If you are attending ABA Techshow this week, be sure not to miss a special opening night event — the first-ever startup pitch contest.

On Wednesday night, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m., during the Techshow opening reception in the exhibit hall, 12 legal technology startups will face off in a fast-paced, bracketed “March Madness” pitch competition where the audience will vote to select the most innovative among them.

Attendance is open to anyone, even if you are not a paid TECHSHOW registrant, provided you register for a free exhibit hall pass.

Here’s how the contest will work:

There will be two rounds. In the first round, pairs of startups will compete against each other in rapid-fire presentations, with each startup getting two minutes to present its pitch. First-round presentations will focus on each startup’s elevator pitch and the pain point the product addresses. After each pair of presentations, the audience will vote on the winner.

In the second round, the six winners of round one will compete to be overall winner. Each will get two minutes to demonstrate its product. Companies can demo the product live, but most will use prerecorded videos.

At the end of the second round, the audience will vote to select the first, second and third place winners.

For the first round, the pairings are:

The first-place startup wins an advertising package on Above the Law.

I will be emceeing the contest and Mary Juetten, EvolveLaw cofounder, will be the official timekeeper.

If you are attending TECHSHOW or are in the Chicago area, we hope to see you at the contest. And keep in mind that all 12 companies will also be exhibiting in the Startup Alley portion of the exhibit hall, so look for them there.

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 publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.