A Year of Acronyms

AI, GDPR, and IoT at Legaltech 2018

Legaltech 2018

As promised, Legaltech 2018 was another week full of the hottest legal trends presented by the hottest names in the industry. Although many eDiscovery mainstays received plenty of attention, a few new topics made it to the tip of everyone’s tongue.

AI: Artificial Intelligence

The clear frontrunner for Legaltech’s buzzword-of-the-week was “artificial Intelligence.” Previously, AI’s power has been showcased making tailored recommendations for companies like Amazon and Google and contributing to the financial industry through predictive analytics. Its adaption in legal, however, has been slower. AI’s automated decision-making seems juxtaposed to an attorney’s ethical responsibility to employ reasonably necessary legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation.

But the reality of the situation is that 83% of firms have seen a decrease in revenue-per-lawyer, so legal firms and in-house counsel are making a push towards artificial intelligence. This year’s ALM keynote speaker Bill Carter declared that AI and “robo-lawyers” are becoming a mainstay for law firms and in-house counsel.

Fortunately, numerous viable and currently applicable software for contract and document review automation were presented at the conference, as were threat intelligence responses to cyber security. And don’t forget the robot-boxing match that went down in the lobby bar!

GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

Like last year, many questions revolved around GDPR:

  • What constitutes a “European resident”?
  • What kinds of infractions will be fined and for how much?
  • What is the difference between anonymization and pseudonymization?

The overall sentiment, however, experienced a shift. There was less “does this affect me” and “how can I avoid being fined” and more “how can I use a forward-thinking data privacy policy to stand out to consumers?” People are thinking proactive.

GDPR compliance is another space in which we saw the emergence of artificial technology solutions. Some solutions employed simple intelligence—like analyzing data to remove duplicates and near-duplicates of data with PII—whereas others employed more complex predictive coding to help identify data security events before they happen. (If you’re curious, here’s what we’ve been up to in the space.)

The conference also presented a variety of ways for legal and IT teams to use technology to assist with private data protection. These include using DLPs, data mapping, eDiscovery, and Information Governance technologies for the accountable monitoring of PII.

IoT: Internet of Things

Another area of concern was the management of new unstructured data forms such as Internet of Things data. In particular, there was a lot of uncertainty on how to handle IoT data under GDPR, as the regulation requires confidentiality for both current and future means of identification and communications.

Companies need to be conscious of the healthcare, location, and other private GDPR-protected data collected by their IoT devices. For compliance folks, this means a few things: staying abreast of IoT security initiatives, including IoT in your security and compliance plans, studying vulnerabilities, and clearly sharing with customers how their data will be used.

We’ll be hearing about this for years to come, but the general consensus for now is to set standards for IoT data as part of your overall GDPR compliance plan.

Our Shared Challenge

Although many of the issues facing legal professionals share short little acronyms, it’s clear they’re complex. I’m impressed with how conferences like Legaltech are able to create the perfect avenue for so many creative and intelligent individuals to solve these problems together. The beauty of shared challenges is that they spark innovative solutions which often go on to solve problems you didn’t even know you had yet.

I loved chatting with so many incredible people in New York last week about the legal industry’s biggest tech challenges. Reach out here or on LinkedIn if you’d like to continue the discussion!

I came to ZL by way of Chicago, where I immigrated from Kharkov, Ukraine with my family. While here, I've grown into an avid sushi and burrito lover. I also love learning about information governance and data security, spending time with friends and family, and shamelessly keeping up to date with reality TV.