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ILTACON's Unchanging Theme and How to Make It Work for You

Sam Bock

ILTACON has long been a staple of the legal space—and for good reason. Now in its 41st year, the event has spent decades traveling the United States and bringing legal and technology education to attendees from around the world.

This year, ILTACON takes place in Maryland and the list of attendees is, as always, expected to be large and diverse. Catering to that audience is an array of sessions for many roles, laid out in a nice roadmap for professionals on ILTACON’s website. Session titles range from “The Law Department of the Future” to “Design Thinking in Litigation Support” and “Leveraging the Power of the Cloud for Innovation.”

Clearly there will be something for everyone next month. But when it comes to the legal world, even the brightest individual isn’t enough. Each expert contributes to a symphony that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

So, what’s the theme that brings all this brainpower together in the cause for more effective, more efficient work? 

Your Peers Are Your Secret Weapon

Each year seems to have a dominant topic making the most noise in everyday conversation and conference programming. For a while it was technology-assisted review (TAR) and its many considerations. Broader analytics, cybersecurity, and AI have also gotten plenty of attention. We’ve dug deep into how these and other topics have appeared on the legal landscape.

But, as is increasingly clear in this field, there’s one theme that seems to stand the test of time: the power of the people.

It’s obvious from attendees’ excitement that networking with colleagues from across the legal space is a big draw for ILTACON, as it should be for any conference worth its salt.

It’s also clear from ILTACON’s agenda for this year that good old human brainpower is the centerpiece of conversation in legal these days. Check out this word cloud illustrating some of this year’s most-used words among ILTACON’s sessions, and note that “innovation” and “collaborate” are top-of-mind among conference planners.

Don’t Let Opportunity Pass You By

The value of any good conference is not limited to the lessons you learn in the sessions—in fact, some of those you might get from a good book or thorough follow-up coverage. Instead, you’ll glean more insights from your next show if you focus on the human element.

Here are five quick tips to ensure you don’t miss the boat on the best takeaways:

  1. Prepare well and set goals for your sessions and your social calendar. It’s a best practice for any conference to both list out what you hope to learn and accomplish during your time outside of the office, and take some time afterward to digest lessons and share your takeaways with your team back at work.
  2. Buddy up and tackle your goals with insights from a friend. Whether you choose a familiar coworker to join you on the journey, or opt to connect with a conference veteran to meet someone new and absorb some of their wisdom, you’ll set yourself up for success if you don’t go it alone.
  3. Find new inspiration by asking a lot of meaningful questions of session leads and your peers. Participation and conversation make sessions rewarding for presenters as well as listeners. Plus, there’s a lot of expertise literally all around you—and your fellow attendees will be more than happy to talk shop and exchange a helpful nugget or two.
  4. Perfect your personal brand ahead of the show. If you want to make lasting connections, you’ll need to have a memorable impact. Walk the line between confidence and self-promotion in a good way by knowing how to put your best foot forward.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the many languages of legal work, and address peers accordingly. It isn’t productive to simply immerse yourself with like-minded professionals with backgrounds just like yours. You’ll take a lot more learning home with you if you’re embracing the diversity of the crowd.

If you’re attending ILTACON (or, about a month later, Relativity Fest), say hello to our team and make sure you follow some best practices for networking throughout the event. In the meantime, let us know what you’re looking forward to at the show in the comments or on Twitter.

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Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.