Attention legal technology startups: Here is your chance to compete to be featured as a presenter and exhibitor in the fourth-annual Startup Alley at ABA TECHSHOW, the American Bar Association’s annual legal technology conference, taking place in Chicago Feb. 26-29, 2020.

Today, we are officially announcing the call for entries for Startup Alley, offering startups a shot at being one of 15 companies selected to receive space in a special portion of TECHSHOW’s exhibition hall and to participate in an opening night pitch competition, judged by TECHSHOW attendees, to pick the most innovative startup idea.

Again this year, I will be coordinating the competition, in collaboration with the TECHSHOW board. Read on for full details.

How Will the Startups Be Selected?

The competition starts today. Startups interested in participating should complete this application form. Applications must be received by Oct. 31, 2019.

From all applications received, a panel of five judges will select 25 finalists. This year’s judges are:

  • Heidi Alexander, TECHSHOW 2020 co-chair.
  • Catherine Sanders Reach, TECHSHOW 2020 co-chair.
  • Allan MacKenzie, TECHSHOW 2020 co-vice-chair.
  • Roberta Tepper, TECHSHOW 2020 c0-vice-chair.
  • Me.

On Nov. 18, 2019, brief descriptions of each of the 25 will be posted on the ABA TECHSHOW blog, Above the Law and LawSites, and readers will be invited to vote for their favorites. The 15 startups with the most votes will be selected for TECHSHOW. Winners will be announced on Dec. 9.

What Are the Criteria for Applying?

The competition is limited to startups that meet the following criteria:

  • Your product or service is targeted to lawyers or legal professionals, not to consumers.
  • Your company has never before exhibited at a national legal technology conference.
  • Your company has achieved some demonstrable traction, either in users or financing.
  • You were not one of the prior years’ winners selected to present at TECHSHOW in the 2017, 2018 or 2019 Startup Alley.

In addition, your company should be innovative, meaning that it addresses a need not met by other products or services currently on the market or that it does so in a way not currently done by others.

What Happens If I Am Selected?

The winning startups will be provided space at a discounted cost to exhibit their product or service in a special Startup Alley located within TECHSHOW’s exhibit hall.

  • Each startup will be provided space in a uniform, pre-installed booth. You will not need (or be allowed) to bring a booth of your own.
  • Each startup will be responsible for the booth fee of $1,500. This is a significant reduction off the standard booth cost. You are welcome to seek sponsors to underwrite all or part of this cost.
  • You will be responsible for your own travel and hotel expenses to Chicago.

In addition to exhibit space, each startup will face off in an opening night pitch competition. Each startup will have 2.5 minutes to present its pitch in front of an audience of TECHSHOW attendees. At the conclusion of the pitches, attendees will vote to select the most innovative company as the winner.

What Do I Get Out of This?

ABA TECHSHOW is one of the world’s pre-eminent legal technology conferences. Your company will gain exposure to a diverse audience of legal professionals, including practitioners, academics, consultants and others. In addition, TECHSHOW’s audience includes legal journalists, bloggers and industry analysts.

In short, your company will get precious time in the spotlight. Along with that will come invaluable opportunities for feedback about your product or service from TECHSHOW attendees, the competition’s judges and your peers at other startups.

In addition, the winner of the opening night pitch competition will receive:

  • Free 10×10 booth space at the 2020 TECHSHOW.
  • Free 12-month listing on the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center’s Buyer’s Guide.
  • $5,000 credit to use towards advertising in ABA Law Practice Division media.
  • A profile of the company on my LawSites blog.

There is no cost to apply, and the application form is relatively painless. We hope to hear from you and to see you in Chicago in February.

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal…

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division. At LexBlog, he oversees LexBlog.com, the global legal news and commentary network.