LegalTech New York Primer: Advice From Veterans
Download apps, plan ahead, and drink lots and lots of coffee.
Heading to the Big Apple for
the Super Bowl LegalTech New York? Well, aside from the most important advice that applies to events at both Met Stadium and the New York Hilton Midtown (wear comfortable shoes and bring very warm coats) here's some instant mentoring for newbies:
>> Coat Check: Try and map out your session attendance beforehand, and leave plenty of time to hit the show floor--you will learn a lot about current market offerings. Leave your coat in your room; the coat check lines tend to be longer than the lines at Space Mountain during spring break. --Patrick Oot, LTNY 2014 educational advisory board chair; senior special counsel for e-discovery at the U.S.Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.
>> Be Prepared: The most important suggestion for getting the most out of LTNY is do your homework. Most of us come to the event with one or two specific areas where we want more information. In the early days, I would just wander the halls and figure I would see things that interested me. As the number of exhibits grew, I realized that this no longer worked, as I would return home and weeks later I found that I had missed exhibits from vendors that could have been quite helpful.
Study the list of exhibitors ( www.legaltechshow.com) and make a list of companies and booth locations from whom you would like more information. Pay attention to the emails you are getting from vendors. If you get an email describing a product that seems to be related to an area of interest, note the name of the company and their booth location. Discard those that don’t relate to an area of need. I automatically discard those that contain nothing but adjectives (Greatest! Newest! Best!) and do not really describe the product or service they are selling. (A word to vendors that wonder why their emails don’t generate any follow-up: Show, don’t tell.)
You have a limited amount of time for the exhibit hall, no matter how long you are spending in New Your, so use your time wisely. --Theodore Banks, partner, Scharf Banks Marmor, Chicago.
>> Sprint: For newbies, do a lap of the vendor floors to get a feel for things, then go back and target those vendors that have products or services you are interested in. Take a look at the sessions. Balance session attendance with walking the vendor floor. Don't get overwhelmed the first day. And enjoy New York City! Go see a show and travel to Little Italy or Chinatown for some great food! For veterans, touch base with your colleagues, network, and go see a show and eat great food.--Chris Romano, CIO, Ward and Smith, New Bern, N.C.
>> Job Fair: Legal Tech is a cornucopia of career ideas and opportunities. If you're looking for a new job, a morning or afternoon of strolling the hundreds of exhibitor booths is the most efficient way I know of to gather ideas and connect with decisionmakers. In 2001 I got a job as technology counsel by chatting up the people at the less-busy booths--it turned out one was manned by the CEO, who was my new boss less than a month later. --Patrick Burke, counsel, Reed Smith.
>> Coffee Helps: Pop open your device, and hit the LTNY app that you have already downloaded, and hone in on all the cool stuff you can find. (fuel up on coffee first). Catch all the demos that you can squeeze in. Don't miss the keynotes, and keep an eye out for new vendors who might be LTNY virgins. --Jesse Londin, attorney (and author of LTN's App Bar column), New York.
>> Watch Your Step: There is an inch or so opening between the elevator threshold and the floor. It is slightly larger than my former wallet. Mind the gap. Also, the hotel staff is very kind about replacing keycards if asked nicely. --Adam Losey, Associate, Foley & Lardner, Orlando (and New York and the District of Columbia).
>> Break Things: Bring an instant cell phone charger, and head phones; avoid elevator rush hours at the Hilton; and follow my son Adam's advice from last year and grab the mouse from out of the demo'ers hands so you can try things for yourself (extra points if you break stuff).-- Ralph Losey, national e-discovery counsel, Jackson Lewis, Orland.
>> Take a Different Path: I always feel like a newbie! Everything about LegalTech New York is bigger than you might expect. Try pacing yourself in the exhibit hall, which goes on and on. Take your time, stop by and ask when you see something new or curious--even if it isn't meant for your size firm or type of practice, it can be a great way to get inspiration. The same thing goes for the education sessions. I often sit in on presentations discussing different software or in a different type of organization just to get new ideas. There is a lot of information to be discovered and you can often find unexpected gems by just putting yourself in the path of something or someone new. --David Whelan, manager, legal information, The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto.
>> Left Coast Bias: As an LTNY newbie, you should pace yourself and not try to take in too much at one time. Scope out the vendor list and pick only a few to focus on. Remember, save yourself for the real LegalTech show in Los Angeles on June 25-25, 2014. Don’t miss the one where it all happens! — J. Craig Williams, partner, WLC | The Williams Law Corp., Irvine, Calif.
>> Serve Yourself: Legal Tech is sort of like wondering into a server room: Lots and lots of great data. But you must have a plan or it may seem overwhelming. My advice: Download the app, sign up for the Twitter feed, read the guide, know what events you want to see, and where the vendors you need are located before you get there. Along the way between the things you want to see, I promise that you will meet amazing people, make new friends, see old friends that you never knew would be there. and have fun! Oh, and be sure to wear really comfy shoes! --John Jablonski, partner, Goldberg Segalla, Buffalo, N.Y.
Compiled by Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News, who has been to every LegalTech New York since 1998. (Her advice: Bring lots of Power Bars because you won't sleep and the Hilton no longer has room service.)