I go to ABA TechShow in Chicago every year for the people. Period. I always have. As a virtual assistant, I spend most of my time doing my job very well – but alone.
Being alone so much, in fact, is what prompted me to take two steps outside my comfort zone … well one HUGE leap outside; and one tiny one. The tiny step was to find, join and participate in the list serv maintained by the American Bar Association’s GP/Solo Section known as Solosez. This list is open to the public, but is mostly monitored by those with some tie to the legal profession – and covers every possible topic imaginable – discussions range from the care of cast iron to practical questions when running a law office.
It was through Solosez – and specifically my wish to meet fellow sezzers Ben Schorr, Deb Matthews, Carolyn Elefant and Gina Bongiovi in real life, that I forced myself WAY outside my comfort zone: I flew, alone, to a strange city to attend TechShow. The year was 2009 and I have attended every TechShow since. Not only have I attended every show, in each subsequent year I have brought along 10-40 people with me (through my SuperPass groups); and this year I added becoming a part of the faculty – which entailed 2 presentations, manning the concierge booth and co-hosting a Taste of TechShow dinner – added to my annual meet up – all in under 3 days (and foolishly how I thought I’d get out to tour the close by museum!!)
How did the whirlwind that is TechShow go this year?
First off – the 4th Annual LegalTypist Meet Up, held on the night before TechShow, was a resounding success! 40+ people enjoyed the relaxed networking and dive bar food at The South Loop Club. Many thanks to everyone who came by, the sponsors and specifically @Netdocuments and @MarriotMurdock for helping me put this gathering together every year and helping make it such a success.
Equally a hit was the Taste of TechShow dinner I co-hosted with @IndySoloEsq on Friday night. Generously sponsored by Thomson Reuter’s new practice management product Firm Central and attended by the delightful @BLVickers @PamelaParalegal, @rjsisson, Derrick W, Dennis V, Jeff L and @garrettlaborde, I thought nothing could be better than bacon wrapped dates but must admit I keep thinking about the deep fried chocolate dessert!
Next, I’m sure you’re all wondering how my own presentations went. Long story short, I think well – I was able to intelligently convey my ideas, and I don’t recall saying anything that I regret! ;) A special shout out to my first session co-speaker – @NatalieKelly who was aware of my phobia of public speaking and gently coached me throughout; and to fellow virtual bud @PamelaParalegal for her unyielding support and smiles from the front row.
Another shout out to @PamelaParalegal for grabbing me as much schwag as she could while I was coordinating the PPT for my second presentation. My absolute favorite has to be the green Magic 8 Ball given out by Sure Payroll!!
Missing from this year’s TechShow experience was @AlanKlevan @amyderby and @gregorybell whose first year companionship is one of the reasons I say I go to TechShow for the people. Hopefully they will be back next year (mark your calendars now: March 27, 28 & 29 <-yep my bday again!). Also, while manning the concierge booth – I did see @jaredcorreira hurry past once or twice, but dang it we still have to meet IRL!
Here’s as many twitter peeps as I could think of that I did get to connect with (if we met and you are not on the list – contact me and apologies!): @jeffreyTaylor @bschorr @BobAmbrogi @CarolynElefant @glambert @garrettlaborde @tim_baran @DonnaSeyle @econwriter5 @rajuip @ernieattorney @psuba98 @ChelseyLambert @themaclawyer @mrsmaclawyer @pegeenturner @allisonshields @kevinokeefe @peggygruenke @david_bilinsky @craigbayer @markrosch @karlseelbach @kprochnow @Wolf_Pinther @rkodner @rtrautz @danpinnington @AdrianaL @bburney @cesiagreen @stephkimbro @njatty @jimcalloway @Molly_McDonough @stevenjbest @samglover @barronhenley @nerinopetro @nancyduhon @blorish @macsparky @jackhaycock @cschlein @JoanHFeldman @WilliamWilson
Lastly, I can’t wait another year to see everyone again – so am in the process of putting together a 1 day legal tech conference for New York City – thinking mid-October. It’s time I started helping NY-metro based attorneys get the hands on information they need about the tech available to run their practices. If you are interested in participating in this project – speaking, sponsoring or volunteering – get in touch with me.
Also, keep an eye out for more follow up posts from #ABATECHSHOW with pictures – if I can ever get @psuba98 to send em to me!