No #opensource at #ABATECHSHOW? No Worries.

January 9, 2012

The session schedule for #ABATECHSHOW 2012 is out, and #opensource didn’t make the cut this year. And you know what? That is perfectly OK.

Just glancing at the schedule, there are clearly bigger fish to fry than open source applications. Mobile security. Advances in cloud computing and security. Social media. Social media and eDiscovery. Technology moves at a fast pace, as you all are no doubt aware. And many of the advances have a direct impact on the solo and small firm cases. Open source? Not so much. Open source applications skill exist, mind you, and there’s nothing preventing you from trying some out or looking at them as alternatives.

Is it a bummer open source isn’t making a return? Yes. Am I that broken up about it? No. I’m more interesting in lawyers learning tips and tricks, and finding tools to use to better sift through the massive amount of data spewed across the Internet. The legal profession is undergoing shifts across the board, and #ABATECHSHOW 2012 schedule illustrates some of those shifts. Not only is the profession becoming more mobile, but its clientele is already mobile. In personal lives, we’re used to posting and commenting and not always aware of potential ramifications.

So #ABATECHSHOW is doing what it does best: educating lawyers on developments, advancements and new technologies. Are you going?

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Social Media and eDiscovery at #LTNY

December 21, 2011

Way back in June, I posted a on some articles I had written on open source, and social media and eDiscovery. At the time, there wasn’t much talk of social media and eDiscovery, and open source was waning in interest for many.

Last year, when I went to #ltny, I spoke with a few eDiscovery vendors and came away thinking hrm…social media will soon be a factor. There was one session that touched on social media use during trial, which was helpful and sparked the Texas Bar Journal article I wrote. Since then social media has come up more often in terms of eDiscovery and trials. I read things about juries being unable to tweet, blog or post online during trials, and some jurors getting in trouble for doing so, and feel symptoms of Twitter withdrawal coming on.

So imagine my delight in finding a session at #ltny titled “Effects of Social Media on Trials and Juries.” The session description is as follows:

Thanks to the social media explosion people are saying things about themselves publicly at an unprecedented pace. They also are connecting in ways unheard of just 10 years ago. How can this trend be used to your advantage? What are the best practices? What are some of the lessons learned – often the hard way? Our panel will discuss:

  • Using Facebook to pick juries – yes or no?
  • The impact of jurors doing their own online research
  • Leveraging social media and emerging technologies in your trial strategy
  • The impact of increased access to court proceedings via tweets, texts and tablets

Jurors doing their own online research. Court proceedings via tweets, texts and tablets. Um…guilty? The leveraging social media and emerging tech in trial strategy strikes me as the most interesting aspect. The immediate thought is swaying of public opinion, which naturally brings to mind #blago. Court proceedings might be an area where hashtags really come in handy. Who knows?

At any rate, #ltny looks to be rather interesting. It has a number of #cloudcomputing sessions too, which isn’t surprising. Practically a standard topic now. Social media in eDiscovery seems to be heading that way as well. Further proof lawyers need to know about social media beyond its use for marketing.


Twitter: Underutilized Tool at Conferences?

May 31, 2011

I read Carolyn Elefant’s nice post on Nolo, For Conferences, Nothing Beats Tweets, and remembered that, a couple years ago, I was so incredibly annoyed at how underutilized Twitter was used at conference, I  bought the domain TweetMyConference with the intent of using as a way to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter at conferences. I just put a couple windows up to start while I worked on it locally, my head filling with more useful functionality than I had programming knowledge to achieve. Today, I’m still shocked no one else has done something similar. Or maybe they have but it isn’t well known.

Part of the problem, I think, is that those charged with organizing conferences, perhaps even attendees, still aren’t sure of the usefulness of Twitter. Twitter still has that “what I’m eating for lunch today” label attached to it. That seems to only be further strengthened by its use of celebrities in promotional videos, demonstrating a total lack of understanding for its users, but alas, I digress.

Carolyn offers some good pointers on using Twitter while at a conference. I’ve employed those myself with a fair amount of success. And while #abatechshow is the most obvious example, there’s a better one: #MILOfest.

MILOfest (pronounces my-lo) is short of Macs In Law Offices and is put on by Victor Medina. As you can guess, it’s a conference devoted to all things Mac in a law office setting. I don’t remember how I heard of it, probably by following Victor on Twitter, but I remember thinking of it as a worthwhile conference to attend. So I did, and, of course, I tweeted from the event. My Twitter reputation proceeded me, which I’ve kind of gotten used to now but, none-the-less, still find surprising.

The thing that struck me, and that I remember now after reading Carolyn’s post, are the inquiries, via Twitter, from other Mac-using attorneys who hadn’t heard of MILOfest, and wanted to know more. I directed them to the website, and responded to their tweets as I best I could since it was my first time at MILOfest. They were excited, and pleased, that there was a conference strictly on Macs in law offices. They weren’t alone!

So just by tweeting from a conference, other people, not at the conference, learned something. And at least one expressed interest in attending MILOfest 2011.

And it’s that sharing of information that is the important, yet underutilized component of Twitter at conferences. I’d wager that’s due to so few tweeters attending (and tweeting from!) conferences. Perhaps conference organizers will reach out to tweeters as they reach out to journalists, or tweeters will reach out to conference organizers, and we’ll all learn something new.


First Mac, then #cloudcomputing so perhaps #opensource #abatechshow

April 20, 2011

OK. So I’ve been on a bit of a post-#abatechshow high. Small Firm Innovation launched, softly, to a warm reception. And I apologize to those of you who stopped by the Clio booth last Monday only to find me huddled on the floor, “wired in,” as they say. I’m known to acquire “tunnel vision” from time to time, and that was one of those times. Needless to say, I’m rather pleased with the initial result.

And then there was the #opensource session with Dennis Kennedy and Rodney Dowell. Outstanding.

Truth be told, despite my incessant tweets (ask Ben Schorr) and blogging, I thought it’d be surprising if five, maybe seven, people attended. I mean, really. It was slotted at the same time as 60 iPhone/iPad Apps in 60 minutes. Did you see all the iPads and iPhones at #abatechshow?! How can you compete with that? Not to mention the rumors of the BlackBerry tablet, the PlayBook. The session was already at a disadvantage, and despite the fact that people seem to think my Twitter feed moves mountains, I wasn’t convinced more than seven people would show up. And that was OK. That’s seven more people who might not have known about open source applications in a law office setting. After all, how can one resist the allure, if not the cosmic pull, of iPads and iPhones?

So imagine my shear delight when more than seven people showed up to the open source session! There more like 12-15 people, I think. Maybe a few more. A good mix of IT folks and solo/small firm lawyers. And Dennis and Rodney did not disappoint. They made a point of covering some basics, like what “open source” means in a literal, and figurative sense, before delving into actual law office uses. I especially liked the example of recycling an old computer or laptop by setting it up as an Internet station in a waiting room or lobby. They made good use of the 10 tips framework, starting small and gave some actionable tips to the attendees.

As if the presentation wasn’t enough, there were audience questions! How to find answers (search forums), stay informed on updates, security issues, etc (email list signup). The audience was not only paying attention, but actively engaged! They really wanted to know what to look for so they could start. It was fantastic.

It got me thinking: there was a Mac session or two, then a whole track and then a Taste of TechShow dinner. There was a cloud computing session or two, then a track and then a Taste of TechShow dinner. Now there’s been an open source session. Perhaps a track, and a Taste of TechShow dinner are soon to follow.

A big thanks to Paul Unger, TechShow 2011 chair, Ben Schorr and the whole planning board and everyone who had a hand in making the 25th Anniversary so awesome. Without their help, and that of Dennis Kennedy and Rodney Dowell, open source would remain off the law firm radar.


#abatechshow Meetups oughta be a Party Crawl

April 5, 2011

There are five days until #ignitelaw and six days until #abatechshow.

So it makes sense that the Twitterverse, not to mention blogs and emails, are lighting up with meetup invitations. They are all good you almost wish it was just a party crawl!

Here are ones I know about:

  • Beer for Bloggers. Co-hosted (my bad) by LexBlog (@kevinokeefe) and ABA Journal (@edadams)on April 12 at 5:30pm. How I forgot about this one, I don’t know. Always a good time, and usually held at the hotel bar. (Thanks Andrea!)
  • The Sociable Lawyer Meetup. See. Told you more would crop up! This one is hosted by Rocket Lawyer on April 11 from 5-7pm at Kitty O’Sheas, which is really convenient as it is right inside the Hilton Chicago. Good place to hold a meetup. Spent a few St. Patrick’s Days there as a Shannon Rover, and you can pretty much find anyone connected to #abatechshow there at just about any time during the conference.
  • #cliomeetup. Hosted by Clio on April 11 at Sushi Samba rio from 8-11pm. Clio, I’m told, is a bit famous for its TechShow parties…er…meetups. There is almost always a story to be told the next day. I confess I have not had the pleasure of experiencing a Clio TechShow party first hand. Perhaps that will change this year.
  • NextPoint Spring Release Party. Hosted by NextPoint at Buddy Guy’s Legends on April 12 from 9-11pm. Local company hosting a meetup at one of Chicago’s best blues clubs. What’s not to like?
  • Chicago Tweetup #413meet.  Hosted by Andrea Cannavina (@legaltypist) and Erin Russell (@legallyerin) on April 13 at Three Aces from 7-9pm. FYI: not just a TechShow meetup, it’s a Chicago Tweetup! Some cool Chicago tweeters will be in attendance, like @SeanMcGinnis and @gizmodesign. I’ve never been to Three Aces myself, but after experiencing a Kamakazi Burger at a Taste of TechShow dinner last year, I’m keen on the Hammer of the Gods burger for comparative reasons.

So far, that’s one post-Taste of TechShow party each night. It’s only Tuesday, though. Meetups/parties have a way of popping up as the conference gets started. Overlapping events is expected. If you hear of others, feel free to post them in the comments, or ping me on Twitter.

There oughta be a Party Crawl!


Double down on #opensource? #ingnitelaw #abatechshow

March 17, 2011

So I was rereading my previous post on taking the #ignitelaw plunge, checking out the submissions and it occurred to me: there two talks on open source were submitted.

There is Dennis Kennedy’s “The Freemium Practice of Law” and Sam Glover’s “Bootstapping A New Law Firm With Free Software.” Although, I think it’s “Bootstrapping.” That’s two open source submissions though, from two different, well respected people. Clearly open source is taking root in the legal community. Let’s not forget that Dennis Kennedy is also doing an open source session at #abatechshow. The last day, as a matter of fact, with Rodney Dowell. That is at least two, potentially, open source presentations this year. Up from, well, zero last year.

Granted, it’s possible neither Ignite Law presentation will make it in the end, but somehow I don’t think that will be the case. I think we’ll see the start of a shift, or perhaps more publicity of a shift from strictly proprietary to a combination of proprietary and open source applications in law offices.

Exciting, and interesting times, indeed.


Took the #ignitelaw plunge

March 16, 2011

After some prodding, friendly prodding, I submitted a talk to #ignitelaw: 50,000 Tweets and Counting: Twitter Lessons You Need to Know.

Yes, I opted to take the Ignite Law plunge this year. Voting just opened, so I wanted to take a moment and let you know that, well, voting has opened.

There are a number of really good submissions this year. I confess that, last year, I found out about Ignite Law just before it happened (yay for Twitter!) so I didn’t have the opportunity to read through, let alone vote, for submissions. I did, however, have a ton of fun tweeting from the event. And it’s exciting to see some familiar as well as new faces with submissions this year. So check’em out and, of course, vote!

And you can bet, whether or not I’m selected, I’ll be tweeting away. Huh. Be quite a challenge to present and tweet at the same time! Well, maybe my Twitter lessons will remain a secret and I’ll just share everyone else’s. I really have no idea.

Good luck to all!

Now, really, stop reading this and go vote!