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!


Rumors are true: #ignitelaw returns to #abatechshow

February 28, 2011

I took the few tweets about #ignitelaw in the #abatechshow stream with a grain of salt. I was excited, to be sure, but information tends to travel faster on Twitter, and the Internet in general, before anyone takes a moment to verify. With such big news, I prefer validation from a couple trusted sources.

And validation has arrived. Ignite Law returns! Sunday, April 10, 2011. Tickets are available.

It was a new thing at TechShow last year, and was a nifty way to kick off TechShow. Decidedly not as straight laced as you might expect TechShow presentations to be, and they didn’t hold back the funny. In fact, it provided a good mix of humor, intelligence and wit. No one presentation was the same and there was something to be learned from them all. It was a nice change of pace, actually, so I’m pretty excited…ahem…totally stoked Ignite Law is back!

Quite fitting, actually. Ignite Law opens TechShow while an #opensource session closes.

If you missed Ignite Law last year, take a few minutes and check out the videos of the presentations.


#opensource session in good hands with @RodneyDowell & @DennisKennedy #techshow (#ABATECHSHOW)

January 13, 2011

First, I’m honored, surprised and a bit touched (yes, I admit it) that people thought I’d be presenting on #opensource at  ABATechshow 2011.

To be perfectly honest, I had zero expectations of even being within the vicinity for consideration. I don’t think I spring readily to mind when most think of open source and its place in law firms, though clearly there is evidence to the contrary. I had a good guess as to who would present, and turned out to be partly correct.

If you haven’t seen the schedule, give it a look and scroll all the way to bottom. You’ll see the open source session is on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9:45am. Saving the best for last. 😉 And you’ll see that Rodney Dowell and Dennis Kennedy are the presenters.

I know Rodney from Twitter, and Dennis from Twitter as well as a few in-person meetings. Dennis and I have also collaborated on two open source articles for the legal profession. I have no doubt that the open source session is in good hands, and that they will probably offer more useful information that you can take back to your practice and put to use.

Yes. I know. The “more useful information you can take back to your practice and put to use” phrase sounds odd coming from me, in this particular context. It shouldn’t, though, for the simple reason that I am not a lawyer. Though I use open source applications, I have no used them within the context of a law office so what I know I’ve learned from those who have shared. And one of those who has shared is Dennis Kennedy.

So thanks again for the support, and know that you’ll want to hear what Rodney and Dennis have to say about The Open Source Powered Law Firm.


#Opensource Comes to ABA #techshow 2011

November 18, 2010

Yes. Yes. The big news for ABA TechShow 2011 is its keynote: Larry Lessig. While that is certainly exciting, and will no doubt be a big draw for its 25th Anniversary, it’s not what caught my attention. It’s not what has gotten me really excited and counting the days until April 11, 2011. I know. Weird, huh? What could possibly be more exciting than Larry Lessig speaking? His book, “Code 2.0” was quite good. His speeches I’ve seen online are good. Who wouldn’t be excited?

OK. I’m excited, but Lessig’s keynote takes second fiddle to what caught my attention and caused my Twitter eruption of glee.

Under “Emerging Technology,” there is this title: The Open Source Powered Law Firm.

Yes. Really. Go ahead and read it again. I’ve re-read almost every day! Ben Schorr had to confirm it for me, that I really had read The Open Source Law Firm correctly and wasn’t seeing things, or that it wasn’t a fluke that has since been removed. At the time of this post, it’s still there!

I’d like to think that my somewhat incessant “#opensource ABA #techshow 2011” tweets played a part. And yes, they were somewhat incessant. Once a week, few times a month. Not every other tweet or every day. Nothing extravagant or ridiculous. The point isn’t to alienate people. The point is to keep something in front of people. And I’d like to think it worked, but I’m betting the still sullen economy played a bigger role.

Whatever the reason, The Open Source Law Firm session is bringing open source to TechShow 2011. Ben mentioned they noticed the tweets, but said it had been on the short list last year and just didn’t make it.

There was a whole bunch of good stuff last year, and since time is tight, I get that not everything can make it on the schedule. The fact that an open source session was even on the table, though, is encouraging. The fact that it’s a session this year is downright exciting!

I admit that I consider the ABA to be a bit stuffy as an organization, but I have met some cool, forward-thinking people at the ABA, and somewhat loosely follow leadership changes. It seems to be a little less stuffy, a little less tech-adverse, each year. The ABA Journal keeps a finger on the legal-tech pulse, and I get the impression that some members of the ABA leadership pay attention. That’s a good thing.

Change isn’t easy, and the legal profession has gone through some rough ones due to the recession. As I said before, losing a job causes a kind of grieving process. It takes time to work through that. It takes time to process, come to terms and ready yourself for whatever comes next. It took me about a year and a half. I wasn’t really comfortable until June of this year.

The ABA, and the legal profession, has had time to process changes since TechShow 2010, and they recognize a need for the legal profession: low cost-to-no-cost alternatives to every day software. So The Open Source Law Firm is on the schedule.

And I’m just downright excited!

Now I want to know who is presenting The Open Source Law Firm…and I’m not entirely sure I can guess, but I do have a couple ideas…