Inspirations from #ABATECHSHOW 2014

Now that I’ve had a few days to process the TECHSHOW experience, I’ve come up with a few ideas that I hope to implement quickly.

  • Using Viivo and Dropbox more to facilitate document sharing with clients and opposing counsel.
  • I need to go through my Facebook “likes” to de-like law firms. Since I’m a mediator, I don’t want to be seen as favoring one firm over another. It seems like a minor thing, but Bob Ambrogi is right. No need to look like I’m biased toward some attorneys and firms.
  • I need to make better use of TextExpander for document automation.
  • God help me, I’m migrating to Microsoft Word. While I love Pages (the older version—before Apple “updated” it last year), in the law office environment it’s easier to deal with Word from the start rather than the Pages-to-Word conversion. With Office now available for the iPad, it’s the right move for me. (We’ll see how I feel about this move after a few months.)
  • I’m going to give MyCase a trial for a month.

Short reflections on #ABATECHSHOW 2014

What’s the difference between drinking from a firehose and attending ABA TECHSHOW?

At TECHSHOW, you won’t get soaked with water.

Last week I attended my second TECHSHOW. Here are my general thoughts.

  • Overall, the presentations were very good to excellent. In many instances, I found that the presentations weren’t necessarily teaching me anything new, but for those who are not as far along on the learning curve, the sessions were a great resource.
  • The Expo floor was stuffed with all sorts of vendors with products that could be very helpful to lawyers. I didn’t see a lot there that was new to me, but it was good to talk to the folks at MyCase and Viivo. I would have chatted with the folks at Lit Software, but they were constantly swamped.
  • I probably should have been more outgoing and said hello to people I know of via this wonderful thing called the Internet. My inherently introverted nature struck again.
  • If I can make it next year, I will need to hit some of the social gatherings like Beer With Bloggers or the Law and Disorder Party. This year I traveled with my family, so I skipped the social events in order to dine with them and have some fun. It’s one hell of a trade off either way.
  • Harold’s Chicken Shack has the best fried chicken north of Atlanta.
  • Right next door, Warehouse Liquors is a great resource in a gorgeous environment. Thanks to Richard Ferguson for cluing me in.
  • One of the best sessions for me was run by Tom Mighell on how to become a Law Practice Division author. For years now I’ve felt that there is a book author in me working to get out. This brief session might lead to something…who knows?
  • Every jurisdiction needs more judges with the humor and passion of Herbert B. Dixon, Jr. I think I’d subscribe to Judges’ Journal just to read his columns.
  • My social media feeds will become even more unmanageable as I add new people to them.

If I have one substantive critical comment, it would be about the iOS app for the conference. The app requires an active Internet connection to get most stuff, it seems, and with the flaky and inconsistent Internet service in the hotel room, it was a bit annoying. Also, it would be nice to be able to save the downloaded PDF files into another app like PDF Expert without having to jump through hoops. Emailing myself a link, opening the link on a desktop or laptop machine, and then saving to Dropbox is no way to go. 🙂

 

Three things I learned at ABA TECHSHOW 2013

Now that I’ve had the time to digest the many things I saw and heard at TECHSHOW earlier this month, here’s my list of take-aways.

  1. In jurisdictions with electronic filing systems that use PDFs, lawyers should submit interactive briefs to the court. Hyperlinking to cases or embedding videos can present the client’s case in an effective manner. Ernie Svenson and David Maxfield did a great job showing ways we can make PDF briefs more persuasive.
  2. You can use the Security preferences pane in Mac OS X to display a message when the lock screen appears, such as “If found, please contact…” David Sparks and Larry Staton offered plenty of other good tips in their Mac Power Users seminar. I consider myself to be pretty Mac-savvy, but I picked up quite a few good ideas.
  3. There are good uses for technology in mediation, primarily in the opening statements. Lawyers who blow off the opening statement in mediation are missing a big opportunity. (In my local bar, lawyers seem to eschew the opening statements in a desire to “get it settled quickly.” I’m beginning to doubt that skipping the opening session is at all helpful.) Kudos to Marc Matheney and Randy Juip for an enlightening presentation.

It’s #ABATECHSHOW time

The ABA’s annual TECHSHOW conference is kicking off in Chicago this week. I wish I could be there. But, as always, there are a few things that get in the way: the cost, the travel (which is really not a big deal for me since I’m only 90 minutes away), and the timing. For some reason, March is always a busy month.

As a tech enthusiast, TECHSHOW is probably worth the annual pilgrimage. Thousands of lawyers attend, but there are many more who can’t attend for one reason or another.

That’s why I wish the ABA would open up this conference a bit further and allow “attendance” remotely. For example, the ABA could offer streaming video of the presentations. Alternatively, the ABA could offer the presentations on YouTube after the event is over.

There are a bunch of “objections” to this idea: the cost, CLE credit, and so on. I say hogwash. A group of lawyers ought to be able to figure out solutions to any hurdles. For example, there could be a variety of video options:

  • Video streaming with CLE for a certain registration cost
  • Video streaming without CLE for a lower registration cost
  • Delayed video (YouTube) at no cost
  • Presentations on DVD for a set cost

Another huge annual conference, TED, offers streaming video for 20% of the cost to attend the event in person. TED begins to upload videos to its web site and elsewhere shortly after the conference ends, usually one a day—at no cost to anyone.

Of course, nothing can beat attending any conference in person. If the ABA had more options for people who can’t attend to enjoy at least some of the benefits of the show, it would be doing all lawyers a great service. So who do we start to pester to make this happen?