ILTA 2013 in Fabulous Vegas


As I flick through the scribbled notes I made over the 3 days of the ILTA 2013 conference, I keep returning to the opening Keynote by Scott Klososky. This has already been reviewed and blogged about brilliantly here and here. But Scott, as it turned out, managed to perfectly predict my own conference agenda with his three takeaways:

(1) How to use the Humalogy Scale to amplify profits?

The humalogy scale developed by Scott and his company Future Point of View is incredibly simple but thought-provoking. With technology at one end of the scale, and humanity at the other end it asks us to plot our processes according to what makes the most sense for lawyers to do, and what’s best left for technology to automate. Too much technology and the empathy disappears (which makes me think of fully automated telephone banking – how impersonal and mundane is that experience?); too much humanity and the task doesn’t have enough repeatability for technology to get involved.

My first session discussed the middle section of this scale, where we have to focus on the lawyer-computer interactions – where humanity and technology have the most overlap. Getting lawyers to use technology and use it successfully is hard as our group freely admitted. Our group at “Making Sure The Technology Matters” mind-mapped the topic “usability & prohibition” discussing the themes of simplicity, relevant & self-sufficient training, and the design processes involved in delivering simple systems.

In my need to get another shot of Legal UX I attended the “Bolstering KM Through UX Design” session. Luckily David Hobbie attended this one so you can see a rather excellent summary and description of the case studies that were shown. Whilst I believe we are only just starting to adopt good design and user experience practices within legal, we are already seeing the benefits with cleaner and simpler user journeys for lawyers as shown by these three forward-thinking firms. It does mean however that the bar for our innovative legal technology vendors has been raised. They need to help us find this perfect blend between technology and humanity when we develop new tools and applications. They also need to meet the high expectations of lawyers for useful, usable and engaging design thanks to the consumerizaion of IT and the relatively fast adoption of smartphones and tablets in our firms.

(2) How to apply high-beam thinking to better utilise technology?

We were spoilt for choice in the future-casting department with sessions offering vision and helping us to prepare for the future of legal technology. From Rohit Talwar’s Law2020 Keynote to the IT As A Catalyst Parts One and Two sessions. Great panels of thinkers and visionaries discussing a range of emerging technologies which threaten to disrupt the services we deliver to our firms, and indeed the services that lawyers themselves provide to clients.

Here another scale courtesy of Scott comes to mind – plotting ourselves on a scale that determines how we can stay relevant in a future yet uncharted. From the bleeding edge at one end and laggards at the other, it is the assumed safety of the “middle of the pack” with its herd mentality that holds us back as an industry. It’s no longer about just buying the technology anymore, it’s about innovating with the full technology palette that will create that leading-edge advantage.

(3) How to improve in order to be world class with technology? What do we need to learn? Where are our gaps and opportunities?

This is the category that the rest of my sessions neatly filed into: that the way we’ve always done things is not always the best way of doing things in this new catalytic world.

From sessions on adopting more user-centric application development methods of Agile and Scrum, to the alternative, non-traditional LPM approaches of Agile and Lean that focus on client-centric, iterative and flexible techniques that are more applicable to the knowledge work of lawyers. And sessions on exploring new ways to persuade lawyers to adopt new technology through using one of the oldest techniques in the world – storytelling; and properly applying sound change management techniques to boost adoption of new practices (specifically LPM).

I’m a big champion for new, leaner ways of doing things, and working out how UX can create engagement and boost usage of the solutions we buy, build and partner with. ILTA recently published a white paper I co-authored that contains a more in-depth discussion on how we can Use Design to Improve KM.

All-in-all a Fabulous ILTA in Vegas (baby)! Great connections made – both people and ideas. Big thanks to the organisers and volunteers who made 2013 another memorable and worthwhile conference.

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