We asked Bruce Olson, Dennis Kennedy, Sharon Nelson, and
Dan Pinnington, four members of the ABA TECHSHOW 2004
Planning Board, to give us some insight as to what attendees
can expect from this year's show.
What’s The Big News at ABA
TECHSHOW® This Year?
Bruce Olson: We’re presenting
something completely new called the TECHSHOW
Training Institute. It will be held on Saturday
afternoon, offering intensive hands-on training in many
of the actual products attendees will see demonstrated
during the first two days of the show. There are a total
of 10 training sessions available, each running 90 minutes.
We encourage attendees to bring their laptops. And they
can purchase the software for the sessions at a special
show discount, too. Vendors will provide experienced
trainers, with assistance from show faculty, to help
you immediately put into practice some of the things
that tickle your fancy during the show.
Dennis Kennedy: Litigation technology
is the hottest area in legal technology and lawyers
may be surprised at the number of powerful options available.
The impact of the power, speed and storage of today’s
hardware has made realistic options out of what people
still may think of as ideas or wishes. In other words,
attendees may find themselves looking at something that
would have an amazing impact on their practices.
Sharon Nelson: The expansion of wireless
networks through the legal profession and the explosion
of electronic discovery.
Dan Pinnington: While not formally
keynote sessions, the 60
Tips in 90 Minutes and 60
Sites in 60 Minutes presentations are always among
the best attended sessions for the simple reason that
they are always full of excellent information and tips.
ABA TECHSHOW’s keynote speakers are always interesting.
Who’s on the 2004 slate?
Olson: The presidents of LexisNexis
North America and West—Lou Andreozzi and Michael
Wilens, respectively—have agreed to a joint appearance
as our keynote speakers on Thursday, the first day of
TECHSHOW. They will share their respective visions of
how technology will impact the practice of law over
the next five years. It’s going to be a don’t-miss-it
look into the future! The keynote will be a plenary
session at the end of the day, followed immediately
by a cocktail reception in the Exhibit Hall. The speakers
have agreed to join us there to meet and greet our attendees.
What’s the hot buzz in law office technology
at this year’s show?
Olson: It’s wireless technology
from top to bottom. TECHSHOW 2004 will have a special
emphasis on wireless, and we’re even offering
wireless Internet access throughout the Sheraton ballrooms
during the show. On Friday, an entire track is being
devoted to a wide array of wireless issues.
Kennedy: Wireless, security, cheap
storage, and integration of email and other data sources
into document management. Also, keep an eye out for
Tablet PCs and Microsoft OneNote.
Pinnington: I agree with Dennis. Security
and privacy (or the lack thereof) are big. Everyone
is excited about wireless, and those in the know are
deathly afraid of its lack of security. All the litigators
are trying to figure out electronic document discovery
- and are a gaining an appreciation that understanding
some basic technology can help with this task.
Nelson: I can't disagree: wireless
networks are everywhere. I would add that anything USB
is hot as well.
Anything else we ought to be looking forward to?
Olson: You bet! We’re really
excited about the special joint track that we’ve
developed with the ABA
Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law (RPPT).
The overall focus will be on the “Electronic Transaction
from A-Z,” and RPPT has charted a day’s
worth of excellent programming featuring speakers
from their section. We’re hoping this partnering
arrangement will serve as a model for future shows,
offering different Sections of the ABA a chance to participate
with us on a rotating basis. In addition, as ever, a
wide variety of legal technology vendors will be there
to show their latest and greatest developments.
Kennedy: Star power. We have quite
a lineup of well-known and popular speakers. I’m
looking forward to hearing and meeting the speakers
we have. The TECHSHOW Training Institutes offer some
great opportunities for attendees wanting hands-on training
and personal attention. It’s also possible that
in a few years we will look back at the Lexis/WestLaw
joint keynote program as being a seminal event in 21st
century legal technology.
What's the most essential law office technology is
Kennedy: Windows Update. Seriously,
though, security concerns almost outweigh all other
considerations these days and attendees will learn enough
to be part of the security solution, not part of the
security problem. Let me add that the laptop computer
(or Tablet PC) is probably the most essential technology
for practicing lawyers today.
Pinnington: Practice management software.
There is no better tool for supercharging you and your
practice. These products have matured into incredible
full-featured tools that gather in one place all the
information you need to handle your files and run your
practice. They will make you more efficient and profitable,
and can help you avoid malpractice claims.
Nelson: I hate to be so agreeable,
but case management (to avoid the dreaded M word - Malpractice
and to achieve efficiency) and proper security are absolutely
What is the must-see sessions will be (and why):
Olson: An entire day of the Litigation
Track is being devoted to e-discovery issues, and
the second day of the track will have a hands-on focus
on demonstrative evidence. Also, everyone will be glad
to know that one of TECHSHOW’s most popular speakers
will be back to give us his latest tips in the session
Ball on PowerPoint.” And there will be two
full days of practical sessions specifically for lawyers
who practice solo or work in small firms. E-mail management,
security strategies, technology-based marketing, and
a number of sessions providing legal ethics credits
will also be offered. There’s something for everyone.
Even the deeply techie will want to watch the presentations
on A.I. by members of the International Association
for Artificial Intelligence.
Kennedy: There are too many to name—we
have a who’s who list of speakers. The keynote
is a must. I’m looking forward to Craig Ball sharing
his PowerPoint secrets, John Alber talking about what
Bryan Cave has done on extranets, Ernie the Attorney,
Larry Bodine and Rick Klau on marketing, and Donna Payne
on Microsoft Office 2003, among others. There’s
a lot of content here.
Nelson: Craig Ball on PowerPoint (it
is always magic), Electronic
Evidence Toolkit (over 20 helpful forms are included
in the toolkit), Zubulake
and Beyond (because cost shifting in electronic
discovery has undergone such major changes); The
Lawyer's Guide to Adobe Acrobat (because most lawyers
can barely scratch the surface of its abilities) and
all the Wireless
sessions (because wireless will be omnipresent in
the near future)
Pinnington: The Practice
Management Software Face-off session is a must see.
This session will feature a live side-by-side demonstration
of how Amicus Attorney and TimeMatters complete four
common sets of file related tasks.
The most valuable thing I ever learned at ABA TECHSHOW
Kennedy: There really are many others
who have the same passion and interest in legal technology
as I have and that they are as helpful and accessible
a group of people as you would ever hope to meet. TECHSHOW
is at least as much a people event as it is a tech event.
If you want to meet, say hello, or talk with me or any
other speaker, look for the badges with the ribbon and
Pinnington: The names and phone numbers
of like-minded attendees who were struggling with many
of the same legal technology issues I was. These people
have become an invaluable resource for me.
Nelson: How to scrub metadata from
documents so that it couldn't bite me in the rear later.
How even excellent security can be breached by someone
smart and determined enough, requiring constant vigilance
against new vulnerabilities.
Please add any other useful comments you have:
Kennedy: Don’t be afraid to
overdo it—take in as many sessions and events
as you can – you can rest when you get back home.
Pinnington: The wealth of information
in the TECHSHOW materials can't be overstated. You would
pay technology consultants thousands of dollars to get
the same content and information.
The Top Ten reasons you have to come to ABA TECHSHOW
- Excellent speakers and great content with a specific
focus on the needs of practicing attorneys.
- Opportunity to see demos and ask specific questions
about technology you are considering.
- Ability to meet and talk with many of the experts
whose articles and posting you have read over the
years and finding that they are friendly, accessible
- Finding others with the same passion and interest
about improving their practices through technology
as you have.
- Getting more useful information and ideas in a short
time than you could ever imagine.
- There is no better way to OD on legal technology.
- To learn from the best of the best.
- To learn from fellow speakers and attendees, how
much more you still have to learn.
- To have great accessibility to the speakers
- To learn from a conference that is not vendor driven,
where sessions are taught, not pitched.
Bruce A. Olson (email@example.com)
is a shareholder in the Wisconsin based law firm of
Davis & Kuelthau, S.C., working from its Green
Bay and Milwaukee offices. He is a trial lawyer concentrating
his trial practice in the areas of commercial litigation;
employment litigation; personal injury litigation,
representing both plaintiffs and defendants; medical
malpractice defense; product liability litigation;
insurance defense; professional liability defense;
and aviation litigation.
Dennis Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a computer lawyer and consultant based in St. Louis,
Missouri. He speaks and writes frequently on legal,
technology and Internet topics and was named the 2001
TechnoLawyer of the Year by TechnoLawyer.com. His
highly regarded web site at www.denniskennedy.com
collects many of his articles and is the home of his
Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., is the President
of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a computer forensics
and legal technology firm located in Fairfax, Virginia.
She frequently speaks and writes on legal technology
and her primary practice areas include technology
and Internet law.
Dan Pinnington (dan.Pinnington@lawpro.ca)
works for the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company
to help the 20,000 practising lawyers in Ontario avoid
malpractice claims. He speaks and writes frequently
on a variety of risk management and legal technology
topics. Through practicePRO (www.practicepro.ca)
he provides Ontario lawyers with practical how-to
resources aimed at helping them succeed in the practice