I am off to ILTA 2014 Imagine in Nashville next week. ILTA is the International Legal Technology Association, an organisation dedicated to encouraging the sharing of ideas and information between those involved at the crossroads of legal practice and technology.
This is ILTA’s 37th Annual Educational Conference. It runs for four days, has more than 200 speakers and sessions, and more than 3,000 people will attend. Although much of the week is devoted to learning and to seeing a wide range of relevant technology, the main attraction of ILTA is the space and opportunity to talk to others. They may be people who are at the same stage as you or, perhaps, have already been down a trail which you are just embarking on. It is not just for electronic discovery (as LegalTech has effectively become) and not just for big specialist firms.
When I say that ILTA offers “space”, I do not mean merely the generous amount of time between sessions, but refer also to the physical environment. The Gaylord Opryland is said to be the largest covered space in the US, with ample room even for more than 3,000 delegates to find somewhere quiet to talk.
This is one of the few events which I attend whether I am speaking or not. I am in fact taking part in a panel with UBIC on Tuesday morning at 9.00am. It is called Advanced Analytics for the Legal Profession – Big Data Challenges, Analytic Solutions and Thoughts for the Future and will be moderated by UBIC’s Paul Starrett.
Beyond that, I have meetings set up with sponsors and potential sponsors of the eDisclosure Information Project, a few demos (not many – I don’t flog halfway round the world to shut myself up in dark rooms watching PowerPoints) and plenty of space for ad hoc conversations with old friends and new acquaintances.
Although inevitably very American, ILTA manages to speak across jurisdictional divides. There will undoubtedly be content focused on the specific implications of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but most of the panels are more focused on legal practice than on jurisdictional specifics. ILTA does this very well – as I mentioned in a recent article, I moderated a panel for ILTA in Hong Kong earlier this year whose entire focus was on the cultural implications of managing technology change in Asian law firms. No other legal educational organisation in the world is capable of covering big subjects like this.
ILTA is a sociable organisation and four days allows for plenty of parties, both at the venue and in Nashville – as you may have heard, Nashville has something of a music scene, with party venues of quality in quantity (I know this because Cicayda is based there and its people are proud and indefatigable promoters of their city). I have had to plot the parties on Google Maps so that I can work out the most efficient route between them.
See you there.
Pictures from last year’s ILTA in Las Vegas by Will Dale