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We spent the first part of the week up to our eyeballs in legal technology at the 25th Annual ABA TECHSHOW conference and expo, and brought back more than just a bunch of highlighters! Here are just five of our favorite things from the conference.
1. The future of law in 360 seconds. A six-minute speech has to be the hardest speech you’ll ever give. But at Ignite Law 2011, presented by LexThink and Inside Legal, 12 brave futurists stormed the stage to conquer the 360-second challenge, one rapid-fire slide after the other. And 4,320 seconds and 240 slides later, everybody exhaled. Be sure to watch the videos of Will Hornsby (“I’m from the ABA and I’m here to help”), Carolyn Elefant (“Technology is the kryptonite of lawyer-client privilege”), Jim Calloway (“WWGD—what would grandma do?”), Victor Medina on bespoke legal services, Dennis Kennedy on the freemium practice of law, Marc Lauritsen’s preview Apps for Justice pitch (happening today at FutureEd), and all the other speakers.*
2. Rootstrikers. Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig lit the spark for real change in his inspiring keynote address. Watch the presentation Code is Law: Does Anybody Get This? Then check out Lessig’s Rootstrikers site to learn about the grassroots movement to “fight the corrupting influence of money in politics and work toward practical reforms.”
3. Tablets rising. We’ve probably never seen so many iPads outside of an Apple store, and if the popularity of the conference’s Mac sessions is any indication, then, yes, you really can run your practice with a Mac. (Haven’t we been debating this since the first TECHSHOW?) Still, there was a lot of Android and BlackBerry love, and it was pretty neat to get a sneak peak at the BlackBerry Playbook. (For a great comparison of tablet computing options from the show’s speakers, read “Tablet Users Face Off: iPad versus Slate Shootout” in Law Practice magazine.)
4. Who couldn’t use a Legal Genie? The Legal Aid Society of Orange County was awarded the 2011 James Keane Memorial Award for E-Lawyering Excellence for Legal Genie, a site that combines online legal document assembly with a lawyer referral service. Via the site, a network of lawyers offers affordable legal advice and services to people who often fall through the cracks in the system, helping to ensure qualified help for those who need it. After the presentation, the site’s creators challenged the crowd to use the model in their communities to “take back the profession” from nonlawyers running online form farms.
5. Stay safe out there! Whether you were attending the cloud, social media, e-discovery or solo practice sessions, the message permeating the conference was to be careful out there. Steps that the savvy say to take: Keep up with new (and ever-changing) guidelines on your ethical responsibilities, do your due diligence on the technology companies you entrust with your data in the cloud, educate yourself and your clients on the dangers of social media, read the user agreements when you sign up with free services like Gmail, be smarter about passwords and, yes, back up! As host Matt Homann said during his Ignite Law kick-off, when you’re out there looking at all these shiny new things, “don’t forget that you are a lawyer first.”
Be sure to watch Attorney at Work for great ideas from our friends on the scene at ABA TECHSHOW all next week, including a legal technology trivia test!
*Note: The 2010 videos were live as of this posting.
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