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Two Years in the Making, the ABA TechShow

I was in Chicago last week for the ABA TechShow, a show I first attended in 1997.

Two years ago this week we shut down for the pandemic.

After four straight weeks of travel in 2020 – New York City, Chicago, Austin and Boston – I was heading to Silicon Valley the next week to visit close friends, also with a legal tech company.

I didn’t go to Silicon Valley and didn’t head out for any business trips until last week’s TechShow.

How was TechShow? Not too bad. I’d say pretty good, especially for younger lawyers looking for innovative ideas and some inspiration that things needn’t be done as they have for years.

No question attendee numbers were not equal to past TechShows. But there seemed to be the same number of exhibitor booths. Certainly as many of the them selling practice manage solutions.

I didn’t spend a lot of time talking to exhibitors I didn’t know. I haven’t practiced in over twenty years.

I also didn’t see them as the type of folks who were looking to enhance their reputations or build their relationships by networking through the net – via blogging.

I saw the exhibiting companies more as sales people looking to generate business via advertising and conference booths – not that that there is anything wrong with that.

What I like about conferences – and something I most enjoyed after two years – is the camaraderie.

Twenty-sum years in the business, legal tech entrepreneurs, legal publishers and other legal professionals have become my friends. Good friends.

These folks provided me a shoulder to lean on – in more ways than one – when I lost Jill two months before the last TechShow. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Camaraderie that also gets the business development juices going.

There’s no substitute to generating business by hanging out with people, often in an impromptu, unscheduled fashion. Catching up with someone walking the hallways can lead to a solid business and social conversation.

Doing Zoom calls for two years, I needed TechShow to get my business development juices going a bit.

Talking to folks and seeing a few things also gets ideas flowing. Why don’t we get that Law School Blog Network going again?

The only real disappointment was Chicago. The city was pretty much a ghost town.

Not many people on the streets. Many, if not most, restaurants and shops closed. No one in offices and no business travelers.

I suppose many conference attendees didn’t care, but it does raise the question of safety and trying to visit people in their offices as I always did was impossible.

On to New York City this week for ALM’s Legalweek. From the likes of rising hotel prices at the conference hotel, it appears they’ll attract a good crowd.