With less than 60 days to go until the fabulous event that is ILTACON, 2015 edition, it is worth taking a few moments in the days and weeks before conference to plan, so that you’ll get the most out of ILTACON’s educational sessions.
I find it helpful to think about my legal technology educational needs on essentially three levels.
What is the next set of personal skills or knowledge base that I personally need to have in order to advance and add value to my firm?
What are the projects I’m working on or supervising right now or next year where I need to learn more about the underlying technology or key methods for success?
What are my firm’s strategic priorities, and what solutions, developments, and approaches do I need to know about in order to further those priorities?
Depending on your level of seniority and professional development, your balance of those three session types might vary.
First-timers may not quite have a sense of the scope of the offerings here. With over 150 sessions put on by members and vendors in 17 time slots over four days, it is more than likely that there WILL BE a time in every day of the week when you wish you could clone yourself and attend more than one session. Since human cloning is not only unethical but unavailable, here are a few tactics you can use to find out what is going to work best for you and provide the most value to your firm.
For a simple day-by-day schedule, without any session detail, look at the conference agenda.
To get a high-level sense of the daily flow of the educational sessions (and what “competes” with what), download the Conference Grid. I even print it out and put it in a binder, even though I get ribbed about this virtuous habit (I’m a reformed lawyer and like to read physical ink on top of wood pulp occasionally.) Consider circling sessions that look interesting, then stepping back and looking at where you have two or more sessions of interest in a given time slot.
The conference team and ILTA staff have spent substantial effort this year on informative titles, so hopefully the title will itself be enough for you to at least screen out sessions that you know won’t be useful to you.
Leverage the Session Search to research the session detailed descriptions and speakers on the sessions you thought might be of interest. Just enter a few key words from the session title in the Session Title field.
Alternatively, you can leverage the Session Search to uncover previously unknown sessions of interest in (at least) three other ways. A sample search session might go like this:
1. I start by searching the “Target Audience” field to find extensive sets of sessions targeted at one of 15 roles. I’m a knowledge manager, so my search for “Knowledge Manager” sessions generates 22 sessions that are likely to be of interest to me (and yes, several sessions occur at the same time!)
2. I notice that each session lists an “Area of Discipline” in the lower right. There are 9 Areas of Discipline, so there will be correspondingly more sessions associated with each of these. Many of the sessions in my list of sessions targeted at KM Professionals are in the “Information Management” area, so I can search just in that area and find a different but overlapping set of 35 sessions.
3. I see an interesting session on data analytics preparation and wonder if there are any other sessions on Business Intelligence, an area that I’m working in. I look under “Area of Focus” and find Business Intelligence (BI/CI) as an option. Searching on that narrows down the session list to four sessions targeted on BI.
The end result of your planning efforts could be a session grid (or set of calendar appointments) that indicates your first and perhaps second and third choices for each of the times when educational content is being offered.
Keep in mind that if you hear about something that's really great, you can always change your mind and go to a different session than the one you initially planned.
I hope these tips help, and that many of you figure out how to get the most out of all the great content that your peers and vendor colleagues have pulled together. Have a great conference!
Team Coordinator, Information Governance Track
ILTACON Conference Committee
Litigation Knowledge Manager
Goodwin Procter LLP