First and foremost, congratulations to ALM for managing to adapt, overcome and delivering the first real in-person legal technology industry conference since the pandemic hit. The sheer relief emanating from attendees was palpable. eDiscovery needed this glimpse of normalcy. Even delaying LegalWeek from February to March was a calculated risk. Mayor Adams did not announce the lift of mask and ‘Key to NYC’ requirements until February 27th. This explains why everyone waited until the last minute to confirm meetings, travel and parties. ALM’s communications were understandably rushed and problematic. For those of us used to the Tuesday through Thursday format, discovering that the exhibit floor and sessions did not start until Wednesday was a rude surprise. I had three execs reschedule Tuesday briefings that morning as they realized that the real show ran Wed-Friday. Despite the awkward start, I loved getting back in the conference groove and seeing friends old and new. I have seen a lot of glowing LegalWeek reports, so here are my unfiltered impressions, photos and take-aways. I will be following up with a piece on the key items from my provider briefings and booth stalking.
WTF happened to Tuesday? Heard repeatedly in the Hilton lobby bar.
SaaS eDiscovery comes of age – Primary sponsor banners, logos and more seemed to be taken over by Everlaw, DISCO and other new gen players. DISCO dad jokes on lobby columns and even Everlaw sponsoring free wifi. Check my briefing with Everlaw CEO AJ Shankar for more insight.
Consolidated exhibit floors and tighter aisles preserve feeling of crowds with only 3,000 attendees (per multiple providers from ALM metrics).
Pockets of crowds around popular booths and quiet areas.
Established dominant market players seemed to stock smaller booths with good gimees while newer players splurged on larger booths with less visible foot traffic. Most long-term providers ran their briefing suites at the adjacent Warwick or Sheraton. That was good considering the limited Hilton elevators. That was bad when it was rain/slush/snowing and I had back-to-back briefings.
Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) everywhere – Maybe it was just that I was shopping CLM for a client, but they seemed to outnumber the eDiscovery service vendors. Good comment from ContractPodAI rep that eDiscovery is now a saturated market with sophisticated buyers, while CLM is sales greenfield.
ALM smartly using food to drive foot traffic from sessions to and through exhibit floor.
Americas 2 (top floor exhibit hall) finally felt like it was not a ghost town. And yes, VR headsets were the favorite drawing prizes.
Vaccine checks before registration was a fabulous idea and rigorously enforced. Thank you.
The LITE stage sessions in the lobby felt a bit weird with all the foot traffic. I remember the years when all the providers did mini-sessions inside their large exhibit areas. This was better, but the background noise was high. Easy to see why even popular speakers had a tough time filling seats.
Even in March, we still got an afternoon of NY snow for LegalWeek.
Having ARMA run their NYC Chapter annual conference at the same time caused some coordination issues. But ARMA still had a manned booth while ILTA seems to have had issues adapting to the rescheduled date.
Even clothing being sold on the exhibit floor?
It feels like LegalWeek is finally transitioning to a business rather than consumer event.
LegalWeek New York 2022 is in the bag. Overall, LegalWeek was a success for attendees and providers given the circumstances. I look forward to returning to the speaker circuit in 2022 and see as many of you as possible in person.
Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.
Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a 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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