LawFest 2018 - Preparing the legal profession to deliver legal services for today & the future


New Zealand’s legal innovation and technology LawFest event on 8 March attracted over 250 legal professionals from across the country.

The event has come a long way since its beginnings 6 years ago. It is now the must do New Zealand legal conference of the year, as more legal professionals look to learn more about innovation and leveraging technology to help deliver legal services, both for today and the future.

At a time where there is more pressure on organisations and law firms to operate more efficiently and effectively, LawFest explores the opportunities of innovation through leveraging technology. It provided the opportunity to learn about what innovation looks like, and the innovative practices others are adopting in this fast changing and disruptive area.

The Highlights

Keynote speaker Sir Ray Avery, described by attendees as an “inspiring and motivational start to the day”, led the line-up of over 20 speakers including Mai Chen, Craig Columbus, David Harvey, Caroline Ferguson, Claudia King and many more.

The programme provided leading practical examples of what is happening, encouraging creative thinking, collaboration and leveraging technology to enable innovation. Topics explored included cyber-security, blockchain, AI, tech and law-firm partnerships, innovating as an in-house lawyer, the business of law during changing times, and looking at disruption as ‘normal’, as well as Craig Columbus’ real time live hacking example !

In addition to the thought-provoking and educational plenary sessions, an exciting addition was the introduction of four practical and engaging workshops, with the opportunity to discuss and get deeper into topics of interest. Workshops were on In-house innovation, People process & technology, Is Disruptive Legal Practice the New Normal? and Technology for Law, ADR and practice. These workshops were expertly facilitated by Caroline Ferguson, Terri Mottershead, Lloyd Gallgaher, Sarah Taylor and Stephen Mullins.

LawFest culminated with the highly entertaining Annual LawFest Debate, where students and alumni from Otago and Auckland University debated “That technology has rendered law degrees obsolete”. New Zealand's leading technology Judge David Harvey expertly adjudicated the debate, where Otago University came out victors.

The MC for the day was renown Australian law firm CEO Warrick McLean from Coleman Greig, who kept all informed and entertained.

The opportunity to see the solutions…

This year the event attracted the greatest number of providers of legal technology, many of which are new players in this quickly evolving industry. LawFest 2018 also created its first ‘innovation zone’ showcasing many new tech businesses just starting out. Delegates had the opportunity to interact with providers into the legal industry throughout the day, as well as network with those from other firms.

Following the success of this year’s event, LawFest 2019 is set to attract even more legal professionals with an interest in innovation and technology. It will again be held in Auckland, on 21 March 2019, with a limited time 2 for 1 ticket offer for delegates.

LawFest Membership + the NZ Legal Technology Index

LawFest has introduced an exciting membership option, starting from just $99. The membership enables greater access to anyone interested in learning more about innovation and leveraging technology to help deliver legal services. Membership provides exclusive access to the 2018 presentation slides, videos and other regular content. You can become a LawFest member now.

LawFest has also established another new initiative – the NZ Legal Technology Index. The index provides the opportunity for organisations that provide legal technology products and services to the legal profession to list their business. Checkout the NZ Legal Technology Index.


By: Andrew King

Founder & Strategic Advisor
E-Discovery Consulting