Want to know what legal tech shows and conferences will look like in the new normal? We are about to find out. In less than 2 weeks, TECHSHOW, the American Bar Association Law Practice Division’s premier tech event, will kick off in Chicago. And the week after that, American Law Media’s LegalWeek will be held in New York City. TECHSHOW runs from March 2-5, while LegalWeek will run from March 9-11. (LegalWeek was postponed from early March due to the Covid surge).


TECHSHOW was one of my favorite legal technology events even before I became part of the leadership of the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division. (I am currently Chair-Elect of the Division, which has some 20,000 members. LP is responsible for and puts on TECHSHOW). This year is the 35th such Show. Since its geared more toward smaller firms and solo lawyers, there is less high-power selling like LegalWeek. This creates space for more substantive discussions and learning from vendors. The last in-person Show in 2020 featured multiple substantive tracks, over 2000 attendees, countless exhibitors, a startup competition, and even a silent disco.

Last year, the Show was entirely virtual. And, while by all accounts it was a rousing success, it still missed the in-person component that has always made TECHSHOW so popular.


But this year, it’s back! It starts on March 2nd with the in-person startup ally competition run by the esteemed Bob Ambrogi. The startup competition is one of the most popular TECHSHOW events. It will showcase some 15 innovative legal startups, most of whom will be in actual attendance. The startups will face off in a pitch competition – judged by TECHSHOW attendees – to pick the most innovative startup for the year. Many of the participants plan on being there in person for the competition.


TECHSHOW will offer some 5 in-person tracks plus two virtual tracks


On the educational front, TECHSHOW will offer some 5 in-person tracks plus two virtual tracks. Make no mistake, the Show is primarily in person with over 40 education sessions. The organizers also offer a more limited two-track virtual track for a lower price. This track will include over 20 pre-recorded educational sessions. The in-person attendees get access to all virtual and in-person tracks.


The Show is also offering two “simulcast” events: a keynote on March 4, followed on March 5th by the ever-popular 60 tech tips in 60 minutes. These will take place live and in person and can be viewed live virtually.


The Keynote speaker this year is Kemba Smith Pradianote. Pradianote went from college student to drug dealer’s girlfriend to domestic violence victim and, ultimately was sentanced to 24 years in federal prison. In 2000, her prison sentence was commuted, and her case, drawing support from across the nation, gave birth to her moniker, The Poster Child. She is a poster child for seeking to reverse the rise of lengthy sentences for first-time, non-violent drug offenders. Pradianote is a public speaker, advocate for criminal justice reform, consultant to The White House, and author.



And, of course, there will be the proverbial exhibit hall with over 100 legal tech providers present.



And, of course, there will be the proverbial exhibit hall with over 100 legal tech providers present.


Some more details. This year’s Show has an overall theme of opportunity and community. These core concepts will be woven throughout the various educational tracts. There are 5 in-person tracts that focus on the stages of law firm and business life cycle, growth and development:


  • Design (with such topics as What Legal Can Learn From Other Industries; Boost Productivity by Designing Wellness),
  • Launch (with such topics as Planning for a Successful Carrer, Tech to Improve Your Thinking and Creativity; Executing Your Marketing Plan)
  • Growth (Building Out Your Operations; Strategies to Grow Your Team)
  • Sustaining (Making Yourself Replaceable; Managing a Remote of Hybrid Workplace) and
  • Transform (Insights From Analyzing AI in Legal Writing; Future Practice of Law, 2022 and Beyond).


The two virtual tracts will focus on “virtually everything” (such topics as EDiscovery: Magic Simplified) and a sampling the live events.


The Show’s final day will also offer workshops to tie into the tracts and apply what participants have learned. Through facilitators, it is hoped that the workshops will let participants share what they have learned and look for practical applications.


Of course, everyone recognizes the challenges of putting on one of the first legal tech shows since the pandemic. And while this year’s Show will not be exactly the same as it was pre-pandemic (what is?), it will set the foundation for continued and expanded shows in the future, in hopes that the Show will return in all its pre-pandemic glory.


The Show organizers are excited to be back in person and say everything is presently on track.  Like all of us, they are enthusiastic and optimistic. And their optimism and enthusiasm are catching. Pretty exciting.


Registrations and inquiries are continuing to flood in and there is constant and ongoing interest in attending in person. Registration will remain open so that people can make up their minds about attending literally up to the last minute.


The relevant health and safety information is set out in full at the 2022 TECHSHOW website, along with registration and a full schedule. Participants can purchase complete in-person, virtual, or even expo hall passes. There is also special pricing for law students.


See you there.