This issue of Law Practice is bursting with articles about the latest technology for lawyers and law office staff. And ABA TECHSHOW promises to be bigger than ever, with New York Times columnist and television personality David Pogue as the keynote speaker.
I heard Pogue speak a dozen or more years ago at a legal technology conference in New York City. To show how far and how fast things have come, I remember him showing off the latest in handheld technology—a device some readers may remember, the PalmPilot—and speculating that someday it would be possible to use it to get real-time information about such things as restaurant locations and even directions to the restaurant. The audience gasped at the possibility. It seemed nothing less than fantastic because the PalmPilot was merely a personal digital assistant, as such devices were called at the time, not even a phone. What’s more, the PalmPilot did not have Wi-Fi capability (as if we even had a clue what that was back then).
Nevertheless, what Pogue and the audience picked up on was the great promise such a primitive device signaled. I recall attending ABA TECHSHOW the same year, and the item that was being given away as the big door prize was—you guessed it—a brand-new PalmPilot.
Fast forward though the years, and the door prize became a first-generation iPod, which took everyone’s breath away, then an iPod Touch offered real connectivity, although it wasn’t a phone. Next came the ubiquitous BlackBerry and eventually the BlackBerry-killer from Apple, the iPhone. Now, of course, it’s all about tablet computing, with the iPad being the 800-pound gorilla.
Tom Mighell’s ABA/Law Practice Management (LPM) book iPad in One Hour for Lawyers is in its second edition only a few months after the first was published. That illustrates how fast technology is changing. Other new In One Hour books on hot topics such as Twitter by Jared Correia, and Facebook by Dennis Kennedy and Allison Shields, are flying off the shelves. CLE programs on these topics are standing room only. Webinars aren’t sold out simply because you can’t sell out a webinar!
Closer to home, I recently taught a four-week program for aspiring trial lawyers, shortly after my new book, How to Build and Manage a Personal Injury Practice (Third Ed.), came out. The students were interested in all the topics we covered—marketing, finance and case management, for example—but their ears really perked up when a guest speaker talked about using his iPad and a projector in trial.
All this leaves me wondering what fantastic vision of the future of technology Pogue will offer up to the audience at this year’s ABA TECHSHOW. What images will he conjure up for the 2013 audience? And what will it take to get a collective gasp from a room full of iPad-savvy lawyers?
What’s more, it makes me wonder what books LPM will be publishing in 2013, 2014 and beyond. What will be the must-have tech tools for the next few years?
And how long will it be before we look back on the iPad the way we recall the PalmPilot and wonder why we got so excited in the first place?