16 TECHSHOW’s Ago – Andy Adkins Reflects on His Year as Chair in 2000

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We’re on a TECHSHOW countdown and with 16 days to go, we’re hopping in the WayBack Machine to hear from past chairs and take a look at What Was at TECHSHOW!

TECHSHOW 2000 Slogan: T2K: Future Technology. Today!  Check out the ABA TECHSHOW 2000 Agenda on the WayBack Machine – you’ll see some sessions to laugh at and many that will look familiar even today!

andyAndy Adkins – ABA TECHSHOW Chair 2000

What were you doing (real life job) when you were the ABA Tech show chair in YEAR? Are you still doing that same thing? If not tell us a little bit about your journey.    

I was ABA TECHSHOW Chair in 2000 and 2001. I was a legal technology consultant at the time and had just established the Legal Technology Institute at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. I recently retired as the Chief Information Officer at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, a large law firm (320+ attorneys, 15 offices) based in West Virginia. I have moved back to Florida (NO.MORE.SNOW).

What was / were the notable topics/tracks of your year?

“Back in the day,” we changed the Education tracks from Large Firm, Mid-Size Firm, Small Firm, and Corporate into more meaningful “topic-driven” tracks, which made much more sense. The most fun sessions were the “60 Tips in 60 Minutes”, “50 Gadgets in 50 Minutes,” and “60 Sites” sessions. I always told our presenters, “It’s not the content, it’s how you PRESENT the content.” That still holds true today.

What was the hot technology or must have service, gadget or tool or idea?

Mobile devices were just starting to make their way. I remember one time during a 50 Gadgets session that I followed Dan Coolidge with a mobile device. He was just showing the Palm Pilot, which at the time was cool in itself. After he did his thing, I basically explained that we (at Legal Technology Institute) had just developed a speech recognition application for the Palm Pilot and I then “spoke” into my Palm Pilot, “Let’s get this show on the road, Dan.” Little did he know I had pre-typed that phrase in prior to the session starting. The look on his face and the audience reaction was priceless.

Editor’s note: There was a session titled “A Law Practice in the Palm of Your Hand: Confessions of a PalmPilot Fanatic”. Take a look at the sessions from 2000 at the archived site on the WayBack Machine!

If you had a keynote speaker who was it and what was their topic?  

Martha Barnett (ABA President in 2000-2001) was one of my keynotes. Her focus was on legal education and law schools.

Editor’s note: According to the Wayback Machine Andy’s other keynote speakers were “Derek Burney, Chief Technology Officer of Corel Corporation, and Robert Young, Chairman and CEO of Red Hat, Inc. will provide attendees with a look into the future of word processing, office suites, and the LINUX movement in the legal profession.” THE LINUX MOVEMENT!? Guess it didn’t move very far!

Do you have any great stories or meaningful show moments to share with us? 

There were lots of good stories, some played out in front of attendees (see above story) as well as others played out with the TECHSHOW Planning Board. Bruce Dorner (I think; it may have been Dan Coolidge) and the “Satellite Fax” was a great story. Bruce (or Dan) had pre-typed a short message and rolled it up. He had a small pocket recorder and had recorded a fax signal sound, two minutes into a blank recording. We were sitting down for a meal and Bruce (or Dan) turned it on to Play, unbeknownst to the rest of us. Two minutes in, it starts beeping, like an incoming fax. He reached into his pocket and pulled out this small roll of paper and began reading the “Satellite Fax.” It took a few seconds before anyone realized he was faking it, but it was worth a good laugh. Donna Payne’s father passed away during a TECHSHOW and Donna was scheduled to speak. We quickly made arrangements for another speaker to take her place, but she insisted on making her presentation, then flying out. We all felt for her and were very supportive; I think someone rode with her to the airport to help her get on the plane. We later sent flowers from the TECHSHOW Board. She was/is a trooper and has always been a good friend to TECHSHOW. I was TECHSHOW chair for 2 years running and had a great planning committee. At the debrief of my first TECHSHOW, I wore a Hawaiian shirt, it was a little more comfortable and relaxing than a suit. At the debrief of my second TECHSHOW, I wore another Hawaiian shirt – it took me a few minutes after I entered the meeting room to realize all the TECHSHOW Planning Board were also wearing Hawaiian shirts – that touched me. My first TECHSHOW, I decided to wear a cowboy hat and had made a hatband of silver dollars. I’m a tall guy and if anyone wanted to find me, word was out, “look for the tall guy in a cowboy hat.” That obviously stuck and has become a “brand” of marketing for me. Now when I go to TECHSHOW (or other conferences) and I DON’T wear the hat, people ask, where’s the hat? I’m sure there are more stories, but you’ll get a few more stories from the other TS Chairs.

Any final thoughts about your TECHSHOW experience?

Of all the conferences I attend and have chaired (TECHSHOW, LegalTech, ILTA, ALA), TECHSHOW has always been near and dear to my heart. I say it all the time, “TECHSHOW is my family away from home.”