ALPMA 2023: The Building Blocks for a Sustainable Law Firm

The vibrant city of Melbourne hosted one of the most anticipated events in the legal industry from September 6th through the 8th this year. The ALPMA 2023 Conference had a running theme of “Embrace, Adapt, Evolve: The Sustainable Firm of the Future” which attracted more than 450 law firms and legal industry leaders to explore the evolving relationship between people and technology in the legal sphere. As a Platinum Partner and Gala Dinner Partner, our team was honored to contribute to the educational sessions and informative conversations taking place during the conference.

Read on to learn more about what topics were covered during the event.

The recap on Actionstep’s sessions

As a leader in the legal tech space, we were excited to facilitate meaningful discussions at ALPMA 2023. Two of our presentations were led by David Hepburn, Actionstep’s Global President, who showcased our company’s commitment to advancing legal technology and innovation in practice management.

In the hands-on workshop titled “From Tech Headaches to Tech Ecosystem: Design a Technology Ecosystem that Supports Your Firm’s Growth and Innovation,” Hepburn showed legal professionals how law firms can strategically evaluate and optimize their technology stack. Attendees were provided with practical insights into eliminating bottlenecks and redundant manual work that allowed them to envision their ideal technology ecosystem that aligns with their law firm’s objectives and client service goals.

The second presentation, “The Future of Law: Embracing Intuitive Automation,” focused on a concept that’s transforming the legal landscape: Intuitive Automation (IA). During this session, Hepburn explored the central role IA plays in enhancing the value of various workflows and tools, including artificial intelligence (AI). Attendees were left intrigued and inspired by the possibilities that IA offers, particularly how it can be practically applied in law firms. Our fresh approach to automation resonated with law firms eager to explore new concepts and embrace the future of legal technology.

People strategies for a sustainable future

The ALPMA 2023 Conference also included coverage of the critical topic of people strategies for the next-gen workforce. During “The Next-Gen Workforce: People Strategies for a Sustainable Future” panel discussion facilitated by Emma Elliott, CEO of ALPMA, featured representatives from various legal sectors including Richard Jones, Director of Partnerships, Australia and New Zealand, Actionstep, Luke Campbell, CEO of VXT, Tessa van Durn, CEO, Moores, and Tenille Saffin, General Manager – People, Sladen Legal. This session focused on the future of work, highlighting the importance of flexibility in law firms.

Flexibility was a recurring theme, with an emphasis on the need for clear procedures and expectations for flexible working arrangements. The consensus was clear – younger generations consider flexibility a non-negotiable factor in their job choices. Law firms were encouraged to adapt their management style to cater to the preferences of each generation to attract and retain top talent. Failure to meet the evolving needs and desires of these generations could cause trouble for law firms as they risk losing valuable talent and longevity. 

Despite the evolving market landscape, talent attraction and retention remained a strong theme at the conference. Many law firms grappled with how to best create a positive work culture and foster lasting connections with their staff. Attracting Generation Z employees proved particularly challenging, as this demographic seeks flexibility that traditional law firms may be hesitant to provide. The prevailing sentiment was that law firms need to meet younger generations where they're at, and this means adopting technology that provides flexibility.

The potential and challenges of AI

AI was a hot topic throughout the conference – just like it was at ILTACON 2023 – and its growing importance in legal professions. Discussions around AI focused on AI’s accessibility for everyday users versus its practical usefulness. Attendees drew parallels with the early days of personal computing in 1979, highlighting the potential for AI to become an indispensable tool in the legal arsenal.

One significant barrier to widespread AI adoption was identified as the quality of data. Just as IA and a strong tech ecosystem require a solid foundation, AI’s success hinges on reliable data sources which isn’t necessarily available yet. Many Large Language Models (LLMs) suffer from biases, poor reasoning, and inadequate data sources, limiting their effectiveness. However, the consensus was the future of AI lies in AI systems that adapt to the users rather than the users learning how to use them.

Even with the concerns about accuracy and security, attendees were keen to gain practical insights into how AI can be applied to their law firms. Our session on IA and tech ecosystem provided added context and knowledge for helping law firms bridge the gap between idea and practice.

Unleashing the potential of automation

With AI and IA top-of-mind, the enthusiasm for automation was prominent at the event. Attendees were actively searching for ways to automate more of their work processes. Investing in intuitive automation and other tools that automate workflows is the first step in driving business efficiency.

Our team spokewith many legal professionals who had a strong desire to maximize how they’re using Actionstep, emphasizing law firm’s potential to leverage technology for growth and productivity.

The growing importance of marketing and business development

Several sessions at ALPMA 2023 revolved around marketing and its significance in law firm’s growth strategies. Many law firms still struggle to recognize themselves as businesses that require marketing efforts. Attendees were eager to apply new marketing practices and learnings to their business to build a stronger connection with clients and prospects, ultimately enhancing their firm’s growth potential.

To wrap things up, ALPMA 2023 was a success for all attendees and technology providers. The conference provided invaluable insights into the evolving dynamics between people and technology in law firms, solidifying the notion that embracing, adapting, and evolving are essential steps toward building a sustainable law firm of the future.

Learn more about how technology can benefit your law firm in our recent whitepaper “A Blueprint for Building Your Law Firm’s Ideal Technology Ecosystem.”

Written by The Actionstep Team