CodeX FutureLaw 2018 Conference – Innovation Under the Redwoods

Last week I attended the sixth annual CodeX FutureLaw Conference, under the canopy of the redwoods on the Stanford University campus. I did not know entirely what to expect, but as my office is a few miles down El Camino Real from Stanford, I thought that it was worth investigating. I found the event to be stimulating and I would like to share what I  learned so that others may consider attending FutureLaw in the future.

What is CodeX? It is a Stanford group, associated with the Law School, whose mission is to create legal technology that empowers all parties. It is ably headed up by Dr. Roland Vogl.

The gist of the FutureLaw 2018 Conference is a coming together of a community of legal technology leaders both at legal institutions and at law firms with legal tech entreprenuers. The sessions focused on current topics which are impacting the practice of law. The panelists were mainly from big law firms or were legal tech entrepreuers. Of the attendees with whom I spoke with, all were lawyers and most were principals of legal tech startups. It very much felt like a community. People were open and were there to learn and network.

As an attendee, I appreciated that the sessions were very practical. The panel, “Using AI to Power ‘Push’ Legal Research,” was not some wildly futurist thing, but it tackled the tricky real-world challenge of getting very busy, autonomous and skeptical attorneys to take in new information. The panel on Blockchain, “Beyond ICOs – Blockchain as Legal Tech,” was a terrific introduction to Blockchain, how it is currently used and how it will be used, for example, to validate authenticity of a transaction. It was very nuts and bolts for a Blockchain panel, with kudos to the panelists.

FutureLaw was bookended with keynotes on legal technology, from its slow adoption on one hand, to the changes instigated by Avvo (legal services marketplace) on the other. It was an honor to hear these two women speak.

Morning Keynote: Hilarie Bass, President of the American Bar Association and Co-President, Greenberg Traurig. I recommend that you read about her talk at the two links below.

Afternoon Keynote: Doborah Rhode, Stanford Professor of Law. She is the most frequently cited scholar on legal ethics. She told us a story of advocating for legal rights which dated back to her first year in law school at Yale then proceded to a recent study on legal services, using Avvo to illustrate.

As an “Earlybird” registrant I paid $225 for the entire day with breakfast, lunch, and after-conference reception. Quite reasonable. There are lower fees for students. If you are eligible for MCLE credit, 5.5 General Hours were offered.

Here is a link to the FutureLaw 2018 Agenda

And links to a couple of recommended posts on the conference:

-We Can’t All Be ‘Big Law’ Partners and Other Takeaways From Stanford’s #FutureLaw Conference – by Ben Hancock

-Stanford’s CodeX FutureLaw Conference — How the Legal Profession Plans To Keep Up With Technology – by Sarah Brooks

Lastly, to convey a sense of the setting, a photo of the Hoover Tower at Stanford. The photo is so iconic that I must add that I took it myself with an iPhone 7.

Stanford Hoover Tower FutureLaw 2018.jpg

Maureen Blando is the President and COO of Mobile Helix, makers of the LINK Encrypted App for Lawyers. LINK is used by lawyers and legal staff to work with documents and email from mobile devices. 

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