Thanks to plenty of pre-show twitter and blog buzz, the inaugural innovation that is Ignite Law did not go unnoticed among legal professionals and legal industry thought leaders, all convened in Chicago for this year's ABA TECHSHOW. The Ignite Law premise was a simple one: maximize ideas and innovation around "the future of law practice", and minimize traditional long-winded speeches and presentations without promise.
Hype leading up to Ignite Law was substantial and, thanks to twitter and plenty of word-of-mouth, the 150 tickets were snapped up well in advance of Wednesday's evening gala. Speaking of hype, the Texas State Bar Computer & Tech blog referred to Ignite Law as the “TECSHOW pre-game” and compared it to the buzz surrounding the Superbowl. Before diving into some presentation highlights, we tabulated some speaker and attendee stats worth sharing:
- Ignite Law featured 16 speakers including a legal journalist, legal technology vendors, BigLaw, SmallLaw, trial consultant, technologists and bloggers.
- 10 out of the 16 presenters have law degrees, but only ½ are actively practicing.
- 11 are active tweeters with a grand total of 18,486 followers (probably many more after Ignite Law) and nearly 30,000 tweets.
- Of the 150+ that showed up to celebrate Ignite Law and the future of law practice, 47 represented law firms ranging from 1 to 3,500 lawyers, including 26 solos.
- 9 media showed representing ABA LPM, ABA Journal, Law Bulletin Publishing, and the Association of Legal Administrators.
- Legal association support including ABA (12 attendees), ILTA, ALA and numerous state bars.
- 32 vendor guests representing over 15 companies and 30 consultants showed.
The Ignite Law sessions varied in topic scope, breadth and relevance and kicked off with co-producer Matt Homann's mantra of "clients are relevant again" and plea for all attendees to think, learn, share, and do, not only during TECSHOW but once they leave as well.
Rocket Matter's Larry Port discussed agile software development and its relevance in law firms. He detailed his company's daily "standup" routine consisting of short, standing-only meetings for all staff answering "what I did yesterday? what I did today? and what's in my way" as a way to address daily obstacles and constantly track progress and accomplishments.
ABA Journal's publisher and editor-in-chief Ed Adams discussed the future of legal journalism and shared his Legal Rebel's 3,000 mile roadtrip and their quest to connect with our country's legal super heroes, the men and women who are remaking the practice of law.
Sidley Austin's Joy Heath Rush introduced ILTA's Law Firm 2020 initiative and that firms need to figure out how to give attorneys access to clients and information no matter where they are.
Marc Lauritsen talked about choiceboxing being the future of decision making.
Kevin Chern discussed the ethics of new legal marketing.
According to almost everyone we spoke to, the hands-down star of Ignite Law "Act 1" was Tom Mighell and his fast paced 6 minute plea for better practice management education starting at the law firm level. With only 61 out of 195 accredited universities offering PMS courses, the gap of tech savvy lawyers versus those in denial about understanding and utilizing tech is widening.
Carolyn Elefant honed in on how outsourcing innovation can help large firms cultivate new ways of doing business with minimal risk while at the same time, offering enormous opportunities to savvy solos and displaced junior associates.
Ari Kaplan, reminiscent of the legal reincarnation of Tony Robbins, literally bounced around the Ignite Law stage with analogies of how bowling on the Wii with his daughter resembles law firm marketing. Kaplan, TECHSHOW's 2010 keynoter, encouraged to play together, change your perspective, avoid distractions, but at the same time make mistakes.
That ended 'Act 1' of Ignite Law. We'll post on 'Act 2' tomorrow and also post our pictures. To be continued...