Attention Startups: Applications Now Open for the ABA TECHSHOW 2023 Startup Alley and Pitch Competition


In its six years so far, the Startup Alley competition at ABA TECHSHOW has helped catapult the success of a long list of legal technology startups. Now the competition is returning for its seventh year, and applications officially open today to enter for a spot at TECHSHOW 2023, which takes place in Chicago March 1-4.

Out of all the entries received, 15 startups will be selected to participate in a live 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 as exhibitors in a special Startup Alley section of the conference exhibit hall. 

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 formApplications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.

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

  • Jeannine Lambert, TECHSHOW 2023 co-chair.
  • Gyi Tsakalakis, TECHSHOW 2023 co-chair.
  • Sofia Lingos, TECHSHOW 2023 co-vice-chair.
  • Cynthia Thomas, TECHSHOW 2023 co-vice-chair.
  • Bob Ambrogi, Startup Alley organizer.

On Jan. 17, 2023, 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 that receive the most votes will be selected for Startup Alley. Winners will be announced on Jan. 31. 

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 Startup Alley in 2017-2022.

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 of in a LIVE pitch competition that is TECHSHOW’s signature opening night event. 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.

In addition, all 15 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.
  • Each startup is responsible for its own travel and hotel expenses to Chicago.

What Do Startups 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.

The winner of the opening night pitch competition will receive:

  • Free 10×10 booth space at the 2024 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.

Additionally, each of the 15 finalists will receive a free one-year premium listing in the LawNext Legal Technology Directory.

There is no cost to apply and the application form is relatively painless to complete. We look forward to reading your submissions. 

Questions? Send them my way.



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