The industry's largest trade show celebrated its 25th anniversary last week. In two days, I met with 18 legal vendors, dined out four times, and attended a low-key happy hour and a raucous nightclub. Here are my notes:
• The biggest change this year was the roped off Bridges Bar in the Hilton Hotel. Those without access complained, and those with access rejoiced. I guess it depended on your point of view.
• The WiFi hotspot on the third floor didn't work reliably. Fortunately, the Wolters Kluwer executive trying to give me a demo of CCH @Hand 2.5 was able to use his wireless modem.
• The exhibit hall seemed busier than I've ever seen it before. I heard a rumor about 11,000 attendees. However, one legal vendor remarked that the crowd seemed static (same faces every year).
• I personally witnessed salespeople make unsolicited pitches to exhibiting vendors — a practice that ALM Media should outlaw. Vendors pay a lot to exhibit at LegalTech. I met with legal vendors last week, but only with those that set up meetings with me in advance. All of my meetings took place away from the exhibit booths (except for Litera).
• Rob Robinson has uploaded some LegalTech photos to Flickr.
• On the first night of LegalTech, ALM held its annual awards ceremony. Read about the winners.
• ALM doesn't hand out best of show awards, however, so Matt Homann filled the void and bestowed this honor on the o-Ya search appliance. Don't miss Matt's upcoming LexThink Lounge if you plan to attend ABA TechShow. Being an avid bowler, I hope to attend.
• As I mentioned, I had about 18 meetings. Mostly, I discussed TechnoLawyer (which you already know about) and learned about forthcoming products (which I cannot yet talk about). Here's what I can disclose: CaseCentral announced bundled pricing for its litigation services, CCH's @Hand 2.5 and the LexisNexis Toolbar may change the way lawyers conduct legal research, and LexisNexis has teamed up with the Wall Street Journal.
• The third annual Best of Breed party at at Strata sponsored in part by CaseSoft and Dataflight was the best one yet — a great crowd (250 people) and great food (brie-pear dumplings, coconut chicken skewers, chocolate strawberries, cannoli, etc.). Before the party, I dined at Pinch with my colleague Sara Skiff and her husband Eric. After dinner, we "evaluated" a possible location for the next TechnoLawyer party.
• More Schmoozing: Breakfast at Norma's on Monday with Julia Wotipka and Mary Mack of Fios and several bloggers, lunch at Redeye Grill on Monday with JoAnna Forshee of Envision, lunch at Beacon on Tuesday with Les Hansen and Andrew Cummins of Gavel & Gown, and dinner at Bellini on Wednesday with Scott Rosen and Greg Miller of Network Box. Finally, Dennis Kennedy's informal happy hour at the Bridges Bar (before it became a VIP lounge) on Sunday night enabled me to meet Jim Calloway who recently secured free TechnoLawyer Archive access for every Oklahoma lawyer.
Congratulations to ALM for raising the bar yet again with its biggest LegalTech ever. Here's to another 25 years!
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