Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad at ACEDS Conference booth

The Storm is Coming: The Storm is Here

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ACEDS and our media partner, HipCounsel, participated in the CLOC conference this week.  CLOC2018, held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, was more than double last years’ attendance and from the looks of it, almost triple the exhibitors.

Who doesn’t want to be in a casino with a legal entrepreneur named Cash Butler?  Cash, the CEO of ClariLegal, brought his brother (#ButlerBroz) to work the floor with his NewLaw procurement platform.

The swagger and power of the corporate legal operations professionals was on full display. The mood was a bit LegalTech-ish regarding booth and demo avoidance, with many activities and deals off the floor and in ancillary hotels.

Susan Hackett, CEO of Legal Executive Leadership, LLP and former GC of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) pointed to the irony of the announced revenue and profit rankings of the AmLaw 100 while the Corporate Legal Operations professionals were focused on saving money for their organizations.  The profits listed in the rankings are up for a “distribution of wealth” according to Susan.  [Susan Hackett keynoted the ACEDS National Conference in 2015].

Major realignments seemed to be the talk of the week, with Elevate, Valorem and Jeff Ford combining with a “moonshot goal” of a 70% reduction in via a new law firm called elevateNext.  All three have real street cred for disrupting:  Jeff was one of the GC’s driving the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Value Challenge, the precursor to CLOC.  Nicole Auerbach and Patrick Lamb of Valorem shocked the legal market over a decade ago with their fixed fee models.  Elevate is a highly successful NewLaw entrant.

Erik Laykin and the team Duff and Phelps acquired from Kroll were out in force, as was Mark Yacano who introduced a new advisory service from Major, Lindsay & Africa.  Drawing from his experience at Wright Robinson where he was one of the first eDiscovery attorneys to provide metrics to his corporate clients, and his work with LPO as a business leader at Hudson Legal, Mark has a paragraph based AI and human capital offering which optimizes contract analytics.  We’re very excited he will also be taking his CEDS exam soon.

ACEDS was well represented with Chapter Leaders Matt Mahon and Shaun Sullivan from San Francisco, David Kinnear from New York, Doug Kaminski from Chicago, Caroline Sweeney from the Twin Cities and James MacGregor from the UK participating with their organizations.  We are very grateful to James MacGregor for volunteering to work in the ACEDS booth, one of our betas.  Our Chapter leaders joined ACEDS and Relativity for a Guild dinner at Beauty & Essex, a wonderful venue.

Another beta was conference coverage via webinar.  While we didn’t quite get video for livestreaming over our ON24 webinar platform, we did get audio.   At one point we had four reporters interviewing our affiliate partners.  David Kinnear, James MacGregor and Kaylee Walstad interviewed teams Ricoh, ZyLAB, Exterro, Hire Counsel, Catalyst and Relativity, along with a few new friends.  The conference bandwidth supported livestreaming sporadically, so look for some recorded videos about the substantive content over the next couple weeks.

David Kinnear, founder and CEO of High Performance Counsel introduced HPC TV – a ground-breaking new video channel for the legal industry. The channel will help highlight individuals, organizations and solutions driving change and innovation in the legal industry over the next ten years. One of its stated aims is to help clients and providers alike in visually distilling what’s out there and how product “X” or provider “Y” is different from ”Z.” David speaks to a wave of consolidation and intensely competitive markets with new players coming into the sector. Says David: “There is an energy in the room like the tension before a tropical storm, which I sense will play out over the next year and a half to two years.  Not all the players that will emerge victorious are yet visible, but the rumblings are there for those who can hear the early thunder. The storm is imminent.”

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