As I was watching the Chicago skyline become smaller and smaller out of the window on the plane ride home, I couldn’t help but think of how big an opportunity it was to be able to learn from, and network with, the absolute best in the business at ABA TECHSHOW.
This year’s show was bigger than ever and I did my best to take full advantage. Not only did I have the chance to participate in sessions about artificial intelligence, blockchain, and a discussion about whether law students should be taught to code, I had the opportunity to represent the Univesity of Oklahoma College of Law in a panel interview for the Legal Talk Network. The interview was posted to their podcast network, in addition to the Young Lawyers Division and Law Student Division of the ABA media outlets. Listen to the podcast here!
By being a part of this panel, I had the opportunity to connect with some fantastic law students from Michigan Tech, Chicago Kent, and Northwestern. It was truly an honor to participate in the panel! It is amazing to see how words on one of the most relevant sources of information for law students in the country! A big thank you to Adam Music, Laurence Colletti, and Legal Talk Network!
I also had the opportunity to connect with some amazing entrepreneurs that I will most certainly work with in the future. Being around the attorneys creating the solutions to problems that we all have (or will have) is a humbling experience. I left every expo session thinking that I am not thinking big enough for the possibilities that are legal technology.
First things first, It was a huge step for Oklahoma legal tech to not only have one of our own bring their product to TECHSHOW, but to be part of the Startup Competition. YourFirmApp is a client-side app that allows seamless communication with the client. This product is the result of attorney Chris Smith solving his own problem, and also the problem many firms have with client management solutions. Client-focused design solutions are the next frontier of legal technology. Congratulations to Chris and YourFirmApp!
I had the opportunity to meet Madeline Martin from Smith.AI. Smith.AI offers live, virtual receptionists and online chat features for solo to small firms. I found this product fascinating in that it allows the client to choose their level of involvement instead of being a hard sales funnel. As consumers are affected more and more by the millennial sentiment on-demand information, it is important to design a solution that accomplishes these needs. I am a huge fan of using machine learning to power chatbots and I feel like Smith.AI could lead the way on this front
I also had the opportunity to meet Dorna Moini from Documate.org. I was very impressed with the Documate product in the ease of use of streamlined design. This product allows the user to “automate your expertise.” Using logic and specialized features, you can build complex workflows and document sets that allow you to customize the level of automation for your clientele and your firm. Moving your client interviews into a technological interface is becoming an expectation. Having a legal-specific tool to expand and capture all the necessary information from your intake in one place and then to be able to manipulate that data to meet your specific matter is powerful. A tool like this will pay for itself in the first matter!
Another fantastic product I had the opportunity to learn about was Contract.One. I had the chance to meet founder & CEO Anton Vashkevich who came from Belarus to this year’s TECHSHOW. Contract.One is a platform used for multi-party negotiations. A document is entered into the system and both parties can observe the document while privately collaborating with their team from wherever they might be. The user also has the ability to invite the opposing party to observe the document and communicate in real time from their location. This was a very impressive tool and my colleagues and I immediately saw many different uses for this product, even while in law school!
One big takeaway from TECHSHOW this year was the growing focus on the business of law. Brent Diener from 4iiz gave a tremendous lunch and learn talk about how to add to your bottom line by focusing on serving your client from the very first contact. He spoke about metrics and key performance indicators that give eye-opening, and often painful, reality to the inefficiencies of many firm’s processes. As a former small business owner, this hit really close to home. Not enough attorneys consider themselves to be in business. Instead, they run a firm. The movement of taking “ownership” of the results and tracking analytics will make a huge difference in serving our clients and closing the access to justice gap!
All of this is in addition to the fantastic meetups and social events at TECHSHOW that allow access to the best and brightest. I had the chance to have dinner with professors of law and legal tech from across the country. I met my favorite podcast hosts from Lawyerist and even confessed that we “may” have modeled the Oklahoma Energy Podcast after their show! I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog who gave me fantastic direction for this blog and helping students become relevant in the world of social media.
Lastly, OU Law also had the opportunity to share our takeaways with Brooke and the academic team from Thomson Reuters, who sponsored our cohort to attend this year’s conference. We would not have able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity without them. I had a great conversation with the team and I hope to be able to continue writing for TR as well as the Young Lawyers and Law Students Division of the ABA in the near future!
Thank you to Kenton Brice and Darin Fox for selecting me to be able to attend the 2019 ABA TECHSHOW! I can only hope to be lucky enough to be selected next year!