Last year, I experienced my very first ABA TECHSHOW. I’ve manned a few tradeshows in my time, but nothing prepared me for the sheer volume of the Law Practice Division’s signature event. The dimensions of the exhibit hall were rivaled only by the number and scope of the programs, voluminous enough to be downright intimidating. Now, some of you may know that I don’t purport even a small level of “techie” status. Nonetheless, my crash course at ABA TECHSHOW made me dangerous.
What kind of dangerous, exactly? Brazen enough to fire off substantive questions to the mosaic of solutions providers whom we all are obliged to meet as they rightfully sell their products. Most of these meetings are time away from the phone enough for me to steal a couple of nuggets that simply make me sharper. One recent technology vendor meeting, however, quickly became a case study in a failed sales call for my lawyer coaching sessions.
Though the vendor in question was not one that has ever participated in an ABA TECHSHOW, the company and its product will remain nameless. The gentleman pitched a herculean brawl setting up his presentation as well as his own projector. By the time the meeting was underway, all apologies and graceful pronouncements had been utterly exhausted, and more than 20 minutes had run off the clock. Just at that pregnant moment when he could have cracked a sly joke and requested a do-over, he instead plunged headlong into a demo on a technology product that (rather ironically) bested his technology skills time and again. In short order, a product that might have been categorized as “nice to have” became “not in a million years.”
What moves a technology product from “nice to have” across the buying spectrum to “can’t possibly live without”? If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be a professional services marketing guy. Much like lawyers attempting to engage clients, however, a trustworthy presence with a plain English explanation of what the product does somehow makes a concept—a solution to the problem—both self-evident and within reach.
For this Law Practice issue, I would especially like to thank Natalie Kelly, chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2014, and Diane Ebersole for surrendering time during their Board’s Fall Meeting to provide guidance regarding topics and authors. Dan Schwartz takes us past a simple overview with “Social Media 2.0: The Next Generation of Hyperconnectivity.” Randy Juip, Larry Port and Ben Stevens throw out the lifeline for the odd man out in “Standing Out in a PC World: Using a Mac in the Office.” In “‘I Submit My iPad as Exhibit A…,’” Patrick Wright and Carolyn Latimer interview and share the perspectives of two real-life trial practitioners. Catherine Sanders Reach takes a practical look in her article “Office 365: Big-Firm Function, Small-Firm Budget.” Lincoln Mead demystifies “Creating a Digital Island” and the related legal implications. Finally, Natalie Kelly, Dan Siegel and John Simek deliver some very practical security tips in “More Than a Locked Door.”
In addition to our dependable slate of columnists who cover such topics as the lawyer ratings and rankings game, selecting a cloud provider, diversity and inclusion perspectives, time management and practice strategic planning, we welcome guest columnist Mark Robertson and our new Web 2.0 columnist Tom Mighell as they share their thoughts on cost analyses and a panoply of travel apps, respectively. In addition, I offer my thanks to Laura Calloway for sharing her insight as one of our respected columnists. This issue includes her last column.
I hope to see you at ABA TECHSHOW 2014. In the meantime, enjoy!
John D. Bowers