As the New Year approaches and the shift to virtual conferences remains on the horizon for the foreseeable future, Rightly’s Jeppe Hudtloff Viinberg takes a look back at the Alt Legal Connect conference.
This year has been a challenging one in terms of connection as we have transitioned from in person to virtual contact. We are all missing that in person interaction, particularly as our family members and work colleagues are often located across time zones and countries. In our professional lives, that has resulted in the usual annual conferences going virtual.
The idea of collaboration with other legal technology providers is at the heart of our mission at Rightly. In an effort to not let COVID limit our exploration, we decided to attend a conference virtually: Alt Legal Connect.
Going in, my expectations of a virtual conference were quite low. But then when we participated, from the presentation of the agenda and the opening address, it was clear we were in for quite an experience!
My expectations were exceeded by a large margin by the different systems selected for the event and the tools that they were able to smoothly implement for so many people. Rather than choosing one system, Alt Legal selected a handful of different software providers that they viewed to be the best suited for specific functions in the virtual conference. It was clear for me that organizers and the attendees were all keen to use software systems to make this conference as successful as possible. It was exciting to try new tools, and interesting to observe how everyone interacted with the different systems because, and I write this a lawyer, we lawyers are often not viewed as being 'software savvy’!
Another real surprise for me was how the virtual events resulted in bringing people together in fun and creative ways to form connections. It was amazing how much more comfortable a virtual event could feel than an in-person conference in some ways. Alt Legal understood the importance of the networking component that would be challenging to replace in a virtual conference, and they did not miss on the opportunity to create these opportunities for attendees. There were fun little gatherings - cooking classes, coffee classes, speed networking, and even a virtual art tour through a European city - so many opportunities to connect with other conference-goers.
For example, I experienced a system of 'speed- dating' at other industry events in person, where we are all standing or sitting around. Then a person rings a bell, and we all must change seats. I always thought it was a little bit... awkward in person. However, in a virtual setting it made for an exciting atmosphere!
All these touches made attending a virtual conference a positively different experience and so much fun. We were just sitting very comfortably in our own office space and then everything just ran so automatically and smoothly. Also, it was obvious that everyone who actively participated in the event was there because they really wanted to be – I had many quality conversations, even in a short period of time! Alt Legal struck the winning balance of creating a fun, educational, collaborative and stimulating conference virtually
No conference would be complete without a compelling agenda packed full with educational opportunities, and Alt Legal Connect did not disappoint! Participants interacted with each other and the presenters via Chat during each of the live sessions.
The two main speakers who made the most significant impression on me were 1) Nehal Madhani who spoke about how he wanted to develop Alt Legal in the future and 2) Jack Newton at Clio who believes that law firms can conduct business in a smarter and more efficient way. How they see the whole industry evolving – a movement toward subscription-based billing, an uptick in the use of smart technology to be more client centric - I thought that was very interesting and very much aligned with Rightly’s mission.
I love interacting with people and collaborating with other law firms. Being in the IP world, we need to have a broad network of professionals, with whom we can interact and work within our daily business. We all work with some partners because i.e., you have a long-standing relationship with them or because you just know them. But it's nice to meet new people and when you are aligned in mindset, you create new ideas of how you can do business together. I think it's a good idea to expand your network, and thanks to Alt Legal Connect, I have already gained three new agents that we are adding to our network. It's been a very prosperous and profitable experience.
Rightly IP is a collaborative end-to-end platform for managing, protecting and enforcing IP rights, supported by legal services. Our vision for the future is to transform IP management by uniting passionate people with intelligent technology. To that end, I think it's key for us to meet as many people as we possibly can. There are so many manual processes involved in handling an IP portfolio and every time we talk to lawyers; we hear the same thing. There are too many manual workflows and too many copy/paste tasks throughout the day that are just not interesting to perform when you are an IP professional – in-house or in a law firm.
We get our vision of collaborating and using automation directly from those lawyers. Where possible, you want to use one platform to distribute data so that you all use the same data. One lawyer in the United States can enter data in one system and then exchange that data with us in Denmark so that we can make it available for our clients without having three people updating a variety of different systems. This is absolutely key and when we hear lawyers respond to our vision, they just say "That's smart. I really want to be a part of that movement."
Breaking away from the inbox
Conferences can play such a positive role in the sense that participating can help lawyers to relax a little bit from the inbox. We can be geeks and nerdy and just enjoy ourselves. But at the same time, it's often stressful participating in-person at a conference because you're travelling, start early, often with long hours, you get a few hours of sleep and then repeat again and again.
Alt Legal Connect was such a delight! I miss meeting people in person. I miss the in-person conversations. But I thrive when I can see the collaboration. I thrive when people see eye-to-eye in terms of how we can work together to transform the IP management world. And I get excited when people see that we can use technology, automation and data to empower professionals without compromising the quality of the work. Lawyers are getting more and more ready to make this shift. That's probably my biggest takeaway from Alt Legal Connect. We are all ready to get away from the stress of the inbox and so it's an exciting time!