Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: michael simon. Published: 2014-03-06 19:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

As Yogi could say:

LegalTech’s so popular,

nobody goes there now.

(I’ll take the credit/blame for this one . . . .)

In my last post for eDJ about a somewhat disappointing show at the 2014 LegalTech, I admit I set up some “straw man” arguments that I could easily knock down.  Was the lousy weather to blame?  Perhaps . . . but not really.  Was the fact that everybody seemed to be focusing on off-site meetings to blame?  Again, perhaps—but but there’s a bigger story behind this change in behavior

What’s missing from LegalTech lately are the customers.  There are plenty of solution providers, consultants, and the like.  We’re there in greater force every year it seems, even as our complaints about having to make the pilgrimage to New York City in the dead of winter grow ever louder.  Everybody in our industry – at least everybody with something to sell – was there.  But who were they selling to?

Potential paying customers—actual clients of the legal technology business—may now have become eligible for EPA listing as an endangered species, at least based on LegalTech.  I spoke with an unnamed source a few days ago who told me of a potential customer who came up to their private meeting room and was relieved to be out of the “maddening” environment on the show floor.  With the enormous pressures on exhibitors in their booths these days, the poor customer must have felt like the last Passenger Pigeon.

So, as the years go by, we seem to have turned LegalTech into the ultimate insiders’ event.  Technology providers attend to try to sign up service providers.  Service providers attend to try to sign up strategic partners.  And so vendors, vending to vendors – like us – spend their time in a multitude of meetings.  Indeed, Seventh Samurai had a really productive show, and I don’t think we could have crammed in another meeting with a crowbar.

At the same time, exhibitors who came to try to sign up customers, especially those just breaking into the legal space, looked like bit actors in a bad war movie, especially by Thursday.  The thousand-yard-stare of the salesperson trapped in a booth for 3 days with just 3 cards to bring back to corporate headquarters is not a pretty sight.

Is all hope lost?  Of course not, and even though there are those who say there was nothing new to see, two major, yet subtle, themes at LegalTech showed potentially powerful new directions for our industry . . .

Oh, and in case you are wondering (and are OK with spoilers and foreshadowing), neither of them are Information Governance.

Michael Simon – eDiscovery Expert Consultant – Seventh Samurai 

Contact Michael at Michael.Simon@Seventhsamurai.com

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