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Masters Conference Dallas TX 2019 Recap

AI, Bid Data, Blockchain and the Internet of Things

When it comes to lively discussion, The Masters Conference always delivers! Panels at this year’s Dallas event, held at the offices of Jones Day, reflected the comradery of the industry. Professionals from multiple business sectors and legal disciplines met to explore and share their wealth of experience in an interactive and collegial setting.

Our very own Trent Livingston was privileged to be able to moderate an exciting and highly interactive panel providing the Legal Update on IoT for 2019, which kicked off first thing after registration. The audience was fantastic and interactive, posing intuitive questions of the IoT panelists comprised of Matt Acosta of Jackson Walker, Priya Keshav of Meru Data LLC, and Shawn McBride of McBride for Business, LLC. Topics ranged from new and evolving “smart” device technology to the evolving challenges the Internet of Things presents to the legal community.

While we were not able to attend every panel, given the plethora of topics to choose from, we were able to attend Berkeley Research Group’s panel on Adopting Analytics in Legal Practice, moderated by BRG’s own Alex Jacobs. Panelist’s included Kristin Edstrom of Fidelity Investments, Oran Sears of Canopy, Eric Schwarz of Ernst & Young, and Todd Ranta of PwC. Focused on TAR (Technology Assisted Review), the panel was highly engaging and help shed light on new ways to approach legal review leveraging machine learning.

The dollar value of a matter often dictates counsel’s ability to take on a case, preventing many from seeking out our legal system as a viable alternative for dispute resolution. Echoing Ms. Fraley, Mr. Livingston cited data analytics as being a powerful method to reduce overall case costs in order to address this crisis.

Of course no legal conference would be complete without a rousing talk on blockchain, which is transforming many industries, including making vast in-roads into legal practices nationwide. Deborah Hoffman, Esq. moderated this thought leadership panel that included Danny Thankachan of Blank Rome, LLC, James Cox of Jones Day, Sean White of He3Labs, LLC and Cijoy Ollickal of Plymouth.AI.

Beyond the panels, The Masters Conference has recently introduced a series of TED-style talks after the midday lunch break that have proven to be quite popular. Elizabeth M. Fraley, Associate Professor at Baylor Law kicked off the talks with “Getting a handle on litigation management:  Working smarter, not harder on your litigation docket”, which highlighted the importance of data analytics as a practice tool all should be exploring.

Following Elizabeth’s lead, our CEO, Trent Livingston, delivered his talk on “Perceptions: Altering Them Can Transform Our Industry”. This talk focused on the growing justice gap in our legal system. Highlighting his own family’s very personal legal battle, Mr. Livingston demonstrated that the legal industry is perceived by many as unaffordable. Citing recent industry research, he demonstrated that the dollar value of a matter often dictates counsel’s ability to take on a case, preventing many from seeking out our legal system as a viable alternative for dispute resolution. Echoing Ms. Fraley, he too cited data analytics as being a powerful method to reduce overall case costs in order to address this crisis.

Mr. Tom Matzen of Matzen Consulting Group was then able to deliver a perfectly timed last-minute presentation on GDPR, filling in for an unexpected cancellation of one of the scheduled speakers due to illness. Mr. Matzen showed off his improvisational skills delivering an engaging talk on the ramifications of GDPR and its continued impact on business and the legal system in the US, including highlights surrounding the forthcoming state laws mirroring the GDPR.

The Masters Conference would not be complete without a great cocktail at the end of the day, which found many from the group migrating to Dallas’ own The Happiest Hour venue. The cocktail hour was presented by DISCO, Baylor Law and Platinum IDS. Robert Childress and his team put on a great event to which everyone raised a glass. We look forward to the upcoming conference schedule that will be set among the panoramic backdrops of Denver, San Francisco, and Chicago, just to name a few. We hope to see you at one of these upcoming venues!

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