|-By Patrick A. WrightWright is a founding partner at The Wright Firm, LLP in Dallas. He serves as the managing partner, is board certified in family Law, and is part of the ABA Law Practice Magazine Editorial Board.|
I attend ABA TECHSHOW for many reasons: the people, the food, the location. But most importantly, I attend because of the pertinent role technology has assumed in the legal profession. The legal field is increasingly susceptible to outside change, and we certainly experience the constant flux of technology in our daily work lives. ABA TECHSHOW is an easy way to stay on top of these changes, and is a great resource for those of us who like to be innovative in our practices.
I look at the technology show first as a great way to get three days of CLE in multiple sessions. ABA TECHSHOW is an excellent resource for staying current on new products. The experience affords you the opportunity of getting to meet individually with vendors, ask one-on-one questions about various products and applications, and get a feel for how your business can benefit from them. I typically spend as much time in the exhibit hall meeting with vendors as I do in the sessions listening to the panels.
I would suggest that you attend the Meet-the-Author sessions. I have found that the authors are not only helpful but serve as a great resource for questions both at the conference and after the conference. These experts are exceptionally helpful and typically seek to be available to you as an additional resource. I find it particularly useful to bring along my office managers. As key people in my law firm, they get to learn about practice management and usually find it very beneficial. The 60 tips session is worth the trip for both you and your office managers. The session provides clear, concise, and usable information that translates well into day-to-day practice.
Second, and it can’t be stressed enough, our understanding of the ethics rules, both under the ABA Model Rules and the rules of our respective states, is constantly being challenged by the growing necessity of technology in our profession. Technology affects the way we file, the way we present evidence in court, and the way we maintain client-confidentiality. It presents client communication concerns, authentication issues, and an alarming number of potential security risks. However, technology also grants those of us willing to engage in it, an increasing edge over the competition. By keeping us relevant, technology allows us to engage in new ways with clients, find more efficient systems for maintaining client information and documents, and makes the haul to the courtroom a lot less cumbersome.
Finally, ABA TECHSHOW is the perfect time to meet like-minded people and to talk shop. If you are a first time attendee, you should really attempt to take advantage of one of the many Taste of TECHSHOW dinners, which afford you a great opportunity to network. And ABA TECHSHOW couldn’t be in a better geographical location. You simply can’t go wrong with deep-dish pizza and local breweries. If you are a baseball fan, you could possibly check out a Cubs game. If you are not into sports, Chicago offers an extensive array of art museums, or you can head over to the Shedd Aquarium. Chicago is truly a gem: when I’m not in a session or in the exhibit hall, I make sure to get out and enjoy the city.