Last night, I had a great time doing a presentation on legal technology for a practice management class at St. Louis U. Law School. As an aside, I love the idea of law schools experimenting with practice management courses.
One of my favorite parts of the recent Missouri Solo and Small Firm Conference was the presence of a good number of law students from different Missouri law schools who attended the conference in connection with summer classes. I enjoyed getting some of their perspectives on the use of a variety of new technologies. In fact, everyone in the class last night had been at the conference.
I decided that it made the most sense to do a Q & A session and go wherever the questions took me, although I did feel a bit like a high wire artist about to take that second step (the tricky one) as I stood in front of the class with no slides or notes.
But, it was great. There were plenty of great questions that more than filled the time and I learned a lot by hearing more about their perspectives.
I also got to talk about blogging, because there were several questions about that. I realized that it’s been quite a while since I’ve actually talked about blogging as part of a presentation. It’s always been interesting to me how some of the long-time legal bloggers seem to rarely get asked to speak about blogging. Be that as it may, I really enjoyed the chance to share some of my observations and insights about blogging.
This was the third presentation on technology I’ve done in the last few weeks that turned into a Q & A session. I’m liking that approach. As a presenter, it keeps you on your toes, and as you try to give your answers some structure and continuity, it’s fascinating how themes reveal themselves and you often find new connections and insights.
Ross Kodner and I did a session that was pure Q & A about legal tech at the Missouri Solo and Small Firm conference and we were both surprised at the directions it went (and how we continued it into our long conversation at lunch).
But, as Ross describes so well in this post, the session that surprised us was the Q & A session we did on electronic discovery that we never planned to be a Q & A session.
Both Ross and I have a bit of a reputation for having a few more minutes of material planned that actually fits into the allotted time. This was no different, but I was still surprised when Ross said he had 75 slides for our 60 minute session.
Almost immediately, though, we got questions from the audience. Every time we started to move back to the slides, we got more questions. Eventually, we looked at each other and decided to go where the audience took us. Ross noted that we actually showed only 4 of the slides. But, it was fun, informative and we got lots of great feedback. I told my wife about an older lawyer who came up to me later and thanked me for the presentation and for explaining the topic in a way that “an old guy like him” could finally understand. I told Colleen that it was such a great compliment that if I never talk about e-discovery again, I’ll know that I went out on top with the last one I did. Ross’s post makes similar observations about the session.
This sessions show to me why I’ve always been so intrigued by Open Space Technology, unconferences and other informal sessions. There’s a fascinating dynamic and energy and you never know quite where it will go. I’ve long felt that, especially for a topic as difficult and complex as e-discovery can be, bringing people together with no set agenda and getting people to talk about what’s on their minds might be the most useful session you could have. Whether in the context of LexThink or elsewhere, I could never get traction on that idea, so it was nice to find some confirmation in a way I didn’t intend or expect.
Oh, and after talking with law students about technology, lawyers haven’t seen nothing yet when it comes to the ways technology will change the profession. I’m very interested in seeing what the new generation of lawyers will bring to the profession, and hope that I can participate and assist in that process.
Talking legal tech can be quite fun.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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