As we try to brave this world of post-COVID normality, few things help like a return to tradition. And the ATL team was back at it again with the Legalweek conference! It has a big deal for a while. While it has been known for a focus on e-discovery, the content presented this year branched out a bit — data security especially was a point of piqued interest given geopolitical events. I present to you a few takeaways from my first legal tech conference. I hope they serve you.
Do: Bring your proof of vaccination! I realized the error of my ways after the bus pulled off from Philly en route to New York. Thankfully, I found out that I could use an online verification method, saving me from waiting 2 hours for the bus to arrive before I hightailed it back home. Check to see if your state has a proof of vaccine app. Phones fare better in the rain than paper to boot; just make sure it stays charged!
Don’t: Forget to pack pants! In my haste, I packed a button down, two sweaters, three ties, and zero pants. Thankfully, I was able to find a nearby Uniqlo and grab a pair of slacks. Next to comfort, flexibility is one of the best things about going smart casual to conferences — I’d have been much worse off if I forgot the top half of a suit.
Do: Talk to a bunch of people! You may even discover you have some things in common once you make it past the starting pitch. It was cool to discover that Richard Fine, Solutions Specialist for CourtAlert, is a fellow cyclist! That said, I hope he decided to fly out rather than bike to New York for the conference. The company is in L.A., after all.
Don’t: Forget to buy Jalapeño M&Ms! New York is one of the few cities that has a stable supply of M&M’s international flavors in stock — make use of ’em! There are also opportunities for the less sweet-toothed among us. Folks traveled far and wide to this conference. And yes, while it was a work event, when in Rome…While I retired quickly to my hotel room after a day of burning the social battery, one of the attendees made the most of their flight from Houston to New York and bought tickets for a Broadway showing of the Book of Mormon. I have a hunch they had a much better souvenir to remember from the trip for it.
Do: Not be afraid to ask clarifying questions during a presentation. There is no shame in not knowing — it is also kind of the presenter’s job to answer your (reasonable) questions. So ask away! If you want to know what makes their client-centered approach as disruptive as they claim it is, push for details. You just might learn something and they just might make a sale.
Don’t: Get bogged down in the jargon. Don’t miss the keyboard for the “?” key. If you stick at it and go to a few tables (hell, a few conferences), you’ll pick up what they’re putting down.
Do: Survey the Swag!
Don’t: Forget to take a picture to document your team’s journey. SFW versions, of course.
A special shoutout to everyone who took the time to join us at the open bar to catch up. It’s been years! And if there are any other Legalweek tips and tricks you think are worth mentioning, shoot a message to email@example.com. See you next year!
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by tweet at @WritesForRent.
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