#ABATechshow My Survival Guide 2018

11 02 2018

I have tried this during other years and I thought I would take another crack at it this year hoping I can add a few useful tips for any first time attendees. I am attending this year for the 9th time and each year I learn something new and it has evolved (at least for me,) over the years. I remember the shock a few years ago when the Blackberry “tips” session had two people in the room. . .that indicated all was not well in the RIM world. Now Blackberry doesn’t make actual phones anymore. . .times have changed.

As always you can SKIP ALL OF MY RAMBLING by going to the official First Time Experience Guide. I’d like to think mine is a little fun.

Speaking of change, the venue has changed for the first time in ages! This year its at the Hyatt Regency at 151 East Wacker (at least I hope I got that right.) If you register for ABA Techshow there is a discount offered for USD$189 but you have to book the conference first and then your hotel if you want the special rate. Don’t despair if you can’t book a room at the venue because there are lots of other options like the Chicago Hilton, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Radisson Blue Aqua and too many more to mention. I would have suggested the Hard Rock but they are in the midst of a makeover and won’t re-open until August as the St. Jane so stay tuned. None of the options I suggested are inexpensive and the Radisson Blue is the closest but I just thought I would mention a few to get you started in your search.

OK, so you are in the legal business so do some research of your own before you go. There are a million things to do in your downtime (if you can find any,) and a lot of it is related to food and drink. See the Bean, see the Art Institute of Chicago, see the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. I still haven’t made it to the Museum of Science and Industry but hope to this year. They don’t have much of a write-up but they got me at “take a run in a human-sized hamster wheel.” If that doesn’t describe the practice of law I don’t know what does! All this to say, plan your trip and decide what you want to see. I think it’s too early for an official architectural boat tour but Chicago is great to walk around along the Magnificent Mile so don’t forget to look up. Remember it is March so dress in layers. It comes naturally for Canadians and Americans in East and Central locations but I feel sorry for the Texans and Floridians who wander into Chicago in March. It can be. . .cool.

People. You have to talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to strangers. Corner speakers and ask questions you didn’t think of during their session. Talk to speakers if you missed their session and there’s something you wanted to know. The speakers are very approachable and knowledgeable and I can’t say this enough, talk to them!

LTN

I can’t say enough about the folks at the Legal Talk Network! Talk to Laurence Colletti @LaurenceEsq and Adam Camras @AdamCamras because these guys will have their finger on the pulse of Techshow. You can watch them interview speakers, they can give you tips on things you don’t want to miss, and they have a grasp of what’s going on in the world of technology. Drop in an say hi to them!

Beer

There are lots of craft beer opportunities in Chicago so don’t be afraid to explore. There is a map here from Guys Drinking Beer as a starter but explore on your own. Monk’s Pub is reasonably close to the Hyatt and seems to have a pretty good selection. Might not be a bad place to start. There is usually a Beer for Bloggers event and I don’t have information yet but keep your eyes open for this. It is a great place to meet Tweeters, Bloggers, Media from the ABA, and if you’re lucky you will find Victor Li @victorli2000 the Asst Managing Editor of @abajournal – I should mention all tags I’m using are Twitter handles if you’re looking for someone in particular.

burgers

Au Cheval always seems packed and their burgers are worth the wait if you want to slow your heart down a little from all of the conference excitement. Feel free to add your own links of “must eat” places.

There are other must attend gatherings. @goclio and @mycaseinc usually have big parties at ABATechshow but you have to register with them at the show to attend. These are fun events run by vendors and although I don’t endorse any particular vendor it is a great way to relax and hang out with some of the decision makers of the practice management software you use.

I can’t stress this enough. Get out of the hotel once in awhile. ABATechshow is a vortex and there are usually too many interesting tracks that you want to attend simultaneously. Pick the ones you really want to go to and get out once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to leave a session if you decide it is too entry level for you. It happens. I have switched sessions two or three times in one time slot until I found the right fit. If you think that might happen sit near the back so your disturb anyone else when you leave.

If you’re going to tweet keep an eye on the #hashtags. If you aren’t fast enough there’s a good chance you will be the 4th person tweeting exactly the same quote as someone else. It is not a big deal and lots of people take notes for themselves on Twitter but someone may have made the point for you already. Its a great way to find out what’s going on in other sessions you can’t attend.

Find the Canadians! Look for Jack Newton @jack_newton & Rian Gauvreau @RianGauvreau from Clio! Look for Andrew Arruda @AndrewArruda from Ross Intelligence. Talk to Dan Pinnington @DanPinnington & Ian Hu @IanHuLawpro from LAWPRO/PracticePro. I’m not sure who else will be there but look out for Julia Cornish @archjules1, Dave Bilinsky @david_bilinsky , and Rick Ferguson because they have all attended many times, (and they’ll even say “sorry” for you if you like.)

OK pay attention. You also have to meet some of the Americans if you don’t know them already. I sprinkled a few throughout but find Bob Ambroji @bobambrogi , Ed Walters @EJWalters and Kevin O’Keefe @kevinokeefe for a chat.

As always Social Media should be hopping. Use the official hashtags if you want to be seen/heard, and not sure what will be in use this year. Twitter always, maybe Snap, I guess LinkedIn, and maybe Periscope will break out in the law crowd this year. I’m curious to see what will happen.

Vendors. They are worth stopping in to chat with at Techshow. Its a different vibe than almost any other conference and there is a lot to see and hear. Find out what’s going on with them and what their plan is, how long have they been around and what are they offering besides swag. Some will be stalwarts that you’ve seen before but if ABAtechshow is like other years there will be some exciting new players and even the ones you’re familiar with often make big announcements during ABATechshow. This is your big chance to find out what’s really in the cloud!

TASTE OF TECHSHOW – This is really worth going to and its a chance to have dinner with some of the speakers to continue your discussion after the sessions. The spots are going fast so I would suggest you sign up today! I think half of the sessions are already full and Techshow is still 23 days out! I remember when I first started going to techshow there were binders with lists that you signed up for and they were all tabulated at the end. These dinners (you pay your own way,) will be full soon but if you have never done one please signup!

Music – there is a tonne of music in Chicago. I can’t stress this enough. There is something for everyone so explore and find your jam. Whether its something at Buddy Guys Legends, the House of Blues (which is very close to the venue,) or someplace grittier like Bub City at 435 N Clark Street, or Kingston Mines farther out.

The Lake or more accurately, the third largest Great Lake. Don’t forget there’s a lake close to the hotel. Sure you can go down to Navy Pier and be touristy but take a walk along the waterfront and freeze yourself to the core. It really is worth it. Hey, you can feel like a Canadian for a few minutes, (and yes, I know there are cold spots in America as well.)

Some random thoughts about food and booze. Not sure if you’re a foodie or a drinker but there are too many options to mention. Try Eataly, Shake Shack (there are a few locations,) Shaws Crab House for Seafood (its expensive,) The Purple Pig, and of course The Billy Goat Tavern. I mention that because you have to try it once, just once possibly, best if you’ve had something to drink…you’ll know what I mean if you go.

One place I’m curious about this year is Band of Bohemia…OK OK, I admit, its the sous-vide coffee that I find interesting but…well, I guess I’ll see if I get there. There are some distilleries in Chicago including CH Distillery, Koval Distillery, and others. One of my favourite stops is Warehouse Liquors. Sure you can buy alcohol almost anywhere in the USA but this place knows there stuff and if the person you talk to doesn’t know about mezcal they will go get the mezcal guy to come and talk to you! They’re at 634 S Wabash if you want to drop in.

The key to enjoying ABATechshow is plan your tracks in advance, talk to everyone you can (especially Canadians,) see every vendor you can possibly find, and get out of your comfort zone. This year should be spectacular and anyone who bumps into me say hello and I hope this small summary is helpful in some way.

My last years Guide is here, feel free to check that out too!

I forgot to mention the App. It might be worth a download this year, certainly worth checking out to see if it is useful. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

-30-

 

Advertisements




What if that’s all there was? #abatechshow #photos #tech 

18 03 2017


Another year of ABA TECHSHOW is behind us and where are we? Well hopefully we are a little wiser, a little more road weary, and energized to take on some of the challenges of technology in law as change ambassadors to China phrase from about 10 years ago. I have to admit I managed to get through this show without hearing “synergy” or “disruption” although I heard “lean” and “agile” too many times people!? Have a little decorum! And please leave the puppies at home where they belong and NOT at TECHSHOW. 

As I look into the future what do I see? For one thing lawyers (attorneys) need to wake up and smell the VPNs! Seriously people! I was in a session this morning and one person (besides me) was running a VPN on public wifi!? I had to rush back to my room and shower! People stop exposing your clients confidential information to the world! If I can be the proud owner of a Pineapple Mk5 penetration tool (I know that sounds wrong,) then anyone can have one. 

OK and it’s not just VPNs (while I’m on a rant,) get yourself some encryption too! You know, you’re soaking in it! OK well not literally but sort of. When you turn on your Mac or your Surface, or your PC, it’s there for you with a right-click you can activate encryption. What are you waiting for? Use encryption now. Protect your USBs when you take data out of the office, use whole disk encryption (look it up!)

One of the things about TECHSHOW that always surprises me is the same things keep coming up. We have talked about mobile offices and paperless offices for years (although paperless got a break this year,) and yet, we seem no farther ahead. I heard one of the speakers mention an app this morning and said, “Well, for it to work you have give them access to all of your contacts and load them into the cloud” NO NO NO! Seriously people, this is NOT an app you want to use! Do not give up your data for the convenience of screening your calls (or anything else!)

What else? Well, collaboration is big again this year, and we did hear from the collective CEOs of Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom and Avvo. Just for fun I’m going to add my snapshot of John Suh here:


There was no doom and gloom, they weren’t talking “The Sky is falling” like Siskind(s) or Furlong (the Canadian Chicken Little,) but the message was clear about our clients really being consumers, wanting more control, more transparency, and a better customer experience. It’s not rocket surgery, the legal service or whatever it is we think we deliver is a specialized service for sure, but if we want people coming back, recommending us, paying us, and making their representation easier, we have to make them part of the experience. I had dinner with a lawyer last night and she gets it! She does customer service surveys throughout the duration of her family law retainer. OK, well that part she got, she did some other things that caused me to go, “Huh??” like a minimum general retainer that got you exactly…nothing. I’d like to think those days are coming to an end. If I’m giving a lawyer an $8,000 retainer they are giving me an itemized bill and I’m going to want a partial refund unless they’re also bearing one of my children. 

Where were the Canadians this year? A lot of people noticed there was a paucity of Canucks this year. I’m not sure why but it was great to see the Canadians I did see! The show had a bit of an unusual vibe this year but maybe it’s just because for the first time in a million years, TECHSHOW is moving! For those of use how enjoy stable wifi (adequately protected with TunnelBear or Cloak2 of course,) this might bode well for the future. Getting out of the Faraday Hilton might mean you ban actually get a signal but who knows?

I shot a bunch of photos this year, some of which I shared on my Twitter feed (@psuba98) and more I will post when I get home! It was great to see Jack Newton, George Psiharis, and Josh Lenon from Clio, Andrew Arruda from Ross Intellignece, and Aron Solomon and Jason Moyse of Legal X (and more.) The Canadians were definitely out, just not in quantity this year. A shoutout to my Nova Scotia peeps Julia and Robin! You guys make me proud to be a Maritimer!

The information about the photos above in sequence…well the first one was obviously shot on the shores of the Sea of Tranquility and yes, the small boy in the photo is Armstrong! The second I shot with a Nikon 14-24 f2.8 and is the inside of the clock tower at Old City Hall in Toronto. Special thanks to Justice Wong for facilitating that trip! Shot at 1/100, ISO 100, f8 and set at 16mm. 


OK so nothing to do with TECHSHOW but another shot inside the tower and the stairs! That one same lens but handheld 1/15 second. 

The John Suh shot (of LegalZoom fame,) taken at ClioCloudCon in 2015, magic natural light f4.5 with my trusty Nikon 85 f2.8 at 1/125 and ISO 800. John is a gracious guy and has time for lots of questions from people interested in tech and entrepreneurship. He and Chas Rampenthal (General Counsel,) are great guys and they were part of a great keynote this year (and at Clio in 2015.)

Last shoutouts to Adriana Linares, Jason Marsh, Ivan Hemmans, Lincoln Mead, Adam Camras, Laurence Colletti and anyone else who has been one of my photographic victims!


Since I’m on a roll, my interpretation of “American Gothic”…peace out! If I get more energy after going through my Polaroids® I’ll add more photos (yes, I’m joking.)

-30-





The Winds Of March #winter #snow #abatechshow 

13 03 2017


There’s a storm coming. Not many snows this year at all and one big one scheduled a day before I take wing to the USA. 

I just read something that suggested there have been more electronic device searches at the border in February than all of 2015. That’s an interesting statement. I suppose it makes sense if you can get away with it but the USA prides itself on their constitutional rights and we pride ourselves on our Charter rights so a search of a personal device seems more intrusive than looking through someone’s underwear on a return from a vacation. (Not a job I’d want either way.) I’ll make more comments I suppose when I return from my trip to ABA TECHSHOW. 

This snap outside the workplace on University Avenue was from an earlier storm. This one was taken on the fly with my trusty iPhone 6, an unusual feat given its propensity to die at the first sign of cold. 

If you get a chance stop in and learn about the iron fence, see the Great Library or even stop in at the Court of Appeal and watch appeal lawyers in action. There’s also a pretty good restaurant with a committed check (Adam Foley) who does his best to offer quality local fare served with an old world panache. Some have compared the dining experience with eating at Hogwarts. 

Watch this space for dispatches from TECHSHOW. I’ll do my best to pepper Twitter with on the spot observations but maybe wrap up the day here. The fun should start here on Wednesday. 

-30-





#ABATechshow Survival Guide 2017

29 01 2017

OK, here is my attempt at shedding some light on ABA Techshow for this year. I did a similar rundown in 2015 but I thought I would update as best I can with a few personal photos this time around for my own amusement. I’m not sure I’m going this year but a few people found this useful last time I sent out one of these so here goes:

First, you can skip this entire post and just read the ABAs official First Time Experience Guide. You should also read Victor Li’s article about this year’s even HERE.

Planning on Chicago for the first time? Do some research before you go so you don’t arrive home after the conference and find out you missed something like the Art Institute of Chicago.

13957133803_4777939554_k.jpg

It is just down the street from the Hilton and you have to plan a little time there to see paintings you have only seen in books. They currently have a Japanese photography exhibit (and other amazing things too!)

Second, you must get out of the hotel!

26484169905_36bcb2d708_z.jpg

Stop and say hi to Rufus. He has been there for years and knows what you need before you need it. Ask him for a local tip, where to grab a late night meal, where to see the hidden sights, or what’s currently a hot location in Chicago. Be nice, and tip well.

Don’t be shy. You came to ABATECHSHOW to learn sometime, or possibly just to get your state required learning for the year, either way, live a little. You should/must talk to people you don’t know. Chat up people on the elevators, at lunch, before sessions start and after sessions are finished. If you go to ABATECHSHOW and leave without meeting new people you have lost out on some of your investment and some great opportunities! I can’t state this enough. This is your opportunity to chat with the luminaries of the legal profession. Want to speak to Kevin O’Keefe from Lexblog for some personal tips? He’s probably there. Maybe you want a tip on podcasting from this guy:

29739160102_a3f1567023_z.jpg

OK, so he doesn’t always look like that but Adam Camras, the CEO of Legal Talk Network is a speaker and no doubt they will be cranking out high quality podcasts from the exhibitor’s floor during the conference and asking questions that weren’t asked of speakers when they were part of a panel.

Social Media – If you don’t know what social media is, well, that’s OK too, but a lot of info is zooming around during the conference on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Periscope too. Periscope is doing some cool things in 360 right now. I’m interested to see if there is anything in “surround” at Techshow this year. Find out what a hashtag is (this # is a hashtag,) and follow what people are saying about techshow and where the parties/gatherings are right now (in plain language, get a Twitter account and follow the #ABATECHSHOW feed.) Last time around I was tagging people during sessions they were speaking at and watching them look at their Apple watches and then reply (I”m looking at you Adriana!

22976651775_88ae033ca4_o.jpg

Speaking of Adriana Linares, find her. There’s no prize or anything (at least not that I know of,) but she will be everywhere and is this year’s Chair. If there is something going on at Techshow, she will know about it. She will know where the hot spots are for going out, where the new restaurants are, which sessions are “must attend” and she can tell you if you’re missing anything! If you find Adriana you have found the conference grail.

Vendors – Wander around the vendor floor/area more than once. Sure some of them will want your soul (or at least your business card so they pester you into the afterlife). . .but you can see lots of cool things and some of them might be right for your office, (or you will find out which ones you want to avoid in the future.) The other thing is you can’t necessarily figure out what the product is from the banners or signage as you walk past a booth so talk to someone, make eye contact and find out what it is they do! Some of the vendors give away great gifts in a draw which takes place at the end of the show. . .you can’t win it if you’re not in it (as they say.) Want to know the differences between Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase and Firm Manager? Well this is your chance to find out! Talk to all of them, get a demo, find out about the nitty gritty costs and have them explain the Terms of Usage agreements. Ask them if they will modify them. Ask them where their cloud servers are located. Ask them what the heck the cloud is!?

22155423190_1a5e9c908b_o.jpg

Ever wonder how Clio gets such great employees? (Full disclosure: I am friends with Rian (L) and Jack (R) and first met them just before attending techshow for the first time. They go with my next tip:

The Canadians – Find us. . .we are friendly, we know a bit about tech, and most of us will give you the shirts off our back. If we don’t know how to get someplace we will probably stay with you until you complete your journey. We will talk your ear off. We know a lot about beer (some of us,) and there is a special contingent who know a lot about scotch and sometimes arrange a scotch tasting at a nearby purveyor of spirits…seek them out if you’re interested. We are usually ridiculously polite (annoyingly so for some people.) Some of the Canadians (not me) are ABATECHSHOW insiders and know everything. Find a Canadian and hold tight…possibly more important this year than other years if any of us make it across the border.

Taste of Techshow I have been to one of these and I would recommend going at least once. It’s hard to pick one ahead of time so I would say forget about who the hosts are and decide which restaurant you want to go to and sign up. You pay for these ones yourself so watch your budget, oh, and you’re away from home so live a little. I have added the link for the 2016 Taste but stay tuned and you will eventually see some online signon I think.

26055391434_983527b58a_k.jpg

Music – Its Chicago, go find some live music on one of the nights. . .seriously, just do it. The above snap is Shawn Lacy from Nashville. If you get a chance to see him, see him! Bub City is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group and have a series of restaurants all over the country and lots of variety in Chicago. If you don’t want to venture too far, the Hilton is next door to Buddy Guy’s Legends and there is always something going on there!

Food – I’m not going to give any real tips here except to say if you sit in your room and eat room service alone you might as well have stayed home. Tag along with some of the people you just met and go someplace fun and eat something you might not have a chance to eat again. OK, I will make a few suggestions even though I said I wouldn’t. . .eat one of the “Chicago hot dogs” just for the fun of it. They put fluorescent green relish and sport peppers on it. . .its strange…but just go with it. Find a deli and have some brisket or smoked meat or pastrami or even a place that brews their own root beer. There are places. . .use the Google! If you want to know what is supposedly hot right now in Chicago, check here

THERE’S A LAKE. . .its big…walk down to the lake…take a long walk…you will feel better…dress warmly. It is a six minute walk (East I think) to the Lakefront Trail and Lake Michigan. . .take a camera.

Alcohol – OK so be responsible but there is a lot of alcohol in Chicago…something about the post-Prohibition recovery!? Check out the nice guys at Warehouse Liquors about a block from the Hilton. These guys really know their booze and are patient if you have a lot of questions. It’s also next door to a chicken place but as I recall, when I asked, they said they eat someplace else…just sayin’.

20172590704_71c087140f_k.jpg

The conference concierge desk/genius bar-like oblong shaped holding pen of speakers – This is a resource that is hidden in the open. You might stop just to ask the person behind the counter how to get to a particular conference room and then move on. . .that would be a mistake! Engage the people behind the counter, they are the synapses firing behind the scenes that really make techshow do it’s thing. Talk to Lincoln Mead, or Ben Schorr or Adriana Linares and find out something about the conference that you would never discover otherwise. They can tell you where the best Wifi spot is in the hotel. They can fix your wifi if you can’t connect in the hotel. They can tell you where to eat. Want to know what’s going on with the Cubs, ask them (OK, so really just ask Lincoln! Want to know where someone bought a cool bit of tech, ask them. Curious about Ben’s last triathalon, ask him. They can tell you which vendors have the best swag. Its like having access to a supercomputer.

Pick the sessions you want to go to in advance, and then pick an alternate session at the same time. I have been to a few sessions that looked great on paper and then the presenter just didn’t “bring it.” It could be they didn’t have enough coffee, or had too much coffee, or they didn’t prepare, or they over prepared, or there is some technical glitch. . .but just in case have another choice up your sleeve and be prepared to get to another session if your first choice is a dud.

Don’t be afraid to have a “spare.” In other words, you don’t have to go to every session. Take some time to absorb some of what’s going on, maybe sit down and chat with someone and do a little quiet networking. It’s also a slower time (during sessions) for vendors and now you can get close to the vendor you wanted to corner.

Usually there is a “Beer for Bloggers” session in the hotel with Kevin O’Keefe and it’s worth checking out if you blog, vlog, send out a newsletter, or can spell Tweet. Also a great place to meet other drinkers….oops, I mean bloggers. Seriously though, you can usually spot Bob Ambrogi, Ernie the Attorney, Sam Glover and Molly McDonough there.

Talk to the ABATECHSHOW Planning Board members. Tell them what you like, don’t like, or give them some ideas for the next year. Engage people, don’t just be a bystander.

There are lots and lots of parties going on in the background – find one. . .ask someone what’s going on and you can be one of the cool kids (I have never attained that status but I think it’s possible for others.)

Plan ahead. This is a show packed with vendor/exhibitors. Is there some service you always wondered about? Have a look at past exhibitors and find the one you want to know more about.

Last words, bring something warm to wear. . .you will need it on at least one of the days or nights. . .microfleece is light and will keep you warm – ask someone from Minnesota (maybe even this guy) or anyone from Canada.

Go have fun, meet new people, say hi if you run into me. . .I’m easily recognized from my bewildered look. Look for a gaggle of Canadians and I am probably there. At a minimum you will recognize me by the chunk of camera around my neck (look for the D4.)

Oh wait, last word – if you haven’t been to Canada, it is a very quick hop from Chicago. You can fly out of Midway and be in downtown Toronto (4th biggest City in North America,) via Porter Air in less than 2 hours!

Very last word: I don’t think I said anything bad about the ABA app. I don’t know if there is one for this year (it’s not there to download yet,) but it has improved over the years. Biggest tip I can give is reach out and meet new people. I can’t say it enough. One year I met a guy from Canada who won two of these crazy races! You can’t judge an ebook by its ummm…never mind!

These are my own opinions. not the opinions of anyone affiliated with ABATECHSHOW nor are they the opinions of my employer.

-30-





There is lawyer advertising and then, there is lawyer advertising. . .

14 01 2017

Not long ago, I attended the Clio Cloud Conference in Chicago. For anyone who doesn’t know, it is a user conference and it is spectacular as conferences go. Full disclosure here, I have known Jack Newton and Rian Gauvreau the founders of Clio, for more than 8 years and I have seen them go from nursemaids tending to a bold new startup…to commanders of a serious cloud-based practice management empire.

I have attended a lot of conferences in the last 8 or 9 years, often speaking on the doom and gloom topic of internet security and preserving client confidentiality, but I love attending the Clio Cloud Conference. There is such an energy created by the whole Clio team, but even more so by the wide-eyed attendees, many of whom return year after year. The last years have been in Chicago but in 2017 moves to the Birthplace of Jazz, New Orleans. I hope to attend, but first, more about the energy.

There was one speaker there, a young man named Bryan E. Wilson. You may have seen his advertising on YouTube before. He occasionally masquerades as the “Texas Law Hawk!”   and that linked video, his 3rd commercial, has more than 1.6M views! I remember Bryan talking about his video budgets and I don’t think they went over $1500, including beer for his friends/actors. To say Bryan is always “on” is an understatement. The dude is loud and he hardly ever abandons his persona of screaming, “I’m the Texas Law Hawk!” Its in your face full-time marketing and I know a few people I spoke to at an afterparty were pretending they were not from Texas. Bryan is that “crushing empty beer cans on the head” kind of party-goer. . .he is youthful I guess.

Before I say anything more about advertising, I should make it clear that any of my comments about advertising are my own views and NOT the views of my employer. In Ontario, advertising for lawyers is a new endeavour and the rules surrounding it are focused on truth, verifiability, and there is a more vague requirement not to cast the profession in a bad light. The regulator has started reviewing lawyer advertising/marketing in Ontario to see if it should be…tweaked, and there is nothing approaching the decibel levels or showmanship of Mr. Wilson. He is not unlikeable. I’m not sure I would approach him for my DUI but hey, I’ve never been to Texas, (and just to be clear, I don’t drink and drive…and to be even more clear, I don’t have a car.)

Anyway, I hope this portrait captures some of the energy, some of the fun, and the fundamental spark of life Bryan E. Wilson seems to possess:

29453785014_1f5f506707_k

-30-





ABA Techshow – Survival Guide 2015

1 04 2015

I have attended ABATECHSHOW six times in seven years and I would say I always miss out on something happening but I think I am getting the hang of it now.

I thought I would jot down a few thoughts in case people attending for the first time were feeling a little timid. The first thing I would suggest is unleash your party animal. You’re out of town (if you don’t live in Chicago,) you’re on a business trip, you want to learn, and you want to network (or create synergies if you like to use buzzwords from the last few years!?) Here are a few suggestions for the first timers:

Don’t be shy. You came to ABATECHSHOW to learn sometime, or possibly just to get your state required learning for the year, either way, live a little. You should/must talk to people you don’t know. Chat up people on the elevators, at lunch, before sessions start and after sessions are finished. If you go to ABATECHSHOW and leave without meeting new people you have lost out on some of your investment and some great opportunities!

Social Media – If you don’t know what social media is, well, that’s OK too, but a lot of info is zooming around during the conference on Twitter, LinkedIn, and this year probably Meerkat and Periscope too. Find out what a hashtag is (this # is a hashtag,) and follow what people are saying about techshow and where the parties/gatherings are right now (in plain language, get a Twitter account and follow the #ABATECHSHOW feed.)

Vendors – Wander around the vendor floor/area more than once. Sure some of them will want your soul (or at least your business card so they pester you into the afterlife). . .but you can see lots of cool things and some of them might be right for your office, (or you will find out which ones you want to avoid in the future.) The other thing is you can’t necessarily figure out what the product is from the banners or signage as you walk past a booth so talk to someone, make eye contact and find out what it is they do! Some of the vendors give away great gifts in a draw which takes place at the end of the show. . .you can’t win it if you’re not in it (as they say.) Want to know the differences between Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase and Firm Manager? well this is your chance to find out! Talk to all of them, get a demo, find out about the nitty gritty costs and have them explain the Terms of Usage agreements. Ask them if they will modify them. Ask them where their cloud servers are located. Ask them what the heck the cloud is!?

Taste of Techshow – I have been to one of these and I would recommend going at least once. Its hard to pick one ahead of time so I would say forget about who the hosts are and decide which restaurant you want to go to and sign up. You pay for these ones yourself so watch your budget, oh, and you’re away from home so live a little.

ABATECHSHOW app ** – You can probably do without it if you know how to use a smartphone, pen and paper, follow a schedule or can read a sticky note but there is an app and you’re welcome to download it. I have downloaded it a few times and probably will again this year but I have found it of limited use. It does prove that there IS an App for that though. . .

This is too late to add as a tip but I will say it anyway. If you missed out on booking the Hilton this year because they were sold out you should book if for next year. It is always a great experience to be on location for this event so you don’t miss anything. I will add this cryptic note. . .the view from the roof late in the evening is spectacular.

The Canadians – Find us. . .we are friendly, we know a bit about tech, and most of us will give you the shirts off our back. If we don’t know how to get someplace we will probably stay with you until you complete your journey. We will talk your ear off. We know a lot about beer (some of us,) and there is a special contingent who know a lot about scotch and sometimes arrange a scotch tasting at a nearby purveyor of spirits…seek them out if you’re interested. We are usually ridiculously polite (annoyingly so for some people.) Some of the Canadians (not me) are ABATECHSHOW insiders and know everything.

Check out the Garmin store at 663 N. Michigan Ave. I believe its the only store in USA where you can go and touch every Garmin device made, even those swimmy watch stroke measuring things!

Music – Its Chicago, go find some live music on one of the nights. . .seriously, just do it.

Food – I’m not going to give any real tips here except to say if you sit in your room and eat room service alone you might as well have stayed home. Tag along with some of the people you just met and go someplace fun and eat something you might not have a chance to eat again. OK, I will make a few suggestions even though I said I wouldn’t. . .eat one of the “Chicago hot dogs” just for the fun of it. They put fluorescent green relish and sport peppers on it. . .its strange…but just go with it. Find a deli and have some brisket or smoked meat or pastrami or even a place that brews their own root beer. There are places. . .use the Google! If you want to know what is supposedly hot right now in Chicago, check here

There’s a lake. . .its big…walk down to the lake…take a long walk…you will feel better…dress warmly. It is a six minute walk (East I think) to the Lakefront Trail and Lake Michigan. . .take a camera.

The conference concierge desk/genius bar-like oblong shaped holding pen of speakers – This is a resource that is hidden in the open. You might stop just to ask the person behind the counter how to get to a particular conference room and then move on. . .that would be a mistake! Engage the people behind the counter, they are the synapses firing behind the scenes that really make techshow do it’s thing. Talk to Lincoln Mead, or Ben Schorr or Adriana Linares and find out something about the conference that you would never discover otherwise. They can tell you where the best Wifi spot is in the hotel. They can fix your wifi if you can’t connect in the hotel. They can tell you where to eat. Want to know what’s going on with the Cubs, ask them. Want to know where someone bought a cool bit of tech, ask them. Curious about Ben’s last triathalon, ask him. They can tell you which vendors have the best swag. Its like having access to a supercomputer.

Pick the sessions you want to go to in advance, and then pick an alternate session at the same time. I have been to a few sessions that looked great on paper and then the presenter just didn’t “bring it.” It could be they didn’t have enough coffee, or had too much coffee, or they didn’t prepare, or they over prepared, or there is some technical glitch. . .but just in case have another choice up your sleeve and be prepared to get to another session if your first choice is a dud.

Don’t be afraid to have a “spare.” In other words, you don’t have to go to every session. Take some time to absorb some of what’s going on, maybe sit down and chat with someone and do a little quiet networking. Its also a slower time (during sessions) for vendors and now you can get close to the vendor you wanted to corner.

Usually there is a “Beer for Bloggers” session in the hotel with Kevin O’Keefe and it’s worth checking out if you blog, vlog, send out a newsletter, or can spell Tweet.

Talk to the ABATECHSHOW Planning Board members. Tell them what you like, don’t like, or give them some ideas for the next year. Engage people, don’t just be a bystander.

There are lots and lots of parties going on in the background – find one. . .ask someone what’s going on and you can be one of the cool kids (I have never attained that status but I think it’s possible for others.)

Plan ahead. This is a show packed with vendor/exhibitors. Is there some service you always wondered about? Have a look at past exhibitors and find the one you want to know more about. There’s even a floor plan so you can find people and I know there is probably one on that App thingy I dismissed earlier but hey, I’m not great with maps when I’m below the Earth’s surface.

Last words, bring something warm to wear. . .you will need it on at least one of the days or nights. . .microfleece is light and will keep you warm – ask someone from Minnesota (maybe even this guy) or anyone from Canada.

Go have fun, meet new people, say hi if you run into me. . .I’m easily recognized from my….ummm….painting.

Oh wait, last word – if you haven’t been to Canada, it is a very quick hop from Chicago.

These are my own opinions. not the opinions of anyone affiliated with ABATECHSHOW nor are they the opinions of my employer.

** Just a quick update on the app since I wrote this – I have now downloaded and subscribed to the new app and it looks like in 2015 they may have made some major improvements – there are icons for everything in the front page to follow the official and unofficial Twitter feeds, marking your schedule, noting your sessions by topic or by speaker, a Taste of Techshow interface and even a QR Reader. I would say give it a try this year – I’ve already updated my profile to see if you truly can “Find People.”

PB





ABA TECHSHOW – Shortcomings of technology? #ABATECHSHOW

3 04 2014

ABA TECHSHOW - Shortcomings of technology? #ABATECHSHOW

This guy was at ABA TEACHSHOW in Chicago last week and needed a charge on his device – I didn’t look closely but he’s probably using the battery vampire otherwise known as iOS 7. The charging station was a great idea but like a lot of things at Techshow it came up just a little short for me.

The good:

There were standout speakers and some great presentations about some unexpected things. I liked Ernie Svenson’s (Ernie the Attorney) meet the author session and Pul unger’s as well. These guys somehow made their sessions interesting.

Another standout for me was Randy Juip on making your trial presentation interesting! It was the best presentation about presentations I have seen and I would love to get this guy to talk to every person who has ever made me sit through a PowerPoint. I think he should have to learn Prezi though 😉

Another cool thing was watching Ian O’Flaherty (Lit Software) tweaking someone’s TrialPad software (Melissa Fuller Brown’s in fact,) at 2 AM in the Conrad Hilton Suite! That was service and that’s one of the things about Techshow, its hard to find people who won’t go the extra mile (kilometre,) and they do it with a smile.

The Clio boys (and girls) were awesome as always (full disclosure, they are good friends) and they made an announcement about their recent funding that probably caused some shudders in their cloud platform competitors. They still act like a tech startup but they are smart like foxes and the effortless part in the front is driven by a lot of work behind the curtain.

I chatted with the PKware people about Viivo which encrypts files on your email, DropBox, Box, GoogleDrive, and SkyDrive. It’s pretty much drag and drop and so far (I have it on my phone,) I like it.

Also a quick shout out to fellow Canadian Stephen Starkman from Primafact. They do paperless solutions for medium/larger firms. It’s not something that I have a need for (my employer is paperless and I am a paperless photographer,) but Stephen’s photography is amazing!

Most important thing at Techshow for me was to go and talk to other lawyers and vendors. Find out about the tech they like. What are they using in their offices? What is happening in their Bar? Are there trends? Are there threats? Are there risks? Take your head outta the sand and see what’s going on in the world.

The less than good:

The WiFi at Techshow. . .

I went to a few sessions that were duds. There was no flow to the presentations and I left one after 45 minutes that probably never got to the point, didn’t have a lot to do with tech, nor did it really hit the title or summary of the presentation that was described in the agenda.

The wrap:

John Dean was the featured speaker on the last day. Former White House Counsel who made that trip to the big house after testifying against certain parties as part of a plea bargain. Not a cool position. No lawyer wants to be a witness, and I assume most don’t want to end up in the showers in prison (jail) either, even if you end up with a speaking/book circuit later. This was the second Nixon-related speaker at ABATECHSHOW in 3 years. Dean was preceeded by Ben Stein. Will G. Gordon Liddy be next?

Overall a fun year. A few people I missed seeing this year but I’ll catch them on Twitter or in the future. Toronto isn’t a bad place to visit and a quick hop from Chicago if anyone is so inclined. . .

-30-