Cybersecurity and privacy were two of the primary topics at the 2016 TechShow.

Cybersecurity and privacy were two of the primary topics at the 2016 TechShow.

Great learning at conferences is one of the best things ever. But if you can’t be there, hearing the takeaways of smart folks may be the next best thing. In fact, because those correspondents have done the hard work of taking notes and synthesizing, it may be the ideal outcome.

That’s how I felt about this year’s ABA Techshow, which I was not able to attend. (I was in a different lawyer event just blocks away, but the closest I came to joining the techies was nearly crashing the Clio party. Next year.)

Although I missed the event, seven technology experts have boiled down for the rest of us their take on the biggest TechShow messages. You should bookmark and read their complete analyses here.

To synthesize even further their event coverage, here are a few insights from those smart people, whom you should follow (links take you to their Twitter worlds, which you should join):

  • ABA TechShow tips American Bar AssociationFrom Catherine Sanders Reach: “This year seemed to have had an unofficial theme: privacy and security.”
  • From Natalie Kelly: Uber Eats may be a fascinating analogue to assess how we deliver legal services.
  • From Heidi S. Alexander: Stop making unencrypted calls, and be sure you’re using the cloud securely.
  • From Reid F. Trautz: Our regulatory system is stifling innovation in the legal profession.
  • From Tom Lambotte: It’s scary out there, even for Macs.
  • From: Nora Regis: Better use of Excel, including pivot tables, can be your law-practice friend.

And in case you decide you need just a little more impetus to pay attention to technology, especially in regard to cybersecurity, enjoy this article about a hack of New York-based Cravath Swaine & Moore (originally reported by the Wall street Journal, but that’s behind a paywall, so the NYT wins.)

To access law firm data, hackers bypass the front door. Cravath Swaine & Moore cybersecurity

To access law firm data, hackers bypass the front door.

As the article opens:

“Federal authorities have warned for years that big law firms are ripe targets for computer hackers because they are information-rich repositories of corporate deals and other sensitive client information.”

“But big law firms, as a general rule, are loath to confirm whether they have been victims of data breaches, largely out of fear of alarming clients. Breaches and potential intrusions at large law firms often go unreported and generally come to light only anecdotally—often in news reports or discussions at legal conferences.”

Well, the anecdotes are growing more and more common. What are you doing to ensure your data is secure? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org with your tech-success story.

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chicago bar association cba logo

When I find myself in a city other than Phoenix, I like to look around at what the area’s legal community has to offer. My stomping grounds this week are in Illinois, specifically Chicago. So let me point you to some law-practice-helpful content from two great bar associations.

First, I recommend some content related to law practice management technology (say that three times fast), available on the website of the Chicago Bar Association.

The lawyer-friendly material includes some how-to videos by the talented Catherine Sanders Reach. Now THERE are some ideas worth borrowing! (Follow Catherine here.)

Here, for example, is a video on editing or removing Linkedin endorsements:

And over at the Illinois Bar Journal (published by the state bar), I recommend a few things.

Illinois State Bar Journal 2014First, their magazine includes a series of short articles the comprise “Law Pulse.” In it, the author is able to cover a variety of compelling and timely legal topics, all without straining your patience with massive length or endless footnoting.

Good examples of their form are here and here.

Like most bar journals, the Journal focuses on state laws and cases. But in the magazine’s feature story area is an article that may catch your attention, no matter what state you’re in. Titled “The Ratings Game,” it examines the world of Avvo: “Sites like Avvo that rate lawyers and encourage consumer reviews are evoking reaction positive and negative in the legal community—and posing interesting ethical challenges.”

The article includes a useful sidebar that explains how Avvo says its formula works.

Illinois State Bar Association ISBA logoMany of you may belong to multiple bars. If so, I’d love to hear from you about what content from varying bar publications you’ve found helpful to your practice. Maybe we can borrow some ideas from fellow bar magazines!

Do you want One Really Good Idea Every Day? Who doesn’t?

That is the genius behind a blog from the folks at Attorney at Work. They have stumbled on the brainy notion that busy people may skip all kinds of content, even if it’s valuable. But if you promise to provide one genuinely good thing once a day—and then leave them the hell alone—people may sign on. Hence, their cheeky six-word motto.

And so I did. And I haven’t been sorry.

And it was yesterday, therefore, where I read an insightful post regarding the new Android app for the Fastcase legal research tool. You should read it.

Catherine Sanders Reach

The post was (very well) written by Catherine Sanders Reach, of the Chicago Bar Association. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from Catherine in November 2010, when she presented at a State Bar of Arizona Solo and Small-Firm Conference. At that time, she headed up the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

Besides the good writer, the app is also a product worth your attention.

Arizona-admitted lawyers have free access to the Fastcase library, as it is a State Bar member benefit. Given that, there is no reason at all for Android users to pause before giving this new web app a try.

Once you do, let me know what you think. Does it—and Fastcase generally—help to meet your research needs?

Lynda Shely speaks on the ethical rules

This week, I posted some more photos from a great past event—the State Bar of Arizona Solo and Small-Firm Conference. And then I read a story in the New York Times that got me thinking about law school and law practice, which reminded me of the conference all over again.

The conference was last November 18 and 19, and it brought together presenters who could speak best to issues that affected those lawyers.

It kicked off with co-chair Paul Ulrich describing the conference goals:

  • “To help us all in our practice in these changing times.”
  • “To achieve a more focused, profitable practice.”

 

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch at the conference

Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch also spoke at the conference opening. She talked eloquently about the dire economy the nation faces, in the face of which many new lawyers decide to open up their own shop.

“I encourage all of you with experience to take these new folks under your wing. Times are tough, and they’ll need your help.”

This weekend’s New York Times told a sad tale of the legal marketplace. Titled “Is Law School a Losing Game?” the story explained how “Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.”

In the face of these facts, any conference dedicated to solo lawyers is especially well timed.

Slide from the Solo and Small-Firm Conference

Based on other data, Chief Justice Berch noted that most people who require a lawyer’s services will likely hire a solo lawyer or small firm. And that comes with a responsibility.

“Arizona citizens must depend on you for the bulk of legal services. Their image of the justice system is formed by their interactions with you.”

Presenters at the two-day conference included lawyer Lynda Shely, law firm marketer Jeff Lantz, the State Bar’s Susan Traylor, and Catherine Sanders-Reach of the American Bar Association. They headed up panels on topics as diverse as ethical marketing tips, fee agreements. Going paperless, and even a program titled 61 Tips in 60 Minutes. And Tucson lawyer Kathleen McCarthy gave a variety of ergonomic and exercise tips to improve your day (and your posture).

Here’s hoping that this becomes an annual event.

Kathleen McCarthy gives the audience her all

More photos are here.