Recently in New York, Adam Smith Esq had the opportunity to invite a couple of dozen law firms to ‘An Introduction to IBM Watson’ at the brand new $1bn IBM Watson facility down on Astor Place. This is not going to be a report on that event, except insofar as it helped advance our thinking on the general concept of ‘machine learning,’ which was also the topic of a lead article in the current McKinsey Quarterly.
Firm eyes IBM Watson partnership and new software products
Six months into the role, Clifford Chance (CC)’s head of innovation and business change, Bas Boris Visser, has moved to re-establish the firm’s reputation as a pioneering business, partnering with IBM Watson, and forming innovation committees.
Senior legal figures provide their take on how the market will shape up over the next 25 years
RISE OF THE ACCOUNTANTS
‘The Big Four are challenging and will be one of the competitive threats over the next five years as they have tremendous resource, access to businesses and more sophisticated models than law firms.’
Roger Parker, EMEA managing partner, Reed Smith
Shimon Peres, the 91-year-old former Israeli president, may not be the most obvious social media fanatic. Yet in 2014 he opened an account on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Facebook, expressing his desire to interact directly with the Chinese people, including its younger generation. The nonagenarian quickly received over 50 million ‘likes’ on his Weibo page.
This symbolises a wider cultural and economic shift. For decades, Israel’s political elite has made much of the nation’s natural affinity with the US and the influential Jewish community there. That umbilical cord to the world’s most powerful nation that has fertilised Israel’s tech and start-up community remains intact. But in recent years, as western pressure and sanctions have been exerted on Israel over its conflict with Palestine, it has turned its sights to the East, where Asian jurisdictions have taken a less judgemental line on its political and military stance.
It has long been a gripe among major clients – in particular banks – that law firms are the chink in the armour against the growing barrage of cyber attacks. In response, some of the world’s top law firms are banding together to form a cyber security alliance to share intelligence on threats, specific attacks and best practice.
Mobile technology has enabled today’s lawyers to be more responsive to clients’ needs than ever before but brings added risk of cybersecurity breaches. How are law firms coping with the threats?
Our recent risk management survey, published in March, provided an insight into the level of concern that breaches of IT and data security raise within law firms. Every year since 2008, our annual survey has identified IT/data security breaches as the most significant threat to law firms in terms of actual damage caused and the likelihood of that damage occurring. No firm has fallen foul of a serious reported breach to date but some anecdotal horrors recounting the blasé approach of some lawyers to holding sensitive client data on mobile devices suggests such an outcome is merely a matter of time.
Big data has been hailed as the next big thing to hit legal tech and has already become a force in US litigation. Legal Business assesses the prospects for the analytics-powered law firm
In 2011, McKinsey defined big data as ‘datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage and analyse’ and hailed big data analytics – applying algorithms to crunch together numbers from disparate sources to uncover new correlations, patterns and trends – as ‘the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity’.