I’m sitting on the Amtrak leaving Washington DC starting to unwind after spending a week at the International Legal Technology Association Conference (#ILTACON18) where there were 4,100 attendees: a record breaker. I’m looking forward to a relaxing 6-hour train ride to Mystic, CT to spend a much-needed relaxing weekend with family. But first let me gather my thoughts and share with you what stands out in my mind about this wonderful conference.
The highlights for me included the following:
It was wonderful to step off the airplane when we arrived at BWI on Sunday and not be wrapped in a blanket of humidity. All week long, the sun was shining and there was a beautiful breeze. What a pleasant change from the 90 degree/90% humidity daily standard I face in New Orleans.
Monday morning, I headed off to the Gaylord in National Harbor from our hotel in Old Town Alexandria and immediately started running into old friends such as Bob Ambrogi of LexBlog, Jo Sherman of EDT Case Management Software, Julie Lewis of Digital Mountain, Doug Kaminski of Cobra Legal Technologies, David Horrigan of Relativity, Jeff Parkhurst of Hewlett Packard and of course, the wonderful ACEDS duo of Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad.
I spent the most of the week hopping from one great session to the next. First up? The keynote on futurism by Lisa Bodell, a futurist and expert on the topic of change. It was standing room only and was extremely well received by the attendees and she got the crowd excited and ready for the week. Other excellent sessions I attended included The Future of eDIscovery with Jay Lieb, Founder and CEO at NexLP, Andrew Sieja, Founder & CEO, Relativity and Atanu Banerjee, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Office 365, eDiscovery & Litigation Support for Small Firms with Brett Burney, eDiscovery Consultant at Burney Consultants LLC, and Doug Austin Vice President of Professional Services at CloudNine, (among others) and the three part What You Need to Know About Office 365 with multiple speakers throughout the week. It is interesting to note that most sessions were standing room only.
I spent Tuesday making the rounds in the exhibit hall speaking to a number of the 221 exhibitors. The setup was very excellent with wide areas between the booths, two locations for startups and a separate area for vendors focusing on corporate solutions. There was a major focus this year on cyber security and AI as well as a number of long time exhibitors such as Worldox, STI, Exterro, Zapproved, Logikcull and of course ACEDS.
Special shout outs to start up web-based word processing shop SmashDocs and first-time exhibitor but long time eDiscovery stalwart, CloudNine. Also, loved the Idea Wall sponsored by DocSolid. A wonderful addition to the conference and crafted be Matt Homann, Founder & CEO of Filiment, ILTA members wrote ideas on post-it-notes, placed them on large white boards and artists then brought those ideas to life by drawing the members thoughts into wonderful cartoons. This is the 4th year that Matt brought the wall to life at ILTACON and it was fabulous to see all the wonderful ideas, tips and needs of the members captured on the Idea Wall. Here is one of mine as an example:
Check out the short video posted on the eDiscovery Channel on YouTube of the complete Idea Wall. Subscribe while you’re there. The eDiscovery Channel has a lot of great content.
Now on to the fun stuff because what would ILTACON be without big parties sponsored by multiple vendors. Can you say networking? Sure ya can! First, of course, the traditional Monday night opening reception in the exhibit hall, this year with a game theme. Lots of people, networking opportunities and great food.
On Tuesday, I attended the CloudNine reception at The Public House (great lamb and crab cakes appetizers) which had a nice turnout and I got to meet up with a number of old friends such as Doug Austin of CloudNine, Bruce Markowitz of Evolver and Pete Pepiton, eDiscovery Director at Dinsmore and Shohl. Pete also heads the Lit Support Department at the firm. Smart move there!
Next on the agenda was CaseFleet, a relatively new web-based litigation database, who held their party at Graces Mandarin House. It was so packed, I was hard pressed to keep up with all the conversations. Great food of course! Another party in the Gaylord venue was sponsored by Thomson Reuters and featured a bean bag toss and beer pong as well as more good food!
The personal highlight for me was the ACEDS Monumental Sunset Cruise up the Potomac River. A riverboat full of the ACEDS community enjoyed a fabulous buffet dinner, drinks and great conversation sponsored by some incredibly generous and wonderful ACEDS partners. The cruise had some great people onboard including industry luminaries such as Tom O’Connor of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, Kenya Parrish-Dixon, Assistant Director, Division of Litigation Technology and Analysis at Federal Trade Commission, David Kinnear, High Performance Counsel and ACEDS Media partner, Doug Kaminski, EVP of Sales at Cobra Legal Technologies and Julie Brown, Litigation Technology Manager at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, who, as a side, was announced as next year’s incoming co -chair for ILTACON19. The cruise lasted three hours and traveled down the Potomac toward the Washington Monument and the Capitol. The full moon shining off the Washington Monument was a beautiful sight.
The highlight of the evening was a birthday cake presented to Mary Mack by the entire crowd with David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director at Relativity, leading a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen in eDiscovery verbiage and David Greetham, VP of Ricoh Legal and member of the ACEDS Advisory Board officially crowning Mary the Queen of eDiscovery by placing a special tiara on her head and a celebratory banner over her shoulder. A well-deserved honor.
Considering all the issues regarding press attendance and the shakeup at ILTA Headquarters just days prior to the event, the conference went very smoothly and everyone I spoke with was having a great time networking, attending sessions and gathering great schwag from the technology partners. I heard a lot of great ideas and met some wonderful people and overall, I felt it was a total success. I look forward to #ILTACON19 and hope to see you all there.