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My LITLS experience: Innovation and AI in the world of legal tech

Uwais Iqbal

Founder & CEO, Simplexico

iManage recently hosted the Legal Innovation and Technology Summit, a two-day conference for customers with a variety of presentations and workshops on a range of topics including workflow, change management, hybrid work, and more. The following was written by Uwais Iqbal, Founder & CEO of Simplexico, describing his experience leading an extremely well-received presentation on AI.

Getting the invite

It was the middle of a busy week at the start of August when a message arrived in my LinkedIn inbox from a certain Laura Whitehead, Executive Vice President of Marketing at iManage: “I wanted to find out whether you would be a good fit/interested in participating in a customer event we are running in Montreal in September. It’s an exclusive iManage customer-only event for circa 60 CIO/CKOs. One of our key topics is AI - hence thinking you might be a good fit.”

I had never heard of the iManage Legal Innovation and Technology Summit (LITLS) before. I knew nothing of its legendary status and the unique fraternity associated with it. It wasn’t until I jumped on a call with the amazing iManage team to find out more about LITLS that the extent and scale of the brief really hit home. This was a prestigious venue with only the highest calibre of delegates: C-suite executives from top tier law firms across the UK, US, and Canada.

I was incredibly excited to be invited by iManage and felt so lucky. It wasn’t long before imposter syndrome reared its head, and I felt a mix of nervous excitement and uneasy enthusiasm. We ended up deciding that Simplexico would deliver a talk and a workshop. The talk was designed to give delegates a foundational orientation in AI, supplemented with an understanding of the emerging Legal AI market and the unique opportunities therein for law firms. The interactive workshop would run delegates through how to detect and articulate opportunities for Legal AI in law firms with our Legal AI Canvas.

Needless to say, iManage was placing an immense amount of trust in Simplexico to deliver value to its customers. We had never run a workshop for this large a group of participants before, so we were definitely being pushed outside of our comfort zone. We had to step up to the plate, face our fears and go above and beyond to deliver on the ask. Feelings and emotions aside, I pushed on and drew on the expertise and support of the wonderful Simplexico team. We had to do everything we could to make the talk and the workshop as spectacular as possible.

There was a series of fortunate events which set things into motion behind the scenes of all this. Earlier in the year, I had published a paper at the International Conference of AI and Law (ICAIL) 2023 titled “From Knowledge Management to Intelligence Engineering - A practical approach to building AI inside the law-firm using open-source Large Language Models”. Through the glue of LinkedIn that connects us all, the paper somehow ended up landing on the desk of Kate Simpson, Chief Knowledge Officer at Bennet Jones LLP. Kate had reached out to me directly on LinkedIn and we had a couple of really engaging conversations about the future of Knowledge Management and AI in law firms. Little did I know that Kate sat on the advisory board of LITLS. It would later transpire that Kate set the wheels in motion when she put forward a recommendation for Simplexico to come and speak to the LITLS crowd about AI.

Making the case for AI in legal tech

Flying out to Canada, the iManage team were tremendously kind and supportive in making the experience as friendly and as comfortable as possible. They greeted us with radiant smiles and even more impressive conference swag.

Still jet lagged and pinching myself visiting Canada for the first time, I remember the night before our session, I could barely sleep. Anxious and excited, I rose at 5 AM to put the finishing touches on my talk and checked in with the team to make sure everything was ready for the workshop. The planning was meticulous; colour-coded sticky notes for each group, 50 sharpies individually checked for ink, Legal AI Canvases in glorious A1, double-laminated A5 handouts, and a dedicated Spotify workshop playlist. We were ready.

I delivered the talk — it was a nervy start with the onlooking eyes of close to 50 senior C-suite executives seated at a u-shaped table, hungry and eager to learn about AI. As I eased into the presentation, I became more comfortable, and my confidence grew. These delegates are here to learn, and I was invited and trusted to serve that need. I can do this.

After the talk, the feedback was quite humbling. One delegate came up to me to tell me that this was the best talk she had sat through in a long time. I was not expecting that.

We had a short break before jumping into what is usually run as a day-long workshop, now compressed into two hours. With a fun icebreaker to break up into three teams, we ran through Simplexico’s framework on Legal AI Actions and Functions before moving out into breakout rooms to ideate use cases and rapidly work through the Legal AI Canvas. Completed Legal AI Canvases at the ready, we all came back together. Each team presented their Legal AI Canvas with their use case. We ended up with three incredibly tangible use cases for where AI could be used in a law firm that resonated with delegates from across different firms.

After we had delivered the talk and the workshop, Dan Carmel, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at iManage, came over to congratulate us on our work. The sessions had cut through the hype, hit the mark, and we had successfully delivered on the brief. Mission accomplished. Job well done, team!

Building a lasting relationship

During my LITLS experience, I had the opportunity to share a conversation with Neil Araujo, iManage CEO, over dinner. Selfishly looking to glean some wisdom from his extensive experience, I asked him what advice he might give to his former self just starting out. His response was something that has stuck with me since — "There are givers and takers in the world. Business is about creating lasting relationships built on trust. You must be a giver to create trust and that takes time and effort to build." iManage exemplified this. They gave their trust and a unique opportunity. Simplexico learnt something new. Simplexico gave their expertise and service.

I will forever be grateful to the iManage team for their trust, hospitality, and kindness, and to Kate Simpson and the LITLS advisory board for the recommendation. Bootstrapping a business is hard work, especially in a market clouded by hype and hysteria. The journey is made all the more enjoyable by the people and the relationships built along the way. Let’s see where this goes!

About the author

Uwais Iqbal

Making Knowledge Work

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