“I’ll throw in some AI if you sign up for our annual subscription”

The best part of Legalweek NYC is connecting with others. The second best part is that it inspires me to write and share. The worst part of Legalweek NYC is Legalweek NYC, but I digress.

Last year I shared my thoughts on data, innovation and feeling of change in the air. This year I’m left wondering if things are really changing or if we are simply repeating ourselves. Here I share the highlights from my annual trip, this time comparing notes with myself from the past in hope of spotting real change. …


“Hey Sam, can you print me that fancy dashboard again? This time with more sparkles and innovations?” Credit http://georgecouragecreative.blogspot.com/2010/10/unicorns-and-dinosaurs.html

It’s been an exhausting but exciting week of nerdism. After spending last weekend with Tony and Arya Stark (unrelated), I spoke at the Ark Group’s Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Legal Profession conference in Chicago and enjoyed the many presentations and conversations throughout the day and evening. So much so that I am close to nerd-overload, but #nottoday. So here I share some brief thoughts and takeaways from the conference.

Business intelligence is not analytics

I often hear these terms used interchangeably along with “dashboards”, “Tableaus”, “infographics” and “that report with the chart”. This is beyond semantics: data analytics is different than business intelligence…


I spent this week in balmy New York City with thousands of other legal technology, business and practice professionals for the annual LegalWeek gathering. I’ve made this trek for nearly 20 years, but the vibe and content this year was very different.

I did not spend much time at the LegalTech conference itself, but it seems to have been covered quite well via social media and elsewhere. Instead, I usually take advantage of all the concentrated expertise and experience by meeting 1:1 with clients and colleagues and attending targeted events such as the annual KM summit (my ~16th year) and…


After an extended Twitter break, I’ve been inspired by several great conversations in my feed over the past few weeks. Thanks to Jae Um, Jason Barnwell, Ron Friedmann, Jordan Furlong, Ed Sohn, Oz Benamram and so many others for sharing and making me think, and for prompting one more Sunday post before the holidays.

There are two paths you can go by: specialist vs. generalist

Jordan shared a hypothesis regarding the future of law firms, suggesting that full-service firms who today provide a wide range of legal services to a wide range of clients will ultimately settle into “two parallel lanes”:

  • those that provide a wide range of services to one…


A Mandelbrot set: a beautiful and iconic fractal, chaotic and infinitely repetitive

A few times a year I attend an event outside the legal market. Last week, I attended the brilliant CB Insights TRANSFORM conference with the equally brilliant Jae S Um and left with some fresh perspective on innovation from the corporate world.

Read our live event coverage on Twitter using #cbitransform

Businesses across sectors are all facing similar macro-challenges: digitalization, globalization, comsumerization, millennialization, and other disrupt-izations that threaten their long held beliefs and business models. According to a recent CB Insights report, 85% of companies say innovation is critical to survival (yet nearly 80% are focused on small and incremental…


All businesses must balance debts and investments in change

Software engineers use the term “technical debt” to describe the sum total of shortcut and trade-off decisions made when coding a software product. This debt starts small and feels manageable. “I realize this [shortcut is a hack] but I don’t have time to worry about it now. I’ll go back and clean it up later.” they say to themselves, and less frequently to others (quite often, management has no clue or interest in these “sausage making” decisions).

Not all of this debt is bad, as sometimes trade-offs must be made in order to meet deadlines and “ship it”. …


Check out my LUI, Bruce.

I was watching The Avengers: Age of Ultron for the 10th time last night. In a scene where Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are debating whether or not to utilize Loki’s scepter to complete the Ultron Program, Tony comments to Bruce that his current digital assistant JARVIS “started out as just a natural language UI. Now he runs the Iron Legion. He runs more of the business than anyone besides Pepper”. If you saw the movie, you will of course know that things didn’t go so well from there.

Yes, I’m a Marvel fan as much as I am an…


It’s been a few weeks since part 1 of my series on artificial intelligence in the legal industry. If only AI could improve my writing habits. As promised, in this post I’ll share more detail on the first of the four AI categories I introduced: document work. This is the broadest, busiest, and best understood category in the legal industry today when it comes to application of artificial intelligence(ish) technologies, and I break it down further into three subcategories of usage:

Electronic discovery: this is where real use of AI technology began in the legal industry, growing out of document…


AI is buzzing in the legal industry. It’s time to separate hype from reality.

I was recently invited to speak on artificial intelligence in law at the annual LMA conference along with an outstanding panel of industry experts (read my summary here). During my talk I offered a simplified view of the AI landscape of vendors and technologies in play and received great feedback and many requests for further detail.

This feedback is consistent with many conversations I’ve had regarding legal AI over the past few years: it’s hard to distinguish fact from reality, and practical examples of AI in…


Artificial intelligence begins with natural intelligence…

I just returned from the annual LMA conference in Las Vegas where I joined a panel of industry experts to discuss artificial intelligence in law. It was a great event overall, and I have to thank my fellow panelists Elonide Semmes, Mark Greene, Craig Courter and Ryan McLead for their expertise and support.

AI in the legal industry is buzzing more than the racks of flashing CPUs in an IBM Watson data center. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this industry distracted by shiny things, but this time it’s different. We’re still figuring out what the “the new normal”…

Rob Saccone

Legal industry entrepreneur; builder, investor, partner @ Nexlaw

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