Joe and Elie come to you from the Legaltech NY conference musing about the future of law, the future of law conferences, and the future of weather where Elie is constantly unhappy.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.
Above the Law – Thinking like a Lawyer
The Future is Now
Intro: Welcome to Thinking Like a Lawyer with your hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, talking about legal news and pop culture, all while thinking like a lawyer, here on Legal Talk Network.
Joe Patrice: Hello and welcome to another edition of Thinking Like a Lawyer. I am Joe Patrice from Above the Law. I am joined by my colleague Elie Mystal.
Elie Mystal: I have so many undergarments on to deal with this cold weather that I don’t think I can pee until I get all the way home.
Joe Patrice: I think that’s fair. It’s interesting that you mentioned that it’s cold, because we are in New York and it is definitely cold, but we certainly aren’t getting it as bad as some of rest of the country. So we send our sympathies to them, it’s kind of what I am saying.
Elie Mystal: I mean I guess you do, I don’t. I am pissed at all people of European descent on days like these, okay, like I have the cultural institutional memory that I don’t belong here. I did not choose to come here and every time the snot freezes on my face, I feel the pain of my ancestors who were brought to this land. It is too cold for me, all right. It may not for all African-American, it is too cold for me.
Joe Patrice: Fair enough. Yeah, no, it’s not great. I am chasing this by — I am for Chicago, so it’s going to get even worst. Though I think it’s warming up there, I think the bad stuff is passed.
Elie Mystal: Aren’t you from Iowa though, I mean don’t they just have like —
Joe Patrice: I have lived in Iowa before.
Elie Mystal: It’s like this and like biofuels is all like, all you got to warm yourself, right?
Joe Patrice: No, I was born in Minneapolis, so even colder, right so. Yeah, it’s cold, but we will transition a little bit and talk about where we are, because we are not in our offices as we usually would be for this podcast, but we are in the Midtown Hilton recording at the Legaltech New York Show or Legalweek or Legalweek experience or Legal smackdown, I don’t know, whatever they call this show now we are here, so we are going to talk about that for a little bit. But first —
Elie Mystal: We are tech companies need to sell products.
Joe Patrice: Exactly. Speaking of tech companies that need to sell products, are you missing calls, are you spread too thin, interruptions kill your productivity but clients demand a quick response. The US-based professional receptionist at Smith.ai help law firms screen new clients and schedule appointments by phone and website chat, plus Smith.ai. integrates with your software including Clio and LawPay. Plans start at just $60 per month, get a free trial at Smith.ai.
Elie Mystal: You were professional.
Joe Patrice: I was setup by the best, that was great.
Elie Mystal: That whole focus gives you strength.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, so we are here at Legaltech, it’s been a good show so far, it’s still going on, but we are on day whatever it is, I don’t know three, four, something like that. So you just got here, I have been here this whole time, how do you like it so far?
Elie Mystal: Yeah, so, it’s a little bit quieter than it has been in the past years. I think one of the big reasons for the lack of noise is that not everybody is here, right?
Joe Patrice: Yeah, there were definitely some travel delays and issues.
Elie Mystal: And so that’s interesting, but I think it’s also interesting in terms of what is the future of big tech vendor conference like this, in a world of telecommuting, in a world where you can have meetings and demo products, much easier from your own office or from your own home, what is the kind of long term viability of bringing everybody to a boondoggle city than having a big conference like this.
Joe Patrice: And it’s interesting that you go there because we had a panel discussion on Monday that dealt with this, and we talked about just kind of the nature of the tech show and what people want to get out of it and whether or not that delivers, and you are right, I mean one point that came up and that was that this show used to be going back all those years, this show was about selling copiers and fax machines, physical hardware that people needed to come and see and run and obviously that’s not what – now software we can do this remotely, but why do we still do it and I think a lot of people said, the reason we do this is that there is still a personal networking component to coming to a place, and that’s why we still need shows like this, even if the show has changed in that they aren’t making their sales probably on the floor like they might have in the 80s.
There is a reason why people come, they do want to see each other, and frankly from a vendor perspective they want to see competition. They want to look at what their competitors are doing, see if that’s something they want to emulate, know where they are. I mean consolidation is the name of the game in this space, that’s another reason why things gets quieter is half of these companies got bought by somebody, and that consolidation, I mean that’s another thing, you walk around that floor to see who you want to buy next.
Elie Mystal: I think it’s a great point that you just made about how a show like this starts from don’t you need a fax machine for your office? And I guess my question for — as I — when I walk the floor later today, one of my questions is going to be really, what is that technology that kind of all law firms need to have at this point, right?
It’s very obvious, look at me, with the benefit of hindsight that a fax machine was something that you just needed to have to run a modern legal operation back in the day.
Joe Patrice: Right.
Elie Mystal: However, I am sure if you took me back to 1987, you would find a lot of lawyers who are just like why can’t I just hire Bugzy who has his motorbike and he goes down to file it himself, right, like trying to get law firms even in 1985 to go, to understand that a fax machine was better, was difficult, right. So, what’s the technology today that all kind of modern law firms should have, but there is still some firms kind of resisting and holding out?
Joe Patrice: Well the thing that everybody definitely has to have is security, this becoming the next Panama Papers is, is a risk. And they need to have security and they need to get and I think one of things that’s happened over the six years that I have been coming to this show that’s been encouraging is at least at shows like this, you are starting to see more people have some comfortability with the concept of the cloud. I think everyone has kind of reach that point, at least at this show, though I do know that there are people who don’t come to this show who aren’t tech savvy, who probably haven’t, but that realization that yes, it’s scary that your data goes somewhere else, but it goes somewhere else because they are going to watch that basket better than you ever will. Like, Microsoft is not going to let somebody get in that basket whereas in your closet that could easily happen.
So cybersecurity and faith in the cloud I think is very important. I think that people need to start thinking about mobility a lot more. I think that the cost of getting an office, I mean I did a story about Aaron Fox last year touring their offices and it’s also kind of true about White & Case, whose offices I toured, everybody is leaning towards smaller offices, smaller footprints, because it’s expensive to have these offices and people have the tools to work from home. So if you can work securely and efficiently from other locations, that’s technology that everyone needs.
Elie Mystal: You are right Joe, Microsoft is not going to let you get into that basket, though that does remind me I need to turn off the Kremlin App on my FaceTime to make sure that Apple wasn’t spying on me.
Joe Patrice: Right. But those —
Elie Mystal: It happens all the time when you are talking about data breaches all the time, like I — again, I don’t want to be told, I don’t want to tell the cloud to get off my lawn, but there is a reasonable fear that the major global corporation is not going to care about your small time law data as much as they are going to care about fortnights data, and if fortnights data can be broken into what is Apple, what is Google, what are these services going to do really protect your client secrets.
Joe Patrice: Well sure, there is no guarantees in this universe. I am just saying that you are playing the odds, right, the odds are, they are going to do a better job of it than your IT person who may or may not be that all that savvy with this sort of thing. And these companies are spending and yes, they are getting breached here and there, but they are investing in the best people for this and that’s all you really can do, but yeah —
Elie Mystal: I thought you were going to go to someone, I don’t think you were going say cybersecurity, although I think that’s when you say that’s probably the right answer. I thought you were going to go towards case management, because it just seems to me that like they are again back in the day, if you went back to 1986 there are lawyers who have their file cabinets and they are committed to their Dewey Decimal System, right and then you have to bring them slowly, oh here is an iMac, the files are in the computer, like you had to bring them slowly there, now having kind of up to date modern case management software seems like just a necessity that a lot of firms are still resistant.
Joe Patrice: Yes, no, I definitely think that you need to have a good practice management whether its case or matter, transactional matter, and I think that’s very true of the smaller places and that’s where — that’s a sort of thing that places like Clio do offer those customizable panes that you can look at and just kind of run your practice through.
No, I think that’s important. I also think depending on what your practice is you are probably going to need a document management system and that’s what something that I manage which I always had when I was —
Elie Mystal: Wait, what’s wrong with Google Docs?
Joe Patrice: It’s not nearly as robust as what you are going to want. And that’s the thing like I worked at a big firm, we had iManage back in the day. iManage basically, as far as I could tell all it did was save my documents and put that little number at the bottom. But now, what does — so you talked to them now about the sorts of things they do, their logic is your knowledge base is sitting there what can we do with it.
They have AI built in so that you can start searching through the history of your firm’s documents for the things that you need by running these smart searches that are learning where things are, how things are coded, the language that you need to be using, it’s valuable stuff. And I think that’s been a grill trend that I’ve seen the last couple of tech shows is this move of people to say, I have a bunch of stuff now because of what I have been doing, but I have been doing document management, so I have all this stuff, what can I now do with the stuff that I have that like maybe a value add.
I mean I’ve heard document review companies talking about how we now are thinking of offering more consulting side services because we have all this stuff and we can run searches on it and learn everything about it. We’re actually put aside the litigation, we’re now the people in a good position to walk up and say did you know you’re overspending on paper here or whatever, because they can do that because they have all the emails and everything because of running them for a compliance side because that’s the other trend.
The reactive document review is giving way to more in-house counsel saying, I want everything always to be saved so that I can run compliance so.
Elie Mystal: Let’s close with the other big trend that you were talking about earlier in terms of where we are at in terms of legal tech adoption, are we still in the kind of learning curve, innovation phase or are we now bring more mature products to market.
Joe Patrice: I think there is definitely a maturity trend. When at least when I first started coming to these shows, I felt like there was more of that kind of exciting Wild West of look what I just invented. Now, I feel like that happens occasionally but more or less the people I meet with are you know us, we’ve been doing this for a few years now, here’s the little things we’re doing, here’s the ways we’re just making it faster, more efficient, easier for you.
It’s not — and that’s a good thing, like it may be make for a few less sexy headlines but it’s a good thing for the industry.
Elie Mystal: How do you write that press release?
Joe Patrice: Yeah I mean it exactly right.
Elie Mystal: Our product now 1.3% better.
Joe Patrice: Yeah and I mean that is kind of how they do it, but you got to kind of view those things as good news. So I think that’s been a trend in a lot of these vendors you’ve seen for a while and the ones that you haven’t that aren’t here anymore, got absorbed into a bigger behemoth somewhere along the way most likely. So just make it think better.
Elie Mystal: Well I’m glad you’ve been here all week.
Joe Patrice: I am too, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun.
Elie Mystal: Glad that I have not had to be here all week because I really need to pee now.
Joe Patrice: Okay.
Elie Mystal: And I’ve only been here for a few hours.
Joe Patrice: Okay cool. We barely talked, I think we’ve only been talking for like 15 minutes or something like that, yeah.
Elie Mystal: You are kidding me, right?
Joe Patrice: I mean at least that clock.
Elie Mystal: Come on this off air. I’ve used all my jokes.
Joe Patrice: Wow. You are just really in a dry spell or is it just you’re on TV so much now that you use all your good jokes on other people.
Elie Mystal: I use a lot of good jokes on TV and they’re all based on like Lindsey Graham now and I don’t have the trend, the segue from Lindsey Graham to your document –
Joe Patrice: To real killer Lexis joke.
Elie Mystal: Yeah to your document management system, I don’t have that Club in my bag.
Joe Patrice: Oh that’s a shame, yeah.
Elie Mystal: Well what else do you want to talk about then, we can just cut this out.
Joe Patrice: Or not, I mean I don’t know this is gold here, this is what people are coming to us here.
Elie Mystal: Elie Phil.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, so it’s been good. I think one of the things we talked about was whether or not a show like this to the extent you feel you need a show where everyone gets together from a networking perspective is New York where you want to be, if it is or if it isn’t, fine, if it is, maybe not Midtown so it’ll be cheaper.
The expenses of this place are astounding. The horror story I heard the other day of certain vendor had two suites upstairs and they wanted to have coffee and tea for two days. So what do you think coffee and tea service for two rooms for two days would run you?
Elie Mystal: In New York City this is like –
Joe Patrice: In this hotel, yeah.
Elie Mystal: This is like the Howard Schultz like do you know what a box of Cheerios cost?
Joe Patrice: Sort of yes.
Elie Mystal: I have no idea.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah.
Elie Mystal: I live in the suburbs. I have two kids. I know how much box of Cheerios cost.
Joe Patrice: Right, do you have — do you want — throw a number.
Elie Mystal: Look, you want a room and you want tea.
Joe Patrice: No, they’ve got the room is they just want –
Elie Mystal: They have got the room. They just want the tea service.
Joe Patrice: They just want tea, hot water and coffee.
Elie Mystal: Oh that can’t be more than – that can’t be more than hundred bucks.
Joe Patrice: It can. Yeah.
Elie Mystal: How much?
Joe Patrice: $5,700.
Elie Mystal: That’s for boiled water and some leaves.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah.
Elie Mystal: Man see they are having in the wrong places, you go down a Canal Street they can get you some hot water and leaves for like 8:15, right, like that’s not a problem, but when you’re saying like oh should they even come to New York anymore, I mean we just started, we were just talking about how maybe a conference like this doesn’t need to exist at all.
Joe Patrice: Oh yeah.
Elie Mystal: If you’re going to have the conference exists at all, then you have to give people a place where they might actually want to come to, and they might actually — they feel important in New York. That’s the thing about New York that does better than any other city on the planet. It makes you feel important when you’re here, right.
I’m not saying it’s the best city in terms of like culture or food or whatever but there is no city like New York that you roll into and you’re walking around Midtown with a little badge on your vest, with a little, little something in your pocket and you feel like you’re Leonardo DiCaprio, you’re king of the world. You don’t feel that in San Diego when you go to San Diego.
Joe Patrice: Capping on San Diego, he’s in the room.
Elie Mystal: Being in San Diego is just like I like some good Mexican now right, but you don’t feel like particularly like a 00:16:15 industry, you want to bring these people here to make them feel like they are super important, the only place to do that is New York.
Joe Patrice: Yeah no, I mean I agree. I think we kind of all concluded that New York was where we wanted to show, we just suggested whether or not it might be easier, because part of the issue is that the floor plan is hard. The way these buildings are, there’s not a huge like you go to a town that’s very much about conferences. You go to Vegas that Exhibit Hall is one giant room that everything’s in, here it’s on multiple floors and different little corners.
So maybe the issue is we need to find the places in New York that are that big, whether it’s a Javits Center or whatever.
Elie Mystal: Can’t do this in LA, ain’t nobody in this hotel pretty enough to be in LA.
Joe Patrice: Literally nobody is talking about moving at this point, I’m literally just said New York.
Elie Mystal: The way that you were dog in my city.
Joe Patrice: I was not, I was saying we would want to stay in New York and we need to find a different hotel that like had that sort of thing and those are hard to find in Midtown and maybe that’s the reason it goes to Brooklyn or something like that.
Elie Mystal: Now you sound like Amazon though, right?
Joe Patrice: Well –
Elie Mystal: Let’s go to Long Island City, there’s a lot of space there. No, like if you want to have this kind of conference Midtown, Manhattan is probably the best place for it. Yes, it’s expensive, also you’re expensing it, aren’t you?
Joe Patrice: Right.
Elie Mystal: But what’s the point of having all that venture capital money if you can’t pay $1,500 for tea.
Joe Patrice: Right, well I mean that is true. The company that was complaining about it does have several, several million dollars. So maybe, maybe you’ve got a point. But yeah, no, it’s interesting. I do think that there’s probably other ways of organizing.
Elie Mystal: If we’re going to talk really about like making a conference like this better, what I would ask you is like what different things should people be doing at their booths.
Joe Patrice: Right.
Elie Mystal: Right because like the booth set up and if you’ve never been to one of these, it’s exactly what you think, everybody’s got like a stall and you walk through and they’ve got like maybe like some Tic Tacs or like a key chain if they’re really going for it and they have like their big logo and like a laptop right and again, now that you’ve got me thinking about, this is like old school like selling a copier thing.
When they were selling copiers man, they had dancing people and not a lot of clothes and they were bringing them in and they were like on the copier and you could like imagine yourself like copying things, right and that’s just not what we have today.
Joe Patrice: I am so confident that isn’t true. However, I kind of am leaning towards I think the — you need something, potentially one thing that Bob Ambrogi mentioned the other day was Clio runs their own conference, one of the things they do is they’re kind of communists about booths. They don’t let people play around with it, everyone gets the same kind of booth to put their logo on.
And meetings can flow out of foot traffic but by doing that, by making things small, they’re able to efficiently put it so that you actually have to walk by in the natural flow of traffic everybody’s booth. Here, you have to go out of your way to go into halls; whereas, there it’s on your path to the keynote.
So that was an idea that was mentioned and yeah, I mean it’s a hard job, right and we don’t begrudge like ALM does a great job of trying to make a lot of different stakeholders happy, but we just thought it was a useful conversation as people who come here a lot and have different perspectives and so that was what we did on Monday, it was very productive.
Elie Mystal: Have we filled now?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I think, I think we’re good. So anyways —
Elie Mystal: Because I got dangerously close to suggesting that they hire prostitutes for their products, which is not what I wanted to suggest.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, you were getting there.
Elie Mystal: But I saw it from where my mouth was so like I need to get off the mic now, so I am trying to.
Joe Patrice: Fair enough. Okay, so we will do that. So thank you for listening. Thanks for us being here, thanks us.
Elie Mystal: Thanks us.
Joe Patrice: Thanks us, yeah. Thanks for listening. You should be subscribe, you should be giving reviews, write things down about how awesome we are, it helps the algorithms pick up how and give us some more play. You should also be following us on Twitter. I’m @JosephPatrice, he’s @ElieNYC, you can read Above the Law, you should watch him on TV, he’s on it a lot.
And with that, I think — oh and thanks to Smith.ai for sponsoring and that is everything, so talk to you later.
Elie Mystal: They should never let us record when it’s below 30 degrees outside.
Joe Patrice: Next week we should have special guests, so that’ll be exciting and cool.
Elie Mystal: Peace.
Joe Patrice: All right, bye.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Above the Law's Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice examine everyday topics through the prism of a legal framework.
Revisiting the St. Louis AR-15 Couple.
Last week provided a cavalcade of news stories.
Two big opinions take surprising turns.
There are some very ill-informed things being said about this case... mostly by the DOJ.
The George Floyd killing is inspiring law firms to reconsider their policies, while bar exams ask applicants to sign liability waivers.
Everything appears to be unraveling apace.