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Plans for 2009 Legal IT show unveiled

OK, sharpen your knives, dip your pens in bile, Informa has just sent out some details on its plans for the 2009 Islington Legal IT show. We'd be interested in hearing from any suppliers who have decided not to attend this year. And re the keynote speaker – 'yes' we weren't aware that Gerald Ratner was a legal IT vendor either. Here is the announcement in full…

New elements ensure that Legal IT 2009 will be the biggest and best show to date
When the Legal IT Show 2009 opens its doors from 4th to 5th February 2009 at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, visitors and delegates will be benefiting from the biggest and most market driven event to date. Several new elements such as a highly informative conference, round table sessions and keynote speaker sessions, have been added to the programme to make this year’s event the can’t-miss show for IT and software decision-makers within the legal profession.
Given the current economic climate, the legal profession is under more pressure than ever to provide a better service whilst also cutting costs; employing new technology is a vital step in achieving this. The Legal IT Show is the only event dedicated to legal IT in Europe and the exhibition offers a great snapshot of the latest developments in the fast moving legal IT sector.
The popular exhibition will offer firms of all sizes the opportunity to meet the industry's leading providers under one roof and understand their new offerings, saving valuable time. For those who like their statements short and sweet, the exciting New Product Launch Pad will give exhibitors the opportunity to showcase new products and services at Speakers’ Corner.
Created and run by a highly skilled conference specialist team at ICBI, the new Legal IT Show Conference will offer delegates first hand insight from the profession's major figures to help them tackle IT and law firm management issues. Practitioner-led case studies and panel discussions will look at topics such as using technology within an aggressive growth strategy, and innovative ways to use existing technology to cut costs and streamline business processes. The conference will take place in separate, fully serviced conference rooms at the Business Design Centre and delegates will hear from law firm IT Directors and practising lawyers on how they are using technology to respond to today’s business challenges.
In the meantime, the exhibition floor will be a buzz with several exciting new features, such as the Roundtable sessions, which will be open to all visitors. These sessions will also be focusing on the very latest issues impacting law firms, held as an informal discussion, each with an expert host.
All visitors can also attend the new Keynote Speaker Sessions at Speakers’ Corner. Amongst others, visitors can learn how Gerald Ratner managed to claw his way back to the top after several ups and downs in his business career. Not to be missed.
The event has always offered a fantastic networking platform, but with all the added features this year, it promises to be even more of a hub for meeting, discussing business and swapping ideas with the industry’s leading peers, suppliers and potential business partners.
For more information or to register for either a visitor’s pass or for the conference, please log onto Those interested in further information on exhibiting can contact Matthew Robinson at ICBI on 020 7017 5755 or email

11 replies on “Plans for 2009 Legal IT show unveiled”

I wonder if Gerald Ratner will give our businesses the shot in the arm they need by describing our products as crap.
More seriously; is this the best thay can do?

Actually it would be nice to hear from those who are buying what they want out of these events, and if they find them worth while. The percived wisdom is that the format has run its course, and most firms will look at web sites etc. But is this true. From the suppliers view these events are expensive (I worked out that one supplier spent well in excess of a £1,000 per lead and with a conversion rate of 20 leads to an order that is not a good return) time consuming, and difficult to justify. Yes you get marketing exposure, but so does inviting managing partners for a free £500 lunch. There is a perception that if you are not there you might miss out, but do you
Would be very interesting to hear the views of real people with actual budgets to spend if they find going actually worth while (not just a day out of the office) and what they want from these events.

Quick update: For the Legal IT Show conference we have many speakers confirmed from a wide range of law firms ranging from sole practitioners to magic circle law firm IT departments. Here are a few examples:
Eversheds, Baker & McKenzie, Taylor Vinters, Kennedys, Sills & Betteridge Solicitors, The Contracts Team, Breeze & Wyles, Landlord-Law, ASB Law, Weightmans, Brabners Chaffe Street, Linklaters, EMW Law, Minster Law , Pemberton Greenish, Stephens Scown Solicitors, CMS Cameron McKenna, Flack & Co, Wedlake Bell, Addleshaw Goddard, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Brodies…
We are delighted that Gerald Ratner is our out-of-the-box keynote speaker. His presentation is inspirational and we always get superb feedback when he speaks to business leaders at our events. I for one am really looking forward to hearing him at speakers’ corner.
Paul Lippe of Legal OnRamp will be delivering another keynote address on the future and what happens when law gets “normal.” Along with Mark Chandler from Cisco and a number of other GCs and law firm Chairmen, Paul Lippe is the founder and CEO of the Legal OnRamp. Paul spent a decade as a General Counsel, primarily at Synopsys, a very sophisticated software company, so is no amateur when it comes to technology. Again, a very entertaining and thought provoking speaker.
I am still recruiting speakers both for the practitioner-led conference and for the keynotes at speakers’ corner. If you would like to recommend a speaker, or put yourself forward, please get in contact:
Kate Roberts
Programme Director
Legal IT Show

Unfortunately, as for the past few years, a significant number of the Legal industry decision makers and “Movers and Shakers” will be over in New York at the LegalTech exhibition. Certainly most (if not all) of the key people on the UK Litigation Support side will be over there checking out all the launches and updates that happen at the show.
From my side of things, I have to say that I normally (rightly or wrongly) describe the UK Legal IT Show as the one where the junior members of the IT departments go and not one where it is worth exhibiting if you want to meet the people who really decide on purchase orders.
Having heard from Sir Randolph Fiennes at the New Legal IT Forum in the Celtic Manor two weeks ago, I have to say that Informa do have a good track record in finding people for keynotes who are entertaining and inspirational. So despite the “crap” jokes, I would take them at their word that Gerald Ratner is worth listening to, but that's not enough to stop me from going to New York instead.

A good point !
How do buyers want to to be sold to ? This is the key question and it would help us all immensly to understand this.

Well said, Andrew. For me (rightly or wrongly) the Legal IT show has dissolved into the showcasing of digital dictation products, accounts systems, taxi firms and stationery suppliers – none of which I am interested in. To my mind there are only two must-attend shows in the international calendar, both in the US: the annual ILTA conference and LegalTech NY. As Andrew points out, conflicting Legal IT with LegalTech is (not his words) an immediate non-starter.
If Informa are serious in their endeavours they need to hold Legal IT at a time when LegalTech is not also on and study the LegalTech NY event very, very closely with the aim of mirroring it for Europe half way through the year. If we have the equivalent of LegalTech in London I'd go to it at the drop of a hat (and it would be cheaper to attend than LegalTech).

As a techmology 'buyer' (IT Director at a mid size law firm) I find the most useful experience is talking to peers. That can be vendor organised (round table lunch) or a chat over a pork pie and a pint – I really dont mind.
I usually know the exact area of technology I am interested in and wandering round an exhibition hall full of PMS/DigDic 'r' us vendors has never been very productive or useful.
I would say that the Islington event was in desperate need of a makeover, became an excuse to try the local pubs out and yes was a day out for junior staff. Im not sure making it into a mini Gleneagles (there is even an entry fee!) is the answer.
Mr Vendor – A marketing stand with a free stress ball is of no interest – Tim/Simon/Andrew/Jon/Julie talking to me about what they have achieved gets my chequebook out.

We are regular exhibitors at the show and like every other supplier baulk every year at the amount of money we are asked to pay.
It would certainly be preferable if it did not clash with New York but I think that this is a problem that only affects a relatively small number of larger firms whose partners will sanction the huge cost of the trip in money and time. Among our client base, many of whom are small to medium sized firms, getting authority to make the trip to London can be hard enough.
So is the show worth attending as a supplier? Quite simply; if you can generate some leads that you would not have got had you not been there and then convert one or two of those to sales the answer is yes. It is not the only marketing method other posters have referred to round table discussions and lunches which are good and the much maligned Law Society SSG is also very important for smaller firms who use that to draw up their shortlist. No single approach has all of the answers and us suppliers like to try and cover all the bases.
I think this year will be interesting. There is not much money around and I suspect that it may be a disappointing show for numbers of attendees (most of the suppliers, including us, booked our stands in February of last year when the economic outlook was rather different) as a result the organisers making big attempts to generate interest will be important.
Over the years we have tended to measure the success of the show based on the number of interested firms we speak to as opposed to leaflet collectors. Sometimes a contact made at a show may make a decision 3 years later. Would we have got the decision anyway? Maybe, but there again….
Looking forward to meeting all of our competitors once again this February, bright eyed and bushy tailed on Day 1 and a little quieter on Day 2.

I thought that it might be helpful to clarify a couple of points about the Legal IT Show 2009. I am pleased to hear that IT directors seem to find the round-table format useful. We are introducing a series of practitioner led round-tables for 2009 which will be held in a dedicated area on the exhibition floor. These discussions, the keynote presentations, plenty of additional content and entrance to the show will remain free of charge. As a new initiative for 2009 we will also be running a conference alongside the show. This will run in three concurrent streams and will address the requirements of large, medium and smaller firms. Hopefully, most people will be able to find something of interest. I am not sure that there is any such thing as a nominal fee in the current economic climate, but we do feel that £99 represents good value and CPD points will be available for all participants. Full programme details will be released very soon and please do take the time to look at for regular updates.
Gerald Ratner is a very accomplished and entertaining speaker. Although Gerald is obviously notorious for the ‘crap’ comment it is perhaps slightly less well known that he has successfully revolutionised the delivery model for a business that was steeped in tradition and was hindered by ‘conventional wisdom’. I appreciate that this is only my opinion, but I think the fact that he managed to do this twice is rather impressive. I have every confidence that anyone who is able to make the time to hear Gerald speak will not be disappointed.
Although I don't believe that we are entirely to blame, the date clash with the Legal Tech show is unfortunate. We are looking at the possibility of changing the dates for the 2010 show so that this doesn’t happen again.
I am very happy to answer any questions from both vendors and IT professionals alike. Please do feel free to call me on 0207 017 5755.
Kind regards,
Matthew Robinson

Informa did actually say the same thing about avoiding a dates clash with LegalTech New York last year (when it also clashed) – but they still went ahead and rebooked it again this year for conflicting dates. The real problem may well be that the previous owners of the event – the 2 Davids – who also managed to get Legal IT clashing with Legal Tech NY (and who can forget the time their Legal IT Leeds event clashed with Gleneagles) – have reserved the same period as Islington for several years in advance, to secure the venue. And now Informa, who have spent the last 12 months unsuccessfully trying to find someone to buy them, are reluctant to incur the expense of cancelling one booking and reserving a new time slot.
But, as other commentators have noted, Legal IT is increasingly becoming a show for smaller firms – and they don't go to New York. (Of course they could afford to, if they'd wanted, but smaller firms also don't place such a high priority on investing in IT.)

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