“Innovation is crucial.” This simple but important message was part of a larger presentation by technology guru and writer Michael Rogers, who gave Wednesday's Keynote Presentation at ALM's three-day legal-technology event Legal Tech. Rogers' talk—A Look at the Law: 2020: A Radical Perspective on how Technology will Shape the Legal Industry 10 years from Now. Will you be Ready?—was downright fascinating.
Rogers, the Practical Futurist, is known for his technology knowledge, his writing experience, his Practical Futurist Column for MSNBC and his recent position as futurist-in-residence for the New York Times Company. He’s studied finance, creative writing and business.
Rogers isn’t an attorney, and his presentation today wasn’t focused 100% on the legal field, but I think that is a good thing. Rogers certainly shared specifics on how technology would shape and change the legal field over the next decade, but he also provided a broader view on how technology will change the world. The broader view is important because we may not expect certain innovations to trickle down to law . . . until they do (I’d bet most firms never thought social media would apply to them). And even if they haven’t trickled down yet, we should stay on top of developing technology—even if it doesn’t specifically relate to the law—and try to determine how it may impact the field.
For example, Rogers discussed the music industry and how individual artists are gaining new opportunities by networking, developing fans and circulating their music through resources like My Space (which is turning its focus to music). I think it’s important for solo attorneys and small practices to consider this type of progress. What can the legal world learn from these kinds of developments?
Other takeaways from Rogers’ presentation that I found particularly interesting include:
•The new generation is establishing (and keeping) “virtual relationships,” which will affect career development.
•We should keep an eye on telepresence, which will change how we interact, including in legal settings.
•The potential of establishing universal web identities through Internet licenses may allow for legal transactions in cyberspace.
•Advancements like IBM’s Watson may move into the legal field.
•Virtual law offices are gaining popularity.
•Law firms should invest in research and development to understand the technology landscape and determine what they should and shouldn’t implement.
•Law firms should battle resistance to new ideas.
•Acceptance of innovation must flow down from the top.
There is a lot of opportunity for those in the legal industry to enhance their practice with new technology, and we have many innovations to anticipate. Attorneys should take ownership over their technological futures by keeping open minds, educating themselves on current options and future developments and taking advantage of the innovations that will work best for their practices.
Michael Rogers Site
Legal Tech Site
The Virtual Practice of Law
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