Recently, Tony Donofrio, chief technology officer at Veritext, spent some time at Legalweek, the legal industry’s largest conference and exhibition. This conference brings thousands of legal professionals together to network, learn about new and existing technology and tools available in the market and attend thought-leading sessions on key topics facing the industry.
Tony has worked in information technology for more than 25 years and focuses his energy on ensuring that Veritext clients and staff have reliable, easy-to-use and secure tools. Here are some of his takeaways from the sessions he attended at Legalweek.
What Do Artificial Intelligence, Attorneys and Pizza Hut Have in Common?
By Tony Donofrio
Sitting in on a seminar in the Operations track at Legalweek, I came away with this odd question after a great talk with folks ranging from Google’s language AI team, a large firm legal ops leader and a large legal data and analytics provider.
The question stemmed from a metaphor around internet commerce, where we progressed through various stages of development:
Commerce – e.g., the simple and somewhat “cheesy” but effective Pizza Hut online web ordering page circa 1996
Aggregation – e.g., Amazon expanding from books to all manner of goods as a marketing and commerce platform
Nudge – e.g., Netflix – and every other commerce and online media player today – suggesting, or nudging, opportunities to purchase
Push – everyone today presenting you with exactly what you are looking for via website inserts, social media posts, emails and every other channel all the time
My big takeaway? Law firms are hungry to get to the promise of an AI-driven push world, where e-discovery and document management put the right stuff under the right eyeballs at the right time and in the right context. At the moment though, we are stalled in the aggregation phase, where collections of data are all easily available, searchable and retrievable, but context and relevance-matching are just starting to get to the nudge phase. The opportunity is immense here: Think about being the Netflix or Amazon of legal information management. Think about being a firm that gets even halfway there by applying and integrating existing tools. The stakes are enormous, and the outcomes are pretty cool!
From Making a Wage to Delivering Value – An Epic Journey Underway
By Tony Donofrio
Sitting in on a Legal Operations seminar at Legalweek, my attention was caught by something that’s arguably an impossible dream given the commercial norms of the legal profession, but for the first time struck me as a journey already underway.
The classic phrase was “pay for results vs. pay for hours.”
The encouraging part was that I heard substantive examples of process and commercial changes some firms have made to move on from talking about this concept toward making it a reality.
They discussed analyzing and pricing services based on estimates of costs of the components anticipated to deliver an outcome, such as cost per deposition, cost per document reviewed, etc.
Advanced analytics around the effort and external costs of managing types and complexity levels of cases will enable value-driven pricing vs. fee-for-hours and cost-plus on external services.
Service providers to law firms will need to follow suit – the more value a provider can drive to the firm, the stickier they will be for the firm.
This will all serve to de-commoditize services to legal firms; for example …
Can a court reporting firm set up a deposition as a secure web conference to avoid travel expenses without any additional effort by the firm?
Can a court reporting firm provide one-touch electronic exhibit sharing across multiple locations to completely eliminate the cost and effort to scan/copy/ship/courier reams and boxes of paper?
I’m optimistically looking forward to value – and not one-dimensional pricing – really mattering again.