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ABA TECHSHOW Hot Topics

In March, the 24th annual ABA TECHSHOW hits Chicago, with three days of unparalleled continuing legal education, one of the best legal technology expos ever, and countless opportunities to network while learning about legal technology tools, services and strategies in a fun and fast-paced environment. Law Practice asked conference chair Debbie Foster to provide an insider’s tour of what’s in store.

ABA TECHSHOW 2010

WHAT: Simply the best legal technology CLE available

WHEN: March 25–27, 2010

WHERE: Hilton Chicago

WHO: For you!

HOW: Go to www.techshow.com to find detailed information on programming, pricing and exhibitors and to register today. The early-bird registration deadline is February 19.

Q. What’s the “one thing” you want people to know about ABA TECHSHOW?

The one thing everyone needs to know is that ABA TECHSHOW is for everyone—lawyers, paralegals, IT directors, firm administrators and executives. Our schedule has been created with all of these roles in mind. We truly have something for everyone.

So often we hear people say they do not come to ABA TECHSHOW because they don’t “get” technology, or they are not the “IT person” at their firm. ABA TECHSHOW is an opportunity to learn about the technology a firm may already have, learn about the technology that a firm may need, learn how to better use technology to be more profitable, and learn how to use technology to run a more efficient firm. People can learn about the upcoming technology not only in our educational sessions, but also in the expo hall, which is jam-packed with legal technology vendors who are bringing the latest and greatest technologies to show to our attendees.

Q. What’s the most exciting news about ABA TECHSHOW 2010?

There are so many exciting things, it is hard to pick just one—but I am very excited about our keynote. Ari Kaplan is going to speak to our attendees about how technology has influenced marketing in so many ways. It really is the new hot topic. His keynote presentation, “The New Big Bang—The Convergence of Technology and Marketing,” is sure to give our attendees a lot to think about when it comes to marketing themselves and their firms. I’m certain it will be a packed presentation!

Q. What are some of the highlights of the educational content?

Social networking is huge, and this year we’ve dedicated an entire track to it. Marketing/Social Networking sessions will cover creating your online presence, managing it and, of course, the ethical concerns. That track will also offer a session on e-marketing with newsletters, Web sites and blogs.

In addition, we are offering Power User tracks, where speakers will dig into the more advanced features of Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat and Summation.

Other new tracks include:

  • A SmartPhones track, which will focus on using BlackBerrys and iPhones in your practice.
  • The Practice in the “Cloud” track, where attendees will hear the whole story about software as a service. What is it? What kind of tools are available? Is it secure? They will also hear about going virtual, from working remotely to e-lawyering.
  • An expanded Mac track, which will offer four sessions covering going Mac with a whole firm, or being the lone Mac user in a Windows firm. One session I’m particularly excited about is 60 iPhone Apps in 60 Minutes.

Of course, we will have the ever-popular tracks—Paperless Practice, E-Discovery, Litigation & Trial Skills, Large Firm/Corporate Counsel, Advanced IT, Finance and Mobility. And we are bringing back Solo/Small Firm day on Friday, with two tracks and eight sessions, which include Voice Over IP; Google Tools for Lawyers; Managing E-Mail; and a session called Beyond the Keyboard—Workflow Alternatives, where users will see voice recognition software in action. Some very exciting stuff!

Q. What about the Faceto-Face sessions?

They’re back! But this year we have added a twist—instead of eight Face-to-Face sessions, we’ll have four Face-to-Face and four Meet the Author sessions. This allows attendees to have informal interaction time with some of our best-known authors.

Previous attendees have given rave reviews to the Face-to-Face sessions, where they can essentially get all their questions answered by our experts in a more informal environment. As just one example of what these sessions will cover this year, we will be having one on Windows 7, where our experts will interact with attendees on the pros and cons of going to Windows 7 in their law firm.

Another great learning-whilenetworking opportunity that returns this year is the Conference Concierge Booth and Help Desk. Board members, speakers and other longtime conference contributors will be manning the booth throughout each day to chat one-on-one with attendees.

Q. Are any fun events planned for the evenings?

Thursday evening, we’ll host a reception for vendors and attendees. And, because the Taste of ABA TECHSHOW Dinners have been so popular, we will offer them both Thursday and Friday nights. These dinners are incredibly valuable networking opportunities. Speakers and ABA TECHSHOW Board members “host” the dutch-treat dinners, and each dinner has a topic. The groups are small, typically 12 people, and they get to eat at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants, have great conversation and make new friends.

Q. How much will a trip to ABA TECHSHOW cost attendees?

ABA TECHSHOW is an extremely good value. Is there any other place you can choose from so many educational sessions, plus a vendor-sponsored track including product demonstrations, and get the most up-to-date information on how technology will help you save money and better deliver legal services? Early-bird pricing is the best value, so you should plan to register before the February 19 early-bird deadline.

Great discounts are available for ABA and LPM Section members, and members of the state and local bars and other organizations that are event promoters. (Find a complete list by checking the Event Promoters page at www.techshow.com/eventpromoters.) And SuperPass registration is back by popular demand. It offers group discount pricing to anyone who wants to organize a group to attend. This allows solos and small firms to take advantage of volume discounts—up to 10 people can attend on a SuperPass and get a considerable discount over registering individually.

Q. What’s the take-away?

Well, there is not just one. First, you leave with a flash drive of the materials for every single session we present. Second, with the activities we have put in place, it is nearly impossible not to leave with new friends! Third, and perhaps most important, you walk away with ideas to help you run a more efficient firm. You will know what tools you need to take advantage of technology that will help take your firm to the next level.

About the Author

Debbie Foster is the founder and President of InTouch Legal, a technology and management consulting firm focusing on the legal market. She is Chair of the ABA TECHSHOW 2010 Planning Board.

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