By Joyce Brafford

How many times a day do you think about going paperless? What about email security or digital backups? Do you spend time wondering about document automation or online legal research? Have you been thinking about upgrading your virtual law practice management tools or client communication software?

If you’ve thought about any of those questions, or if you’re just starting to think about how technology can make your practice more efficient, you’ll find something to love at the ABA Techshow 2017. And as an NCBA Member, you’re entitled to a discount! Just use code: EP1720.

ABA Techshow is the premier conference for legal technology innovators and lawyers who want to better their practices through technology.  As always Techshow will happen in March in Chicago. I know. It’s not as easy as a conference at Wrightsville Beach, but it’s a great opportunity to make your practice more efficient, more responsive, and ultimately, more profitable. But I get that a multi-day trip can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never attended the conference before. So here are my top five tips for getting ready.

  1. Prepare to have a great time. One of the best ways to increase your comfort level at a conference as big as Techshow is to find out who else is going. There will be other members of the NCBA attending, and they’ll be happy to help you feel more at home. If you want to connect with either Erik or me, you can reach out to us, and we’ll make sure you have at least one friend in Chicago.
  2. Get to know the basics before you arrive. The easiest way to get the skinny on what’s going on is to download the app. http://www.Techshow.com/conference/app/. This is Techshow central. You’ll find the calendar, browse exhibitors, see your personalized schedule, and connect with other members via social media.
  3. Brush up on your networking skills. You’ll be in conference rooms with hundreds of people, and you may discover some great business opportunities. To be ready for those opportunities when they arrive, take the next few moments to rehearse your elevator speech. What do you do, and what makes your practice special? Second, think about what projects/matters you’ve worked on this year that were most engaging/challenging. Last, pop 50-75 business cards into your suitcase. Be ready to make connections with some exceptionally interesting people.
  4. Plan out your schedule, leaving time to visit the Expo Hall and network. Take a look at the calendar, and decide which sessions are going to be most useful for you. If you are most concerned with digital security, focus on the “Protecting Your Practice” track. If you want to improve your digital marketing efforts, you should favor the “Marketing and Media Track.” Build time into your schedule to check on your business and do your best to actively engage when you’re in a session.
  5. Relax. The Techshow planners have been working on the conference for a year and have worked out the bugs. At registration, you’ll get a bag with everything you need in hard copy. The Hilton has great signs to help you find your way around, and get you to all your sessions on time. And the Planning Board Members are a friendly group. In fact, if you introduce yourself to them at the welcome reception, you may even get an extra drink voucher.

Techshow 2017 will feature some of the nation’s best speakers on tech topics, as well as amazing networking events and nightlife. No matter what your technological proficiency, Techshow will have a ton to offer you.

If you have any questions, you can always contact me at jbrafford@ncbar.org.