The ABA’s annual TechShow conference is awesome and you should go. Sure, I was a little bit critical of it this year, but I guess, after three years of going to TechShow, some of the shine has worn off. But it is still a conference I look forward to all year, and I plan to keep going back, as long as our budget allows for it.
Here’s why you should, too.
1. Learn to use your tech
The sessions at TechShow are primarily nuts-and-bolts sessions about using your technology effectively in your law practice. These range from instruction on using text expanders to using storyboarding software at trial to data security to upgrading to Windows 8 to data retention best practices.
When you get bored of that, or when you have learned all you can learn, there are fluffy sessions on iPad apps and keynotes with funny people like David Pogue that have little or nothing to do with law practice but are very entertaining.
2. Learn about tech you might want to use
This happens just as much in the hallways of the hotel as it does in the sessions. TechShow is full of practicing lawyers, all of whom are using technology in their practices in one way or another. Usually, the ones on stage just spend more time thinking about technology, while the ones in the audience are actually using it or building it.
You will leave TechShow with a head full of ideas for how you can improve your practice — for yourself and for your clients.
3. Meet people you only know from the Internet
TechShow is a great gathering of a couple thousand (or more) people interested in technology. A high percentage of these are the geeks you know from the Internet. It’s a lot of fun to get together with them once a year to eat, drink, and merrily geek out.
4. Eat, drink, and be merry
Speaking of which, there is a lot of eating, drinking, and merrymaking. In fact, you should go to TechShow even if you don’t want to attend the conference, just for the merrymaking. Expo passes for the exhibit hall (where all the tech companies show off their wares) are free, and that’s where everyone hangs out between sessions.
Plus, it’s Chicago. There are plenty of things to do and see. Bring the family, stop in to a few events at TechShow, and take time out for funny pictures of yourself reflected in the bean.
I may have been snarky about Matt Homann’s LexThink.1, but it really is a lot of fun and a great way to start TechShow. No self-promotion is allowed (a restriction the presenters mostly obey), and the presentations move quickly, so bad ones don’t last long. It’s the kind of geeky performance art that works at a tech conference, and it is worth arriving on Wednesday so you don’t miss it.