Each year starts off with a bang, as Legaltech, one of the biggest and most-attended legal trade shows, always convenes at the end of the January.  Legaltech has evolved into Legalweek, an expanded series of events involving workshops, forums, networking and much more to help people across the legal industry keep up with changes on all fronts.  It’s a whirlwind week, so much so that it’s nearly impossible to take it all in.

Two industry veterans have offered up their observations for the blogosphere, not just on what was discussed, but perhaps just as importantly, what was not discussed.

While Legaltech still forms the core of Legalweek, David Curle, Director of the Technology and Innovation Platform at the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, wrote that Legaltech and Legalweek now focus less on technology as “pixie dust” and more on the market forces and business strategies that are both driving and necessitating new technologies.

Meanwhile, attorney and long-time legal technology journalist Bob Ambrogi wrote about a different, potentially more worrisome shift.  Writing about both Legalweek and Inspire.Legal, Ambrogi offered an observation that the shows are increasingly focused on the needs, views and trends involving the largest law firms and corporations, to the detriment of the “roughly 90 percent of lawyers who practice outside the large firm/large corporation ecosystem.” While taking pains to point out how these and other conferences clearly benefit and advance the legal profession, he worries about reinforcing an “echo chamber” that may or may not serve the best interests of the entire legal ecosystem.

At conferences like Legalweek, the focus is on the topics being presented in a given forum or panel discussion, or the newest widget being introduced by a particular vendor. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the specific views offers by Messrs. Curle and Ambrogi, they remind us it’s important to occasionally take a step back and reflect on how all the accelerating changes swirling around us fit into the bigger picture as well.