I say that I was the TECHSHOW attendee with the least experience or knowledge of technology in the legal world. As a non-traditional student, I have felt a little (maybe significantly) behind my peers because using technology is not as natural to me as it seems to be to my younger peers. Before I left, my emotions ranged from excited to terrified. I really did not know what I expected to learn and had some doubts that it would be as beneficial as others claimed. I was wrong.
My sleep-deprived and travel-worn self initially found the Expo Hall to be a tad (incredibly) overwhelming. I literally trailed along with a much more talkative and engaging peer who buzzed from booth to booth asking the best questions. I learned so much just about what is available as my work experiences have been in government where cutting edge technology is hard to find. In one booth, there was an app developed to encrypt text messages between attorneys and clients. Next, there was a virtual receptionist who would take your calls—even provide translation services. In another booth, I found an insurance service that employers can provide to employees to provide basic legal services (wills, DUI’s, but not murder—they made that clear making me think there could be a story there) that also happened to be looking for lawyers in many states to contract for those legal services (Anyone want to practice in Alaska?). The list could go on and on.
TECHSHOW offered tracks for specific interests, but I bounced around to different sessions on different tracks. While they varied, I was generally impressed with the presenters and took away valuable information that will help me in my future practice. For example, you can run a law practice and spend less than $150.00 a year on paper! Overall, the greatest takeaway was that the traditional practice of law is going to change and lawyers who want to succeed must get on board. I found sessions about virtual firms, social media, and paperless offices to provide the most valuable information. It was exciting to think about the possibilities available to new lawyers.
As an extreme introvert, I find small talk and meeting new people to be slightly terrifying so I always dread networking. Prior to TECHSHOW I was really struggling with trying to decide what type of lawyer I wanted to be. As a non-traditional student, I have professional experiences that make it very clear what I do not want to do with my time, but I also have commitments that create nuanced circumstances affecting my career decisions. While those experiences, in my opinion, make me a better law student, I was conflicted as to what direction to take. While making the dreaded small talk at one of the receptions, I met a law professor who told me about some of his students who have pursued less traditional routes and established solo practices or virtual practices straight from law school. That conversation really gave me the courage to consider options that may not be traditional but would work well for my family. While I am not completely certain as to what direction I will take, I am in a better position to make informed decisions about my future. I also took that conversation and used it to select to sessions to attend. By the way, the food and drinks were great, too!
I definitely value my TECHSHOW experience and plan to us it to shape my career regardless of which path I ultimately choose. I wish all of my peers could have the opportunity to attend.
Marci Gracey, 2L