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This year, I came to ABA Techshow intending to cover the latest and greatest tech tools and trends for MyShingle. I walked the exhibit hall yesterday, dutifully sitting through demo after demo of ipad deposition tools along with dozens of cloud-based practice management tools and portals until my brain went cloudy with all of it.  And yet with all of my diligence, I return to my readers empty handed. Because I can’t recommend or even blog about tech out of context.

I think that I’m typical of most lawyers in that I’m a practical technologist. I adopt those tools that directly serve my practice, and learn only as much as I need to know. When there’s a tech tool I need, I want it right away, no learning curve of start up time, no beta glitches  or clunky interfaces or concepts that my clients won’t like or use.

So just as the Lexthink 1.0 talks that preceded techshow talk about disrupting CLE, perhaps it is time to disrupt TechShow. I’m not suggesting to replace or revise this longstanding tradition, but to create forums where lawyers can collegially share how they use technology. Maybe it’s a break out room (at TechShow or a substantive program) where during down time, lawyers hang around and share – and show – how they’re using tech just as they share trial stories and techniques. Maybe it’s a bus that travels town to town for a couple of days at a time where lawyers can come in on their own schedule for a quick technology clinic. Right now, I don’t have all the answers, just the thought that maybe something needs to change.

Because we can’t cabin technology, push it on to its own island and leave it there for only the intrepid to visit.  If we want to improve the way we serve clients, we need to look at technology at a piece of the package of practicing law – along with substantive skills, finding clients, using support service (either outsourced or full time hires) and setting fees. Otherwise, it’s too easy to ignore.