Lawyers as Technologists: Making the Most of Legal Technology Tradeshows

I’m heading up to Legal Tech West in Los Angeles today. Shows like these always remind me of the importance technology plays in demonstrating value to clients.

Legal technology tradeshows tend to be full of vendors and law firm IT staff. There is a lot of knowledge in these rooms. Too often, however, the crowds are singing to the converted rather than reaching the partners in management positions with decision-making authority. Lawyers who do attend often do so passively, securing their CLE credits and hitting the tradeshow floor to find the latest giveaway to take home to their five-year-old.

My partner Cathy Kenton just finished an article targeted toward our legal vendor clients called, “5 Last Minute Tradeshow Success Tips for Legal Vendors.” The article was focused on how legal vendors can maximize their return on investment when exhibiting at trade shows.

It strikes me that lawyers could use some tips on how to maximize their time at tradeshows as well, so here are three simple approaches I recommend for the lawyers heading to Legal Tech or any other show featuring legal technologies.

1. Have a plan. Know your firm’s business strategy and the types of technologies you use or are considering in order to achieve their goals. Once you know what you are trying to accomplish, you will be in a better position to evaluate what vendors at the show have to offer.
2. Bring a friend who understands the end game. In my experience, there is often a gap in knowledge between what lawyers want to accomplish and what technology does. As a result, the technology ends up frustrating. Walk the tradeshow floor with your CIO or a vendor-agnostic advisor who can help you connect the dots. For example, I like to walk the floor with my clients. I learn from their conversations with the vendors and am often able to help them consider ways to leverage technology that they have not considered before. It’s a win-win for both of us.
3. It’s not all about the next new thing. Most firms have invested significant amounts of money in legal technologies but few know how to leverage all the bells and whistles to get the best value for your money. Visit with vendors whose technology you own. Come armed with specific things you are trying to accomplish and ask them for best practices they’ve learned from their other clients.

Technology tradeshows like Legal Tech give attorney leaders the opportunity to step out of the day-to-day and start considering long-term opportunities to leverage technology to achieve business goals.

Posted on June 22, 2010 in Disruptive Technologies, Knowledge Management, Law Firm Management, Legal Technology, Uncategorized

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