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  Law.com

March 29, 2000

ABA TECHSHOW 2000 Helps Attendees Strut Their Stuff -
More than 2,500 expected to take in seminars, exhibits and cyber cafe

Darryl Van Duch
American Lawyer Media

CHICAGO -- The American Bar Association's trademark "ABA TECHSHOW 2000" opened Thursday morning in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers and is expected to play to a record international audience of more than 2,500 attendees. This year's three-day conference dubbed "T2K: Future Technology. Today!" will offer more than 100 educational sessions directed toward specific technology problems and all levels of sophistication. For instance, several educational "tracks" include programs focused on small firms and big firms, litigators and decision makers, practice automation and courtroom technology.

Keynote speakers include Robert Young, chairman and CEO of Red Hat, Inc., Dr. Michael Cowpland, president and CEO of Corel Corporation, and Derek Burney, chief technology officer, engineering, at Corel Corporation. There will be a cyber café. And a mini-courtroom, with live high-tech trial equipment, will be provided by Courtroom 21. Nearly 150 exhibitors will hawk their services and wares, too.

But, perhaps the most compelling thing going for the largest event of its kind, is the behind-the-scenes networking that goes on among the far-flung legal community's practitioners, the entrepreneurs, the marketers, and the technicians. Seattle's Kevin O'Keefe, for instance, recently recalled how his demonstration of Prairielaw.com at last year's ABA TECHSHOW wowed ABA president William Paul. "He thought this was a pretty cool thing," said the founder of the dot-com, a free online educational forum in which consumers with legal problems can also type in their legal questions and get helpful advice quickly from non-lawyers as well as lawyers who are logged on to any one of a dozen or more subject "channels."
O'Keefe, a former practicing lawyer in LaCrosse, Wis., says his goal a year ago had been to show off exactly how Prairielaw.com could be used by practitioners to "leverage their talent...to thousands" of consumers across the Internet. "And we succeeded." Hopefully getting similar results at this year's conference are such attendees as Julie J. Furer of Chicago's Schiff Hardin & Waite and a co-founder of I-DEP, who is using the event to launch what is billed as "the first Internet browser-based deposition service" featuring live video and two-way audio capabilities.

The company's president, Jay M. Jackson, said in a prepared statement that his goal is nothing short of striking a spark during his new product's launch that will "revolutionize" how discovery in litigation is handled across America. ABA TECHSHOW 2000 is sponsored by the ABA Law Practice Management Section and American Lawyer Media. Full registration fees for the programs -- held March 30 through April 1 - are $795 and $695 for additional full registrations from the same organization submitted together. Members of the ABA Law Practice Management Section qualify for an additional $100 registration discount. Law student registration is $195. One-day sessions only and exhibits only passes also are available. Late registration is possible by calling 800-888-8300, ext. 9035 or online at www.techshow.com.

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