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Eleven things I learned at LegalTech in New York City

February 8, 2016

I’ve been attending ALM’s LegalTech Show in New York for the better part of a decade.

LexBlog has never exhibited as a vendor, we don’t buy the type of solutions the exhibitors offer and I’ve only spoken there on a couple of occasions. But I go year after year and I am sure I will be back next year.

Here’s eleven things I learned from this year:

  • I still don’t like crowds. There are thousands of people in attendance. I was told there were over 10,000 people registered to attend over three days. There were hundreds of exhibitors along often narrow walk ways crowded with people. Getting a place at the Hilton, or even at hotels nearby, to sit or relax was darn near impossible.
  • E-discovery remains the emphasis of the show. I can see why after finding out over dinner that the average e-discovery transaction is about $1.8 million.
  • Companies way over-do the trinkets and draws to their booths. This year we had folks dressed in all orange and a booth with puppies – they may have been the same crew.
  • The exhibitors are getting increasingly younger. Take that from someone approaching 60 way too fast. I often wonder though if the these people selling know as much about their product and what it offers as the lawyers, tech and information/knowledge management people they are selling to.
  • The vast majority of sellers and their public relations people continue to lack any understanding of the power of social media. Some don’t leverage blogging and social media at all. Many of those using social media do so to broadcast who they are and where you should come to see them. Rather than connect with you in an engaging fashion, I continue to get emails from public relations professionals asking me to read their release and meet their CEO’s on products I know little or anything about.
  • Blogging and using social media makes one a draw. You are in high demand to attend events, meet people, go to dinners and discuss deals with strategic partners.
  • The ALM folks continue to work very hard to put on a good event. I laud my friend Henry Dicker, their VP of Global Events, for the work he and his team do. Henry is also a as cordial a host as you could find anywhere and makes you feel at home (to the extent humanly possible at a show that large) and want to come back.
  • New York is a city like no other for holding a show. Restaurants and pubs are everywhere. Central Park is the finest place in the world to run. New Yorkers, comprised of folks from all over all over the world, have as a people an unequaled positive attitude. Many of the major law firms are based in New York so you’ll have many of their professionals at the show and you can visit firms when in town.
  • Entrepreneurs. For an entrepreneur at heart and in business, I love comparing notes with other entrepreneurs. Sharing war stories over meals and beers is a heck of a lot fun — and uplifting when you find out you are not the only one who has made the same dumb mistakes and has the same challenges. Some how, most of us all survive from year to year.
  • Buying beer for people remains a drawn, creates good buzz and generates goodwill. Thanks to Michigan State Law School for co-hosting a “Beer for Bloggers” with LexBlog.
  • It’s all about the people. Whether it’s company owners, reporters, fellow lawyers, publishers or professionals working for companies, it is a wonderful to reconnect with people year after year. Many you’ll just bump into in the hallways and pick up conversations like old friends. I was invited to a couple dinners where the hosts (two very fine companies) pulled together an eclectic group of people for dinner and wine around large tables so we could meet and engage each other.

Thanks for the good company and see you next year.

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