ABA Techshow:
Disruptors Disrupting Disruption?

English: Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 3 comp...

Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 3 computer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disruption. It’s all the rage amongst legal bloggers right now in the weeks leading up to ABA Techshow. Just ask Jason Wilson, who’s had just about enough of all the disruption mumbo jumbo. Even so, he was kind enough to round up all of the recent blog posts about disruption in the legal field over at his blog, Rethinck.

Jason raises a good point: perhaps this term has been overused–and used incorrectly to boot. But hey, it sounds good so people hang their hat on it when trying to make a point. “Disrupting” carries a lot more oomph than “quickly evolving” or “rapid change.” So who can blame them for embellishing a little? Even so, their point remains: because of technology the practice of law is incredibly different these days and it’s happened in the blink of an eye…

Hey! You over there. That’s right, you–the one clinging to your fax machine like it’s a life preserver. Sit down! And zip it! Okay now before you say anything in rebuttal, take a good look at this Radio Shack ad from 1991 and then tell me what’s significant about it.

radio shack

The answer? Every single piece of technology and equipment listed in that ad–worth thousands of 1991 dollars and thus collectively far more than that in 2014–perform functions that can be completed using your smartphone. You know, that smartphone that cost you a few hundred bucks, give or take.

And guess what? You get to carry the equivalent of all of those machines–every single one of them–right there in your teensy weensy pocket. And if you would just put down that fax machine for a minute, you’d be able to reach–and even use–that amazing piece of technology. Because there’s a good chance that even you–the fax machine hugger–owns one, since according to the ABA’s 2013 legal technology survey, 91% of lawyers use smartphones in their law practices.

So put your fax machine down. That’s right–right there on the ground. I said put it down! Ok, now slowly step away from the fax machine. Great job. Now, rub your eyes, let them adjust to the light, and then take a look around.

Check it out! It’s not 1991 anymore. It’s 2014! It’s a whole new world out there, naysayers be damned. And ABA Techshow 2014 is the perfect place for you to discover just how different your solo or small law firm can be when you selectively and intelligently incorporate new technologies into your day-to-day practice.

This year’s Keynote is a great place to start. Rick Klau, a partner at Google Ventures, is a pioneer in legal change. He was one of the driving forces behind Google Scholar, which made 80 years of case law, both federal and state, available and easily searchable–for free! That certainly wasn’t an option in 1991.

And speaking of advancements in legal research, we now have the Fastcase app, which is free and, even if you don’t have a Fastcase subscription, you can use it to conduct research using your mobile device no matter where you happen to be. Toto, I don’t think it’s 1991 anymore. Back then either you had a paper copy of relevant cases or you were out of luck. Stepping out into the hallway to pull up a case cited by opposing counsel simply wasn’t an option.

Since we’re on the topic of mobile apps, Techshow is the perfect place to learn all about the latest in mobile practice management, whether it’s the always-popular “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” sessions on Saturday, the iPad track on Thursday and the Mobile track on Friday.

Of course the key to a truly mobile law office is transitioning to a paperless office and taking steps to ensure that your documents and case files are available using any Internet-enabled device, no matter where you are. The Cloud track on Thursday and the Paperless track on Friday will provide you with all the information you need to know get your firm mobile and paperless. Once you’ve done so, not only will you be able to conduct legal research from your mobile device right from court, you’ll also be able to access your client files and documents, contact information, and more! (And, if you can’t make Techshow but going paperless is a priority for your firm, you can learn more about it from the recording our recent webinar with Ernie Evenson: Creating the Paperless Office).

So what are you waiting for? Dump the fax machine, leave 1991 behind, and join the rest of us in 2014. Whether we’re in the middle of disruptive event or just a rapid evolution, it’s indisputable that technology is changing the practice of law. Like it or not, you have an obligation to stay abreast of these changes and Techshow is a great place to do it!

And guess what? MyCase is here to help you move your practice forward! That’s why we gave away 2 free passes to Techshow yesterday to the first two people who responded on social media. One lucky winner was from Indianapolis and the other from Philadelphia.

So, here’s to disruption, evolution or just plain ol’ change! See you in Chicago!

–Nicole Black

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