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2017 LMA Annual Conference Session Recaps – Pre-Conference Programs

Posted by Mike Carrozzo on Apr 12, 2017 10:00:00 AM

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Relevant Pre-Conference  Educational Highlights

The 2017 LMA Annual Conference on March 27-29 in Las Vegas was brimming with valuable, relevant education for conference attendees.

Even before the conference kicked off, attendees participated in immersive workshops. Take a look at some of the pre-conference program recaps and be on the lookout for more session recaps coming soon!


PRE-CONFERENCE PROGRAM: CMO SUMMIT                                                              

With over 60 attendees, the CMO Summit gave senior legal marketing leaders the chance to get hands-on with client journey mapping. The pre-conference program was co-chaired by Despina Kartson, global director of business development & communications at Jones Day, and Dawn Longfield, chief marketing officer at Davis & Gilbert LLP. 

Under the guidance of presenter Yolanda Cartusciello, former administrative leadership at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Cleary Gottlieb, who is now a partner at Bernero & Press, attendees spent the day working alongside six general counsel identifying issues and bright spots, discussing best practices and brainstorming solutions to help law firms differentiate their client experience. And in true Vegas – and LMA – fashion, our hard-working CMOs wrapped up the day with drinks at the CMO SIG Reception.

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PRE-CONFERENCE PROGRAM: RISE OF THE LEGAL MARKETING TECHNOLOGIST                                                                          

Artificial Intelligence and the Law Firm: The Future Is Now

Imagine if you could read three million articles on a legal issue, remember everything, connect the dots where you see relationships and then deliver an analysis in a concise package. That’s the promise of artificial intelligence when it’s applied to law, medicine and other fields where the volume of potentially useful information far out-paces our human ability to place it in context.

It’s a promise already being fulfilled at some law firms, according to Brian Kuhn, Watson Business Solutions executive at IBM Corporation.

One practical example: Watson reads clients’ billing guidelines, analyzes their acceptance and rejection of bills and then makes recommendations to attorneys on how to bill more effectively. In another example cited by Kuhn, Watson can read millions of articles on a public policy issue and then deliver the best arguments it finds both for and against a position.

Cognitive computing will not replace attorneys, Kuhn said, but forward-thinking law firms are recognizing the possibilities of systems like Watson to get ahead of their competitors. Someday, they may need it just to keep up.

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Don’t Design for Business as Usual

Whether contemplating a new law firm app or an automated contract system, lawyers tend to approach design by talking it through, bringing everyone together in a conference room and deciding what to do.

That’s not the way to do it, Margaret Hagan and Jose Fernando Torres said at the “Design Thinking Workshop,” part of the “Rise of the Legal Marketing Technologist” program. Hagan is the director of the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law School and Torres is a fellow at the lab, where they are challenging the legal industry to put aside old ideas on how to approach innovation.

Rather than just brainstorming innovation, Hagan said law firms should begin the design process by researching what users of their services want. She calls this the discovery phase, which includes getting out to talk to people and observing how they interact with products. Next, she advises that they distill those observations into ideas and begin what she calls a build and test phase. There is a tendency to try to perfect products before they are rolled out. Instead, Hagan recommends building prototypes as soon as possible, testing them with users and revising them repeatedly before investing resources into the full product.

And if you think your firm’s systems and products are fine as is, remember this final principle from Hagan and Torres: Business as usual equals eventual failure.

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Editor’s Note: This blog post previously appeared in the LMA International Conference Daily News, produced by


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