So, FutureLaw 2013 was last week. We over here at RR&H are thrilled about how it all turned out, and can’t thank everyone who came out to speak or to participate in the discussion enough. It exceeded all our expectations about what we wanted to get out of the event, and couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.
Video is on the way: the good people over at Stanford have let me know that all the sessions will be available online in about two weeks (we’ll post here when it all goes live). In the meanwhile, a good number of people have been asking how it all went, so I figured it would be worth putting some thoughts together here for your reading pleasure.
First off, and I think this was evident to everyone in the room last Friday – big things are happening. The New and Emerging Legal Infrastructures Conference (NELIC), which was the conference that RR&H ran in 2011 on similar topics, was simply no comparison. If conferences are any indication, FutureLaw was a clear sign that the legal technology community has become far more robust in just the past two years. First, the community is significantly bigger – NELIC attracted about ~90 registered attendees, FutureLaw in comparison brought together close to ~250 attendees both in-state and from around the world. Second, the energy is much higher — attendees at FutureLaw were more often than not entrepreneurs themselves, and came packing their own ideas about the future of the law to the table. Third, a broader set of talents are part of the conversation than ever before – in addition to bringing together nerdy lawyer-technologist types, FutureLaw featured a broader set of practitioners, funders, and others than NELIC did two years ago.
But, as RR&H friend Dan Katz hammered home in his flamethrowing (and awesome) keynote closer the future is not self-executing. While there’s a ton of energy around disruptive technologies in the legal industry, there are still global challenges facing the space that will determine whether what is being worked on has the long-standing impact on the law that it seems everyone (insert: us, lawyers, the public at large) wants to see.
To that end, FutureLaw was remarkable in how much consensus there was around a few key systemwide challenges. While (as with any complex issue) there obviously remains a great deal of difference of opinion about how best to achieve these ends, a set of themes kept coming up over and over again in the panel discussions and informal conversations swirling around the conference that day. FutureLaw focused on what we build next, and I venture to say that there is some emergent agreement about what the community should set its eyes towards.
I’ve been dubbing this informal list in my head as The Stanford Consensus, a kind of working document of critical objectives that people in legal technology are working towards. They are important partially because they represent infrastructure – common resources that should be built in order for the community to thrive and for us to take things to the next level. That agenda (in no particular order), and some remarks, after the jump.
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