I just returned from a recent trip to the 2009 LegalTech® Conference held in New York City February 2-4, 2009. If you are not familiar with LegalTech, it is the largest technology show and exhibition geared specifically toward the legal profession and those associated with it. I have been a regular attendee since 1998 and noticed the conference has grown steadily in visitors and exhibitors. For a technology geek like myself, I’m in a candy store for three days. This year, on the last day, I stopped someone who looked official and asked how many people attended. I was floored when she said an estimated count was 10,000 attendees, with close to 400 exhibitors (This figure included those with a three-day pass, one-day pass, exhibitors and their entourages).
LegalTech holds two conferences a year – the other one, LegalTech® West Coast is held during the summer in Los Angeles. The New York show is where a lot of vendors come to launch their new products or latest version with “bells and whistles”. However, LegalTech is well known for the informative breakout sessions that occur during the week and highlight the current trends happening in the legal profession. This year was no different, with a number of sessions dealing with the collection, processing, reviewing and preservation of electronic discovery or “e-discovery” (i.e. e-mail, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, etc).
Since the amendments to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (F.R.C.P.) which took effect December 1, 2006, that has provided guidance in e-discovery. A lot of emphasis is on the proper collection of data. The vendors have looked at the rules and developed slick new software to make the job easier. The breakout sessions give attendees an opportunity to learn from those who are living and breathing it every day. They include corporate attorneys and those working in private practice, judges, paralegals, corporate and law firm IT professionals and vendors. You’re able to get a little bit of everyone’s perspective on how they handle technology. Other sessions included how legal professionals can take advantage of the Web 2.0
technology (i.e. blogs, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), E-Compliance and Record Management programs.
Each day featured a Keynote speaker who highlighted the theme of that day’s breakout sessions. One of the popular Keynote speakers was John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge
, United States District Court of the District of Columbia. Judge Facciola has heard a numbers of matters related to e-discovery pass through his court. He has gained a lot of respect from his peers and those before his court for having a grasp of the changes in the F.R.C.P. and “gets it”. He is a sought out and popular speaker. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak this past fall at an E-Discovery Conference presented by the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC and he was fabulous.
You too can hear Judge Facciola and other Keynote speakers. LegalTech will kick off its videocast “Legal Tech On Demand
” starting Sunday, February 15th. You can see the keynote speakers and other select sessions for free.
However, the true LegalTech experience is to actually attend the conference and learn firsthand by knowledge-sharing and networking with 10,000 of your closest legal profession colleagues under one roof. The next show for 2009 is LegalTech West Coast
to be held June 24-24, 2009 in Los Angeles and 2010 LegalTech New York February 1-3, 2010.
Jeffrey L. Smith is a litigation paralegal for Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. in Greensboro, NC.