So This Occurred … And For As soon as I Had No Phrases


As the one who plans and emcees the Startup Alley pitch competitors at ABA TECHSHOW, I used to be fairly certain that I knew how the 90 minutes would unfold when the occasion kicked off TECHSHOW in Chicago final week. However within the closing moments, after the pitches have been accomplished 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 pal Steve Embry, who’s chair this yr of the ABA Regulation Observe Division, took to the stage and commenced 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, one in all my dearest pals within the authorized world, who advised how I helped encourage her to begin running a blog, and who then launched a video about me (see under), full with a track parody to the tune of John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane.” (Thanks for the video to John Lindsey of inCite Authorized Tech by day and Good Parody in his spare time.)

Then got here Gyi Tsakalakis, TECHSHOW 2023 cochair and one other longtime pal 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 who initially thought up this honor. That’s ironic, on condition 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 through the years has contributed a lot extra to the authorized career — and, notably, to enhancing and celebrating small agency practitioners — than I may 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 apply 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. However in contrast to some authorized entrepreneurs on the market, Gyi is deeply dedicated to moral and sincere advertising and to moral and sincere practices in his personal enterprise. He’s sensible about advertising and solely too prepared to share that brilliance by his talking and writing and podcasting. When my son Ben and I launched the LawNext Authorized Tech Listing final yr, Gyi was beneficiant in sharing recommendation and counsel, all with out expectation of a payment.

To me, the humorous factor about getting acknowledged on this means is that I don’t suppose I’ve accomplished something price recognizing, apart from hold 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 lots 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 isn’t so fairly, however far as a rule, what that mirror displays is an trade constructed on a whole bunch and hundreds of progressive and disruptive do-ers, all striving in direction of the last word aim of serving to authorized professionals higher ship authorized providers to their shoppers.

At a separate TECHSHOW occasion final week, Joshua Lenon, lawyer in residence at Clio, talked concerning the cumulative impression of authorized tech. I can’t do his phrases justice, however the gist of what he talked about was how he explains to new hires at Clio the outsized impression their work can have. Given the huge hole all through the world in entry to justice, each incremental enchancment in authorized tech helps authorized professionals do extra and subsequently helps chip away at that hole. What may appear, within the second, as a comparatively minor activity, is cumulatively constructing in direction of a a lot larger aim.

That’s what so lots of you might be doing, day in and day trip. You’re constructing in direction of a greater, fairer and extra simply world. I report on it as a result of I consider within the mission and I’m impressed by your work. However you’re the do-ers, not me.

A phrase I heard rather a lot final week to discuss with the authorized tech neighborhood is “tribe.” An occasion reminiscent of ABA TECHSHOW is the place that tribe gathers, the place these of us who consider within the potential of know-how to enhance the supply of authorized providers discover our individuals.

As a journalist, I attempt to be goal. However I can’t 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 pals, and I need 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 may flip round and honor all of you with a fair larger award and a fair larger cake.

Till that chance comes alongside, I prefer to consider that, by reporting and recognizing authorized innovation by my writing, I’m, in my means, honoring every one in all you who attempt to enhance the authorized system.

From my vantage level through the years, 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 isn’t a street 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 can even guarantee you that running a blog has introduced me riches far larger than something cash may 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.

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