♫ What a feeling.
I can have it all, now I’m dancing for my life.
Take your passion
and make it happen..♫
Having returned from speaking and attending ABA TECHSHOW 2008, I now have the perspective of time to reflect on what I saw and heard and discern the trends and emerging issues that flowed from the conference.
First off, there were many new faces at Techshow this year, particularly among the speakers. This was a good thing as the introduction of new ideas and perspectives that fresh blood brings to the conference cannot be underestimated and Techshow does a fine job of this. There were also many new vendors on the exhibit floor and that added a degree of novelty to the conference as well!
The social events (Techshow after Dark, the Techshow speaker dinners) were a great success, even if the band at Techshow after Dark was a bit loud. The attendees were wonderful – they came loaded with lots of questions, terrific comments and suggestions and fully contributed to the sense of sharing and knowledge exchange that is so much a hallmark of ABA TECHSHOW.
In terms of the undercurrents running through the educational sessions, certainly e-Discovery continues its relentless march through the legal corridors, transforming everything in its path. It is difficult to believe that there is any litigation lawyer in North America today who is not at least aware of the need to consider the implications of electronic evidence in virtually every case.
It was reassuring to see the emphasis given to two closely-related issues: Records Management and the Paperless Office. These two go hand in hand, in my opinion. Furthermore, I saw a sea-change at this year’s TECHSHOW – and that was the overall acceptance that integrated case (or practice management) and legal accounting software is the foundation on which any law firm should now be built. Virtually all lawyers (at least at TECHSHOW) now recognize that these products are not only getting better and better (Amicus Attorney+ Amicus Accounting, LexisNexis Front Office and Back Office (Time Matters + PC Law), Practice Master + Tabs 3, LawStream, ProLaw etc) but they save a tremendous amount of time and effort as well. Furthermore, they are now being integrated into the paperless office, which only increases the scope of their use and reach.
Two other related issues: IT Security and Privacy were also big and will only get bigger as we move to a fully digital law firm and concerns over personal privacy and identity theft continue.
And lastly I was most impressed by the emergence (or should I say, surge in interest) of using a Mac in a law office. These sessions were very effective in not only demonstrating the usefulness of this platform and the benefits that it offers; they also pretty much debunked most *if not all* of the myths that Windows and IT staff put forward to stop a Mac from being used in a Windows-centric office and network.
A cultural trend was the sheer number of people (mostly faculty!) who were actively blogging as the conference went on. The list included: Kevin O’Keefe (Real Lawyers Have Blogs), Sharon Nelson (Ride the Lightening), Dominic Jaar (Wines and Information Management), Tom Mighell (Inter-Alia), Jim Calloway (Law Practice Tips Blog), and many others! Indeed, I smugly did a blog post on the Keynote Speaker Marc Rotenberg while listening to the presentation right from the ballroom floor, only to find that Reid Trautz (Reid My Blog!) seated right behind me, on his MacBook Pro, had beat me by posting to his own blog moments before on the same topic (if anyone thinks that there isn’t any competition among bloggers, think again!). How cool is that?!!
Notable and cool speakers for me were:
Tom Mighell (*the Chair of this year’s Techshow*) who did a great job in interviewing the great Keynote Speaker Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC.ORG). Steve Best, my co-speaker in Drafting Bills Your Clients Love to Pay was exceptional and made my job effortless. Ben Stevens, who did both sessions in the Mac Track, was terrific.
And of course the speakers on 60 Sites in 60 Minutes (Tom Mighell, Reid Trautz and Craig Ball) and 60 Tips in 60 Minutes (Brett Burney, Barron Henley and Sharon Nelson) were funny, entertaining and also informative in continuing the fine TECHSHOW tradition of these sessions!
This was a wonderful TECHSHOW – and I can’t wait for the 2009 version when my fellow Law Practice Magazine Profitability co-columnist Laura Calloway takes over as 2009 TECHSHOW Chair! This is one conference that is is sure to stoke your imagination and take your passion and make it happen!
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 at 10:07 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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