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.)

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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. 

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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. . .

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ABA TECHSHOW Day 2

31 03 2012

ABA TECHSHOW Day 2

Ben Stein was kind enough to pause before dashing –

So yesterday was Day 2 at Techshow in Chicago. It was fun and the highlight had to be Ben Stein’s inspiring speech about access to law and the general state of economics in the USA. There were many other messages and lots of shout outs to Canadians in general but I wanted to comment about another message that wasn’t necessarily meant to be there but seeped through to me anyway – if you’re a litigator, learn to be a dynamic public speaker.

He was engaging, told a few jokes, was self-deprecating and knew his audience. He had everyone leaning forward in their seats and it made me think how could go much smoother if you had a Judge and jury leaning toward you in spite of your message. He had notes but he was smooth – he read them over before he spoke, made the odd annotation, and sipped a Starbucks tea while he spoke, occasionally saying “Oh, this is very good” but it was hard to tell if he was speaking to us, or reminding himself that it was going very well, or possibly that it was just really great tea.

Ben had the audience (mostly lawyers/attorneys from Canada and the US) in the palm of his hand. I was reminded of listening to my Dad because of the easy delivery and someone familiar way in which he spoke. It was poetry.

After his talk he was very gracious, stopped for photos with people, made a point of asking people where they were from, and was infinitely patient with people as he was lined up for another photo…for many minutes. He seemed genuinely interested in each person who spoke to him and was a pleasure to speak with one on one.

He stopped for a moment before he made his getaway, made sure I had the shots I wanted and then just before he stepped into a waiting limo asked the driver his name. . .civility is alive and well in Chicago and his stopping along the way to speak with some tech-savvy lawyers was a highlight for me and reminded me its time to pay more attention to detail when addressing an audience and to engage the group as a whole….win them one by one.

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