Viva Las Vegas! A recap of CLOC 2023

Well funded CLM companies made for lots of Sin City parties, but is that star fading in favor of AI? Will ChatGPT host all the fancy parties next year?

Plenty has been written about the legal operations phenomenon, a.k.a., CLOC Global Institute 2023. To add to the conversation rather than echo others - and for a bit of variety - we've set out a view from a vendor perspective. What is it like to be selling in-house legal operations software at the world's largest, most focused event in this industry?

Viva Las Vegas! 🎲✨

It's always fun to attend this event, speak to a wide range of attendees, and to understand the current (and future!) pain points and trends in legal operations. In previous years, Xakia has taken a traditional stand-at-the-booth approach to this event. This year, Nolan O'Connor (SVP Sales — North America) and I decided to mingle only; take the time to attend sessions, attend and host functions, gain insights, and share expertise with legal operations industry leaders. 

What a difference!

Anne and Nolan from Xakia at CLOC conference 2023

Key CLOC themes

Liberated from a booth, we were free to take in the CLOC atmosphere from a different perspective, alongside the legal operations folks we work with every day. It was both exhilarating and overwhelming, and I have a new-found sympathy for the craziness that legal operations attendees face as they walk into this conference.

There were three clear legal operations and legal technology themes that stood out, and resonated:

1. Generative AI is upon us

Nobody will fall off their chair in surprise to read that the topic of generative AI and large language models loomed very large in discussions about legal workflow and automation. The views, however, varied wildly from "game-changer" and "disruptor" to "over-hyped" and "unresolved". Despite a tidal wave of talk, attendees were struggling to find a use case that they could leverage and trust, or that would truly change their day-to-day workflow and not just get "close, but not close enough". The appetite is there, now the output needs to catch up. Given the considerable hype, the risk is that the fall will be sharp if AI cannot deliver quickly.

2. CLM is fading

Having been the market darling for the past 5 years, contract lifecycle management companies continued to ride the wave of funding to deliver dazzling events and eye-popping spectacles appropriate to the Las Vegas environment. Though demand remains strong, pressure on growth rates and some problematic implementations weigh on this part of the legal technology industry. It was interesting to note a few 'drifts' into other legal technology spaces to tap into demand for legal intake, matter management software, and other legal workflow management software tools.

3. Gender roles are at risk of perpetuation

Though diversity and inclusion was well managed in the mix of speakers across the program, one couldn't help but notice a lack of women founders and leaders of legal management software either in the speaker line up or amongst the attendees. It is endemic of the industry, and not a reflection of CLOC, but it was called out several times; at the leadership level, the LegalTech industry has not fared any better (and possibly worse!) on gender diversity than the legal industry it serves.

Xakia at CLOC

In our mingling, we were also able to see Xakia - and legal matter management - from a different perspective. Within the context of a broader LegalTech landscape, the following was clear:

A women-run business

Given the point about women leaders above, the natural next observation was just how rare it is to be both woman founded (Jodie Baker) and woman led (by me in North America and Jodie Baker globally). It was disappointing to look around at the exhibit hall and acknowledge how unique Xakia is within that context. 💪

Privately held and customer focused

Consolidation may well be the next logical step in a market that is so heavily funded by a venture capital industry under pressure. Our freedom to create and pursue a long term strategy that puts our customers first continues to set us apart in the LegalTech ecosystem. "Congratulations on building a real business!"

Powerful AND affordable solution

Not for the first time, we were horrified by the tales of  the extraordinary cost of legal technology implementations. Why, oh why!?! Modern cloud based legal software is scalable, configurable, and does not require the heavy lift that seems to occur so often. Perhaps the funding model is also dependent on extracting high professional services fees? On Xakia, one client reported: "I've looked at dozens of systems over the last two years, nothing was quite right, this is the goldilocks story I've been looking for - not too big, not too hard..."

Legal operations for 2023

Lots of parties. Lots of dinners. Lots of conversations. 

CLOC 2023 was a fruitful time making new connections and reconnecting with those we hadn't seen since last year, though we - like all the other attendees - were a little exhausted at the end of the event!

Like legal operations for your in-house Legal Department, it's important to remember that if you bite off more than you can chew, the recovery (i.e., adoption) can sometimes be longer than the party (i.e., legal technology purchase). Make sure you can afford the investment, and digest the goodies.

Anne Post - CEO, North America for Xakia Legal Matter Management SoftwareAbout Anne Post

Anne Post is the CEO, North America for Xakia Technologies and a powerhouse in the legal technology industry.

Anne is an experienced lawyer and entrepreneur, with a celebrated litigation career spanning more than 20 years followed by nearly a decade building and growing the legal operations and legal technology industries in North America through the introduction of Xakia.

Anne is an expert in change management and streamlining legal teams through simple, powerful systems and processes. Anne has a passion for organization and efficiency, which translates to her heightened understanding of the needs of clients to achieve greater visibility and control over their legal function.

Transform your in-house legal team with Xakia's legal operations software

Increase visibility and collaboration with Xakia's simple, powerful and affordable legal operations software. Get in touch with the Xakia team today for a demo today or sign up for a 14-day pilot. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Anne or Nolan directly. 

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