…this year, the LegalTech conference seems a little bit different because the legal world is bidding a farewell – of sorts – to Monica Bay. ALM Media, the show organizer and publisher of Law Technology News (LTN) announced recently she will retire on February 9, 2015 as editor-in-chief of LTN. She has spent a career spanning three decades at ALM Media.
A salute to @MonicaBay from @bobambrogi on Monica's retirement after 30 years at ALM. #ltny15 pic.twitter.com/ZDDsWwA4Su
— Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) February 5, 2015
For the legal industry, this is a significant event as Ms. Bay has served for so long as curator, arbitrator and referee of the legal technology community. She has implored the industry to embrace change, advocated for technical literacy and kept tabs on service providers and vendors alike – including LexisNexis.
After all, not just anyone gets their name displayed on the Jumbotron in Times Square.
MT @IrisDataService: Look who we saw in #TimesSquare Congratulations @LTNMonicaBay #LTNY15 @LawTechNews pic.twitter.com/RN7wsxYEo4
— Comp Legal Studies (@computational) February 3, 2015
While many of us are still wondering what the legal tech world will look like without Ms. Bay, industry insiders and friends are taking a moment to reflect on her contributions and thank her for the great ride.
Here’s what some industry leaders had to say about her:
Bob Ambrogi, attorney and author of the Lawsites blog put it eloquently “the big story at….LegalTech isn’t a product, it’s a person.” He wrote:
“If ever there was a giant in the legal technology field, it is Monica. Not only has she been at the helm of what is arguably the leading legal technology magazine all these years, but she has also been a fixture at legal technology events and on legal technology panels all over the world. I wonder whether there is anyone in the legal technology industry who Monica has not met face-to-face.”
Mr. Ambrogi added:
“To appreciate Monica’s editorship of LTN, you have to remember that magazine before she took over in 1998. Until then, it had been largely an outlet for vendor press releases, with little reporting or analysis. Monica brought on new reporters and columnists, added depth and commentary, and made the magazine a must-read. Over the years of her leadership, she, the magazine and its writers won some 53 journalism awards.”
In response to Mr. Ambrogi’s post, Kevin O’Keefe, attorney and author of LexBlog said:
“Where online legal communities come and go, Monica built a real community of passionate and caring authorities in the area of legal technology. In addition to a community of contributors to LTN, Monica went out of her way to make you feel a part of the community, whether at LegalTech, coffee at her office or when she took us to major league ball games during her travels around the country.”
Jeffrey Brandt, editor of the PinHawk Law Technology Daily Digest called her “The Amazing Monica Bay” in his daily summary:
“You can think of Mon more like pure energy. She can be ‘converted into different forms but not destroyed.’ I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’re going to continue to see a lot from her.”
Based on these reactions to the news of her retirement, it’s clear she has left an indelible mark on the legal technology industry. In her own words, it’s not the end, but a new beginning:
“And so, it’s aloha, but not goodbye. I’m not leaving the legal technology community—I’ll be a fellow at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. I will also do some consulting and will try to take a vacation without checking my iPhone every five minutes. Ping me on LinkedIn and Twitter: @monicabay”.
In the days when legal tech news only came in printed form, the period at the end of an article was usually the final word. Today, with online news, blogs and social media, especially those focused on legal technology, the final punctuation is often just the beginning of a conversation. To that end, it might be better today to end with ellipsis: Bon voyage, Monica…
* * *
Erin Harrison, who has served as editor in chief of InsideCounsel will fulfill duties at ALM. In January ALM announced a deal to acquire Summit Professional Networks which publishes InsideCounsel among other titles.
Photo credit: Flickr, xlibber, CC BY 2.0
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