LegalWeek is BACK. The crowds. The energy. Packed exhibit floor booths. If the founding legal technology conference is a market indicator, 2024 will be a boom year for eDiscovery.
2023’s atmosphere felt tentative and unsure with booths reporting dead time and reduced prospects. All three exhibit floors were packed every time I managed to make a pass. A well-known exhibitor, “We reached our event badge scan goal in the first two hours.” As I ghosted about, I saw active demos with multiple prospects and heard attendees chatting about ‘…finishing the list of booths to hit…’.
Despite M365 Bookings disasters, I managed to untangle most of the conflicts and enjoyed meeting with providers, media and peers who were universally excited about the market. For those of you who missed a slot or the few who got dropped, I promise to make time for a session as soon as I recover from my obligatory NY cold. Below are some of my notes from the floor and fun photos.
- AI everywhere, promising EVERYTHING if they only knew how to explain it
- AI themed booths – 22 on first level, 12 on 2nd & 5 on 3rd.
- Is AI functionality related to marketing budget?
- Many brand new product and company names
- com takes the best timed SEO domain name prize. Yes, I will be briefing with them later.
- Main complaint is that very few booth staff could clearly articulate where and how the AI functionality was integrated into the eDiscovery lifecycle. Lots of ‘Better!, More Efficient!, Faster!’ with little actual substance.
- Reveal branding everywhere. The registration booth, walls, banners, escalators, floors, dedicated stages and even on custom audience chair backs. I have seen companies go big with their LegalWeek market budget, but Reveal takes the ‘spend like a drunken monkey’ prize this year. Maybe they timed it right and will get a huge boost in prospects, i.e. pipeline. I feel like I have seen this before right after other eDiscovery IPO’s and giant rounds of private equity. It will be interesting to see if they produce the revenue from these acquisitions and heavy marketing spend.
- Booth trends.
- Lots of bright garish booth colors and big screens.
- The spend per booth was definitely higher.
- Actual baristas serving coffee, expression and more – sometimes right next to each other.
- Sponsored happy hours abounded and the meals were distributed to keep attendees on the exhibit floors.
- For the first time in my memory (27 LTNYs and counting) Microsoft actually had a manned booth. Has eDiscovery grown up?
- I commented on the increasing diversity of the 2023 LegalWeek crowd. What struck me this year was the volume of new international eDiscovery related products and service companies. It was fascinating to see them adapt to the culture and I am glad that I stopped to chat with a few first time booths from Israel. eDiscovery has gone global.
- The themes of technology aggregation, process automation and contract lifecycle management are still hot, but drowned out by the AI hype.
- Evidence that marketing money is flowing based on the proliferation of after hour events and lavish gimmees
On a darker note, I want to thank the multiple courageous ladies whom have reported unprofessional, unethical and downright unacceptable behavior from the numerous and alcohol drenched events. I wish that this was a new trend, but I always understood why my female friends attended these events in packs. This is not unique to the legal technology world. One would hope that the high percentage of counsel, law enforcement and other ‘professionals’ would produce an environment that was not conducive to these kinds of behavior. Plastered across NY is the homeland security message, “See something, say something.” Maybe we all need to take that message to heart.
Proof of life from LegalWeek:
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Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer an investigative journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being published. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations.
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