30 TECHSHOW’s Ago – Don Hagans – ABA TECHSHOW Chair 1986

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We’re on a TECHSHOW countdown and with 30 days to go, we’re hopping in the WayBack Machine to hear from past chairs and take a look at What-Was at TECHSHOW!

donhaganDon Hagans – ABA TECHSHOW Chair 1986

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 an active trial, media, international lawyer. AV Martindale. State Bar Board Certified Civil Trial.  Before that was Major in US Marine Corps.

Had been / still was Chair of the PEER Committee (equivalent of Law Practice Mgt.) for the SBOT and Chairman of the Supreme Court of Texas Technology Advisory Commission (advice to Court and Legislature on use of Technology, regulatory processes etc.).

Then went to an executive position at United Artists / United International (before merged with Liberty the largest international (outside the USA) pay television cable/satellite/channel delivery company). Worked in Europe / Asia.  Initially legal, then as head of development, then a CEO/Chairman of various large scale entities. When mergers took place, became CEO of Asia for Akamai (world’s largest internet content management company). Lived in Asia 15 years.

Currently, I have investment interests and “fix” companies or difficult company situations.  Played a bit with Deloitte in designing / building a comprehensive law firm/general counsel platform (now used by Deloitte in India other countries). At time (several years back), full scale USA market entry just not feasible. Industry still not “there.”

During that period many questions on how to allow / protect / get access to real estate, legal and other records; under what conditions and the like. Continued in these positions. I took a few years to devote to politics and organizations. During the first several years I was Legislative Director (Chief of Staff legislative position) for Phil Gramm (R.Tx.) in the Senate. Did Gramm-Rudman-Hollings (major budget control legislation); worked with Banking, Armed Services, Intelligence Committees. Active interest in use of technology in legislative offices (how do you answer 25k letters a day?) Then worked independently for United Artists / United International and Rockefeller & Co. due to organizational time commitments.

As TECHSHOW Chair, I remember it was for about 5 years. We designed / started the concept at INFOMART in Dallas for the first several events. At that time, it was a home for technology storefronts / training. All major vendors were just becoming housed (IBM, Wang, Microsoft, Apple, DEC, Lanier, WordPerfect … many now gone). Same concept as other MARTS. Unique (Chrystal Palace / new) facility.  Great private support; also support from SBOT (Texas Bar).

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

This was effectively in the very early stages of the technology adaptation boom. We were moving from the era of large (IBM), medium (Wang; DEC), and stand-alone (Lanier) systems that just did data or word processing … to early on PC’s (IBM, Compaq), and unusual systems such Apple. Same with software. All were standalone … but seeing combinations on the horizon. Word, Excel had major / larger competitors in Word Perfect and Lotus 123.

Focus was on purchase, use of hardware and software in law firm practices. Building systems, integration and the like.

Also ABA/net was starting up … and was a closed network. But adding services rapidly. What we know as the internet started gaining ground the last 2-3 years of my term. And we began to look at that and what it could become.

Many speakers were the practical side (how to use x or y), or on the future side (this will happen soon).

We also did “planned” private sit downs during the events. with industry execs and legal industry leaders (and firm managing partners) re what was happening in technology and in law firm needs.

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

PC’s. Apple products using a unique interface. Software product integration. VPN’s.

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

Lots of great speakers in those days … because no saturation yet; and very early on in legal adoption of technology.  So we could get “C” level execs from all the majors; and did.

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

On first show … did major (first day) panel with Microsoft, Apple, IBM, WordPerfect (which was market dominant) and others re the “future.” Was to be NO promotion of products. The Microsoft representative blatantly violated the rule. I was moderator. When done. And on stage. Did a Marine Corps boot camp put down (he was head of sales … never had that kind of experience), said never again at a legal show and would call Allen (his boss) and Gates. He threw up and fainted in front of all the others (am sure he saw his future life flash before his eyes). Took a while to revive. Never seen again. Great credibility with all the companies going forward on not violating rules of the show and presentations.

Any final thoughts about your TECHSHOW experience?

It was great. Lots of people putting out lots of effort. Absolute blast at being “there” when the revolution started.