I am coming to you today from ILTACON, the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association. Taking place this year in National Harbor, Md., on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, it is four full days of keynotes, educational programs, exhibitors and, yes, parties, all devoted to the theme of legal technology.
Do you wish you were here? Well, if you are a solo or small-firm lawyer, don’t. ILTACON is not the conference for you. It is primarily focused on large law firms and, within those firms, on information technology, knowledge management, and operations professionals.
So which legal tech conferences are best for solo and small-firm lawyers? If you want to up your game in legal technology, which ones are worth your time and money?
ILTACON is one of a triumvirate of national legal tech conferences that draw the most attention and biggest headcounts every year. The other two are Legaltech New York, which this year is Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, and ABA Techshow, which will be in Chicago from March 15-18. For anyone who works in legal technology or for a legal-tech company that sells to lawyers, it is a safe bet they will attend at least one or two of these, if not all three.
But for small-firm lawyers, the only one of these three worth attending is ABA Techshow. Legaltech, like ILTACON, caters more to larger law firms and is heavily focused on a single topic – e-discovery. If you happen to be a small-firm lawyer who does a lot of e-discovery, then Legaltech may be for you. The vast majority of small-firm lawyers, however, will find little here of relevance to their practices.
By contrast, ABA Techshow is the small-firm lawyer’s legal tech conference. The programs focus on practical topics relating to the use of technology in small firms. The vendors who exhibit there are largely ones whose products cater to smaller firms. The attendees overwhelmingly come from solo and small firms. It is, in short, where you will feel right at home.
Outside the triumvirate, there are few legal tech conferences that are national in scope. One that launched in 2013 and has proven itself a stellar event for small-firm lawyers is the Clio Cloud Conference. After the 2014 conference, I wrote that it was one of the best legal technology conferences I had ever attended. After last year’s, I declared it déjà vu all over again. The next one is just a few weeks away – Sept. 19 and 20 in Chicago. (Tip: use this link to get a $150 discount on registration.)