Having finally returned to East Lansing earlier today, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on my second Reinvent Conference, which occurred at the historic Cooper's Union in New York City.
As a student of Professors Dan Katz and Renee Newman Knake, Reinvent Law NYC 2014 feels like the capstone to many of the courses I have taken with both. Ever since attending my first conference in London last summer, I have tried to immerse myself deeper in this rich and exciting culture of start-ups, entrepreneurs, academics, and practitioners. With that said, there were many times during the conference when I felt star-struck by so much talent within one room.
As compared to London, there were many more speakers at the NYC event, which I did not think made the conference drag at all. Each presenter spoke on rather unique concepts, with topics ranging from the client's perspective on legal needs, different entrepreneurial start-ups within this space, and a few academic pieces on emerging trends in the industry.
In addition to Reinvent NYC, I attended LegalTech the day before. Its hard to compare the two events, because they clearly cater to different crows, but I found the energy at Reinvent to be unparalleled at any other professional conference I have attended. Perhaps the speakers felt the need to channel the venue's rich history for great speeches. My last point about LegalTech is that there did appear to be an incredible number of E-discovery firms, with several of the start-ups that Reinvent follows having booths at the event as well. Having spoken with several of the presenters and thinkers in this space at Reinvent, many believe that the E-discovery field will start to dwindle down as acquisitions began to take hold and new entrants fade.
LegalTech aside, I don't think I could do justice to the great number of presenters at the conference. The list also included several Reinvent Law students themselves, all of whom had to present in the 6-minute ignite presentation style with auto advancing slides.
While all the presentations were fantastic, I did want to take a moment to highlight a few of my favorites. First, Joshua Kubicki took a moment to bring all the founders of legal technology start-ups to the stage for a moment of recognition for bringing their dreams to life. I thought this was a fantastic moment to give recognition to the trailblazers. Next, Susan Hackett and Jeffrey Carr gave presentations pleading with practitioners to recognize the needs of the client, or else clients will move on or create their own legal needs. Many other presenters echoed the client-need based model at the conference, and it is a core principle we focus on at Reinvent Law here at Michigan State.
Finally, Michigan State's Own R. Amani Smathers presented on the "T-shape" as applied to the legal profession moving forward, a concept IBM utilizes. I found her presentation to be a great encapsulation of many of the concepts we focus on at Reinvent Law, because the classes are geared towards creating a breadth of knowledge in a variety of fields law students may not normally be exposed to, including design thinking and project management, while students still focus and fulfill their substantive legal training.
In closing, Reinvent Law NYC 2014 was a tremendous success in my eyes and a real rock-show for those of us nerds who love this space. I look forward to the next Reinvent conference and to continue to follow the progress of the start-ups and thinkers involved in this space.