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LegalTech New York 2014 Highlights

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It was a battle against the elements to get to this year’s LegalTech New York show. We heard some horror stories of massive flight delays, cancellations, and getting rerouted, but those who were able to make it to New York conquered the slushy streets and combination of rain and snow for some great speakers, networking, and products. Here are a few of our highlights.

Tor, Bitcoin, the Silk Road and the Anonymous Web: Drugs, Bombs, and Murder-for-Hire

Jason Thomas, Chief Innovator for Thomson Reuters, presented the opening keynote. Noticeably nerdy for video games and technology, Thomas’s presentation was a delightful, and sometimes unnerving, analysis of how technology, particularly the Internet, is changing the future of crime. Perhaps underscoring the entire presentation was his statement that even criminals need to have a web presence.

TOR is essentially an anonymous Internet browser. The website describes Tor as “a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet” and originally designed with the U.S. Navy in mind. It is where crime sites like the notorious Silk Road are hosted. While Thomas walked attendees through the basics and showed some items for purchase online (a kilo of cocaine anyone?), just as you began to feel you were getting an exciting look at something secret he showed a directory of sites for hitmen, human trafficking, sex with children, and more. The ease of accessibility to these sites was chilling and only furthered when it was pointed out that the payment system for these sites was Bitcoin.

silkroad

Photo credit: @philweldon

Bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention from the media this year, most recently with the $2.6 million hack the Silk Road has pledged to pay back to affected users. Forbes Senior Online Editor Kashmir Hill lived off of Bitcoin for a week, and Bob Ambrogi and J Craig Williams covered the topic in one of their January podcasts: The Legal Issues Behind Bitcoin’s Rise to Popularity. The Internet currency is anonymous and associated only with serial numbers. Thomas shared a photo from a Bitcoin conference he’d attended, where he’d watched an attendee deposit less than $2,000 cash into a Bitcoin ATM and withdraw $75,000 a few minutes later. Perhaps it was because we were fresh off the discussion of hiring hitmen using bitcoin, the big payday made me a little uneasy.

The presentation gave many a new look at the tech-savvy and sophisticated world of crime. By the end of the presentation, Thomas, along with many who live-tweeting the keynote, had coined the term CaaS: Crime as a service.

Twitter reactions:

 

The LegalTech NY Bloggers’ Breakfast

LexisNexis FirmManager hosted the bloggers’ breakfast, which included a panel from four leading bloggers within the industry. In anticipation of the event, LexisNexis released a list of 25 Essential Legal Bloggers. It’s a great resource worth checking out.

bloggers breakfast

Photo credit: @trentcarlyle

On the panel were . . .

  • Chris Anderson, Product Manager for LexisNexis FirmManager (and host of the Unbillable Hour),
  • Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog Network and his own blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs,
  • Bob Ambrogi, who has been writing the blog Law Sites since 2002 (and is a co-host of Lawyer2Lawyer), and
  • Vivia Chen, chief blogger for The Careerist and a senior reporter at American Lawyer.

The panel brought some great ideas and differing philosophies about selecting topics, writing quick posts versus more in-depths one, and how as bloggers it’s still difficult to predict what is going to perform well until after it’s published. It was a great way to kick off day two of the conference. Thanks, LexisNexis for the invite and for including Legal Talk Network on your list of essential bloggers!

Spotted in the exhibitor halls:

The exhibition halls were massive and packed with great products and resources. As usual, there were plenty of cool things at the booths. Here are a few that caught our eye.

Tiki Barber at the Kiersted booth

tiki barber

Photo credit: @LegalTechShow

Huron Legal’s Oxygen Bar

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 2.28.11 PM

Photo credit: @lisasolomon

Catalyst’s Rolling Papers

rolling papers_bob ambrogi

Photo credit: @bobambrogi

Bridgeway’s mini texas pecan pies

texas pie

Photo credit: @atlblog

There were a number of other great eye-catchers in the exhibition hall. Overall it was a great show and we can’t wait to attend next year.

Limited slides and information from the conference can be downloaded here.