The key takeaway from Legalweek 2023 is that the AI revolution has begun. Its impact will be profound and, as we have seen with the further generative AI developments announced during Legalweek, it will be delivered with great speed.
The highlight was the closing keynote with Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal. When you hear a CEO on the one hand emphasising the benefits of technology that can be a ‘real force multiplier’ for good, but on the other hand calling for regulation of AI, it is clear we need urgent action for legislated guardrails to ensure there is ethical use of AII, so that it doesn’t result in #discrimination and misuse of personal information.
In a conference dominated by ChatGPT and generative AI, the juxtaposition of the opening and closing keynotes with many of the sessions could not have been more stark. LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow) spoke about the power of storytelling and emphasised the ‘importance of the human element.’ In the closing keynote interview with @Stephanie Wilkins, Stephanie Wilkins, Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal emphasised the importance of businesses being a force for good and the importance of a just and more inclusive society – and that profits and purpose go hand in hand in a democratic society.
The Judges Debate
The Judges Debate Goes Primetime was as interesting as ever – and I have to give a shout-out for the acting skills of Hon. Willie J Epps, Jr, United States Magistrate Judge, US District Court for the Western District of Missouri, who really took on the persona of his counsel and was very entertaining. This resulted in an audience-adjudicated narrow win (on the discoverability of messaging data held by a third-party service) over the highly respected Hon. Andrew Peck, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper. The adjudicating Judges’ discussion and lightning topics were also engaging and timely, including whether courts should be allowed to use inherent authority for sanctions and whether data security requirements should be required as part of an ESI protocol or confidentiality order.
Key Technology Takeaways
Andrew King eDiscovery Consultant and member of the InfoGovANZ International Council provides his key legal technology takeaways from Legalweek 2023:
- Officially there were 140+ exhibiting at Legalweek, and that is not counting the many vendors meeting with clients away from the event, which only seems to be multiplying year on year. There is so many legal tech companies in the one place at the same time – if you are in legal tech, you simply cannot miss being there.
- Generative AI and Chat GPT were the talking point of most tech companies. There were some tech companies that had already integrated AI in their solutions, whilst many others that actively have it on the roadmap with some exciting developments in the near future. Some others of course just had to be seen to be in the AI conversation!
- It was great to have in depth conversations with many of the tech providers and those from the wider community. Not only were the conversations around AI, but it was great to get global perspectives of what is happening and the opportunities for legal going forward to innovate and embrace these technologies.
- With generative AI taking the world by storm over the past few months, everyone is still figuring out how and where these tools can be applied to the legal profession. Generative AI and Chat GPT has brought AI into the mainstream. Legal has arguably tinkered around the edges with some automation tools for years, and now these new generative AI options may fundamentally change how legal services are delivered. We started to find out a lot more about the impact of AI, with no doubt a lot more change throughout the rest of this year. This is no longer a future conversation – it is now, as everything is moving much quicker than many had predicted.
- Many tech companies that are not embracing generative AI tools, face the potential of becoming obsolete if they do not embrace AI in some capacity. If they don’t someone else will.
Andrew, Denise and I also caught up with Peter Bauman, Rich Hale and Mark Evans. It was great to see the latest developments undertaken by ActiveNav | Sensitive Data Discovery and Protection at Scale with their new cloud service offering– you can read more here – ActiveNav Cloud Datasheet 2022 – ActiveNav and Cleansing and Organizing Unstructured Data Stores in Preparation for Migration – ActiveNav
This was my first Legalweek since 2020 and it was wonderful to reconnect with everyone! It is a crazy week with back-to-back conference events, meetings, and vendor festivities – to make it through the week intact is a feat in itself. A few of the many highlights included:
- the Commonwealth Brunch – thanks to James MacGregorfor organising and Brendan Sullivan for sponsoring and everyone who attended;
- the Revealevent at the Rainbow Room – Simon Barnier, Enzo Lisciotto, Dr Irina Matveeva, Beth Patterson, Denise E. Backhouse;
- the EDRM-Relativity Bloggers Lunch at Ruths Chris Steakhouse hosted by Kaylee Walstad, Mary Mack, CISSP and David Horrigan;
- Protivitilunch – thanks to Rich Cohen, Joel Wuesthoff, Richard P. Kessler, Wendy Axelrod, Esq., CPC, ELI-MP and
The SYSTRAN dinner at Raines Law Room – thanks to JP Barraza.
A very big thank you to everyone who made it such a great Legalweek!
Author: Susan Bennett, Founder and Executive Director, InfoGovANZ