[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.

Continue Reading TECHSHOW2018 & the Academic Track = Success! No, it was a Spectacular Success!!!

[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]

I read with great interest Zena Applebaum’s Mandatory Classes a Wish for 2018 post. And, while I can’t say this post will make her wish come true, I do think the creation of an official Academic Track at the ABA TECHSHOW is a step in the right direction, particularly for helping the Academy “get it” when it comes to creating offerings for new competencies.

Getting the Academic Track created and off the ground has been an interesting journey, some of which Greg has generously let me chronicle here and here, so I know there many loyal followers of the Geeks who are aware a number of us have been working to create the Academic Track.

So it is amazing to announce the ABA TECHSHOW 2018 will feature the Academic Track as an official part of the show!! So many thanks are in order but Steve Best, Debbie Foster, Tom Mighell and, particularly Adriana Linares, are the primary people behind making this an official part of the show.

Here is the skinny: the show is March 7- 10, 2018 in Chicago. Change of venue this year as it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago and not the Hilton Towers. Early bird registration ends 1/22/18. Sign up now! Conference Hotel rates are $189 which, for downtown Chicago, is terrific. Also note there is an extraordinary student rate available.

The Academic Track has five sessions over two days (Thursday (3/8) and Friday (3/9)) (Complete Schedule is here and some screen shots from the website)

The sessions are designed to allow plenty of time to attend other Track sessions as well as spend time in the vendor hall. All the sessions will be terrific and I want to particularly point out two of them. The first is the Mentoring Women and People of Color in Legal Tech. This outstanding panel will be led by Irene Mo one of the ABA Center for Innovation’s inaugural fellows! Irene’s panel promises to be an attraction for many outside of the Academy as well.

I should note we think all of the sessions will be of interest to practitioners and the vendors, especially the last session which is the second one I want to highlight.

This session, Planning for the Future, is designed to be an interactive discussion for continued development of a framework for moving teaching Tech forward as well as building on the other initiatives, e.g., the AALS Section on Technology, Law and Legal Education, CALI, the AALL Teaching Legal Technology Caucus. And we need to hear from practitioners who can give us the best insight on what they are seeing as day to day needs for practice today…and for 2020.

I can say, with some certainty, the Academy is still very much in a state of “fits and starts” when it comes to deciding the what and how of teaching Tech. So let’s move beyond fits and starts and come to TECHSHOW and help further the discussion, create direction and gather momentum.
A final note, this programming applies not just to law schools and we hope to see fellow educators from Paralegal and other affiliated legal training programs.

[NOTE: Please welcome guest blogger, Michael J. Robak, Associate Director/Director of Information Technologies, Leon E. Bloch Law Library, University of Missouri – Kansas City. -GL]

The movement to establish a true Technology instruction track and andragogy (meaning Susskind, Kowalski, et. al.) in the legal academy is gaining real momentum.  As readers may recall, on March 16, 2016 the ABA TECHSHOW provided an opportunity for an Academic specific event tied to TECHSHOW which 3 Geeks generously allowed me to advertise.  This first ever Dean’s Roundtable, held at IIT Chicago Kent College of Law (which was enthusiastically supported and hosted by Professor Ron Staudt,), was incredibly successful and helped set the stage for creating an Academic track at the 2017 ABA TECHSHOW.

The event was so successful that the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW Chair, Steve Best, thought a second edition of the Dean’s Roundtable would provide an even greater opportunity for dialogue if it could be held in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco in early August for a West coast version.  Those who attended the Roundtable, including the first Roundtable’s generous sponsor, Thomson Reuters, thought a second event would be well worth creating.

And so we are announcing the Dean’s Roundtable Part 2 to be held at UC Hastings College of Law on August 4, 2016 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. And I am pleased to announce Thomson Reuters is again generously sponsoring the event.

If you are at a law school in the San Francisco area or if you are attending the ABA Annual Meeting or if you are interested in helping build technology teaching or the ABA TECHSHOW Academic track please consider attending the Dean’s Roundtable Part 2 on August 4, 2016. 

And we particularly extend the invitation to practitioners, we need comment and recommendations from outside the ivory tower.

This is a free event and registration can be found here.

We hope to have in attendance a number of the members of the ABA Law Practice Division, including members of the Executive Committee, to create an even stronger dialogue about the “how and what” of teaching technology, particularly from those practitioners most engaged with serving as technology evangelists.  The second part of the dialogue will focus on helping design the academic track for the 2017 ABA TECHSHOW.  2017 TECHSHOW chair, Adriana Linares, is an avowed and immensely supportive proponent of the track and is working with her Board to develop the track.  Input from the Roundtable will be very important to getting this organized.

Besides the ABA TECHSHOW Academic track, there have been two other important developments in the month of July.  The first was a discussion that occurred in early July at the SubTech 2016 Unconference, hosted by the University of Richmond Law School (and thanks to Marc Lauritsen for organizing and Roger Skalbeck (and Dean Wendy Perdue) for hosting) the event for connecting law schools that have engaged in the substantive teaching of technology. During this unconference,   John Mayer, law tech dude extraordinaire, (where would we be without John!) sua sponte created a website to serve as a connector for those wanting to teach technology.  Among other services, the website will collect syllabi from anyone who wants to contribute.  If you are on the Teknoids listserv you’ve probably seen the conversation.

The second terrific development occurred during the AALL Annual meeting last week.  Elizabeth Farrell Clifford (who attended SubTech 2016) organized a flash meeting to discuss teaching technology.  This amazing event had about 30 people in attendance with another 15 or so expressing regret to Elizabeth they could not attend.  The meeting had each of the attendees discussing what they taught or planned to teach and clearly demonstrated law schools are recognizing the need to formally move in this direction.  The attendees unanimously supported the idea of creating an AALL Caucus focusing on teaching technology.  Elizabeth and I are moving forward on this proposal.

The half day conference Agenda is as follows:

8:30 a.m. – Registration
9:00 – 10:15 – Moderated Panel Discussion
Moderator – Dean Ellen Suni – University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law
Professor Oliver Goodenough – Vermont Law School
Professor Alice Armitage – UC Hastings College of the Law
Professor Dan Linna – Michigan State University School of Law
Professor Jeff Ward – Duke Law
Assistant Dean Bobby Ahdieh – Emory University School of Law School
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 12 noon – Discussion Forum
The panel will lead a discussion with members of the audience to move toward consensus regarding the next steps for advancing teaching technology in law school and examining how the ABA TECHSHOW can be part of these efforts going forward.

12 noon – boxed lunch and further discussion
(Generously provided by Thomson Reuters)

Please feel free to email me (the man behind the curtain) with comments, thoughts, ideas or any suggestions.  There will most likely be a discussion about the Academic Track and this topic generally at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) at the January, 2017 meeting in San Francisco.

[NOTE: Please welcome guest blogger, Michael J. Robak, Associate Director/Director of Information Technologies, Leon E. Bloch Law Library, University of Missouri – Kansas City.]
year’s ABA Tech Show is from March 16 – 19, 2016. (http://www.techshow.com/ )   It is also the 30th anniversary
of the Tech Show.  This year, for the
first time, an academic specific event is going to be tied to the Tech
Show.  The half day conference, on the
morning of March 16, 2016 is an opportunity for law school faculty and
administration, law students and practitioners to discuss the “how and what” of
teaching technology as well as develop a framework for adding an academic track
to the 2017 program.  Law students are
particularly encouraged to attend the event and the show.  Pricing for law student admission to the 3
day event is $100. (Registration link here: http://www.techshow.com/pricing/ )
is the program description – if you are planning to attend the ABA Tech show,
this will be a great way to start the event!
Technology in the Academy:  Are we
finally at the Tipping Point?
Law School Roundtable discussion held in conjunction with the 2016 ABA Tech
by IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law
16, 2016
– 12 noon
charge for registration
Roundtable Description
marks the 30th Anniversary of the ABA Tech show.  In 1986 the idea of “micro-computers” in law
practice, to quote Jeff Arresty, one of the show’s founders, “was at its
complete inception”.
has changed in those 30 years when it comes to legal technology.  But law schools have not yet fully embraced
the importance of technology competency for law students.  Even though law schools have begun to bring
technology courses to the curriculum and to experiment with innovative concepts
like legal hackathons, much remains to be done. 
July, 2014 and again in April, 2015, the University of Missouri – Kansas City
hosted two conferences on Law Schools, Technology and Access to Justice.  These conferences were supported by the Ewing
Marion Kauffman Foundation and brought together academics, legal technologists
and members of the Access to Justice community. 
One of the stated goals of the conferences was to produce a specific
direction for the teaching of technology in law schools.  A set of principles, referred to informally
as the Kansas City Principles, were developed and state as follows:
Fundamental Principal
In their role of
ensuring that the lawyers of tomorrow have the core competencies to provide
effective and efficient legal services, law schools have the responsibility to
provide all students with education and training to enable them to understand
the risks and benefits associated with current and developing technologies and
the ability to use those technologies appropriately.
Fundamental Principal
In order for lawyers
to fulfill their professional obligations to advance the cause of justice, it
is essential that economically viable models for the delivery of legal services
be developed that allow all members of society to have access to competent
legal representation or effective self-representation regardless of income, and
law schools should assist in the development of technologically-supported legal
marketplaces that help identify available alternatives and, where legal
representation appears most appropriate, to empower those seeking the services
of a lawyer to identify and retain a competent lawyer of choice at reasonable
Fundamental Principal
As part of their
responsibility to assist in providing access to law and justice, law schools
should use their legal knowledge and technological capabilities to make the law
more comprehensible and readily available to the public so as to empower people
to use the law and, where appropriate, lawyers, to improve the quality of their
lives, and should include in this endeavor, among other initiatives , working
with national, state, and local governments to provide the public with free
on-line access to statutes, regulations, cases and other primary law at all
levels of government.  
Fundamental Principal
In order to encourage
community economic development and contribute to a strong global economy, law
schools should educate lawyers who can stimulate entrepreneurship and
innovation and assist in developing technology that can support economically
viable means of providing affordable legal services to small businesses, social
ventures and start-up enterprises.
Fundamental Principal
Because technology has
the potential to reinvent the processes of law in ways that can help achieve
access to justice, law schools should encourage their students, faculty and
graduates to research, teach and implement non-traditional, technological
approaches to legal innovation that will maximize the ways in which individuals
and entities can achieve the benefits of law and legal process.
The explicit goal of this
half day event is to not only continue to drive the discussion that led to
these principles, but to develop an agenda for how to proceed, including how to
involve the ABA Law Practice Management Section and leverage the opportunity
provided by the ABA Tech Show.
In addition, there has never
been a better opportunity for practitioners to help influence law schools on
the best directions in which to proceed with technology training.  It is expected that the roundtable audience
will include not only members of the academy but also practitioners, law
students and vendor representatives, and the participation of all these
segments in the conversation will be beneficial to determining next steps.
8:30 – registration
9:00 –
10:15 – Moderated Panel Discussion:
Technology Competencies for the 21st Century lawyer: The Role for
Today’s Law Schools
     Moderator:            Dean
Ellen Suni – University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law
     Panelists: Professor
Ronald W. Staudt          – IIT Chicago- Kent
School of Law
                        Professor Oliver
Goodenough      – Vermont Law School
                        Professor William
Henderson       – Indiana University
Maurer School of Law
                        Dean Andrew Perlman                   –
Suffolk Law School
– 10:30 – Break
10:30 –
12 noon – Discussion Forum
panel will lead a discussion with members of the audience to move toward
consensus regarding the next steps for advancing the teaching of technology in
law school and examining how the ABA Tech Show can be part of these efforts
going forward.
noon – boxed lunch