The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is launching a new conference called EVOLVE, which will focus on the rapidly evolving topics of generative AI and cybersecurity in the legal industry. Ken Jones, Principal Consultant at Xerdict Group LLC, and Josh Smith, Information Security Manager at Ogletree Deakins, join the podcast to discuss the conference and the challenges and opportunities presented by these cutting-edge technologies.

ILTA EVOLVE is designed to be a more intimate event compared to the larger ILTACON conference, with an expected attendance of 300-500 people. This smaller scale allows for deeper technical discussions, more personal interactions, and easier access to experts and speakers. The conference will feature a keynote speaker, a roundtable discussion, and 20 educational sessions led by a diverse group of talented speakers.

One of the key challenges faced by legal technology professionals is the need to balance the potential benefits of generative AI with the responsibility to protect client data. Law firms have a fiduciary duty to be strong stewards of their clients’ information, and the use of AI models that rely on vast amounts of data can create conflicts of interest. The conference will explore ways to make these models secure and compliant while still leveraging their capabilities to enhance legal services.

The keynote speaker for ILTA EVOLVE will be Joe Sullivan, former CSO of Facebook, accompanied by Lily Yeoh, founder and president of C1 Risk. Their presentation will focus on the legal issues faced by law firms in the event of a cybersecurity incident and how to respond effectively. The conference will also provide ample networking opportunities, including evening events, coffee breaks, and a business partner display area where attendees can engage with vendors and learn about the latest solutions.

Looking to the future, the co-chairs predict that both cybersecurity and generative AI will continue to evolve rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and valuable to the legal profession. In the realm of cybersecurity, the battle between attackers and defenders will likely be ongoing, requiring constant vigilance and adaptation. For AI, the application of best practices and methodologies from software development will be crucial in ensuring that these powerful technologies are deployed effectively and responsibly within law firms. ILTA EVOLVE aims to provide attendees with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate this complex landscape and harness the potential of these transformative technologies.

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Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal profession. I’m Marlene Gebauer, and I’m here solo today Greg is on vacation. But it’s very exciting today because you know, we have a couple of guests who are chairs of a spankin brand new conference opportunity offered by ILTA called evolve. Ken Jones, Principal Consultant at Xerdict Group LLC and Josh Smith, information security manager at Ogletree Deakins. Welcome to The Geek in Review.

Ken Jones 0:41
Thank you, Marlene.

Josh Smith 0:42
Thanks, Marlene. Glad to be here.

Marlene Gebauer 0:44
So I’ll pitch this to both of you, um, tell us what is the ILTA EVOLVE Conference? And how does it differ from legal events? You know, why did ILTA choose to create a new conference and focus on generative AI for 2024.

Josh Smith 1:02
So I think really, with the proliferation of generative AI, and the news and the technologies that are rebounding from that, it also is really realized that these technology issues are often intermingled, they evolve rapidly and evolve. So then you evolve conference is just a way to explore those items and provide education that’s needed to its members and the education of the members really need and deserve. Until the 2024 topics. There’s always gonna be two hot topics. And this year, there’ll be Generative AI and Security.

Ken Jones 1:36
So Marlene, to build on Josh’s comments. Traditionally, ILTA has held a spring conference. Traditionally, it’s focused on cybersecurity and that element of our industry, which is very, very important. And as Joshua pointed out, this year, there are two topics generative AI and cybersecurity. And as Josh has pointed out, it could be different topics in the future, ILTA Evolve is is a little smaller conference than iltacon. It’s the type of conference where it’s perhaps easier to develop personal conversations and interactions with folks because the the, the scope is smaller. We have a keynote speaker, which we’ll speak about later, and a roundtable and 20 really, really good educational conferences with exceptionally strong speaker, application numbers and so forth. So we’re really excited. It’s traditionally a super fun event, people come get along really well. And adding the generative AI / KM / innovations, like folks to the typical security mix should make it uniquely Interesting.

Marlene Gebauer 2:40
Yeah, I mean, I like that this is sort of a smaller event, particularly for the topics that you’re mentioning, because they’re they’re meaty topics, but they’re ones where I think people can get maybe intimidated sometimes. And so you’re sort of in a big group, it’s just sort of easy to sort of be quiet and let things happen. Whereas I think in a smaller group, there’s, you know, a lot of opportunity for that type of interaction and engagement that you’re talking about.

Ken Jones 3:10
You’re absolutely right, Marlene, one of the hallmarks of this conference, traditionally, is that it does deep dives into technical areas. And some of the speakers are really digging into the details, which is what a lot of the attendees love to say. It gives them some great takeaways to bring back to the member firms from ILTA. And also and, you know, for example, just one area like perhaps cybersecurity, there’s offensive security, there’s defensive security, there’s what the government is doing, there’s what different entities are doing, you know, privacy concerns, all sorts of things. So it gives us the opportunity to dig into certain topics in many different directions.

Marlene Gebauer 3:50
And I also like that you’re saying, as you’re sort of bringing in different professionals to this event, and I know that’s always been a strength of iltacon, where you do have different professional tracks, where you know, a bunch of different people that are related to legal technology will converge and speak. And this is sort of following that that path as well.

Josh Smith 4:16
I agree, I think we didn’t experience that at Ogletree because, you know, me being the security guy, we have to become aware of all these things that the KM group wants to use. And we can’t just say, Yes, sir, you can use that you can use that. So we really do have to take a concerted effort to deep dive into these subjects. And a conference like this really gives those two groups that may not have necessarily worked together before the opportunity to collaborate and kind of form those relationships and see what they can do to protect firms.

Ken Jones 4:45
And Marlene, just to add to Josh’s comments, there’s a tremendous confluence between AI and security. As an example, bias, hallucination, privacy, and confidentiality are critical elements of any AI project, in addition to all the efficiency of improvements that are provided to customers and law firms and clients, and even going through the voluminous amount of data that logs and so forth that are generated by cybersecurity tools, and using advanced technologies to enable folks to handle it, there’s only X number of Josh’s at a law firm, and the more technology that you can throw an assist of those professionals with in security operations centers and things like that. It’s incredibly helpful. So I think our hope and belief is that there’ll be tremendous synergies by having those two groups of folks together.

Marlene Gebauer 5:38
So I know you were talking about the, the different types of, you know, areas of security. And so I know I’m gonna ask this question, and you know, probably your hands gonna explode, because it’s like, you just can’t answer it very simply. But I’ll give it a try. So for both of you, and maybe Ken, you can start first, what are the key challenges faced by legal technology professionals in the areas of Security of Information Governance and data privacy?

Ken Jones 6:11
I’ll keep my answer short, because this is Josh’s area of expertise in specialty. But you know, the whole world gets excited, Marlene, even podcasts like yours about speaking about legal innovation, and all the wonderful amazing things that one can do. But every law firm has a fiduciary responsibility to be a strong steward of a client’s data. And that’s a critical element of any project and, and Josh can expand on this but at the conference, we’ll hear from business partners and member firms and other constituents about a wide variety of issues on the front.

Josh Smith 6:45
Agreed. So to build on that and Ken mention the word data that’s very, very important that all these Gen AI models work because they have all this data. They have everything that they can they can draw interpretations and conclusions from that may or may not be hallucinations depending on what you do with it. But it’s all data driven. It’s all data driven. And, you know, like Ken said, we have a responsibility to protect our clients data. So when you’re trying to use Janay, on a law firm, and all you do all day is work client data, for the most part, it’s kind of a conflict of interest there. So we’ve got to figure out how to make these generic models secure. So they don’t take your data and publish it to the world, like maybe Samsung’s saw not too many months ago, and use it to enhance the technology and services that the firm offers, while keeping all that data that the firm is in charge of security. So I think that’s one of the biggest things that we’re gonna see going forward is how to test these models and how to secure them and make sure that you’re protecting your client data as you’re also delivering services to the client once with those technologies. So it’s very evolving constantly field, and I think there are many more EVOLVE conferences that will be focused on security AI in the years to come.

Marlene Gebauer 8:02
Every day, it seems to be changing. So we I know, we have a couple of questions. So I’m gonna flip them, just so our our guests know, but Ken, what case studies or real world examples do you think might be shared dDuring the first day roundtable? I mean, I’m thinking in terms of what Josh just said that, you know, that, you know, it sort of an everyday sort of change in terms of how to deal with security concerns, and I know, firms are all kind of dealing with things. I don’t know, similarly, but also different. So I’m curious to know what you think might might come up.

Ken Jones 8:51
Sure. So the roundtable with the conferences is Wednesday morning, May 1, and the confirmed speakers are Cat Casey Kristen Sonday, and Zach Abramovitz. And each of them, Marlene, comes from a very different perspective. I mean, Zack, as we all know, is an expert at wizard and prompt engineering and AI and in interaction with so many members of the AmLaw 100, major companies and so forth. Kristin has a thriving practice for access to justice and the types of constituencies he serves. And pro bono and Cat’s expertise is is broad across the industry. And my hope and belief is that each of them brings a unique perspective, a perspective that we don’t always hear about, and that the interplay between the three will be quite interesting.

Marlene Gebauer 9:42
That sounds like a good mix. Josh, you know, how can attendees How do you think attendees can can benefit from this AI Roundtable talking about generative AI?

Josh Smith 9:54
You mentioned it a little bit in the intro about how this is a more intimate, smaller conference, you know, we expect between 300 and 500 people, which would be average from what we’ve seen at this time of your conference in the past. The beauty of that is it it is an intimate situation. So you’re you’re in the room with these AI and legal experts, and you get to ask them questions they’re gonna hang out during the day. And you can go up during coffee break or during lunch and say, Hey, I had this question or that that spurred some thought, can we connect on that and they’ll be available. So you have instant access to all these experts that are that may or may not discuss your question or your thought during the panel. But they’ll also be available throughout the conference, and you can network and connect with him that way. I think it’s just a really great benefit. And it’s one reason I’ve always loved the way ILTA does these smaller conferences is that you’re just you have access and networking is fantastic. And the access to panelist is fantastic. So I think it really be really beneficial for anyone that tends to sit on this panel.

Marlene Gebauer 10:55
It really is beneficial, because you know, the presentations are always really valuable. But like you said, Josh, like they don’t always deal with your particular scenario. And I mean, nor should they, but you know, having people there for the day that are available these these experts that you can basically talk to and say, Hey, this is my particular problem. What do you think, you know, that’s just really invaluable.

Ken Jones 11:20
This really is Marlene, I mean, they’re they’re different conference rooms for presentations, but but common lunch areas and common evening events, and as Josh said, coffee breaks and things like that. And you know, ILTACon is tremendous, wonderful event. We all love it. But it’s it’s very large, and you spend a lot of time walking around, and you do maybe some a little bit more waving than you do in those specific conversations. But they they both have, you know, their tremendous benefit. I mean, this one has that one element that Josh spoke to.

Marlene Gebauer 11:55
So Josh, tell me, who’s the keynote speaker and what topics will be covered?

Josh Smith 12:00
Well, so this year’s keynote speaker is Joe Sullivan, he’s the former CSO of Facebook, you may well know his name from Osama Hoover. He’s also been a cloud player. He has a background as a federal prosecutor, also worked at eBay and PayPal, and currently is working with some CyberSecure initiatives of a CEO of a company he has called Ukraine Friends. And he’s also the president of his own company Joe Sullivan Security. And so he will be accompanied by Lily Yeoh, who is the founder and president of CEO of C1 Risk with their governance risk compliance software company, I think they’re gonna they’re gonna present a great explanation of things that you should look out for, if you’re in leadership and law firm, or in any organization, really, particularly in a law firm and the things that law firms face as far as legal issues and if an incident happens, how you should respond and how you should handle it. So it’s gonna be a fantastic presentation. We’re so fortunate that we have Joe and Lilly coming to do that keynote on Tuesday morning at nine o’clock, but it’s gonna be a fantastic time.

Marlene Gebauer 13:05
Yeah, that sounds wonderful. Ken, you had talked about networking opportunities and sort of, you know, you know, meeting for, you know, meeting at lunch and you know, a coffee breaks. You know, what, what other networking opportunities are available during during the event?

Ken Jones 13:24
Sure, so the event has evening parties or AI based coffee hours, and then cocktail hours on Monday, there’s a distinguished peer rewards, activity, or presentation by ILTA on Tuesday. But honestly, Marlene, in addition to the scheduled activities, it’s really the interactiveness I think, actually the a lot of the networking begins even before the event. I mean, we have a tremendous Planning Committee of 10 or 11 really talented folks, more than 100 Speaker applications, lots of interaction going on even as we build out the conference, agenda and curriculum and so forth. And so folks are getting to know each other and meet each other even before the conference starts. And I think that’s kind of a jumpstart or a kickstart as to getting together and discussing more substantive issues a little bit more quickly and rapidly during the conference itself.

Marlene Gebauer 14:25
I like that you mentioned it sort of the the the after conference events, because, you know, we, Greg and I always call that the the the, like, we call it the after conference or the, you know, the evening conference, because Because truly I mean, that’s that’s where, you know, a lot of discussions have, you know, or had you’ll, you’ll see people call you huddling up at a table is, you know, really engrossed in conversation. So, you know, I don’t think we should sort of discount, you know, those those opportunities. So I’m glad you’re here.

Ken Jones 14:55
And even the vendor display for a business partner, excuse me, But the business partner display room is a great place to intermingle with, with the different business partners, there’s usually like you said, the roundtables there. People gather, they chat and exchange ideas, they’re also

Josh Smith 15:14
And I’ll add to that, one thing that we’ve seen this year is our business partners are really excited about this conference where they’re, they’re contacting us left and right trying to get space to display. So I think the the Evolve of this conference and merging those topics together, these business partners also are like trying to offer services that do what folks want to do. So they’re like, please let us and please let us help your people. Let us showcase what we can do. So that’s, that’s another benefit that they can mention there. You can talk with all the business partners, and it’s really no pressure event too. So it’s more casual, you can walk around and just have a conversation. They’re not trying to do a sales pitch to you while you’re there. It’s not like a timeshare marketing event might be forced you to walk down the hallway. But it’s really relaxing. And we think the business partner aspect is really going to shine this year.

Marlene Gebauer 16:03
Well, you guys are both so fortunate that you are co chairing a conference that that everybody is really, you know, eager to talk about these topics, and the vendors are eager, eager to, to talk about them as well. So what have been some of the rewards and challenges of being conference chairs, you know, what advice do you have for for others who might want to volunteer for this role?

Ken Jones 16:30
So I can maybe begin Marlene, and I’m going to take your question and and broaden it even further.

Marlene Gebauer 16:37
You should always answer the question you want you want to answer,

Ken Jones 16:40
Just commenting on what I think the tremendous value is for a legal professional individual to work within ilta. And I know even when I’ve worked within delta on projects, but you know, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as strategic vendor liaison to one of the major players in the industry, I’ve managed to still do that. I’ve been part of the ILTA Press. I’ve been a session coordinator for the prior spring conference and now serve in this capacity. And every role that I play within ILTA is exceptionally professionally enriching. It’s my profession is software development, and litigation and serving clients. And that’s critically important to be tried to do a great job of that. But you know, being exposed to how companies brand themselves, how they present themselves, how they plan conferences, and in this particular role to sort of narrow that down. Working with an attracting and recruiting the best possible session volunteers reaching out to our contacts to try to find the best possible keynote speakers and roundtable speakers, and then ultimately trying to craft the best possible content. It’s exceptionally challenging, but interesting and rewarding.

Josh Smith 17:54
And I agree with Ken, I started as a committee member for the comp for a previous conference called Legal Tech two years ago, and was also fortunate enough to be nominated, elected and selected, I guess, as co chair, for for this conference. I think I agree with Ken here any volunteer time with ILTA, is so beneficial and so enriching, and like the networking aspect, but you learn when you do these things there, there’s a lot of self learning and self evaluation, like did I do this right? How do we make these committee members I’m actually we have a diverse panel, all the talent world, which we do we have a fantastic, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention them that the committee members are fantastic, talented, a diverse group of folks that are really doing a good job. So it’s really just an honor to work with us folks and to evolve and grow ILTA.

Ken Jones 18:46
I just had one final comment, which is, so next Thursday, I’m attending and in my character, this is published, obviously, but you know, ILTA Catalyst Women Who Lead event in New York City, and it’s going in several cities across United States, and I’m going in, because you know, I’m a co chair of what’s involved very involved in ILTA. But fairly obviously, I probably wouldn’t go to that conference if I was so involved with ILTA, but but I am and expect that I’ll learn a lot. You know, it’s a completely different perspective on industry and career planning and pathing, and other success stories. And, and I just think there’s, there’s a myriad of opportunities for all of us to grow. When we volunteer time in tremendous organizations like ILTA.

Josh Smith 19:28
And Ken you mentioned, the Women Who Lead conference, there’s Women Who Lead breakfast at the event this year, that Ken and I will both be attending. And it’s just a fantastic opportunity for the members of that community to come together. And there’s always a great presentation, a great breakfast, for the experience in the past, I assume will be at this conference. But we’ll be there to show our support and really foster the Women Who Lead in legal.

Marlene Gebauer 19:51
Well, thank you, Ken, and Josh and ilta for being allies. Appreciate it.

Josh Smith 19:57

Marlene Gebauer 19:59
So this is the last question. And it’s and this is our crystal ball question. And we asked this of all of our guests, and the question that I have for you, you know, focuses on the topics of the of the conference. So what is on the horizon for cybersecurity, and Gen AI? Josh, you wanna go first?

Josh Smith 20:26
I’ll go first and Ken can follow up. So I think I’ll start with security, and then we’ll go from there. In the security realm, we’ve really seen it, you know, just trending on past events, we haven’t seen any really think new. And that’s really scary that we haven’t seen anything new. Because the next big thing is probably just around for the next break. Well, they call vunerability, the next big breach. And so learning how to better prepare for those and maybe use a Gen AI to help investigate those is where we need to kind of focus some time, but don’t and then there’s some sessions at a conference about this. Don’t forget that there are those things that just the standard housekeeping things that you need to do an organization keep it safe. And so we can’t lose sight of that. And I’m afraid that’s that may start to happen. So we have some sessions that focus on general housekeeping, like don’t forget to do these specific things. So I see Gen AI evolving to really help do some of those tasks, and not likely kind of just really replace an FTE but to really complement your programming your operation center, your your operation center, or just your security program in general. So I hope that’s where it goes. I think that we’ll see a lot of these tools used for good not only in security realm, but in legal, like we have an AI for Good probono session that we’ve alluded to earlier. I hope that’s where it leads and I’ll keep my crystal ball positive and not on the negative side. I think we should hit in that direction with it.

Ken Jones 22:00
Cool. And Marlene, I’ll share two final metaphors perhaps on where I believe each are going. And like Josh, I would put my crystal ball as each area will rapidly progress and become more sophisticated and more contributory to adding value to the profession. But my metaphors would be in security, I would compare it perhaps to a Olympic athlete drug testing, where there’s always a new activity done by those who want to scam and attack companies, and then the Josh’s of the world. And the business partners are working to defend that. And it’s probably a never ending battle where one jumps ahead and reacts to what’s out there. And it’ll probably continue for a very long time. But you know, and because of that, cybersecurity professionals are critically important. It’s, it’s evolutionary, and what we’re doing today, will will change tomorrow. And that’s why conferences like this are of such tremendous value. Many of the speakers are speaking about what what they do with their companies, business partners, or what their firms are doing. And there’s a lot of good takeaways for professional professionals in those fields. And on the AI side, I’m going to share that in my profession, building software, it’s critically important to go through common functional steps, like defining business requirements, writing functional specs, having a project plan, having a budget, working on a timeline, and providing a usable deliverable to a client that truly adds value and has ROI. And I think right now, AI is is really exciting. And there’s all kinds of models and things coming out all the time. And I believe that in time, the technology hopefully will be better governed by those processes that are common in software development. And I think, you know, and I know you know a little bit about this, Marlene, and the folks you work with, I think areas like legal pricing and business development and work that folks do at SALI to have a common methodology and terms for different legal activities are all kind of in the same boat. There’s a lot of incredible, wonderful technologies, but the application of best practice structures and approaches will help all of us in the legal profession, deploy them more effectively. And I know as Josh does that some of our sessions, for example, how to better engineer prompt engineering, what’s going on with your typical ILTAmax vendor, the largest vendors in the industry, the equivalent of company updates, and so on and so forth, are all very important updates and areas where the attendees are gonna be able to walk away and understand the technology and hopefully have a grasp of appropriate structures to apply that we also have a session on ROI for AI. So there’s many opportunities for folks to hopefully not only learn about the technology, but learn about appropriate proper, strong methodologies to deploy it within a law firms.

Josh Smith 25:22
So, it boils down to security, privacy, governance, right?

Marlene Gebauer 25:24
Yep, yep, the big three. Well, I think that’s a good place to end it. So thank you, Ken Jones, and Josh Smith, for joining us. And good luck with the conference.

Josh Smith 25:35
Thank you so much.

Ken Jones 25:37
Thank you for having us.

Marlene Gebauer 25:39
And of course, thanks to all of you, our listeners for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoyed the show, share it with a colleague, we’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media, the best place to get ahold of me is on LinkedIn and X at @gebauerm. Greg can be reached on LinkedIn and @glambert also the same on X. Ken, Josh where’s the best place to reach each of you or to find out more information on evolve?

Ken Jones 26:10
There’s an evolve website and it’s in the live areas of the worksite and I think in the header for this broadcast, we can probably share that in the show notes. And for myself, like you I’m on LinkedIn and fairly easy to find.

Josh Smith 26:31
I’m on LinkedIn as well. I’m not as easy to find if you do Joshua Smith at Ogletree I think you’ll find it.

Marlene Gebauer 26:39
Okay, and it’s always the music here is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you so much Jerry.