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Legalweek is Back! Is it Better Than Ever?

Published March 3, 2022

Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

For years, Mike Greenberg opened the ESPN radio talk show Mike & Mike with the phrase “we’re back and better than ever”. For the first time in over two years (due to a postponement from earlier this year), an in-person Legalweek is back! Will it be better than ever–or at least as good in terms of attendance and content?

Attendance at LegalTech events

Unlike last year’s ILTACON, which had the misfortune to occur during the height of the Delta variant of COVID-19 (which resulted in extremely sparse attendance), Legalweek was able to reschedule from its originally planned dates that would have occurred during the height of the Omicron variant.

From a COVID standpoint right now, we are possibly in the best shape we’ve been in over the last two years since the pandemic began. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased its mask guidance last Friday and New York City plans to end its indoor mask mandate, including dining indoors at restaurants and bars by March 7—and Legalweek starts the next day!

Another good sign is the result from my 2022 State of the Industry Report regarding attendance at in-person conferences. Only 23.8% of respondents said they attended at least one in-person conference in 2021, but a whopping 70.4%(!) expect to attend one in 2022, with another 17.1% still undecided.

Further, more than six out of ten of corporate respondents (61.6%) expect to attend at least one conference in 2022 and more than seven out of ten law firm respondents (70.9%) plan to attend one as well. Clearly, every section of the industry wants to get back to in-person events!

From a personal perspective, I’ve spoken with many people the past few weeks who indicated they plan to be there, several of which had not planned to attend before Legalweek was rescheduled. I’ve also gotten a ton of meeting requests the past couple of weeks. So, the prospects for at least a reasonably well attended Legalweek are there – after the conference, I’ll tell you what I observed in terms of attendance.

Legalweek Content

Legalweek has a great lineup of content, as always. In my annual Legalweek Word Cloud post, the most used terms were “tools”, “contract”, “AI”, “compliance” and “privacy”. While the term “governance” wasn’t in that top group, there is an Information Governance track on Wednesday March 9, with three sessions hosted by IPRO. They are:

11:30am-12:30pm: Thinking Upstream and Leading with Good Governance: How To Avoid Costly Inefficiencies in Each Stage of Your EDRM Process, with speakers Hanifa Baporia, Senior Legal Counsel at Oracle, Julie Heller, Vice President, Knowledge Management & Information Governance at AIG and Sarai Schubert, Chief Operations Officer at IPRO.

2:00pm-3:00pm: Practical Information Governance: Balancing Risk, Compliance & Innovation, with speakers Jeanne Somma, Chief Legal Officer & Global Head of Managed Review at Lineal Services, Lauren Barnes, Director, Information Governance at S&P Global and Dean Brown, CEO at IPRO.

3:30pm-4:30pm: Build, Adapt & Execute Your Information Governance, Privacy, and eDiscovery Strategy, with speakers Linn Freedman, Chair of Data Privacy & Security Team at Robinson + Cole and Nick Inglis, Director of Information Governance at IPRO.

All three sessions are great topics with great speakers, so check them out! The complete agenda is here and there are several other interesting sessions over the four days for eDiscovery and information governance professionals!

IPRO will also be hosting the Networking Reception at 4pm on Thursday, March 10 in the Exhibit Hall, so stop by and meet me and the IPRO team!

Conclusion

Perhaps more than any in-person conference in years, there seems to be a sense of optimism about next week’s Legalweek. Many attendees haven’t attended any in-person events since the pandemic began, so this will be their first opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues and meet new ones. In addition to the great educational content, the ability to connect in person are what conferences like this are all about, so the fact that we will be able to do that next week in New York makes this Legalweek already a success! Being back is better than ever!

And for more educational topics from me related to eDiscovery, information governance, cybersecurity and data privacy, feel free to follow my blog, eDiscovery Today!