Observations from the Annual ILTA Conference: eDiscovery Trends

A couple of weeks ago, at the end of the International Legal Technology Association’s (ILTA) annual conference, which went virtual this year as ILTA>ON, I asked for people to provide their thoughts as a post mortem about this year’s conference, which was the first major conference in the annual legal technology calendar to be conducted as a virtual conference.  Took a while to get some feedback and observations and even more time for me to go through them, but here they are, along with my own at the end of this post.

Thanks to everyone who provided comments to me – you effectively wrote my blog post for today! :o)

An outstanding conference and an excellent use of the virtual environment, especially given the quick turnaround time they had to prepare once they decided to go totally virtual. Two things I thought enhanced that experience were the watercooler chat rooms to get people talking with each other “outside” the meeting rooms and the  Zoom chat buttons on the vendor pages in the Solutions Center so you could speak directly with someone “realtime”.  Kudos to Joy and her staff for the event and to Beth Anne and her team for a great virtual press room!


Tom O’Connor, Director, Gulf Legal Technology Center

I thought the entire week of content was outstanding and have a deep sense of gratitude for the conference team that worked tirelessly to first develop the sessions and then recreate and deliver the sessions once we pivoted to a virtual conference.  I plan on using the professional development, litigation support and data science tracks content in addition to other sessions as professional development objectives for my team.  It was also great seeing and chatting with my friends and making new connections!  A big thank you to all the speakers, the sponsors and the ILTA team for making this happen!

Julie K. Brown, Director of Practice Technology, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Had the privilege of participating as a panelist at ILTA>On this year and I thought it was a positive experience.  Although a virtual conference can never replace the face-to-face interactions that take place during an in-person event, it was certainly worthwhile to be able to share educational content through the  peer-to-peer model supported by ILTA.  Apparently there were 125+ attendees for the virtual panel session that I participated in as a panelist, and I was pleased being able to share some points aimed at helping others in their creation and/or improvement of their organizational information governance programs.


Joseph C. Bartolo, J.D., IG and Risk Solutions Expert, Knovos

I was on vacation that week so I only attended the session we did together, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Cristin Traylor, Discovery Counsel, McGuireWoods LLP

I was there for some of it, and not the stuff into the night in the UK.  I thought what I saw was fantastic and I enjoyed watercooler and hallway moments with friends old and new.

Jonathan Maas, Managing Director, The Maas Consulting Group

I attended a few keynotes, sessions and press briefings! I’m including some coverage in my next column and I will also email you. Generally I was impressed by how well ILTA translated online. I am a big fan of Joy Heath Rush who was fabulous throughout! I wouldn’t have been able to attend in person so this was a terrific opportunity to join from London and connect with US friends virtually. Well done ILTA team!

Joanna Goodman, Freelance Journalist, Writer and Editor

I always look forward to seeing the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Technology Survey, so that session was at the top of my list.  The data were interesting, as always.

David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director, Relativity


As for my personal observations, they were also very positive.  I spoke at the Clawbacks, Redactions, and Formats…Oh My! session with Cindy MacBean from Honigman LLP, Rachel McAdams from A&L Goodbody and Cristin Traylor from McGuireWoods LLP and the coordinator for our session was Gordon Moffat from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.  All the panelists were great in our session and the prep was as thorough as ever – even more so, since we also had to prep for the logistics of the session as conducted on Zoom.  At the height of our session, we had about 120 or so attendees, so it was well attended and went great!

I attended several other terrific sessions as well, including the Leadership under Stress, NASA Failures Monday keynote conducted by Stephen Carver about the Challenger and Columbia disasters, the The Power of Rejection Tuesday keynote conducted by Jia Jiang, and the Disruption in Discovery session conducted by David Greetham of Ricoh and Jeffrey Shapiro of EY (which I wrote about here), among others.  They were all great sessions, and one of the things I really liked is that you could see the other attendees and communicate in the Chat for the session, so you could share your own thoughts and observations during the session.  It really added a community spirit to the discussion overall and enable the attendees to truly be a part of the session discussion as well.  That was terrific!  The various virtual networking events also seemed to add to the community spirit of the event.

The only negative feedback I heard was with regard to the sponsor/provider community.  While there was a Solutions Center where attendees could visit and find out about sponsor offerings and developments, the sponsors that I spoke to indicated to me that the traffic to their “booths” was minimal.  Going in, I expected that would be the greatest challenge for ILTA (and for any virtual conference), and it appears that was the case.  ILTA did a great job showing that they can – with a very short turnaround from in-person to virtual conference – provide a great event that attendees could thoroughly enjoy and benefit from educationally.  Now, they (and the rest of us) need to figure out a way to make it work for the various providers who sponsor these events.

So, what do you think?  Did you attend ILTA>ON this year?  What were your observations?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the authors and speakers themselves, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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