March 24, 2022
As everyone eases into 2022, we gradually see what this year has to offer. The goals that were set at the start of the year are now taking shape while still discovering better ways to do work. The end of the first quarter is a great time to review what happened in the legal tech industry and remind ourselves of the great things our community achieved.
In the past two years, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, traditional working culture and routines have remarkably changed. Many companies have embraced remote working, which many of them have initially only reluctantly accepted at first. In a 2021 report from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, they found that 66% of employers around the world are changing their workforce strategies to accommodate hybrid work arrangements.
The success of virtual gatherings and events despite the connection challenges has been revolutionary. As the initial flurry of conferences was cancelled in 2020, in 2021 we saw companies, small businesses, contractors, and everyone in between meet in newly reconfigured virtual events that otherwise would not be possible if attempted face to face. In a time when technology is our tool of choice to connect with each other, and as streaming gains popularity, these events gave us a chance to catch up and to plan ahead in a new way and with the perspective of more of our colleagues:
- Legalweek(year) - As one of the biggest legal technology events of 2021, ALM transformed this annual event into a truly annual event: Legalweek(year). This innovative conference consisted of a series of five interactive virtual events held throughout the year, each of which focused on different changes in the legal landscape.
- ILTACON - Held annually by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), the 4 ILTACON was held as a hybrid event, with both virtual and in-person events where attendees were able to join sessions on topics such as hybrid working environments, talent development, and maximizing productivity in uncertain times.
- CLOC Global Institute - CLOC provided a virtual experience for four days with engaging live Q&A with industry leaders and experts, dedicated executive programming, and events planned to “disrupt the business of law”.
- World Technology Law Conference – For the 49th consecutive year the event ran from June 8, 2021 - June 10, 2021. A networking event where goers were able to interact through interactive workshops, virtual breakout tables, multiple groups, and a chance to jump into different conversations. Legal Geek attendees are diverse individuals from corporate law departments, law firms, private investors and regulators.
Legal Tech Growth
The legal technology industry is flourishing with innovative ideas. The increasing popularity of Software as an Application products (SaaS), paired with the distinctive digital demands brought by COVID-19 restrictions pushed this insular industry into finally adopting new legal technologies.
Law departments have seen great opportunities for more tech funding. Last year, several legal tech companies went public to support the growth of their team's expansion, enter global markets, and upgrade and improve their products.
LegalZoom’s IPO share price spiked almost 40% on the first day of its trading and DISCO’s price also increased by 28% on IPO day.
Similarly, we should celebrate Everlaw and Clio joining the ranks of legal technology companies in "unicorn status" by being valued at over $1 billion.
As law firms and in-house legal teams continue to seek new ways to improve, we see that tech adoption among legal professionals is still in its early days.
As a consequence of the growing reliance on a remote working model, more information is at risk and we have seen cybercrimes increase. Attackers have identified and capitalized on early vulnerability as businesses scrambled to get enough secure devices out to their workforce.
In a 2021 CheckPoint Research on cybersecurity, the average weekly number of ransomware attacks increased 93% over the past 12 months. In another report, the average cost of data losses reached $4.24 million per incident in 2020, which is the highest in 17 years.
To combat the growing number of concerns, stringent regulations have emerged. In the state of California, the groundbreaking California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has been amended by California Governor Gavin Newsom to the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will be effective starting January 1, 2023, with a 12-month look-back period.
Following in its steps, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam on March 2, 2021, which made Virginia the second state to have consumer privacy and data security law. Not long after, the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis.
Globally, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continues to influence how data protection laws, extending their reach to include Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, India, Singapore, Thailand, and China, which are in the process of defining their own privacy laws.
Reflecting on our community’s important events from the last year provides a glimpse into how far we have come and of what is yet to come.
We have learned from the past two years that the legal industry is resilient and adaptable to changes. Moving forward into 2022 may be full of unexpected challenges, but we believe it is those opportunities that give birth to innovation and ingenuity that the legal industry is known for.
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