Lexthink In a Nutshell

lexthinkLast night was the annual Lexthink mini-conference before ABA Techshow conference. The overarching theme of many for the 6 minute speeches from this year’s conference was how technology was the key to streamlining the practice of law and meeting 21st century legal consumer expectations in an increasingly competitive market.

But there were a few stand outs that deviated from that general concept.

First, there was Will Hornsby’s talk. Every year, without fail, Will provides one of the most witty presentations at Lexthink. This year was no exception. He offered an insightful discussion contending that legal futurists, such as Richard Susskind, miss the boat when it comes to solo and small firms. As Will explained, many legal futurists have a monolithic view of the legal profession’s future that is Biglaw-centric. He posited that contrary to their claims, “small law,” which represents nearly 2/3 of all lawyers in the United States, is going nowhere and has a strong future.

Gwynne Monahan focused on pop tarts. Ok, not really, but she used the fact that people apparently love to buy strawberry pop tarts just before a hurricane hits as an example of sifting through data to locate patterns. And these patterns can be useful in determining courses of action and predicting success. So she encouraged lawyers to find their law firm’s “pop tart” in order to make better choices for their firms.

Scott Malouf was the only speaker to focus primarily on social media. Scott discussed the problems with the current set of rules regarding lawyers’ use of social media and advocated for a change of mindset and more uniformity on the part of the bodies of regulators that enact rules about social media use. He suggested focusing on the harms the harms most likely to occur and the sites where they occur and draft rules accordingly.

And last but not least, I can objectively say that MyCase’s very own Matt Spiegel impressed everyone by giving a great talk about increasing job satisfaction by focusing on creating a less stressful job environment–with slides from last year’s presentation running in the background due to an inadvertent mix up on the part of the conference organizers. Despite this unexpected situation, Matt jumped right in and gave a flawless talk focused on urging lawyers to make a change in their work environments in order to reduce our profession’s high rates of depression and suicide. He suggested that law firms should take a cue from start ups and encourage a fun, collaborative work environment that provides opportunities for employees to relax and blow off steam periodically throughout the day.

So there you have it! Lexthink 2014 in a nutshell! If you were there, what were some of your favorite presentations? Let us know in the comments!

–Nicole Black

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