As an event that started four years ago in a basement over pizza and beer, Legal Geek has concluded its 2019 conference by delivering on its promise to pack a year’s worth of networking into a single day.

With more than 100 speakers and a sold-out crowd of 2,000+ attendees high-fiving each other to kick off the conference, the standing-room-only event provided an opportunity to hear from some of the industry’s established and emerging leaders in legal tech.

In fact, with so much content in play, we thought it might be helpful to share our takeaways from the event, which featured presentations by our own Stuart Barr, HighQ Chief Product and Strategy Officer; Richard Punt, Thomson Reuters Chief Strategy Officer; and Rob MacAdam, HighQ Vice President of Corporate Legal Solutions.

We all need to do our bit for sustainability

The legal industry’s answer to Greta Thunburg? Cue Legal Geek’s founder Jimmy Vestbirk who ensured the theme for this year’s event was focused around the important topic of sustainability. This was evident, not only through the reusable coffee mugs in almost everyone’s hands, but also through talks about transforming the legal profession into something entirely more digital, efficient and less wasteful. HighQ was proud to sponsor the conference for the second year running, an event that is banging the sustainability drum.

‘Data’ is making a comeback as a conference buzzword

Data has been a buzzword for as long as we’ve been attending conferences, but what became apparent at Legal Geek was that many of the speakers agreed that legal professionals are slow to recognise the inherent importance of data in the digital transformation process. Dan Reed CEO at UnitedLex highlighted this by stating that “digital fluency is a prerequisite to being relevant in the legal sphere.”

The student is as likely to change the profession as the managing partner

Legal Geek likes to remove any hierarchy from its event. Job titles are intentionally left from name badges and suits and ties are a no-no. Jimmy Vestbirk was met with a round of applause when he stated that the student is just as likely to change the legal profession as the managing partner. Simon David from the Law Society said that we need to teach a new generation of attorneys how to serve modern clients who want deep problem-solvers that are personable and operate with tech running seamlessly alongside them. He added that we need to equip these junior lawyers so that the industry can bring down the age of the “rainmakers” in legal innovation.

We need to think platforms not point-solutions

A quick look around the start-up alley at Legal Geek and it becomes blatantly obvious that there is a plethora of technology available in the legal market. While it is encouraging to see the legal tech market so vibrant, we may have too many pieces of tech that do not talk to one another, said Chris Fowler, Technology GC for telecoms giant BT.

“This means manual processes are in play between them which increases points of failure. We need to move towards a platform environment.”

Richard Punt reiterated the point that “legal technology is an extraordinary fragmented industry.” Talking about Thomson Reuters’ acquisition of HighQ, he explained that the motivation was to solve that fragmentation challenge and come together to create solutions. Stuart Barr went on to explain how together Thomson Reuters and HighQ are going to pave the way for creating a unified interoperable platform.