[Ed. Note: Please welcome guest blogger Michael Robak, Director of the Schoenecker Law Library, Associate Dean and Clinical Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas (Minneapolis) School of Law. Michael did want me to mention this quote about his enthusiasm in writing this post -“The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it. (Criss Jami)” – GL ]
It is hard for me to be objective about the first official TECHSHOW Academic Track but, I think, it is fair to say that what transpired was an overwhelming success. And the best part – the Academic Track will be part of TECHSHOW2019–so we need to start planning!
Before I get into more detail about the Track, let me say, TECHSHOW2018 was in and of itself a smashing success.
This year saw a new venue with more space and with more attendees. Except for a small glitch with registration on Wednesday (which led to an open bar, so seriously, not a downside at all!), everything worked incredibly well. Co-Chairs Debbie Foster and Tom Mighell, and the TECHSHOW Board and ABA staff, are to be commended for their dedication and diligence in putting together such a terrific TECHSHOW.
But let me get back to the reason for the post, to let the world know the Academic Track was a complete and wonderful success at TECHSHOW2018. My gauge for declaring success has several measures.
First and foremost were the congratulations from the Co-Chairs and Planning Board (including the incoming Chairs) on the rave reviews and accolades they received for the Track programming. And, as a separate measure, the sheer number of academics who attended the show. While I do not have final numbers yet for attendance by institution, I do know this year saw the largest number of law students attending in the history of the show. There were over 100 law students from all over the country (International LLMs as well) and this did not go unnoticed. There was significant comment not only from the show planners but also from the vendors. Another important measure: how pleased Thomson Reuters, our Track sponsor, was with the programming and attendance. Thomson not only generously sponsored the Track, but was there to support us for the entire Track. Another key measure were comments by academic community first-time attendees that were overwhelmingly positive. They indicated the Academic Track and TECHSHOW provided new insights and great opportunities for moving technology education forward.
Perhaps one of the best measures of our success is the amount of press we generated during the show. The Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Teaching and Using it in Law Practice session generated an ABA Journal article and a Canadian Lawyer article. The How Do I Choose? Selecting and Implementing Law Practice Technology session resulted in an ABA Journal article and LexBlog storify. The Lawyer Entrepreneurship: Teaching Lawyers to Innovate and Disrupt session inspired this ABA Journal article. The Planning for the Future: What’s Next in Teaching Technology session occasioned another ABA Journal article. And of course, as CALI’s John Mayer mentioned to me, there were “many happy tweets!”
Numerous people over the last two years contributed to making the Academic Track a success. The key group for this year is Faye Jones (Illinois College of Law), Jenny Wondracek (UNT/ Dallas College of Law), Kris Niedringhaus (Georgia State University College of Law), Jeannette Eicks (Vermont Law School), Elizabeth Farrell Clifford (Florida State University College of Law) and Irene Mo (the first ever ABA Center for Innovation NextGen Fellow ). In addition, ALL the panelists for the Track were outstanding!
Planning for TECHSHOW2019 will begin in a couple of weeks. I am working on developing a TECHSHOW Technology Education Advisory Board and seeking representation from CALI, AALL, AALS, SLA Legal Division, and others to assist with track content development. If Greg’s generosity persists, I will be setting out specific ideas about Technology Education and how an Advisory Board would work in a couple of future posts (and ways to contribute/participate). Hope to see even more people in 2019!