ABA Tech Show 2007 – not the same old same old

techshow 2007

It’s Friday night and I am at the end of a whirlwind 2-day stint at the Sheraton Chicago attending the American Bar Association’s 2007 Technology Show — both walking the floor to see new and interesting products, and attending an intense round of seminars and round-table discussions. All in all, as a 10-year veteran of TechShow I can confidently say that it was not the same old same old (I’m as surprised as you are). While I’m essentially too exhausted to write anything substantive about the experience here, let me just say a few choice words and call it a night.

Web 2.0 is Here (about a year and a half after I told you about it on this Blog): yes, I know I’m blowing my own horn but damn it, I told you this would happen. Web 2.0 (which roughly speaking means the concept of the web as platform, the web as application, the web as collaborative software) is showing signs of respectability. Based on the number of legal administrators from Boise and Managing-Partners from Minnesota in attendance this year, I predict that we will see Web 2.0-style applications in large firms this year, medium-sized firms next year, and small/solo shops in 2010.

E-Discovery is Really Real: I realize that I’m significantly behind the curve in terms of sounding the alarm bells regarding e-discovery, but at this year’s show I was able to spend time with a few vendors whose software, pricing, and delivery options were … well let’s just say they were extremely impressive (kind of staggering in one case). I was seriously impressed. E-Discovery is going to become more real as cost factors trend down and the capability of resources on the market continues to climb (think in terms of Moore’s Law as applied to this area).

The Desktop is Nearly Dead/Long Live the Browser: This rounds back to the first point above. The trend I noticed 6 years ago after learning the acronym ASP (application service provider) has very nearly become the standard; clunky, desktop-based software with limited functionality is at last being replaced by flexible, light-weight, web based applets that allow users to produce first class results even on the fly. Know all ye who read this that if your software still looks like MS Word 97 next year you will be branded a has-been. Software manufacturers take notice.

Google, Google, Google: Go ahead, say it ten times fast. It just feels good. Plus, this upstart company can do for FREE what Microsoft, Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, and a host of other pricey application vendors do for a fortune. See, the thing about free applications is that if they are worth anything at all then those results represent an ROI (return on investment) of about 1,000,000%. Doesn’t that make it worth at least trying what Google and other companies like it (there are others) have to offer? I would say so.

Hero Worship: I have no cogent explanation for this entry and it probably does not even belong here because it seems so personal, but this year I feel especially lucky to have spoken (if only for a moment) with some of the people I’ve been corresponding with, speaking with on the phone, or referring to in my blogs, including Matt Homann, Tom Mighell, Andrea Linares, Rick Klau, and Craig Bayer (who’s work appears on this blog). I also made new friends this year such as Mark Nipper. Not present this year, though not forgotten, were stalwarts like Dennis Kennedy and Denise Howell. These are impressive people who do inspiring things. I am glad for their good work and look to their example. (ed. note: sorry if I left anyone out — I’m a bit out of it right now).

In short, there was something for everyone at this year’s TechShow and I have the pictures and product reviews to prove it. More to come later …

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