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The ILTACON Experience with Upland BAI Legal Solutions Director Kim Stein

Kim Stein

Kim Stein brings decades of experience as a legal solutions and workflow specialist. As Upland BA Insight’s Director of Legal Solutions, she has a rich and unique perspective on the legal industry. On this episode, Kim joins Pete Wright to share her insights as reflected through the lens of the premier educational and networking event in the legal sector: ILTACON Experience.

Links & Notes

Kim Stein Upland Legal

Kim Stein
Director of Legal Solutions
Upland Software, BA Insight


Pete Wright: Welcome to Shared Insights from Upland BA Insight. I’m Pete Wright. Kim Stein brings decades of experience as a legal solutions and workflow specialist from LexisNexis to Thompson Reuters and beyond, thankfully coming out of retirement to land here at Upland BA Insight as our director of legal solutions. Kim joins me today to share some of those insights as reflected through the lens of our premiere educational and networking event in the legal sector, ILTACON. Kim, welcome to Shared Insights.

Kim Stein: Thank you for having me.

Pete Wright: I imagine if you’re listening to this show, you’ve probably heard of ILTACON. For those who’ve never attended, as I said, it’s the premier educational and networking event for the legal sector. It’s a four-and-a-half day conference, just wrapped up in lovely National Harbor, Maryland. Industry experts, legal community collaborates to discover and evolve successful legal operation strategies for today’s transforming legal industry. There were over 1,600 technology decision makers in attendance from law firms and organizations and legal departments around the world. Kim, you’ve attended this event, it says here at least 15 times, I have to know what is it about the ILTACON experience that draws you to this, like a moth to the flame?

Kim Stein: Yeah. It’s not like I’m vacationing there, but I do find it to be probably the best conference in terms of the volunteerism, in terms of the content, in terms of the networking, it’s just superior to any other conference that I’ve attended, and I’ve been doing it 15-ish years. It’s been in existence long before then and I missed it in my retirement, but I didn’t miss anything since COVID kept people from attending, so I’m just back where I was before.

Pete Wright: Well, let’s start then by talking a little bit about Upland BA Insight and how what we do fits with the ILTACON experience.

Kim Stein: First, let me say that I joined Upland and I’ve said already that I had retired. Upland, I saw the vision that they have presented. It’s to double down on the legal sector with relevant solutions, one that they’ve had for many years, AccuRoute, which is basically addressing paper faxes and scans by digitally transforming and securing that content, which is very relevant for many firms in moving paper into a digital format.

Pete Wright: Sure.

Kim Stein: But then, Upland purchased BA Insight in the March timeframe and they really now are taking hold of their legal assets and presenting them. BA Insight is offering a search to improve every firm’s productivity, increase efficiency and really to collaborate, and we’re really at a pivotal time in law firms’ trajectory. That search is really even that much more important to firms.

Pete Wright: Well, that’s always the most exciting thing for me as somebody who hosts this podcast to see the guests that come through our stage to talk about how they have been transformed by way of search. It’s extraordinary to see what they’re capable of doing and how quickly they’re capable of doing it. How well does this vision that Upland BA Insight has around the legal sector, align with this year’s theme at ILTACON?

Kim Stein: It’s interesting that you say that because in the last several years, and basically probably because of COVID as well, the knowledge management, the technical people at firms, the innovation groups are focused on data and data was a big theme of this ILTACON as well. It’s taking this idea of putting something over all of the data. In law firms, much information is siloed and it lives in various places, so the idea of being able to put a search engine over it and to be able to get the information you need, to whom you want it to go to at the time you want to present it, is a really powerful story.

Pete Wright: Well, it seems like it. I think when we talk about data, I wonder if you could expand on that a little bit. When we talk about data, sometimes we get into this conversation around just matter and pieces of matter and how we’re able to find them quickly, but we bury in there the conversation around productivity, this value proposition, not for knowledge managers at law firms, but for loafers in the courthouse, attorneys who are actually building cases, it makes a huge difference.

Kim Stein: Yeah. Yeah. The value proposition always for firms to serve their clients better, so faster access, more complete answers, proactive research allows better client service, and it really does increase profitability in the end.

Pete Wright: Was that part of the message when you think about the overall message of ILTACON this year, and let’s say, as anchored by the keynote. Is that where they’re going on this efficiency, this profitability angle?

Kim Stein: Well, I think they’ve been going there, but it continues to be a theme. There was a session called Data-Driven Culture. I heard today on the ILTACON quarterly call that they have, that that was really well-attended and many people talked about it afterwards, so that’s definitely something that’s really top of mind. The keynote speaker talked a little bit about thinking bigger, disruptive innovation and to me, it was a little bit past its time; however, he was talking about warehousing data and machine learning and AI, and those are still very much part of the conversation that law firms are having. They’ve got the silos. They’ve got document management systems. They’ve got intranets. They’ve got knowledge bases. They’ve got data warehouses or data lakes. They’ve got shared drives. They’ve got financial systems, experience systems, websites. Now, how do you take that data and transform it into knowledge? I think search has a very big piece of that story.

Pete Wright: How does the ILTACON experience present the machine learning, the AI aspect of knowledge management, and in particular, I know blockchain was a principal topic this year?

Kim Stein: Well, this is where the keynote speaker touched on things, but he did not specifically talk about these things in legal, but we have been speaking about machine learning and AI. I think there was an ILTACON three or four years ago where every session was its title plus AI. Everybody’s so interested in AI and really, a lot of what AI is, is really the machine learning, is being able to do things better, faster, and with technology rather than manually doing things; however, it’s always been very evident that the people are very important in this story as well. But if the people are given the correct data, then you’re able to do, again, we talk about productivity, we talk about efficiency. These kind of tools allow you to do a lot more with a lot less.

Pete Wright: Sure. Sure. I poke at that because one, every time you go to an industry conference like this, there is always the major topic of the year that seems to be somehow disconnected from the people who are actually doing the work in the industry and for a time. I’m curious how far ahead machine learning, AI and blockchain are from the people who are actually doing the work, so that’s number one. Two, you have been around for a long time in this industry. You’ve seen a lot of change. What is your perspective on how well the industry, the event this year, reflected your perception of the industry right now?

Kim Stein: Well, I think machine learning has gotten a lot better. Some companies, Thompson Reuters when I worked for them, they’ve been doing machine learning for years, probably for the last 15, 20 years, but it wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today.

Pete Wright: Sure.

Kim Stein: AI is becoming a lot more accessible and it’s solving a lot of problems. There’s a lot of firms that are using bots, which is an important piece of building out the vision of how they deliver knowledge to their attorneys. Blockchain, I think it’s a little on the tricky side in law firms. The keynote speaker tried to think that we were going to use attorney’s hourly fees somehow with regards to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I think he basically, was just touching on the buzz words that are in everybody’s minds, even his examples. It was really cool to see a tractor that was driven without a person driving it, so a driverless tractor, but one of my colleagues sitting with me said that he’s seen that a couple of years ago.

Kim Stein: So I think he was touching on the things that are important, but he didn’t really touch really deeply into the law firms’ use of some of these things. There was a keynote speaker on Wednesday. I have to mention it was with the Honorable Tanya Kennedy. She did on Wednesday a keynote speech with regards to diversity and inclusion and likability, and it was very heartfelt and there was a lot of people in attendance. She talked about her rise to judgeship, which she had a more difficult time; one, because she’s a woman, two, because she’s a black woman. I think it was uplifting in knowing how far she’s come. She’s a great role model for a lot of women in technology, and to keep the fight going to get to where we need to be…

Pete Wright: Outstanding.

Kim Stein: … as women in technology,

Pete Wright: You were there representing Upland BA Insight. What’d we do? What’d we get to show off?

Kim Stein: We were well-positioned at the event and I have to thank the leaders of Upland, our general manager, Karen Cummings, who couldn’t make it. She had a conflict at the last minute, but our VP of sales, Skip Vish was with us. These are two strong leaders and they really want to sit with our clients and our prospects, understand what our firms want from us. So we had a demo suite where we had multiple meetings and discussions with firms on search strategy and digital strategies, portal and intranet strategies. We specifically had a breakfast for an advisory board where we had folks engaged in a number of trend discussions. I would say the trend discussions that were talked about there were a little bit more on point because they were very legal focused. Then because we do have great leaders, we had a great happy hour. I’m glad they put the suite to good use. We had a cocktail hour before everybody went out on the Wednesday night and it was quite well attended.

Pete Wright: Well, I love that your review of the event does include the happy hour. It’s an important part of the conference that there is an appropriately-attended happy hour.

Kim Stein: Well, my understanding is long before I started with ILTACON, it had several other names. In the early days I’ve heard stories of bathtubs filled with beer and cocktails. We’ve got enough vendors now supporting and making happy hours come true.

Pete Wright: Okay. All right. Aspirational, it is indeed. Let’s talk about only because we have a tie to this particular individual, our dear friend, Dave Boland of Ogletree. Tell us a little bit about what buzz we got out of the Ogletree presentation.

Kim Stein: Yeah. Ogletree was well recognized at ILTACON. They’ve been doing great things and Dave Boland could not attend, but he has done a podcast for us.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Kim Stein: He’s been on the show, and so I think you’ll put a link in the show notes for that.

Pete Wright: Absolutely.

Kim Stein: But he did send two ambassadors and they did a session, The Building on Award-Winning Data-Driven Digital Workspace. I have to say, they talked about what they’re doing. They have a chat bot. They’ve earned ILTA’s Transformation Project of the Year Award. They referenced BA Insight, which is driving a search for them. It really drove a lot of people to our booth afterwards. There were many a firm that said to us, “We want what Ogletree’s having,” number one, and number two, just even compliments about that. So we were very pleased to have them there representing, well, the hard work they’ve done, but we were glad that we’d lend them some technology to get it done.

Pete Wright: Well, it is a great review of the conference, but I would say that connection, if you want to hear an incredible story of transformation, please click on that link and go listen to my conversation with Dave Boland. He is an extraordinary thinker and represents an extraordinary team, and they were able to do an awful lot to earn that transformation project.

Kim Stein: Yeah. Like I’ve always said is, I don’t do knowledge management. I talk about knowledge management and I have a whole circle of people that I talk to about knowledge management. I think that’s where I stand, but the people that actually do knowledge management, it’s amazing. It’s amazing. There’s a lot of examples, not just Ogletree. I don’t want to take anything away from Ogletree, but I also say that we have a lot of other clients that are doing some amazing work.

Pete Wright: Absolutely. Well, Kim, I would talk to you about knowledge management. Anytime you want to talk about knowledge management. Thank you so much for joining me today for this review. Anything you feel like we’ve missed? Anything you absolutely want to make sure you get in before we hang up our headphones here?

Kim Stein: No, but if you haven’t had the ILTACON experience, you must find a way to get there.

Pete Wright: Given her past attendance, Kim will probably be there.

Kim Stein: Heck yeah.

Pete Wright: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate your time and attention. Links to everything that Kim has talked about are in the show notes. If you want more information, all you have to do is head over to On behalf of Kim Stein, Upland BA Insight’s director of legal solutions. I’m Pete Wright and I’ll catch you next time right here on Shared Insights, the podcast from Upland BA Insight.