I have to disclose right up front that I might be just a little bit biased since I’m chairing this year’s ABA TECHSHOW, presented by the ABA Law Practice Management Section (April 2-4), but even if I weren’t, I’d still feel this is one of the best CLE investments any lawyer can make given the current state of the economy and the effect it’s having on practicing lawyers.
First, technology is finding its way into more and more legal matters. Because almost everyone now has a home computer, e-discovery, particularly of materials posted on Internet social networking sites or passed between cell phones, is figuring more and more prominently in even the most mundane domestic and criminal cases. Lawyers can no longer afford not to understand these issues, and ABA TECHSHOW offers a wealth of information on these topics. This year there is an E-Discovery Boot Camp track that takes you through the nuts and bolts of how to properly plan for and execute e-discovery, as well as the E-Discovery Update track providing information on the latest court cases.
Second, technology is inexorably changing the way that legal services are delivered, the cost of providing those services and what clients are willing to pay for them. I just received a plaintive email from a friend bemoaning the fact that since he had become involved in several Internet legal sites he had given away lots more free legal advice than he had ever been able to over the telephone. Unless you’re planning to retire in the next couple of years (is anyone doing that anymore?) then you need to hear the keynote address of Richard Susskind, noted law professor, legal technology expert and author of The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. His insights will help you take control of the future of your practice.
Third, with it looking like funds will be tight for law firms for several years to come, you need to learn how to make the most of the technology you already have and when you really have to upgrade. By spending a little on this CLE program now you will stand to save a lot on your future technology costs. Friday (April 3rd) is Solo & Small Firm Day, with two concurrent tracks tailored to the needs of lawyers in small practices.
Finally, you really can afford to go. Because of the down economy, cheap flights are available right now (I just found a round trip ticket from Montgomery during the show for $232) and the registration fee for the conference is extremely affordable for 5 concurrent tracks of CLE offered over two and a half days – plus a 2 day legal expo featuring legal technology vendors from all over the country. ABA Law Practice Management Section members get in for $595, Alabama State Bar members can register for $645 (remember, this is 2 and a half days of CLE plus the expo) by using the Event Promoter Code EP901, or any 10 people who want to organize their own group can purchase a Super Pass for $3,995 – resulting in a per person price of only $399! Jim Johnson of Mobile is organizing a group, so contact him if you’re interested.
If you want to be ready for the changes that technology is and will continue to bring to the practice of law, you can’t afford to miss ABA TECHSHOW this year. Please feel free to call me at state bar headquarters if you have any questions about ABA TECHSHOW. I’ll be looking for you there!