This year’s International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference (ILTACON) and trade show will be my fourth one. For those of you who haven’t previously had the opportunity to attend, here’s some advice on making the most out of your first – or even second or third – visit to ILTACON

Get Out of 
Your Bubble

I find that attending technical conferences can interfere with the regular routine. If you’re like me, spending lots of time in email and remote desktop sessions, it is easy to become very introverted. ILTACON represents a chance to reset. It’s not just a chance to get away from things at the office but also a great learning event. I usually liken the reset I am referring to as a mental change of focus. Going to these conferences allows one to focus on activities that you don’t see in the office bubble. It allows one to visit with vendors, see new solutions, sit next to someone at a lunch event and learn about their technical issues. ILTACON is the perfect opportunity to challenge your ideas and assumptions on how you’re operating day-to-day. Chances are the person next to you at the  lunch table may have something in common with you. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t even be at the same conference.



Get Educated

Another important thing to consider is the educational benefit of ILTACON, and the opportunities to be exposed to new solutions and ideas. A good example of this relates to a recent renewal I had to work through. We found an awesome line-of-business application to help with password management. After a year they altered the terms of our deal. The change was sudden and disconcerting since we’d invested a lot of time, energy and process into making the solution work. Since I already knew some of the other players in the market, due to several conferences I had previously attended, I was prepared with some alternative plans.

In the end, it all worked out, but instead of a panic of the “What do I do now?” sort, I had knowledge gleaned from other conferences on possible alternatives. Having a great piece of software/hardware to solve business problems you may have is awesome. But knowing that there are probably competitors and how they stack up give one greater leverage when unexpected changes like this occur. Since ILTA has many vendors offering similar services, it makes research that much easier. Yes, this means you need to go up to the booth, ask some questions and maybe even spend a moment watching a demo. 

Help Others

How many times has a user walked up to you and said, “IT guy, I just watched a webinar on this new widget. It works better than the other widget we already use.” If you’re working in a law firm, that user just might be a named or managing partner. Instead of scrambling and not being able to consult with the user on the merits of the new technology, if you’ve already seen a demo of it, you can help guide the conversation and discuss the reasons for the existing software. ILTA is a great place to stay ahead of these questions and make yourself more valuable to the firm. 

My Four Keys to a Beneficial ILTACON:

  1. I look for sessions, vendors or fellow IT professionals that will challenge my assumptions about existing technology and practices. Years ago, everyone loved tape backup. Then, newer backup technology, namely disk-to-disk, was introduced. If we hadn’t challenged our assumptions on tape backups, we would’ve never seen disk-to-disk. 
  2. I try to keep good notes, given the constraints of being at a conference. I keep notes because I know, otherwise, the most important information will get lost in my head. Use your smartphone to keep track of notes, use an old-fashioned piece of paper or send an email to yourself. Don’t lose that thought.   
  3. If attending with other co-workers, break up the sessions you attend. I try to never go to the same sessions as a co-worker is planning to attend. When you go to sessions, if there is a Q&A, speak up and share. At the end of the day, meet back in the evening to compare notes with your colleagues. Keep a running journal – there are plenty of apps to help with that!
  4. When at lunch, dinner or any other social event, go talk to somebody you don’t know. Strike up a conversation, and get out of the bubble.

I and the rest of the Innovative Computing Systems team look forward to meeting you at ILTACON 2015 in Las Vegas next week. Look for us in Booth 304, on Tuesday in Forum 12 and elsewhere. More info on our demos, speaking engagements and cool giveaways can be found on our ILTACON 2015 page.  


Innovative Computing Systems is a proud Gold Sponsor of ILTACON 2015.