This year’s Alberta Legal Technology Conference is just around the corner, so we spoke with this year’s keynote speaker, National Innovation Leader, Matthew D. Peters, to find out a bit more about him and his presentation. Happy reading!
Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and your practice.
I’ve been at McCarthy’s for 25 years, and my official title is National Innovation Leader. I spend about a quarter of my time in the technology space, but about 75% of my time is devoted to serve what I do under the umbrella of National Innovation Leader. This role requires me to predict where the profession is going and make sure our organization is there to meet the world as its changing. I’ve been in this role for about 8 years now. We created the role because we strongly felt that the profession needed to tangibly address the changes happening around them. This role has proven to be a core tenant of our firm strategy.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your presentation?
I’m going to be working backwards, starting with what I believe the future looks like for the profession. Next we’ll discuss the importance lawyers play in the future of the profession—dispelling the myth that legal providers and artificial intelligence can ever replace all of us. From there we’re going to discuss what the practice will look like—what lawyers will be doing, what tools they’ll be using. Then we’re going to dive into what other firms and in-house groups are doing today that people may or may not be aware of. We’re going to drill into some very practical things firms are doing. The last piece will be about what others are doing around us—accounting firms, alternative legal providers, consulting firms—helping people understand how much of an opportunity this is.
Q: Why do you think that law firms have been so slow to grasp some of these concepts?
In part, the profession has done an amazingly effective job of hanging on to a financial model that is antithetical to being efficient—charging clients by the hour. By design, the less efficient you are, the more money you make. In addition we get push-back form clients when we say we’d like to do something different than the hourly rate. It’s a barrier that is also slowing the pace of change.
Q: Why should people attend this conference?
The profession is undergoing more significant change than it has undergone in the past 100 years. This conference presents the one of the most efficient opportunities people have to get a handle on the changes and to understand what to think about in their practice.