March 8th is right around the corner—do you have your ABA TECHSHOW tickets? At this year’s all-virtual conference, attendees will have access to more content than ever before. On Balance hosts JoAnn Hathaway and Molly Ranns welcome TECHSHOW co-chairs Roberta Tepper and Allan Mackenzie to discuss the educational and networking opportunities available to attendees, including a wide variety of CLE sessions. Before signing up, State Bar of Michigan members can contact JoAnn for a discount code to use on their ticket purchase.
Roberta Tepper is the lawyer assistance programs director at the State Bar of Arizona and co-chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2021.
Allan Mackenzie is a veteran of the legal technology world and co-chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2021.
State Bar of Michigan: On Balance Podcast
Becoming Tech-Competent at TECHSHOW 2021
Intro: Welcome to State Bar of Michigan’s On Balance podcast where we talk about practice management and lawyer wellness for a thriving law practice here on Legal Top Network.
Molly Ranns: Hello and welcome to another edition of the State Bar of Michigan’s On Balance podcast on Legal Talk Network. I’m Molly Ranns.
JoAnn Hathaway: And I’m JoAnn Hathaway. We’re very pleased to have Alan MacKenzie, founding partner of MacKenzie Consulting and Roberta Tepper, lawyer assistance programs director for the state bar of Arizona. Join us today as tandem podcast guests. In addition to these affiliations, Alan and Roberta also serve as co-chairs for ABA TECHSHOW 2021 which launches March 8 for five days featuring all things tech. They join us today to talk about becoming tech competent at TECHSHOW 2021. So, Roberta, let’s start with you. Would you share some information about yourself with our listeners?
Roberta Tepper: Sure, well as you said JoAnn, I’m the lawyer assistance programs director at the state bar of Arizona and that means among the other programs I run, I run our practice management program, so I talk to lawyers about managing their practice. Same as JoAnn does and legal technology you know, pretty much all the time so it’s been a really big honor to be the co-chair of TECHSHOW with Alan.
Alan MacKenzie: And good date everyone. I’m Alan MacKenzie. Always fun being on the radio and listening to yourself talk. I started off life as a legal secretary in 19 — on an IBM model D typewriter and worked my way through school as a legal secretary eventually becoming, let’s see, I worked at Wang Laboratories. I was in product support services worldwide training, training all the telephone support engineers at Microsoft for years. I formed a couple of consultancies and I’ve been the chief information officer and financial officer for a Wall Street litigation firm owned entirely by women. So, I’ve been doing this realm of the world almost as if it was a track in my life for 35 years.
Molly Ranns: Wonderful. Thank you both so much. Let’s talk TECHSHOW 2021. Alan, for those who aren’t familiar with TECHSHOW and for those who are but perhaps need a refresher, can you give us an overview of what they might expect?
Alan MacKenzie: So, TECHSHOW is a long-standing institution which we are proud to be a part of. It’s a forum that is open to both members and non-members of the bar association to focus on technology in the legal world and it’s broken down into sessions of education. Most of them with CLE credit, so it’s a wonderful shopping place for a whole line of inquiry. We have many courses during the course of our day is set up in in topic tracks. Things like automation or business boot camp, things like that. So that you can all get together and once upon a time it was “together” but now thanks to the money slipper effect, we’re all working from home so we’re going to be doing this virtually this year out of necessity and you’re going to be able to access more than you’ve ever been able to access before thanks to the fact that even though there might be five different tracks offered in any one hour, you don’t have to choose. You get to come to one and instead of missing out on another watch a recording of it after you have finished the first one. So, a big deal and a lot of information and some wonderful networking opportunities for everyone.
JoAnn Hathaway: Many states have amended their rules of professional conduct to include a duty of tech competency. To me, it seems like attending TECHSHOW having been there for over 15 years, this could help them meet this duty in a big way. I, myself, liken it to one-stop shopping. So, Roberta, can you speak to the tracks and session types offered at TECHSHOW 2021?
Roberta Tepper: Absolutely, in fact these days I can speak of almost nothing else. We have something for everybody. If you are brand new to legal tech and you still need an explanation of the, basics we have a track that’s always been very popular called Core Concepts where we explain it from the ground up. If you are not new to tech and you’re looking to be a little more advanced, we have tracks on automation, we have tracks on future proofing your practice on the next 20 what’s coming up, what’s in the future, and then we have tracks that will help you work better in your practice. Cyber security, we have a great track this year called Disruptive Innovation because if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it’s that technology is both disruptive and the cure for disruption. But we also have some other diverse tracks. Alan mentioned our boot camp. We have a business plan boot camp for newer lawyers who are just setting up to help them bring home in a practical way the lessons that they have learned from TECHSHOW. We also have tracks on leadership and lawyer well-being and diversity and inclusion. So, we really do try to have something for everybody and if you’re looking for those technology credits to satisfy your CLE requirement. I mean we have five days’ worth. So, it’s a really exciting time for us. We were able to add more content than we ever had before. So, I think people looking at the schedule will find there is definitely something for them every single day.
Alan MacKenzie: And there’s a burning question in everybody’s mind, yes, there are ethics credits at this conference.
Roberta Tepper: In fact, we have a whole track of ethics.
Molly Ranns: All right, well wonderful. As a fellow lab director Roberta, I love seeing the wellness really interspersed throughout the days. Alan, in addition to the live interactive sessions, attendees in the past have received in-depth white papers associated with each session. Even those that they didn’t plan to attend. You touched on this briefly earlier. Often Power Point decks were also provided. Will that be the case again this year?
Alan MacKenzie: In the transactions for all of these things in order to receive CLE credits, there has to be extensive documentation. All the bar associations require it so we will have white papers available for each of the sessions that get CLE credits and the edition or the switch over to the virtual even though it hurts us in the camaraderie of meeting all of our annual friends, we have the ability to record this year and so they’ll be more than just that. You can go and hear a recording and see a video of a session that you have missed. So, we’re going to have what we’ve always had and a whole lot more.
JoAnn Hathaway: Roberta, during its over 30-year existence, TECHSHOW has always been a live three-day event and as you and Alan have just mentioned, it’s going virtual this year and has been extended to five days. Can you share the attendance options that are offered and the associated costs?
Roberta Tepper: Absolutely. Of course, we want everybody to come for five days. Just in case you were thinking five eight-hour days are too long, we’ve shortened the days but spread them out so we’re having TECHSHOW week. If you’re an ABA member, it’s $295.00 to come to all five days. And that means you get about 90 hours of education either live or in recording. We do have a daily rate that’s $175.00 dollars a day and the good news is if you’re not an ABA member, you can still come. The full price is $350.00 for all five days but here’s the really good news, JoAnn has been looking out for State Bar of Michigan members and there is a special price. If you go to JoAnn, she can give you a code because she is promoting TECHSHOW. She gets a special discount for the folks she sends and then you get in for the member price of $295.00 for the for the five days of content.
Molly Ranns: Alan, the expo hall at TECHSHOW has always been extremely popular. It’s something you have to experience to fully appreciate the wealth of tech in the hall and how interactive and engaging it can be. Can you share what the virtual expo hall will look like this year?
Alan MacKenzie: The virtual expo hall really won’t be a virtual expo hall as such. We have decided that rather than — you’ve seen in the expo hall in the years that each booth is of varying sizes and all are grand. And the vendor hall experience has been wonderful for the for the attendees but also a source of creativity for the vendors themselves. What we are offering instead is a menu program to get into and see at available times each vendor’s own unique experience by going to the catalog and connecting directly to the vendor in their own individual environment. So, people can come and go, there will be demonstrations, there’ll be libraries of things available, recordings, live discussions directly from more staff usually than has ever been available before because there isn’t a travel budget anymore. Basically, you’ve been invited directly into their house. So, it will be a different experience and the real casualty of this is there’s no take away swag.
JoAnn Hathaway: Darn. A wildly popular event at TECHSHOW in the past has been the startup pitch competition which is so much fun and I see it’s kicking off again this year in the virtual environment. So, Roberta, can you explain what that is and why it’s so popular?
Roberta Tepper: Absolutely. You know, this year, there have been some silver linings in the in the virtual Cloud. You know, we were disappointed to not be there in person. Everybody would clearly like to be, but one of the nice things that the virtual environment has let us do is actually bring the startup pitch competition right to the very beginning of TECHSHOW. It used to be the night before, people were coming and going. Some people didn’t get there in time. This year everyone who is attending TECHSHOW can attend the startup pitch competition. We’re really grateful to Bob Ambrogi who has been leading this up for the TECHSHOW board for many years and is doing it again this year. So, what we do is we send out a solicitation for legal tech startups to send us a pitch. They get about two and a half minutes. They get to pitch their product and then the attendees vote on it and so it’s live interactive voting. You get to know who wins the competition right then and there at the end of TECHSHOW and each startup gets to have their own — used to be exhibit space in the expo hall, this time they’re going to have a link so that folks can explore further with them their brand-new products. And we get lots of proposals, lots of entries into this competition. We window them down to the top 25. Voting is now online and so if you go to the TECHSHOW website, you should see a place where you can vote for the entries in the startup competition. And then the top 15 get to actually do their pitch at TECHSHOW. So, it’s very exciting to see new products come on the market and hear their pitches for the first time. Some products that we use all the time now started at the startup pitch competition and it’s just a great way to introduce TECHSHOW. We’re so excited this year.
Molly Ranns: That sounds very exciting. Alan, will there be any socially interactive components to TECHSHOW 2021? And if so, what will those be?
Alan MacKenzie: It wouldn’t be TECHSHOW 2021, it wouldn’t be TECHSHOW at all if there weren’t the social events. Now, the social events like taste of TECHSHOW that have been so popular that are ad hoc group dinners on a specific topic, we’ve had also things called communities in the past where people who want to get together on a specific subject, maybe it’s your practice area. Maybe it’s being a parent while being a lawyer. Those communities will be available during the days and you’ll have both meeting rooms specific to that and meeting rooms to open topics and some surprise non-technical gatherings around other focuses that attorneys may have outside of their practice. So, I’m very excited to talk about that and at the time of recording we are inches away from announcing our keynote.
JoAnn Hathaway: That’s exciting, that’s always exciting. So, finally, Roberta, let’s start with you on this question. What technical requirements will registrants need to engage in to become a virtual attendee at TECHSHOW 2021?
Roberta Tepper: The good news is its stuff you already have. If you can get on Zoom, you’ll be able to come to TECHSHOW. We have a great virtual platform that is very user friendly and you’ll need you know, a good browser. Please don’t try to get on with Internet Explorer folks. If you have Chrome, if you have Firefox, if you have Safari, you’ll be able to attend TECHSHOW. That’s pretty much all you need. That, a comfortable chair, maybe some beverages, snacks to keep you going, bunny slippers absolutely, you know, that’s one of the benefits of the virtual TECHSHOW is that you get to be in your bunny slippers and not in you know, seven coats and three scarves in the winter in Chicago. Although, let me just say that TECHSHOW 2022, we are hoping will be live in Chicago, in person and keep those scarves and winter coats handy because we’ll be celebrating the roaring 20s hopefully by 2022. But yeah, if you have a computer and you have a good browser, you’re in at TECHSHOW.
JoAnn Hathaway: Awesome. What a wonderful opportunity.
Alan MacKenzie: We just want to make the point and drive at home that there has never been a better opportunity. If you have never been able to travel to TECHSHOW, if you have not had the budget for it, if you have wanted members of your firm to experience it but they couldn’t because of it. You now have half a dozen ways to make it happen in having them come in live or experience the recordings afterwards. This is the greatest to be able to come to TECHSHOW.
Roberta Tepper: The other thing that the virtual mode has done for us is we’ve been able to expand our faculty. So, we have a lot of first-time speakers, we have a very diverse group of speakers from all walks of practice. So, we have more variety in terms of speakers. We’ve been able to do some things with the lengths of sessions. So, we have lots of shorter sessions that run together in a track. We were able to put together panels with folks from all over the country, so it’s just a really exciting show for us. We really hope that everybody comes. We have that sort of what if you give a party and nobody attends anxiety. A little bit for Alan and me, so we hope everybody comes but we really do think that this is the year to do it. This is absolutely the year to dip your toe in that TECHSHOW pool and for those of us who like JoAnn have been coming to TECHSHOW for many years, you know, we cannot wait to see you all and there’ll be opportunities for us to connect.
JoAnn Hathaway: Well, we would like to take this opportunity also to thank you for everything you have done. I know you and the TECHSHOW board spend unbelievable amounts of time in planning this for everyone. And if anyone really appreciates that, we at the State Bars and all of our members across North America and even across the nation, we thank you very much. So, you’ve put so much time into this.
Roberta Tepper: It’s been our pleasure.
JoAnn Hathaway: Well, it looks like we’ve come to the end of our show. We’d like to thank our guest today, Alan MacKenzie and Roberta Tepper for a wonderful program.
Molly Ranns: Can you each share with our guests if they want to learn more about TECHSHOW 2021 and if they’d like to reach you, how can they do that? Alan, would you like to start?
Alan MacKenzie: The website, it is TECHSHOW after all and if you look at TECHSHOW or Google TECHSHOW 2021, T-E-C-H-S-H-O-W, you’ll have just about everything that you need to move forward.
Molly Ranns: Well, thank you both Alan and Roberta. This has been another edition of the State Bar of Michigan On Balance podcast.
JoAnn Hathaway: I’m JoAnn Hathaway.
Molly Ranns: And I’m Molly Ranns, until next time, thank you for listening.
Outro: Thank you for listening to the State Bar of Michigan On Balance podcast. Brought to you by the State Bar of Michigan and produced by the Broadcast Professionals at Legal Talk Network. If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via Apple podcasts and RSS. Find the State Bar of Michigan and Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or download Legal Talk Network’s free app in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network or the State Bar of Michigan or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
<a href=”https://www.tech-synergy.com/podcast-transcription” target=”_blank”>Podcast transcription</a> by <a href=”https://www.tech-synergy.com” target=”_blank”>Tech-Synergy.com</a>