ALTA launches its first legal tech conference
The Legal Forecast’s Victorian President Bori Ahn had the opportunity to attend ALTACON. Bori writes.
Last Friday, 29 May, Australian Legal Technology Association (ALTA) launched its inaugural, sold-out ALTACON. It had a genuine sense of pioneership, as ALTA members came together to demonstrate their products, speak to prospective clients, and present their thoughts on the legal tech space. The conference showcased the visible growth of the Australian market, with:
270+ delegates from across the legal community;
40 speakers from around the world;
28 Australian legal technology companies exhibiting; and
11 Partners (led by ALTACON’s major partners, KPMG Law and Fincap Law).
ALTACON consisted of numerous rapid-fire, TEDtalk-style presentations given by:
Leading luminaries from all over the world, including Christian Lang from Reynen Court (USA) and Meera Klemola from Observ (Finland);
Australian thought leaders, like Nick Abrahams and Peter Dunne; and
Legal tech innovators and entrepreneurs who are creating the future of law, like Andrew Mellett from Plexus).
The conference also featured a segment called ‘Member Stories’, which was an opportunity for start-up founders to share in their successes and failures. A common thread in start-up journeys seems to be the frustration experienced as a practising lawyer, and the desire to do better by the client and themselves. ALTA also shone a spotlight on the challenging early stage of a legal tech start-up via their pitch competition, won by Cynapse Legal.
ALTA’S strength lies in its members’ collaboration-cum-commiseration.
ALTA comes at a time where Australian legal tech companies need a peak body to represent them, collectivise their voices, and build their presence on the global stage. Up until now, so much of Australian legal tech has developed without a dedicated space for those in the sector to share information and collaborate.
ALTA ‘wanted to create a sense of community, collaboration and excitement about what is possible for lawyers, law firms and in-house counsel thanks to legal tech innovation. And have some fun along the way,’ says Nikki Hauser, Executive Manager at ALTA.
Though there’s clearly no well-trodden path to success or growth in this area, ALTACON showcased well-established companies and those in the advanced stage of a start-up’s growth alongside budding new enterprise. Access to these distinguished companies for other ALTA members offers a great reference point and source of support to start-ups in their nascent stages that they simply would not have had before. This is particularly helpful given the youth of some of the start-ups and their founders at the conference, with some having been founded as recently as last year, not having launched onto the market yet, or being founded by law students or recent graduates.
Overall, ALTACON achieved its goal to ‘bring together the legal community to explore the cutting-edge of law and technology at a unique event that was not your ordinary legal conference.’