Reflecting on Reinvent Law NYC, 2014

Today I am reflecting on the Reinvent Law conference held in New York on February 7, 2014. Seldom, if ever, in my life has one day made such a positive difference to my professional career. It may seem self-indulgent to write about this event three years on, but I think it’s worth sharing. If only because it involves so many people in the Remaking Law Firms community to whom I am grateful and indebted.

As I understand it, the several Reinvent Law conferences were (past tense regrettably) the brain child of Dan Katz and Renee Knake. The ABA’s Storify puts the essence of the 2014 NYC Reinvent Law conference idea beautifully:

An engaging, fast-paced format. The conference is aimed at anyone interested in the future of law or the intersection of law, technology, and entrepreneurship. Lawyers, technology specialists, social media enthusiasts, bloggers, entrepreneurs, telecom experts, venture capitalists, academics, students and journalists were all in attendance

Some 800 people engaged with 34 speakers and discussants (click the image for a full set of videos) in an electrifying exploration of much that’s new and challenging in the legal services supply chain for consumers and businesses. 

From memory and in no particular order, those I met included Nicole Bradick, Joshua Kubicki, Joshua Lenon, Jason Moyse, Peter Carayiannis, Paul Lippe, Karl Chapman, Andy Dawes, Lisa Damon, Susan Hackett, Bill Henderson, Aric Press, David Perla, Larry Bridgesmith, Rob Saccone, Eva Bruch, Silvia Hodges Silverstein, Lee Pacchia, Mark Cohen, Rubson Ho, Kevin Colangelo, Richard Susskind, Patrick Lamb, Jeff Carr, Dan Katz, Ron Friedmann, Dan Lear, and Noah Waisberg. Please let me know if I have overlooked anyone. 

Reflecting on Reinvent Law

Reinvent Law, NYC 2014 …

  • Enabled a high impact soft launch pad for my collaboratively authored e-book NewLaw New Rules that had gone live 6 weeks earlier, in late December 2013. This book firmly established the idea of NewLaw and BigLaw as monikers for contrasting business models in the global legal services vernacular. Remarkably–but perhaps unsurprisingly–14 of the 35 contributors to the NewLaw Rules manuscript were in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union that day.
  • Stimulated the idea that became our Remaking Law Firms: Why & How book, published by the American Bar Association in March 2016. The idea occurred to me in the afternoon break while talking with two attorneys from a BigLaw Texas-based firm. Their question “What’s all this mean to us?” arose from their disclosed anxiety of being left behind in the rapidly evolving legal services environment. I regret I didn’t keep a note of their names, so I don’t know how they have fared. 
  • Led to an invitation from Joshua Lenon to speak the Clio September 2014 Chicago conference, which helped make possible a visit to Toronto during the same trip (it’s a long way from Melbourne to North America!). Toronto, I caught up with Peter Carayiannis, Jason Moyse and Rubson Ho. Through the good auspices of Jason and Rubson I met Fred Headon, then chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s inquiry into the future of legal services and now president of the CBA. Fred wrote a graciously complimentary pre-publication testimonial for Remaking Law Firms that is undoubtedly contributing to our sales in Canada.  

Reinvent Law lessons I have learned

  1. It may be obvious, but is worth re-stating, there is no substitute for personal contact to establish a relationship. Social media are brilliantly effective and efficient in sustaining relationships, but much less so in the early stages.   
  2. Not all conferences are equal. On time and dollar investment criteria, Reinvent Law massively out-rates any conference I have attended. I know not why Reinvent Law no longer runs, but I do know a successor is needed.
  3. As Marshall McLuhan showed, the ‘unconference’ format of Reinvent Law was a major contributor to the value of the content.

Until next time. And hoping it’s not too far away.





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