In case you didn’t know, LegalTech New York (#ltny) was last week.
Let’s first dispense with the elephant in the room: social media. There was some grumbling about few sessions, one for sure and one from Kroll on Track that was billed as “Trends in Social Media and Cloud Computing” but turned out to be just a primer on cloud computing. How disappointing.
Tim Baran let it be known that the lack of social media adoption might be due to the fact that LegalTech New York is vendor driven. That is an understatement. Social media, at least Twitter, was in heavy use MAINLY BY VENDORS tweeting about their booth and give aways. It often seemed as if us attendees were incapable of reading signs or a map of the trade show. Needless to say, ALM has its work cut out for it in sifting through the #ltny Twitter feed. I have to wonder if they think it’s even worth the effort to find those useful nuggets from attendees that have since been swallowed by vendor tweets. Gone are the days when a conference got kudos merely for having a hash tag, it seems, or even simply allowing the use of social networks like Twitter.
All was not lost, however.
Though Kroll on Track incorrectly labeled its session on social media and cloud computing, it did offer one nugget that continues to be ignored by most, though not by eDiscovery vendors.
The nugget? Social media is a boon to eDiscovery. And it behooves lawyers to view it less through the continuous “marketing” pitch and more through the “underutilized utility” lens. Lawyers would be wise to start participating in social media, if they haven’t already, more to gain an understanding of how the various platforms work so when it comes time to present information at trial, they can better educate the courts and the public on the kinds of repercussions, and benefits, all this sharing can have.
There was a case brought up at the tail end of the Kroll session, Crispin I believe, that made a point of listing the judge as asking about the privacy settings of a Facebook page in order to ascertain exactly what expectation was set for the viewing of information. Yes. A judge. A judge wanted to know about Facebook privacy settings in order to better understand an expectation of privacy.
And this is where ALM and LegalTech New York can really shine since it is more like an eDiscovery Showcase. Social media can be viewed as yet another treasure trove of information, information lawyers want to protect their clients. They get that information from eDiscovery vendors, and from their clients, but if they don’t have an understanding of how Facebook operates v. Twitter v. LinkedIN or any of the other sites, they are not going to be able to protect their clients. Or they aren’t going to be able to find the information necessary to win their case.
LegalTech New York could do wonders of getting lawyers and other legal professionals off the “social media as marketing tool” bandwagon and onto the next level: eDiscovery, understanding and preparation to win cases.