Whether you missed the conference or want to know a little more about some industry themes, keep reading for a recap of LegalTech New York 2016.

Last week wrapped up LegalTech New York 2016, as thousands of professionals across the legal sector descended upon the Hilton New York for three days’ worth of meetings, information, keynotes and plenary sessions. As the industry’s largest event, it draws throngs of people – both those hoping to learn about industry technology trends and those vendors hoping to impart wisdom in search of new awareness and business opportunities.

Xerox Legal Business Services was represented at the show. At our booth, several long-time LTNY attendees remarked how they remembered that only a decade ago the term eDiscovery was only a buzzword at the conference. Today, the term is practically synonymous with the overall conference theme and its vendors, which reflects the rapid evolution of technology in the industry. Following the progress of technological innovation, several prevalent themes stood out among the vendors and instructional tracks – most notably Big Data analytics, information governance (IG) and data security.

Big Data Analytics

Data was an inescapable theme at the conference. From firms looking to reduce their data footprint to those who better wish to understand the value of their data to those hoping to use their data to predict trends or prevent litigation, it’s clear there is value in Big Data…and that those who wish to succeed are those who understand the concept.

Despite the prevalence of eDiscovery technology to analyze data, one track mentioned that 50% of firms still search manually across paper and electronic documents – and typically only do so once a legal matter arises. Early adopters of innovation now hire dedicated data scientists just to examine data in order to find trends and hidden value. Xerox employs more than 120 data scientists, whose research has led to some amazing discoveries and new services in our industry. Companies are quickly recognizing that their data is extremely valuable and significantly risky if not managed properly.

Information Governance

In one of the most interesting sessions, speakers – that included a district court judge, an attorney and an information governance and eDiscovery subject matter expert – answered questions about hypothetical situations (some of which were intentionally similar to recent headline-making cases). These issues dealt with managing data in a BYOD era, comingling business and personal data and how it affects one’s right to privacy, and what laws apply to public records that are hosted on private networks.

It was clear these were issues of concern because the keynote was on the final day of the conference (at a time when many leave early) and there was standing room only. The progress of technology may have greatly enabled firms to cull through data, but it’s also created headaches for IT departments and is setting new precedent for the reasonable protection and preservation of data.

The advice given: ensure you have a robust and up-to-date IG policy with built-in rules for BYOD and the storage of information.

Data Security

Following several high-profile breaches of personal data, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity was high on the list of key themes for LTNY. This subject is highly correlated to IG and repeated case studies throughout the conference showcased the need for companies to take more active measures to protect truly sensitive data. But given the cost to protect all data could quickly become prohibitive, the synopsis of the counsel offered was to create thresholds for differing values of data and afford only the highest level of protection to the most valuable data, thereby safeguarding the most important information while making the process affordable.

Bringing It All Together

Whether protecting it, analyzing it or using it for future gain, the theme of Big Data played heavily at LTNY. The steps being taken to protect and exploit this valuable asset are quickly emerging and increasing at a rapid pace. Those with the foresight to enact robust IG policies and use experts to analyze their data for value will lead the market. If you haven’t yet taken action on your data, you’re not alone…but there’s no time like the present.