Ask yourself: When's the last time you saw something truly "new" at LegalTech?

I'm not referring to a new version of a product. Or a new feature. Or a new face in the booth. I'm referring to something that you intuitively realize will create a profound impact on the way you work.

About five or six years ago, I was sitting in a demo session for an ediscovery company that was showing off its new "predictive coding" engine. First, the vendor explained how most law firms handle document review, highlighting the inefficiencies and frustrations. Then he introduced features like concept mapping, phrase analysis, and, of course, predictive coding - letting the computer determine the relevance of a document.

As I watched the demo continue, it became clear: "This is going to make document review fundamentally better and easier." At the time, I'd been helping on a document review project, scanning through thousands of non-responsive documents, trying alongside my peers to create a consistent and accurate production set. It was tedious work. And what I saw during the demo was something completely wonderful.

At LegalTech, you hear marketing-speak all day long, with companies touting their products. "We do collaboration! We do file sharing! We make you more efficient!" For most of us, these buzzwords have lost so much meaning, whatever power they used to have is gone. Now when someone comes along and tells you, "Check out our amazing new ________________!", you would be justified to turn around and run.

So when you are at LegalTech this year, here's a quick reference guide to what's not new:

  • if the product has a version number in the double digits, it's not new.
  • if the product doesn't have some web or mobile component, it's not new.
  • if the product's website isn't responsive - meaning it doesn't adjust when you re-size your browser window - the product itself is probably not new.
  • if the product adds a feature that you thought it should have already included, that's not new, either.

By contrast, some things really are new. Those things create an "ah-ha" moment where everything clicks and you realize that what you were doing before is about to change. Here's a list of some of the traits common among products that are truly new:

  • truly new products solve a problem you didn't know you had - or you didn't know could be solved.
  • truly new products open your mind to better ways of working (that feel much less like work).
  • truly new products create efficiencies and cost-savings opportunities that were impossible before.

These moments of discovering something new happen everywhere. At a product seminar while watching a demo. On the sidewalk after using a ride-sharing app for the first time. In front of your laptop during your first video chat. Even at a trade show.

So when you are walking the exhibit hall at LegalTech next week, be on the lookout for something truly new.

Of course, we think you might find it at Booth 1616. It's our first appearance at LegalTech, so we feel confident in saying, "Hi, we're new here."