ABA Techshow

The Future of Law in 6-Minute Increments


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What would a legal technology conference look like if speakers had only six minutes to make their points, with PowerPoint slides flashing behind them at 18-second intervals?

The answer: Ignite Law, an alternative to the traditional panel presentation model.

ABA Techshow kicked off last week with 16 Ignite Law speakers who made the cut to present their visions for the future of the legal profession. Topics ranged from the ethics of Web 2.0 legal marketing and the need for better law practice management education so no lawyer is left behind practice management associations in each state, to how firms should use technology to give clients access to lawyers no matter where they are.

Videos of each of the speakers are expected to be online starting Monday and are currently able to be viewed at LexThink’s YouTube channel.

Crowd-pleasing presentations included an energetic six minutes from Ari Kaplan, this year’s Techshow keynote speaker, who talked about lawyer marketing lessons he’s learned from playing Wii bowling with his 4-year-old. Click here to watch his presentation.

Past ABA Techshow chair Tom Mighell packed his six minutes with a heartfelt plea for better practice management education, noting that only 61 out of 195 ABA-accredited law schools offer courses in practice management. Mighell went so far as to propose that the bar exam contain practice management questions and that veteran lawyers be required to keep up with practice management trends through mandatory CLE. Click here to watch his presentation.

One of the more poignant presentations came from Jack Newton, the co-founder of the back-office practice management company and Ignite Law sponsor Clio.

Newton talked about what lawyers can learn from the customer-service focused business model of the successful online shoe company Zappos. Newton argued that just as Zappos is a service company that happens to sell shoes, lawyers can become service companies that happen to sell legal advice. Click here to watch Newton’s presentation.

So how long is six minutes? The theory behind Ignite is that it’s just long enough for a presenter to make the key points needed to educate—and entertain—an audience about a business model, new technology or whatever’s on the speaker’s mind.

Ignite has been around since 2006, but it’s new to the legal profession. Indeed, most Ignite presenters get only 5 minutes and 15 seconds for their slides. But for Ignite Law presenters—mostly lawyers and vendors supporting the legal industry—organizer Matt Homann of LexThink extended the time allotment to the familiar six-minute billing increment. InsideLegal co-produced the event and ABA Techshow and the ABA Journal were among the sponsors.

If pre-event buzz was any indication, this won’t be the last Ignite Law. Free tickets to the 150-seat event were sold out well in advance, and the general mid- and post-event discussion in the room, at Techshow and online was positive.

See the full listing of speakers and descriptions of their speeches here.

More on Ignite Law:

InsideLegal: “Ignite Law: The Future of Law in 6-minute Presentations - Act 1 of 2”

Open Source WorkInProgress: “Ignite Law Ignition”

ABAJournal.com: “Fast-Paced Ignite Law Dives Into the Future of Law Practice”

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