On the ground at Australia’s first virtual legal technology conference

On the 28th to the 29th of May, 2020, I attended just over two days of V-ALTACON, Australia’s first legal technology conference to move wholly online in response to the situation developed by COVID-19. While it wouldn’t be a tech conference without the odd hiccup or two, the team behind the project really deserve virtual applause for their work developing a comprehensive agenda in such a short timeframe during such challenging conditions.

Truthfully, exploring the state of the legal industry online felt ironic given the long-held traditions in law of in-person interactions and physical record-keeping. It made me reflect on how many in-house legal departments are now facing a new, unexpected and completely unchartered way of working. How many GC’s are now trying to make sense of this new world? I’m making it my priority to support these departments transition online to a better way of working for their team and future. If that sounds like something you’re looking to explore, I’m including my contact details at the bottom of this article.

The speaker line-up at V-ALTACON was terrific, with Stephanie Corey, a Co-Founder at Levelup Ops dialling in from the USA to share her expertise. She confirmed that having a strategy (a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal) is critical to assist with the effective implementation and optimisation of in-house legal technology.

It is also essential, Corey confirmed, for GC’s to complete a self-assessment of their team before deciding on a legal tech product. Recording a current measure of the team’s performance and decision-making will provide GC’s with a greater understanding of the health of their in-house department and a baseline for recording efficiencies.

Stephanie also discussed what GC’s should look for in a vendor which led me to consider one of the panel discussions, ‘The Pillars of Start-up Success’. It’s interesting to understand who our vendors are in the marketplace and consider – are they here to stay or sell? In Australia, most of our legal operations vendors are still thought to be start-ups. However, the market has matured since its inception and some providers are close to, or have already moved to the next level of business – and if so, what is that?

Are these businesses operating for the long haul, or are they merely a flash in the pan?

Ian Goddard, CEO of Dazychain raised in ‘The Pillars of Start-up Success’ the importance of determining the stability of the vendor you choose. What is their purpose? Are they looking to grow and sell or hunt and farm? Acquisition and making it through the fires of start-up is a challenge and we should consider stability of our chosen partners in tech.

I came away from V-ALTACON with many new ideas and through the discussions put forward by the wonderful session hosts, can see the legal tech market is starting to move into its teenage years. What the V-ALTACON team put on over the two days was more than we could have expected under the circumstances and like the legal technology industry, could be the new way forward.

Maybe next time we will see virtual reality kick in and digitally bring us into the room and connect while not physically connecting.

Either way, I’m sure to see you there.

If you would like to connect with me to discuss the future of legal operations, or how you can move your legal department forward through technology, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My details are:

Tracy Van Heer
p: 0423 894 007
e. tracy.vanheer@yarris.com

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