LEGAL TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIES
April 1, 1999
On the Web at: http://www.nettechinc.com/lts.htm
A REPORT FROM TECHSHOW '99
- Dennis Kennedy (email@example.com)
I've always liked John
Naisbitt's notion of "high tech, high touch," by which he
means that the higher the level of technology, the more important
the personal element becomes. To me, the phrase also carries the
notion that "higher" technologies should promote personal
interactions and community. My TechShow experiences illustrate this
notion. I took away from TechShow more of the high touch than the
high tech - memories of the people I meet, conversations that gave
me insights or a solution to a problem I had with a software program
or my web site, and putting a face on someone I knew through an
e-mail discussion list like Technolawyer (http://www.technolawyer.com)
or from articles I've read.
The sheer quantity of things
to do at the ABA TechShow can overwhelm you. It is routine to spend
12 hours a day attending seminars, viewing exhibits and talking tech
talk. You're tired at the end of the day, but it's that good kind of
tired - fun, exhilarating, thought-provoking - where your mind tends
to run with all kinds of new ideas.
In other words, I had great
fun and met some great people, learned some new things, got some
cool new ideas and got a sense of the trends that are taking the
legal profession in directions we can't quite yet imagine.
And I finally got to meet,
shake hands with and talk to legal tech legend Burgess Allison,
something I've wanted to do for years.
Here's a quick report:
Show highlight. Sam
Guiberson's Friday morning keynote speech about the choice between
bandwidth and "bandwisdom", a passionate and eloquent
sermon about remembering the possibilities that the Internet has
opened for us in ways other than mercantile ones. I loved his
reference to his family's pride in the fact that they had an
ancestor who was a wagonmaster who helped lead pioneers across the
frontier to new lands and his belief that that ancestor would take
pride if he knew he had ancestors who had the title of webmaster. In
other words, the talk reminded me why I fell in love with the
Internet in the first place.
Session Highlight. For
me, the very last seminar of the show. I was dragging by that time,
but I definitely wanted to see Greg Siskind talk about web pages. He
thanked the sparse crowd, made a quick reference to the poor time
slot, then proceeded to blow us away, in his usual understated
fashion, with a definitive presentation on the practicalities of
maintaining a great web site. But the show wasn't over; Burkey
Belser rose to the occasion and delivered a marvelous talk on web
page design principles. How good was this seminar? People asked
questions for 15 minutes afterward.
Session Highlight #2.
I'm biased, but my friend, Alan Steinberg, along with Neil Agate,
put on a great practical discussion of the PalmPilot, chock full of
tips, personal experiences and how-tos (including the answer to the
question: why do Pilot owners carry toothpicks rather than paper
clips?). Any Palm Pilot user should consider tracking down the
audiotape of the session.
Most Often-used Term.
"Extranets." There was a lot of interest in extranets (in
essence, private and secure areas of your web site) and many
speakers mentioned them. Runner-up: "Web-enabled
Technology" - lots of interest in browser-baser programs and
browser-based front-ends to existing programs. It was difficult to
find a software vendor who is not developing a web-based interface
for its programs. Why? It saves training costs (users only have to
know how to use a browser) and information can be accessed from
almost any computer.