ABA TECHSHOW: A View From the Expo Floor

I recently returned from the ABA’s 2015 TECHSHOW in Chicago.

Once again, it was the place to be if you are interested in the latest in legal technology. As it was my sixth year at ABA TECHSHOW, I decided to concentrate on the Expo Hall this time. It did not fail to impress, with vendors that included some old favorites as well as some newcomers that might be the next upstart in a more crowded legal technology field.

The vendors overall seemed to be happy with the engaged crowd, and the more-than-800 registered attendees were excited to explore the floor to see the latest and greatest the vendors had to offer. For some vendors, their products were brand new, still in beta, or released just in time for TECHSHOW. This is the best part of the Expo for me—the opportunity to meet innovators and see the new products. It is exciting to share in their enthusiasm for their new product and wish them well. (ABA TECHSHOW Tip: These brand new and/or beta folks are typically in the smaller of the two Expo Hall rooms.)

I also met a number of first-time vendors that have been in business for quite a while, but were making their first visit to ABA TECHSHOW. This might be their first venture into the legal market and a few of the vendors seemed a little overwhelmed at the size of the crowd and the knowledge-base in the room. But, they were happy to show off their products to their new market.

For veteran exhibitors, ABA TECHSHOW was an opportunity to showcase new releases, new products, or partners. Crowd favorite and veteran exhibitor, Clio, rolled out updates and highlighted four new partners that were also on the Expo floor. Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, and Amicus Attorney gave attendees every opportunity to demo each of their products—server-based, cloud-based, or the best of both to let everyone know that they are still the major players in this market.

After a few days to reflect, some highlights and disappointments for me were:

Legaler

While Legaler is still in beta, this upstart from Australia showcased a product that would help foster video communication, creating a much needed collaboration tool between client and attorney. Following in the footsteps of New Zealand-based Xero and ABA TECHSHOW speaker, Philippe Doyle Gray, the folks down-under are pushing the envelope in cloud-based technology in the US.

Worldox

With their latest release, GX4, right around the corner, long-time exhibitor Worldox was anxious to show new and existing customers their new interface. This release will be available for new customers in May and will be rolled out to existing customers in the following months.

Capture.it

The latest in the saga of time tracking, newcomer Capture.it has a unique spin in the world of cloud-based time entry: Time Capture. Rather than waiting for the attorney to enter their time, they are prompted for it on their phone and emailed after completing tasks. Is the idea of “capturing time” new? Maybe so, or maybe it is just a new spin on an old topic. Either way, it is certainly intriguing.

Microsoft

We have been enticed for a while with Microsoft’s new (unreleased) venture into the legal market with Matter Center—Microsoft’s version of their Sharepoint-integrated solution for practice management. Microsoft was giving demos of the new product and while it looked interesting, the release date is still undetermined and it is tough to get excited about it yet. Maybe next year we will have a hard date for full integration into Office 365.

CosmoLex

Once again, the proliferation of server- and cloud-based practice management systems continued this year. The one standout on the cloud-based side appeared to be CosmoLex with their integrated accounting and check-writing system. Many server-based systems have had accounting integration for a while, but the cloud-based systems like Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase integrated and/or synced with other cloud-based systems like Quickbooks and Xero.

Security and Encryption

The list would not be complete without a mention of security and encryption services. The hot topic in legal technology today is certainly addressing security concerns regarding documents and email. On the file sharing side, Citrix ShareFile and TitanFile were advocating secure file storage and sharing. Security in encrypted email was made “easy” by Outlook add-ins from several vendors, including Delivery Trust by Identillect.

While this vendor list is not comprehensive by any means, it should give you the idea that a trip to ABA TECHSHOW is worth it. By checking out the latest tech, you and your firm will be on the leading edge of technology—at least as far as legal tech is concerned. I am glad to see that more products are focusing on the legal technology market. I believe that as more firms consider and adopt this great technology, they will see returns that keep them coming back for more. I hope so.

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