Last night, I did a one-hour presentation, "How to Lose an eDiscovery Case in 30 Days", to a room full of seasoned lawyers – and a couple of judges – for the Los Angeles County Bar Association Litigation Inn of Court. I've been a member of this group for approximately two-and-a-half years and, having discussed eDiscovery at length with the members over the usual cocktails and dinners, I tailor-made my 20-slide talk to focus on what I believe they wanted – and needed – to know.
Slide #1 was my nine-point outline of what I would cover over the hour. Forty minutes later, I was still on that slide. The Inn of Court uses an open-question format. Unfortunately, in our space, one question opens a can of worms, which spawns multiple follow-up questions. Obviously, it's a good thing that there were so many questions – and the attendees can always read through my presentation at their leisure – but, as someone who is always observing those who are observing me, it illustrates how much farther there is to go. I could have easily stretched the talk to two hours and still would have likely run out of time.
When I present at the CalBar Solo and Small Firm Summit June 24th, I may have to switch to the despotic method and hold questions until the final ten minutes. It's a tough call. Every question I was asked last night was substantive and important – and deserved an answer. The problem is, with only an hour available, the best one may hope for is completing an overview.
To put it another way, I made it through the meal, but didn't get my dessert.