Well, I have been meaning to do an ABA TECHSHOW Roundup. But I’ve been sort of busy. Now Tom Mighell has collected links to many other comments from TECHSHOW attendees with blogs, so I think, as we lawyers say, I will incorporate all of that by reference here. I also agreed to write a post-TECHSHOW article for Law Practice magazine, so I’d better save something for that. Part of my recent "busy" time was a real challenge. I spoke for five hours yesterday on a six hour program we called "The New Lawyer Experience – Hit the Ground Running." I’m very pleased with the initial presentation of this free program. We had over 100 lawyers attend, although not all were brand new. A few were slightly used, but still in good repair. <grin> We are going to tweak the program before the fall, but it seems to be a "keeper." Non-Oklahomans, feel free to pass the link along to your bar associations. Five hours yesterday made my fifty minute presentation this morning to the Oklahoma University College of Law Professional Responsibility class seem like a walk in the park.
But I do want to say a couple of things about TECHSHOW. It is, in a way that no other event that I have attended is, the gathering of the clan of the legal tech/law practice management community. There’s a great feeling there; a positive spirit. There are other great legal tech conferences. But none brings together so many of those who write and speak on legal technology issues or spend most of their time amassing expertise in a technology area. I have many friends in that community that I only see once or twice a year – at TECHSHOW and maybe at some other conference where we are both speaking. At the "other conference" we can all go out to dinner together one night. At TECHSHOW, there may be three competing events scheduled for one night. One such event was the 7th Annual Consultants and Technologists Dinner, produced by Ross Kodner and JoAnna Forshee, and supported by a long list of vendors. It is sort of like the Academy Awards for the law tech/geek crowd, but without the awards, the publicity, the TV coverage, the fancy designer gowns, the stunningly beautiful stars, the…… well, OK, maybe it isn’t much like the Academy Awards at all. But it is still fun.
But you don’t have to be an insider to enjoy ABA TECHSHOW. Several first timers mentioned to me how friendly the conference speakers and attendees were. I visited briefly with a group of three ladies from West Virginia who seemed to be having a great time. Walking through the lobby and bar area late at night is an experience as you catch snatches of conversations like "hadn’t updated the firewall in months," "thought we could just instantly convert the data" and "installed three different desktop search apps." Dennis Kennedy and I agree that it is important to get as little sleep as possible during ABA TECHSHOW so you don’t miss as much.
When, through a startling chain of events, we found ourselves with a dying Internet connection (and no backup plan that survived) for "60 Sites in 60 Minutes" late Saturday morning before a crowd of several hundred, it could have been bad. It was the last event of a two and a half day conference. The crowd could have gotten angry. Instead they laughed along with us as we quipped while showing sites at a slower rate. They wanted us to succeed. Incoming ABA TECHSHOW Chair Dan Pinnington and the hotel staff were up front with us, frantically unplugging and plugging cables. Soon the Internet was back and we were back in business. Hardly anyone had left the room. It was another example of the positive TECHSHOW spirit. Come next year to experience it for yourself and visit the TECHSHOW blog while you are waiting.