In a session at AALL called “Hot Topic: Technological Innovation in the Practice of Law,” three panelists spoke about what innovation means to them and precautions people need to take when being innovative.

Daniel Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Ravel Law started things off by talking about how innovation is not about replacing lawyers, like some may fear. It’s about giving them better tools to do their jobs. Pablo Arredondo, vice president of Legal Research at Casetext and fellow at Stanford Center of Legal Informatics agreed, saying that if people really want to know about Big Data, they should look at the collective brains of legal researchers, who are doing innovative things in that area every day.

Lance Hayden, managing director at Berkeley Research Group, went on to say that innovation isn’t necessary about doing things that are new. “It’s about taking things that have been done before and tweaking them to make them better,” adding that innovation doesn’t just stop when you have a new product.

“Interesting innovation is what happens when you take a piece of technology and release into a socio-economic environment,” said Hayden. “People take your product, make it their own and build on it. Innovation is a conversation between users and designers and it feeds on itself.”

The panelists then switched to the topic of security. While security is top of mind for a lot of law firms, they don’t always want to put in the money and resources it takes to keep things as secure as they can be. Hayden noted that when he walked through the exhibit hall at AALL, he saw several signs advertising help with “uploading to the cloud.” But how do people know that is secure, he asked.

So what can people do to be careful? According to Hayden, people need to educate themselves with as much information as possible. “It’s an awareness battle,” he said.

The panelists ended their session by talking about how law librarians have the unique opportunity to help educate people on security issues and much more. “There is an activist component to being a librarian,” noted Hayden. “I want to change the world a bit and make it better for those in it. Librarians are about introducing people to information they didn’t know was available to them, and security is just one of those pieces of information.”


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