Like so many events globally, LawFest had considerable disruption and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic to run the event in person. However, in Aotearoa we have been fortunate to be able to bring together again the legal and technology community to celebrate, collaborate, network and learn about legal innovation – and all in person.
The last year has reinforced why we need to innovate and leverage technology – LawFest 21 demonstrated how we can go about this!
The event was once again a must for anyone interested in driving efficiency in their organisation.
The key highlights
The one-day event was a great opportunity to hear from leaders and change makers in the innovation space. The programme provided something for everyone, from those new to technology, to those currently at the forefront of legal innovation. Over 25 amazing speakers, delivered practical insights of what they are doing, together with how they started, as delegates learned from their stories of success and failure and what they did next.
Mary O’Carroll, President of CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) and Google legal operations guru was the opening keynote and inspired and challenged thinking. Mary discussed how legal operations is shaping all our futures and explored what’s next for the legal industry, challenging us to think about our own roles and ask ourselves “what will I change” and “what will I keep”.
The other fantastic keynote was Gus Balbontin, who provided an energetic and highly entertaining session on adapting. Gus challenged us to face the future with courage and an open mind, whilst warning us if we don’t deliver to our customers what they want, we risk becoming obsolete.
Grant Pritchard, a senior in-house lawyer at Spark and President of ILANZ (In-house Lawyers Association of New Zealand) delivered an inspiration and thought-provoking session on the critical topic of mental wellbeing for lawyers. Grant shared his own raw experiences, offering practical ideas and strategies to improve wellbeing for individual lawyers, teams and firms, including the Umbrella model and the role of technology in supporting better mental health.
Bringing everything together superbly was the MC for the day, Erin Ebborn of Portia.
Throughout the day we heard how the disruption of COVID-19 was the catalyst for change that many resisted for so long. Those that were reluctant to innovate or invest in technology now appreciate why they need to, together with the value of investing further going forward. Barriers to change quickly disappeared, as many were forced to make changes within weeks that previously may have taken years to implement.
LawFest continues to be the only legal event in New Zealand providing the opportunity to meet and see the leading legal technology in the one place on the one day. Even with border restrictions, we still had the largest turn out of legal tech exhibitors at the event, with many first timers all displaying their latest solutions for the legal industry. Like the attendees these legal tech companies enjoyed the opportunity to meet with existing and potential clients once again in person.
With LawFest 21 behind us, the focus now shifts to LawFest 22 where we will look to explore further how to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing legal market.