ILTA is the International Legal Technology Association, an organisation committed to encouraging the advance of technology in law firms and, just as importantly, the advance of law firms by the use of technology. Its guiding principle is peer encouragement – the idea that we can best acquire knowledge, information and confidence by mixing with those who face the same issues as we do.
ILTA has events and programs running throughout the year, including ILTA Insight in London each April (see my report of ILTA Insight 2011 and Joanna Goodman’s much fuller one on the Orange Rag). ILTA’s main conference takes place towards the end of August each year at a suitable US venue. The word “suitable” connotes several things, one of which is mere size, because thousands of people attend from every corner of the legal IT world. Other requirements include a certain level of comfort, with leisure attractions on- and off-site for participants and, perhaps, their families – this is the height of the summer holiday season. Last year’s conference was at Las Vegas (my report is here), which comfortably met all these criteria.
ILTA 2011 takes place this year in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort from August 21-25. These Gaylord Resorts are vast and, as the Resort web site shows, there is something for everyone, not least the music for which the city is famous. Tasteful it ain’t, at least to British eyes, but you can go to Georgetown or the German castle at which I spoke last week if you want taste. I go for the programme, for the company, and for the opportunity to share views and experiences which is what ILTA was established to provide.
That exchange of views is as valuable to a UK lawyer or law firm IT director as to his or her US counterpart. If you run your eye down the packed agenda, you will see subjects which affect UK firms of any size. If your perception is that all US law firms are vast, wealthy and remote in kind from your own firm, then that perception is just not right. The majority of firms are relatively small, with the same pressures to cut costs and work efficiently as face UK firms, both for their own sakes and for the benefit of their clients. The agenda reflects that, and on subjects much wider than my own particular interest in eDiscovery / eDisclosure. This is what I said last year:
Not so very long ago, the role of IT departments was to provide passive services – an accounts system, a contacts database, word processing and print services. If that is all you have now – well, send your managing partner and IT director to ILTA next year, if you are still in business next year.
Your Pound buys a lot of US Dollars at the moment. As I write, BA will get you there and back for £826, and you could probably do even better by shopping around. Why not come to ILTA 2011?