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LegalTech New York – an alternative view

Our friends at InsideLegal in the US have sent us their perspective on this month's LegalTech New York show…

Another year, another LegalTech under our collective belts. This year was our 9th trip to NY for LegalTech and everyone was waiting to see how the “hold your breath because of the economy” scenario would play out.

Overall attendance appeared to be down quite a bit from previous years (compared to a reported 12,797 in 2008) which was not surprising with the current business climate. Also, there were a few less exhibitors than in 2008 according to Incisive Media. With that said, it seemed that overall attendee quality was up and there was more eagerness to get business done. Ironically, the smaller crowd allowed for more indepth talks in the booth without the prospects being pushed away by the crowd.

New for vendors in 2009 was expansion of the exhibit space into the 3rd floor ballroom and the removal of booths from the dreaded back hallway. I was not sure how this would play out but the hall seemed to have traffic each time I went in and the space looked like it belonged with the show. This was a creative way to add space but also did add to the disjointed nature of the exhibit space.

2009 was the year that LegalTech embraced Twitter.  There were quite a few firm contacts, consultants and less so vendors that twitted about LegalTech and in particular the session on Twitter that was held on Monday afternoon. According to Matt Homann, LegalTech NY made it to the top 10 twittered topics during the session.*

Also very noticeable this year, was the abundance of legal industry job seekers, brought to a whole new level with resumes being circulated en mass. Seems like an ideal time to pick-up great talent with so many folks in active job search mode.

One particular complaint of ours (and vendors, consultants and media attendees, etc) is the lack of meeting space.  Part of the culture of a tradeshow (especially of this size) is that companies have meetings on-site – whether it is with clients, media, industry consultants, potential partners or employees, etc. LegalTech has all but made this impossible with the sale of about the only meeting space that is available in the Hilton. The Bridges Bar area (by escalator on floor 1) is sold for thousands of dollars for the duration of the show and only a handful of vendors actually shell out that much money to have the privilege to sit at a table for 4 behind a velvet rope complete with security guard. We know first hand of a few media editors and a consultant that have stopped coming to LegalTech because of the lack of space to meet with vendors. Hopefully this will change for 2010.

* The Insider's next readers poll would be looking at the rise of Web 2.0 media, including twitter, and asking if anyone cares or wants it.