Category Archives: Techshow

Reactions to Lessig’s Keynote Speech at ABA Techshow 2011

I was pleased to be in the room (alright, the second row) when Professor Larry Lessig gave the keynote speech for ABA Techshow 2011.


In the speech, entitled “Code is Law: Does Anyone Get This Yet?“, Lessig discusses some of the problems with copyright law’s application to regulate the digital world. I can’t adequately summarize the speech; it needs to be experienced. Here is a link. Lessig makes effective use of Keynote as the presentation platform and sprinkles the speech with video clips that demonstrate the Remix culture.

I was particularly struck by his evocation of John Philip Sousa‘s concern that recorded music would stifle culture. Sousa was worried that the youth would no longer gather and sing the old songs, or the songs of the day. Lessig proposes that Sousa would approve of the Remix culture as a modern day example of what he wanted to preserve.

At the end of the speech, Lessig tied these concerns about copyright law and internet regulation into a call to action to support the grassroots organization he helped start, Rootstrikers. Lessig proposes that many of the problems with current copyright law come from issues with how our politicians are funded. I personally doubt this by itself will bring the desired change, but it can’t hurt.

The rest of Techshow was also remarkable. I enjoyed the Macintosh and e-discovery sessions. I also learned some good workflows for integrating my new iPad into my practice. All in all, it was another remarkable conference. I am looking forward to Techshow 2012, which will be from March 29-31. Perhaps I will see you there.

ABA Techshow 2010 – Roundup of Paperless Office Sessions

I’ll be presenting my thoughts on ABA Techshow 2010 to my CBA Law Practice Management and Technology committee on April 9, 2010 along with our other members who also attended Techshow, but I wanted to also post some of them here. I spent Day 1 in the “Paperless Practice” track, and most were really good sessions. I learned a lot about how better to implement a system for using less paper in my practice. I’ll certainly look into some of the tech and software recommendations.

    Scanning and Paper Reduction in the Law Office 101

The first session, with speakers Nancy Duhon and Michael Morse, was a great introduction to how to implement a paperless system in a real law practice. Michael has a thriving PI practice in Michigan, and his firm does not accept paper copies of accident reports, medical records, etc., if they can help it. Those they have to accept are scanned and shredded, or in certain cases the originals are returned to the client. Lots of good tips and tricks came from this session. You need a good way to get paper into your system, a good backup system, and a good way to get what you need back out of the system.

    Document Management Software: The Electronic File Butler

This was the weakest session for me, but not due to the speakers. Steve Best and Richard Serpe did a great job keeping our interest, but I thought the topic could have been condensed down to about 6 minutes. Yes – “DMS software really works to help you search, and you need to force compliance with using it.” Enough said. One great thing about Techshow is the openness of the speakers and the exhibitors – I met the President of Worldox, Ray Zweifelhofer, at a reception and we had a nice chat about his company’s software. I know it’s a popular package, and with good people like that at the helm it’s bound to stay popular.

    Digital Workflow – Developing the Paperless Habit

This was easily the best session of the track. Nerino Petro and Ernie Svenson (Ernie the Attorney) did a fantastic job expanding on the insights from the first session with more practical tips and real-life examples. I forgot which one of them said it, but I still remember the line “Friends don’t let friends print emails.” If it’s digital, keep it digital. If it’s not digital, get it digital and get rid of the paper. I’ve gotten to know Nerino over the years attending Techshow, and his sessions are always interesting and informative. Ernie is also quite down to earth and a very good speaker. If you don’t already follow his separate “PDF For Lawyers” blog, I strongly suggest you subscribe.

    Paperless Law Office Library: Research and Forms

Donna Neff and Paul Unger finished the day with another strong session. Good tips on creating and storing usable forms and research libraries were shared. Donna has developed a system for the storage of electronic files without the use of a document management software package that was introduced in this session but expanded on in another session on Friday. With a good system in place to scan incoming paper, and a way to get what you need out of the system again, a lawyer has little need to keep lots of paper.

I always enjoy Techshow, which is why I’ve gone more years than not since 2006. I think last year (2009) was the only year since then I haven’t gone through the CLE sessions. I am looking forward to Techshow 2011!