If you’re one of the 10,000+ folks headed to Legaltech 2017 — now rebranded as LegalWeek by ALM — I’ve put together a few of my best tips for the Legaltech event. This is my 9th year attending, and there’s a LOT going on, so it helps to have a plan for what you want to learn. Over the years, I’ve found a few key things — like planning for food — are important to surviving the grueling pace. Hopefully these will help you get the most out of the show and your visit to NYC. Here goes . . .
The Hilton where Legaltech has been held for the last 10+ years has evolved alot, but the food choices in the hotel itself are not fabulous, so you need to plan for that. If you have events to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, great. But just in case you don’t here are a few suggestions for fitting in some great NYC food (because it’s the BEST place for food) while filling your head with ediscovery nuggets.
For some yummy NYC deli food on the go, check out Ernest Klein & Co.’s Gourmet Food Co. at 6th and 55th. Click the link to get the Google Maps link. You can grab sushi, soup, sandwich or some quick groceries to have in your hotel room and head back to the show. In all my wanderings in a six block radius of the Hilton, this is the best for some good eats.
Lunch at the London Hotel is pretty good — you’ll see lots of folks from the conference there as many of the providers have taken to renting suites at the London vs. the Hilton. Go out the back right side of the lobby in the Hilton to hit 54th and the London is halfway up the block.
If you’re up for planning a bit and you know you’ll be running around all day, I tend to order up the world’s greatest Farro Salad from Charlie Bird in SoHo and throw it in my fridge in the hotel. Then I pack some to take with me during the day. With all the cocktail parties starting at 4pm, you need to eat! You’ll find me at Charlie Bird and its sister restaurant, Pasquale Jones throughout the week.
Resting Those Feet or Having a Chat
The biggest challenge of the conference is that there are no good places to sit with someone and have a conversation. Legaltech brings together thousands of folks interested in the same topic, but if you are not interacting at the talks or in the exhibit hall, you’re pretty much out of luck as far as places to sit down. Last year, the hotel had a few spots in the back of the lobby where you can have a small table and meet up for coffee.
Your best bet for having a conversation outside the event is at one of the two Starbucks just outside the Hilton. The Hilton sits on 6th Avenue in between 53rd and 54th streets. The Starbucks immediately across 6th Avenue from the hotel entrance is VERY small and VERY crowded, with just a few tables. Instead, I recommend the Starbucks on 53rd instead. It’s newer, has more space and is a better place to catch up. I didn’t find it as crowded during the day last year.
Networking and finding like minded individuals to bounce ideas off of is one of the best features of Legaltech. And many of the providers of legal technology host events for clients and attendees — those are great places to meet people and see what is going on and how you might want to get involved. This year, ALM gave out the attendee list to many of the sponsors/providers exhibiting at the show and those folks may have sent you invites to their cocktail events. Sign up, go and meet some folks. Most everyone at Legaltech is interested in meeting new people and helping you find out what you need to learn. If you’re not sure what’s up, ping me in our Facebook group — Let’s Talk eDiscovery — and I’ll see how I can help. You can also reach me on Twitter @kellytwigger.
Many of the events start around 5pm and are held at Faces and Names, The Irish Bar and at locations around the 4 blocks of the hotel. Stop by the Exhibit Hall to see what’s going on. If you are a Relativity user, the KCura party is usually pretty rockin’ until the week hours of the morning. Most of the events are invite only, so stop by the booths in the Exhibit Hall to get on a list or head over with a friend who’s on the list.
If you’ve had enough of the show for the day and need to unwind, check out the TKTS booth to see what shows are half price that night. At the Hilton, you are only 6 short blocks to Broadway — the greatest theater destination EVER. If you’ve been trying to get tickets to Hamilton, here’s a quick tip site that may help as long as you’re prepared to pay the price. This site will give you the current listing of all the shows and you can grab tickets as well.
Okay, so you came for the show itself and I’m just getting to that. Here’s what I’ll tell you — you need to map out what you want to see and put it on your schedule. The keynotes are usually a must see, and this year looks to be keeping in line with that tradition. This year the keynotes focus on the future of technology, the Supreme Court and of course the every popular panel of Judges. You can see the full agenda by day here. From there, you should plan time to wander through the Exhibit Hall and see what’s there, find time to check out what’s new and what’s old but new again. I admit that the Exhibit Hall feels a bit like a shark tank with sales folks waiting to pounce, but overcome the fear and step in — you’ll likely find something interesting you want to check out further once you are back at the office.
Don’t forget to fill out and leave your CLE form with the information booth at the opposite end of the lobby from the Exhibit Hall! You have to turn in the form to have your name submitted for CLE credit and they send you a follow up notice with your courses and credit, which is fantastic. The keynote with the Judges usually counts for CLE, so take note of that as well if you attend.
Keeping Track of Contacts
The networking is fantastic, but if you can’t remember who someone is, you’ll have a hard time following up with them after the show. One of my best tricks is to get out all the cards I collect at night when I get back to my room and write something personal on the card that helps me follow up with them later. For folks whose cards I don’t get, I make note of them and send out LinkedIn invitations or follow them on Twitter as soon as I get back and send a short note via social media to stay connected.
So, rest up this weekend, and once in NYC, eat well, drink plenty of water (to counteract those cocktails), get sleep and be sure to turn in those CLE forms for credit! Enjoy the show —