Leaving TechShow this year here are our few observations. First and foremost, TechShow was a huge success and while much stays the same, much is evolving. TechShow at the Hilton had gotten tired, the hotel was tired, the exhibit hall was tired, and the vibe was tired. It was the same old faces, the same sponsors, and the same old activities. Since the move to the Hyatt Regency in 2018, that has all changed, and the TechShow team, this year’s Co-Chairs, Catherine Sanders-Reach and Heidi Alexander, the ABA Division, Law Practice, and the MCI team have all breathed new life into the event.
Law is a profession of precedent, and not inclined to embrace change. It’s just its nature. And that mindset pervades the process. It’s not enough for vendors to advocate for change, or even for the bar to advocate for change, it must come from within. Lawyers and law firms are the ones waking up and realizing they must change to succeed. Never was that more apparent than at ABA TechShow 2020!
More mid-sized and corporate legal department attendees.
While TechShow has historically focused on solo and small firm attorneys, this year our conversations with our clients and other exhibitors confirmed our observations that more mid-sized and even larger law firms were in attendance. Even exhibitors that traditionally focus on small firms indicated they are now adding more mid-sized and larger firms to their user bases. (More on this trend in posts to come.) By no means are they abandoning small firms, but almost without exception, technology providers acknowledged that mid-sized firms are becoming an important part of their customer mix. As new exhibitors selling into the mid-sized market come into TechShow, they market to their target audiences, and that draws attendees in a category that has previously passed on the conference.
Start-up Alley continues to attract new technologies that we all need to pay attention to.
First and foremost, a big shout-out to Bob Ambrogi for his tireless work to make Start-up Alley a success, and to Clio as they are huge advocates of start-ups for sponsoring the program. The 2020 class of Start-up Alley finalists was both diverse and interesting. Congratulations to Billseye for winning this year’s competition. They are a great example of providers delivering practical solutions for legal professionals. In addition to the winners, there were several new market participants (read mid-market and corporate), and we saw new contributors in a number of categories, including document automation (Woodpecker), and even eDiscovery (Discovery Genie) not standards for TechShow.
Last but not least, there were way too many parties!
Thank you for all the great events, it made for a totally exhausting week. From the opening reception, to the always fabulous Clio party, there were so many folks we can thank for making TechShow 2020 a truly exhausting adventure. And that includes our small event at the amazing restaurant, The Vig. If you haven’t been there you need to try it…a shameless plug! We were lucky enough to be in town for an exclusive Bourbon pairing dinner (and I don’t even drink bourbon). It was a must, the restaurant is a must, and as owner and operator of Legacy Hospitality Group, Ryan Marks, is both an amazing restaurateur and a wonderful person. If you find yourself in Chicago with an opportunity to enjoy one of his restaurants, you should do it!
Much will be written about ABA TechShow 2020…but from our perspective…that’s a wrap!