During the first week in February every year e-discovery vendors descend on the New York Hilton for E-Discovery Week LegalTech NY.  The rest of the legal technology vendors set up shop in nearby hotels and pilfer attendees away for customer forums and individual demos. It becomes increasingly difficult to find people who admit to coming to New York that week to actually attend LTNY.  They may go to a session or two, or breeze through the vendor hall, but most of the people I meet claim to come for one on one vendor meetings and other festivities taking place away from the Hilton.

This year’s LTNY was followed by ReInvent Law NYC, a TED-style event presenting forty or so short presentations about new approaches to legal services and technology, created and hosted by Michigan State University law professors, Daniel Katz and Renee Knake.  I was not able to attend all of the talks, but I saw enough to know that THIS is the way to give presentations; 6 to 10 minute sessions.  All of the presenters I saw were great, but even if the topics didn’t interest me, I didn’t have to sneak out or grind my teeth through an hour of Windows 9 installation hurdles, I could just check my email for five minutes until the next topic was introduced.  I have been fortunate to be a part of similar sessions at ILTA last year, and LTNY this year, and I heartily encourage those organizations to follow ReInvent Law’s lead and expand the use of these short sessions going forward.

Despite the slick presentation style of ReInvent Law, I came away with the same question that often plagues me after forward thinking LTNY or ILTA sessions. Who are we trying to convince?  The self-selected audience for an event like ReInvent Law already gets it.  These are the people that are already changing the way law is done, or attempting to change their firms, or writing (or blogging) incessantly about the need to change the way we do things.  The same goes for this blog. If you read 3 Geeks more than once, there’s a pretty good chance that you already agree with our progressive approach to doing things differently.

I am certainly not the first to point out the existing echo chamber in the legal blogo-conference-sphere, but I want to be the first to present a solution to break out of it. It is time to embrace the time-honored traditions of growing religious organizations everywhere.  They understand that you can’t grow your following by simply preaching to the people who show up week after week, you have to go out and proselytize and evangelize.  You have to go to where the heathens live and browbeat them convince them with logic and reason of the fundamental truth of your beliefs. It’s time to send the young presenters of ReInvent Law on missions to visit the upper management of our largest firms, the people who don’t come to ReInvent Law, but actually have the power to (you know) reinvent law firms once they are successfully converted.

I see hordes of young, recently graduated, Michigan State lawyers knocking on the doors of BigLaw Managing Partners everywhere, not to beg for work, but to raise high their dog-eared copy of Tomorrow’s Lawyers and ask, “Have you accepted Richard Susskind as your Legal Savior?”

Photo of Ryan McClead Ryan McClead

Ryan is Principal at Sente Advisors, a legal technology consultancy specializing in innovation strategy and cross-platform solutions and support.  He has been an evangelist, advocate, consultant, and creative thinker in Legal Technology for more than 15 years. In 2015, he was named a FastCase 50 recipient, and in 2018, he was elected a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. In past lives, he was an Innovation Architect, Knowledge Manager, a Systems Analyst, a Fashion Merchandiser, and Theater Composer, among other things.