel provided beneficial commentary to those considering the cost vs. value factors for legal tech. Following a great discussion, these are my key takeaways below:

  1. The floor was unanimous that law firms need to innovate – no surprises or change there.
  2. There was a split on whether legal tech gurus should come along to more pitches. This surprised me. From what I’m seeing, clients are getting more and more interested in what’s going on under the bonnet. They aren’t satisfied when they meet with a partner who doesn’t understand how the tech they are reliant on really works.
  3. Firms that say they are serious about innovation should start to give partnerships to innovation leads or run the risk of looking like they are only paying lip service.
  4. Soft toys have always been, and will always remain, the best attraction to give away at stalls.

Although COVID isn’t going away any time soon, I’m optimistic that things are improving. While plenty will change in the ‘new normal,’ I am looking forward to a resumption of the pre-Covid normality where I can attend more in-person events and catch up with other industry experts.