The Consumer Electronics Show: My Legal Business Trip

While becoming a lawyer was always my career goal, I always felt one downfall to the career path was the lack of the opportunity to travel. As law is very jurisdiction-specific, we rarely have the opportunity to go on “business trips”. This is especially true for solo and small-firm lawyers, however I’ve heard the same is true for those who practice in larger firms. Some lawyers certainly get the chance to appear before international tribunals, however this is clearly unique and not something most lawyers will experience. While those in other professional fields like accounting and consulting will be quick to say that business trips become tiresome and not at all glamorous, the opportunity to “jet” off to places like London and New York is something I’ve always wanted to do – at least a few times until I get the point that it’s not as much fun as it seems.

The past few years I’ve been attending the Public Defender’s Retreat in Las Vegas. This is a great, inexpensive, CLE that provides relevant sessions and is attended by a number of interesting lawyers from across the United States (recently there has been a growing Ontario contingent as well). It’s fascinating to network with those practicing criminal law in the United States. The challenges they face can be quite different in many ways and similar in many others. The Americans also find our Canadian system quite fascinating (our legal aid certificate system has come up a few times).

Right now, I’m in Las Vegas for another conference – the Consumer Electronics Show. This is a massive conference that brings together professionals from the consumer electronics industry. While this certainly isn’t my industry, I had heard great things about the conference and felt I could attend to explore how new and emerging technologies could be used in law practice. I will be providing a couple articles for SLAW on what I find. I’d like to thank Professor Fodden and Connie Crosby for providing me this opportunity to contribute to SLAW.

I was wondering if other legal professionals have been able to incorporate business travel into their practice. My experiences have been more conference-based, but are there opportunities out there involving client meetings and professional networking? I’d say in litigation type area, probably not, but how about those practicing in areas like business, immigration, and real estate?

So I don’t leave anyone hanging, here are a few observations and tidbits from the conference thus far (also check out my Twitter feed: @aglawoffice):

  • This was expected to be the “year of the tablet”, and there are certainly a number of these devices on display (notably the Blackberry Playbook, tablets using Google’s Android technology, as well as those using Windows 7 and Palm OS). I plan to prepare an article on the use of the tablet in legal practice with a particular focus on how it can be used in the courtroom. The industry leader, however, is absent from the conference. Apple is nowhere to be found, although there is certainly no shortage of products designed for the ipad, ranging from skins and stands to speaker systems. No doubt this is a deliberate marketing move on Apple’s part. Very few, if any, other companies could get away with not being here.
  • Based on some discussions with employees from 3D TV makers, it may be best to steer clear of this first-generation technology for the time being (unless you’re a gamer). There just isn’t enough content, and the glasses are ugly.
  • Mashable is a great company that reports on social media news. Be warned, going to their web site could result in hours upon hours of reading. The content is just that good, and highly relevant to professionals. Last night I attended their awards gala at New York New York. Angry Birds, another time waster, won the award for best mobile game app. The popularity of this game is clear as Mattel was showing a board game version.
  • An interesting comment was made by an employee of Kodak who does social media for the company. He stated that, at first, their lawyers wanted to approve every tweet. For obvious reasons, the lawyers were overruled, but instead a social media policy was developed.


  1. I’m deeply jealous, and looking forward to hearing more from you. I’m particularly interested in tablets – is there anything which seems to be a threat to Apple’s dominance?

  2. Hi Wendy:

    It’s hard to say, and we may not know until the second quarter of this year once all the new devices are out and have been tested.

    I have some great video interviews with folks from RIM, Viewsonic, and two other Android tablet makers. I didn’t get to try out any Palm tablets. I can see some advantages to those products over the ipad. For example, the ipad can’t be used as a presentation device, nor does it seem that easy to move over video content, two features that would be useful for lawyers, particularly in court. Whether Apple includes these features in the second generation ipad is anyone’s guess.

    A few companies may send me out some demo devices (yes, I will need to send them back). Perhaps we could arrange a meet-up so everyone can give them a try.

  3. Actually, presentations can be made with the iPad, using Keynote and probably other apps. See: