This post was written by Jeff Friedman, director of marketing, Westlaw CaseLogistix

LegalTech New York rarely surprises.  It’s always at the Hilton.  It’s always at the end of January / beginning of February.  It’s always cold.  It always features new technology.

After all the show is called LegalTech – as much emphasis on the ‘tech’ as the ‘legal.’  Most of the usual players did not disappoint: a new black box here, a triangle graph there.  But a growing cadre of booths, vendors and speakers have seemingly taken a step backward.  Project management?  Wait, that’s not exclusively legal.  And it certainly doesn’t center on technology.  Has the certainty of LegalTech been replaced by chaos?

Over the last 18 months, a growing emphasis on project management has emerged from the shadows.  The post-financial crisis era has brought new waves of discovery challenges.  Exploding volumes of data.  Proliferation of social media and cloud storage.  The biggest challenge, however, is less about getting the latest tool or a “Simple” button, and more about properly utilizing the right tool(s.)  A friend of mine once said that the best search engine for a box sitting in a basement is a flashlight.  The push for project management may stem from greater corporate client influences or a need to protect margins or maybe the realization that Six Sigma is more than voodoo.  Regardless, project management methodology appears to be this year’s common thread.

Buyers and tools/services across the show are taking note… And as I get more time to observe I’ll talk about each over the next couple days.

Temps in New York City this week are expected in the mid to high 50’s and LegalTech has a project management theme.  Chaos?  Not so much.  But maybe a bit of surprise.

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