Finding ILTA: The “organic” growth of the International Legal Technology Association
By Monica Bay
What is ILTA? Like IBM, not everyone knows what the acronym stands for. (IBM is the International Business Machines Corp., based in Armonk, N.Y.)
You won’t find the answer if you assume you can find it at ilta.com. Or ilta.org. ILTA is easy to say and runs smoothly off the tongue—maybe that’s why there are several ILTAs.
ILTA.org is the home of the International Liquid Terminals Association, which took the name on June 1, 2008. The organization was founded in 1974, and has headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area. I’m still not sure exactly what that is, but the website has a picture of massive storage devices for liquids.
ILTA.com brings you to ILTA Commodities S.A. Its website pictures look like a bunch of rocks, but a better guess is they are pictures of oilseeds and grains. “We are an integrated agribusiness company, with a worldwide presence at all levels of the agricultural commodities supply chain: from the farmer to the end consumer. We invest in hard assets, logistics and processing, supported by a strong physical trading platform.” OMG, almost as much jargon as legal technology vendors!
To find the International Legal Technology Association, you’ll need to go to iltanet.org. The organization has changed its name several times since it was first was founded in 1980 as the “PSS Users Group,” (PSS was the name of an accounting software product.) The goal was to help law firms deal with the computerization of accounting functions, with a two-day meeting in Phoenix, explained executive director Randi Mayes in a recent interview with Jason Krause. By 1985, Wang technology was king, so the group incorporated itself as the “VS Legal Users Group, aka VSLUG”, she told Krause. That then became LawNet, before the name changed again in 2004 to ILTA, confirmed T.J. Johnson, ILTA’s conference coordinator. Mayes describes the process as “organic.”
The moniker “ILTA” has been very sticky and remains fresh and catchy. And no matter what the name, the organization has continued to expand over the years, now with a strong presence worldwide.
Earlier this year, Mayes has announced that she will retire in 2017, so a new leader will soon emerge. Mayes will leave quite a legacy, and will be missed. But it’s likely that the latest moniker will stay the same for quite a while to come.
Meanwhile, it’s not too late to head for ILTACON 2016, the huge, intense, peer-to-peer five-day annual conference that has grown from Mayes’ team. It launched Sunday at the Gaylord National Harbor, Maryland (close to Washington, D.C.) Registration info here.
But hey! It looks like nobody’s grabbed www.ilta.edu. Pull out the checkbook (or should I say, pull out your phone) NOW!
Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics and a member of the California bar.