Legaltech is one of the largest events of the year for those of us in the ediscovery industry. It is fast paced, news filled, and packed with information around ediscovery, as well as the current and emerging technology landscape. For many, it also feels like a “reunion” of sorts, as you will undoubtedly see people from your professional past – planned and unplanned. Seeing professionals and friends from throughout your career not only lends to great socializing, but creates tremendous networking opportunities as well. You will not only get the chance to catch up personally, but also learn what former colleagues are planning and executing within their current teams that could lend you some guidance and tips within your own day-to-day discovery management.
Your role within this field and your own organization will greatly impact your reasons and goals for attending. As a former in-house attendee, I tended to use this event as a way to connect with preferred partners for business review and relationship building. It also lent itself as an opportunity to meet with counsel and potential technology partners, especially when in an RFP, benchmarking, or purchasing cycle.
The Legaltech agenda is always packed with sessions and panels surrounding relevant industry topics. The speakers on the panels are well versed and highly regarded in our field, and I doubt you could walk away disappointed in the lineup. In fact, there are so many sessions, panels, and meetings to attend that it can become overwhelming very quickly. So, how do you make the most of your Legaltech experience?
Having attended Legaltech for the past 15 years, I have learned that there are a few key ways to maximize your Legaltech investment and experience:
- Set goals – Before you even begin looking at the agenda or accepting meetings, decide on two or three goals for the event. From there you can start to pick and choose the sessions, panels, and meetings that will allow you to achieve those goals.
- Schedule meetings – It’s important to schedule meetings with vendors, peers, and others who you would like to make contact with ahead of time. This is the prime location for all those in our industry to be in the same place at the same time, and planning ahead is critical so that you do not miss an opportunity. Below are some keys pointers to effective scheduling:
- Review the agenda first and make sure you block time off for the sessions that will be most beneficial to you. Don’t be afraid to have a backup session on your calendar just in case the one you attend isn’t giving you exactly what you need or had hoped for. It’s okay to quietly step out and move on to another one if you need.
- Do not overbook your day. You want to leave free time in your schedule for unexpected opportunities to meet and talk with people you may not have planned on seeing.
- Take time to meet with service providers as an in-person touch point.
- Plan for long days and perhaps long nights too… so get your sleep!
- Network effectively – Some people may avoid networking with peers for fear of others discovering your competitive advantage, but doing that can actually limit your own success. Collaboration is the best way to approach any sort of networking. While I will admit there may be some people at these events whose intentions can be a little suspect, most folks can and will help spark inspiration, as well as share stories around valuable innovation.
- All of that being said, Legaltech is chock-full of networking events and activities, so take advantage of them. Sometimes there may seem like there are too many to choose from, but being prepared ahead of time will help.
- Many service providers host networking-type events in the evenings after the conference concludes each day. Some are held at the conference location ballrooms and others are held off site. Be sure to check with your providers in advance to see what they may be hosting. I recommend you attend these events each evening, as you will get to network with peers and industry leaders.
- Follow up – Be sure to reach out to those you met at Legaltech and look into any new technologies or ideas that you are interested in implementing at your company within a few weeks after the end of the event. There is not enough time in the day to cover everything that is thrown at you during the conference dates. In order to maximize your return on the investment, you need time to digest all the information thrown at you. After taking a step back, follow up accordingly to keep the momentum going.
Legaltech may seem like a lot to take in, but the tips I have outlined above should help to make it much more manageable. If you have questions or would like to chat further, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.