ABA Techshow 2023 will celebrate 'being together' after 3 tough years
It was just weeks before lockdown in early March 2020 when the ABA held its last all in-person ABA Techshow. Three years later, legal tech enthusiasts and lawyers can expect the 2023 edition to meet pent-up demand for face-to-face panels and meetings.
While the ABA Techshow 2022 was also an in-person event, a COVID-19 surge last winter meant many people were still wary about large gatherings, which hindered attendance. People also had the option of participating online after the all-virtual offering in 2021. This year, there is no virtual ticket available, breaking rank with other shows, including Legal Geek Conference, Clio Cloud Conference and Relativity Fest, which last year offered both an online and in-person experience.
Nevertheless, planners say the demand for tickets is high. They expect as many as 2,000 attendees at the show, which runs from Wednesday, March 1 to Saturday, March 4 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
ABA Techshow 2023 co-chair Gyi Tsakalakis says the event is about “being together” and creating an environment where people can foster connections, learn from one another and collaborate.
“We’re all so grateful that we can be back in-person talking technology, talking law practice, talking about how we’re going to solve some of these big issues,” says Tsakalakis, co-founder of legal marketing agency AttorneySync.
Co-chair Jeannine Lambert hopes the show and its attendees can reap the benefits of going all in on the in-person experience.
“This is just such a rich space for collaborations and growth and the need for human contact,” says Lambert, executive director of centers & programming at Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
In that spirit, planners have mixed things up, opting for panel discussions for this year’s keynotes instead of speeches delivered from a podium.
“In the past, it’s been a more traditional keynote presentation,” Lambert says. “We wanted to get away from that this year, and build more on the idea of the interactive aspects to the whole show.”
The LegalTech Visionaries keynote panel at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 2 is moderated by Clio CEO Jack Newton. The panel includes Erin Levine of legal tech platform Hello Divorce; trademark and business strategy attorney Kimberly Y. Bennett; and Jazz Hampton, the CEO and general counsel of the Minnesota-based tech company TurnSignl, which offers real-time attorney advice to drivers during traffic stops.
Follow along with the ABA Journal’s coverage of the ABA Techshow 2023 here.
The second keynote panel at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, March 3, looks at whether states should relax the Rules of Professional Conduct to make legal services more widely available to people who can’t afford them. It’s a hot-button issue likely to spur rigorous debate. Jayne R. Reardon, former executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is moderating a panel that includes Lynda C. Shely, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility; Darth Vaughn, who is litigation counsel and Legal Innovation & Technology Operations Manager of the Ford Motor Company; and Ed Walters, CEO of legal intelligence company Fastcase.
It wouldn’t be Techshow without Wednesday evening’s curtain raiser, Startup Alley, hosted by lawyer and legal tech journalist Robert Ambrogi. The contest, now in its seventh year, will feature 15 tech company finalists in a live pitch competition starting at 5 p.m.
Attendees can expect a wide array of programming on financial planning, marketing and the future of tech. Topics covered will include Web3 and the metaverse, cryptocurrency, chatbots and using remote conferencing tools in court. There will also be educational sessions teaching attendees how to use Microsoft Office, MacOS and PDFs.
Friday’s final scheduled panel is the traditional conference closer, 60 in 60. Starting at 4:30 p.m. the one-hour event shines a light on “the latest in apps, work hacks, hot technologies and more,” according to the event’s website.
There will be ample opportunities to network and mingle. Tsakalakis says attendees can expect dualling pianists on Friday night at the show’s closing celebration. Then there are the Taste of Techshow Dinners on Thursday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. with details of participating eateries and restaurants to come.
More than 100 exhibitors are expected to set up in the Techshow Expo Hall. Tsakalakis says there will be a roving concierge team to help orientate attendees, guide them to experts and help them navigate all the show has to offer.
With artificial intelligence on everyone’s lips following OpenAI’s November release of the chatbot ChatGPT, Tsakalakis also expects plenty of buzz and chatter about the groundbreaking tech.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be AI-assisted law and practice, not AI replacing law practice,” he argues. “Techshow is a great way to start if you haven’t thought about these issues or you’re deep in the weeds with it. It’s a great place to come and have these conversations and meet people that are navigating this.”
ABAJournal.com: “What to expect from ABA Techshow 2023”
Updated Feb. 22 at 2:50 p.m. to correct the dates of two keynote panels.