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February 3, 2008

Can any law school innovation be found at the ABA TECHSHOW?

I just got an e-mail encouraging me, as a member of the ABA, to make plans to head "to the Windy City for ABA TECHSHOW 2008, the world's premier legal technology conference and expo." This (somewhat ugly) website provides a basic description of the show:

ABA TECHSHOW continues to be the world's premier legal technology conference & expo. The three-day conference is attended by more than 1400 people each year and produces more than 50 legal technology programs and training sessions in sixteen topical tracks. ABA TECHSHOW also features a two-day expo.  Learn about the latest products and services as you wander through the exhibit hall, featuring more than 100 technology companies....

ABA TECHSHOW attendees typically include:

  • Lawyers
  • Judges
  • CIOs
  • IT Managers
  • Law Firm Administrators
  • Legal Marketing Directors
  • Legal Technology Consultants
  • Paralegals
  • Legal Assistants

I find it disappointing, though not really surprising, that this event apparently has nothing geared to law professors, law schools or any aspect of the legal academy.  Perhaps folks at the ABA heard that some law professors are banning laptops in the classroom, and now assume that most ivory tower Luddites have no professional interest in attending the "world's premier legal technology conference and expo."

Posted by DAB

February 3, 2008 in Technology -- in general | Permalink


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Professor Berman,

You are right -- ABA TECHSHOW doesn't have any formal programming geared specifically toward law professors or law schools, and we regret that we aren't able to provide that targeted programming this year. However, that doesn't mean that there is no content of use to law school faculty or students.

There are a number of sessions that would benefit law school professors in using technology on a daily basis, including digital dictation, Internet legal research, using collaboration tools and technologies, mobile technology, email management, as well as practical sessions on using Outlook, Excel, and Powerpoint.

We hope law students will attend as well, because (as you no doubt know) legal technology education in the law schools still has a long way to go. In addition to the sessions provided above, ABA TECHSHOW provides great programming for soon-to-be lawyers and the technology they will need in order to start a law practice. Incidentally, law students can attend ABA TECHSHOW for free.

You're absolutely right -- we don't have a law school track, or sessions specifically dedicated to law school professionals. I do believe (or hope), however, that many law school professors would be interested in learning more about how technology in general can improve the ways they work on a daily basis. And ABA TECHSHOW definitely delivers on that. I'd argue that whether you're a law professor, law student, or practicing attorney, you won't find this type of concentrated legal technology educational content anywhere else.

Tom Mighell
Chair, ABA TECHSHOW 2008

Posted by: Tom Mighell | Feb 3, 2008 3:11:26 PM

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