As the one that plans and emcees the Startup Alley pitch competitors at ABA TECHSHOW, I used to be fairly positive that I knew how the 90 minutes would unfold when the occasion kicked off TECHSHOW in Chicago final week. However within the ultimate moments, after the pitches have been achieved and simply as I had invited the viewers to forged their votes for the successful startup, I used to be thrown for a loop.
My good friend Steve Embry, who’s chair this yr of the ABA Legislation Observe Division, took to the stage and started telling a narrative about an nameless somebody who had helped him begin running a blog — somebody I instantly acknowledged to be me. Steve then launched Carolyn Elefant, certainly one of my dearest associates within the authorized world, who instructed how I helped encourage her to start out running a blog, and who then launched a video about me (see under), full with a tune parody to the tune of John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane.” (Thanks for the video to John Lindsey of inCite Authorized Tech by day and Perfect Parody in his spare time.)
Then got here Gyi Tsakalakis, TECHSHOW 2023 cochair and one other longtime good friend of mine, who introduced me with an award — to not point out a cake — all in recognition of my 20 years of running a blog about authorized tech.
If ever there was a second for which I’d ask for a do-over, it was that second after I returned to the mic. By no means have I been so dumbfounded and so dumb — fully puzzled. Out got here a foul joke concerning the interlude having given the viewers extra time to vote. What failed to come back was simply how moved and touched and humbled I used to be at that second.
(Molly McDonough posted video of the full presentation on LinkedIn.)
Nameless sources inform me that Carolyn was the one that initially thought up this honor. That’s ironic, provided that, if anybody deserves to be honored, it’s Carolyn, not me. She began her weblog simply weeks after I began mine, and her thought management over time has contributed a lot extra to the authorized career — and, significantly, to enhancing and celebrating small agency practitioners — than I might ever dream of contributing.
As for Steve, he thanked me for giving him some recommendation that helped him get began running a blog, however he by no means wanted any recommendation from me. Beginning his weblog after a profession as a litigator, he was a pure from the get-go, combining the expertise of somebody who spent years within the trenches of legislation observe with the frequent sense and insights of somebody who has constructed his weblog across the mantra, “No bullshit.”
In presenting me the award, I do know that Gyi was representing your entire TECHSHOW board. However let me simply acknowledge that Gyi is the epitome of what makes the authorized tech world particular and of why it has been my honor to be a part of it for thus a few years. Gyi’s day job is authorized advertising and marketing. However not like some authorized entrepreneurs on the market, Gyi is deeply dedicated to moral and trustworthy advertising and marketing and to moral and trustworthy practices in his personal enterprise. He’s good about advertising and marketing and solely too keen to share that brilliance via his talking and writing and podcasting. When my son Ben and I launched the LawNext Legal Tech Directory final yr, Gyi was beneficiant in sharing recommendation and counsel, all with out expectation of a charge.
To me, the humorous factor about getting acknowledged on this approach is that I don’t assume I’ve achieved something value recognizing, aside from preserve at it for a very long time. I’m a reporter, not a do-er. Carolyn is a do-er. Gyi is a do-er. Steve is a do-er. So a lot of you studying this now are do-ers.
All I do is maintain up a mirror to the authorized tech world and replicate again to you what you all do. Generally what that mirror displays will not be so fairly, however far as a rule, what that mirror displays is an business constructed on tons of and hundreds of progressive and disruptive do-ers, all striving in the direction of the last word aim of serving to authorized professionals higher ship authorized companies to their shoppers.
At a separate TECHSHOW occasion final week, Joshua Lenon, lawyer in residence at Clio, talked concerning the cumulative influence of authorized tech. I can not do his phrases justice, however the gist of what he talked about was how he explains to new hires at Clio the outsized influence their work can have. Given the large hole all through the world in entry to justice, each incremental enchancment in authorized tech helps authorized professionals do extra and due to this fact helps chip away at that hole. What might sound, within the second, as a comparatively minor activity, is cumulatively constructing in the direction of a a lot better aim.
That’s what so a lot of you’re doing, day in and day trip. You’re constructing in the direction of a greater, fairer and extra simply world. I report on it as a result of I imagine within the mission and I’m impressed by your work. However you’re the do-ers, not me.
A phrase I heard quite a bit final week to discuss with the authorized tech group is “tribe.” An occasion akin to ABA TECHSHOW is the place that tribe gathers, the place these of us who imagine within the potential of expertise to enhance the supply of authorized companies discover our individuals.
As a journalist, I attempt to be goal. However I can not deny that I’m emotionally invested on this tribe and all of you who’re a part of it. Lots of you — together with Steve, Carolyn and Gyi — are amongst my dearest associates, and I would like nothing greater than for all of you to reach the work you do.
If I had a do-over for that second after I returned to the mic, I’d let you know that I’m preventing again tears and that I’m humbled that members of this tribe noticed match to honor me. I solely want I might flip round and honor all of you with an excellent larger award and an excellent larger cake.
Till that chance comes alongside, I wish to imagine that, by reporting and recognizing authorized innovation via my writing, I’m, in my approach, honoring every certainly one of you who attempt to enhance the authorized system.
From my vantage level over time, I’ve watched some founders construct nice wealth, and I’ve watched as others misplaced each greenback and drop of sweat they needed to make investments. As for me, I can guarantee you that running a blog will not be a highway to monetary riches. There have been a few years that I by no means earned a penny from my weblog, and by no means anticipated to.
However I may guarantee you that running a blog has introduced me riches far better than something cash might ever purchase. Due to running a blog, I revel within the riches of a trove of deep and abiding friendships that I’ll treasure dearly till the day I die.