Vendor Education Program
Wednesday, March 24th, the day before the official ABA TECHSHOW kick-off, was super busy; the Practice Management Advisors (PMAs) had a retreat off-site at ABA HQ, exhibitor set-up was in full effect, and the vendor education program - 2 hours of sessions designed to help vendors work with legal media and understand social networking - was in session. For the second year, InsideLegal.com produced this program courtesy of the ABA Law Practice Management staff and board offering 2 sessions - "Working with the Legal Media" and "Utilizing Social Media to Market Your Company".
The "Working with the Legal Media" session included the following panelists ...
- Jobst Elster, VP of InsideLegal and legal industry PR expert [Moderator]
- Robert Yates, executive editor, Chicago Lawyer, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
- John Delavan, editor-in-chief, Legal Management, ALA News
- Reginald Davis, assistant managing editor, ABA Journal
- Joy White, editor, Law Practice, Law Practice Today
The session gave an overview of each publication; each editor's preference for receiving vendor news; publications' rules for content; and their social media involvement.
The next session, "Utilizing Social Media to Market Your Company", included:
- JoAnna Forshee – CEO of InsideLegal (@InsideLegal) and social media expert [Moderator]
- Tim Baran - uMCLE-Mandatory CLE Unplugged! (@umcle)
- Larry Port – Rocket Matter (@rocketmatter)
The discussion covered the basics of social media, setting up Twitter accounts and tips for vendors on determining their social media strategy. We'd like to thank all the panelists as well as the vendors who took time from their exhibit setup to join us.
Thursday was the beginning of our many briefings during the show. We would like to extend a special thank you to all of the TECHSHOW board members, faculty and technologists, consultants and bloggers we met with (easily more than 40 of you) during TECHSHOW. In particular, we really appreciated having quality “sit down and meet” time with Jeff Allen (of GPSOLO and ABA Technology eReport fame), Dennis Kennedy (of the widely popular DennisKennedy.com blog), Laura Calloway (The Alabama Bar’s practice management advisor), Tom Mighell (successful legal blogger and TECHSHOW board member), Brett Burney (of Burney Consultants), Debbie Foster (2010 TECHSHOW Chair and MC) and Andy Adkins (legal case and practice management guru and Director of University of Florida’s Legal Technology Institute). When we weren't in meetings, we were roaming the exhibit hall...
Friday was reserved for a visit to the exhibit hall to see what the vendors were were up to. Here is a sampling of a few of the folks we spoke with:Rocket Matter: Founding Partner Larry Port was a busy guy this week, first participating in InsideLegal's TECHSHOW social media panel, then presenting his Ignite Law talk on Wednesday evening, and in addition, talking up Rocket Matter's new legal trust accounting functionality.
Digital Direction: Chicago-based, this provider of outsourced telecom management services (i.e., will handle all of your telecommunications services from contract negotiations thru billing), exhibited at TECHSHOW at the urging of one of it's law firm clients (now that's commitment). According to the DD folks, law firms can save upward of 25% on outsourced telecom management services.
Omega Legal: Every legal technology show we cover, we usually run into the happy-go-lucky Omega Legal crew - TECHSHOW was no exception. Steve Bentley and Kelly Gall reported consistently strong demand for their integrated financial and practice management system and mentioned that Chicago in particular showed lots of promise with firms actively replacing existing systems and upgrading to newer versions.
Scrible: With a tagline of "Scrible does for research what gmail did for email", you are bound to get some raised eyebrows. Add to that, free "booth-side" champagne and fresh, energetic faces of a new company in a new market at their first official trade show and you have Scrible, an affordable (it's free for now!) online research review alternative enabling fast and easy collaboration. One of the most lively guys, Scrible co-founder & CEO Victor Karkar, shared that Scribble was designed with small firms & solos, and their resource and technology challenges, in mind. Currently, Scrible is in beta and offering free accounts.
Element55: We also caught up with Element55's sales director Tim Norton who tells us business for his company and other automatic time capture solutions (think IntApp, TimeKM, Smart Time) is good and getting better every day. On a side note, the Massachusetts-based company, one of the early entrants (launched in 2002) in this niche, is one of several TECHSHOW "first timers" we talked to.
CCC Technologies: This local converged communications company promotes moving all of a firm's communications - voice and data - to a single network, thus, supporting existing systems and infrastructure. While we haven't seen CCC at other legal tech shows, it was good to see another local provider try out TECHSHOW.
Business Integrity: We first met BI at the vendor education session on Wednesday (Anatoly Sofer thanks for joining us for the media panel) and briefly caught up with them Friday to learn more about Contractexpress.com, their cloud-based document assembly solution.
FastCase: We chatted with Ed Walters, CEO, mostly about Ignite Law (which he attended) and how refreshing the rapid fire talk format was compared to traditional hour long presentations. FastCase provides online legal research (first to develop a iPhone free research app!) to 380,000 lawyers and 17 bar associations and their members.
Clio: Undoubtedly, CEO Jack Newton was still buzzing from his "Zappos model for legal" Ignite Law talk which received great feedback and is still picking up steam on YouTube. Clio announced a newly enhanced Clio Calendar, e-mail integration and an overhauled billing system within Clio, its cloud-based SaaS practice management product for solo attorneys and small law firms.
Beer for Bloggers
Friday evening was kicked off with the Beer for Bloggers event in the lobby bar of the Hilton. The event was hosted by Kevin O'Keefe's LexBlog and the ABA Journal and was attended by the who's who of legal bloggers and consultants including Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighell, Dave Bilinsky, Jim Calloway, Dan Pinnington and Ernie Svenson.
In TECHSHOW tradition, the popular "60 Sites in 60 Minutes" session wrapped up the show Saturday to a packed room. The expert panel consisted of Debbie Foster, Adriana Linares, Toby Brown and Ernie Svenson and they shared some of the most valuable websites and services they have come across. Take a minute to view the list of their recommendations as well as the recommended 60 Sites from TECHSHOW years past.
We'd like to thank the TECHSHOW Board, and Chair Debbie Foster in particular, as this was the best TECHSHOW to date. We look forward to ABA TECHSHOW 2011, April 11-13, under the supervision of the new incoming Chair, Paul Unger.