Attention legal technology startups: Here is your chance to compete to be featured as a presenter and exhibitor in the fifth-annual Startup Alley at ABA TECHSHOW, the American Bar Association’s annual legal technology conference, to be held virtually on March 8-12, 2021. 

Today officially kicks off the call for entries for Startup Alley, in which 15 startups will be selected to participate in a virtual pitch competition that will be the opening event of this year’s TECHSHOW. In addition to the pitch competition, the 15 finalists will be highlighted on a special Startup Alley section of the conference website. 

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 must complete this application form. Applications must be received by midnight Pacific Time on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.

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

  • Allan MacKenzie, TECHSHOW 2021 co-chair.
  • Roberta Tepper, TECHSHOW 2021 co-chair.
  • Ivan Hemmans, TECHSHOW 2021 co-vice-chair.
  • Brooke Moore, TECHSHOW 2021 co-vice-chair.
  • Bob Ambrogi, Startup Alley organizer. 

On Jan. 4, 2021, brief descriptions of each of the 25 finalists 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 Startup Alley. Winners will be announced on Jan. 25. 

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, 2019 or 2020 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 My Company Is Selected?

The 15 winning finalists will face off in a virtual pitch competition on March 8, 2021, that will be the opening event for TECHSHOW 2021. Each startup will have 2.5 minutes to present its pitch in front of a virtual audience of TECHSHOW attendees. At the conclusion of the pitches, attendees will vote to select the most innovative company as the winner.

For this year’s competition, participants will be required to pre-record their 2.5 minute presentations. One person from each startup will also be allowed to present 30 seconds of live remarks. 

In addition to the pitch competition, the 15 finalists will be highlighted on a special Startup Alley section of the conference website. 

What Do I Get Out of This? 

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

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

  • Free 10×10 booth space at the 2022 TECHSHOW (or online equivalent if a live event is not possible).
  • 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 to complete. We look forward to reading your submission. 

Questions? Send them my way.

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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.