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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That Time in Chicago #ABATECHSHOW #Streetphotography #politics #lust

25 02 2017

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Its a foggy day in Toronto and I’m working on a comparison of ethics resources in various State Bars in the USA. It made me think back to one of my previous trips to ABATechshow and one of my forays into Chicago street photography which I engage in occasionally when I manage to actually get outdoors (which if you’ve been to Techshow you know isn’t very often!) I came across this snap of Kira. She was making her way across the country with some friends in pursuit of…well I’m not exactly sure but it was partially the American Dream.

These kids were mostly care-free. Travelling with their dog, a few friends and very few belongings, they were hopping freight trains to crisscross the country in search of something, adventure, prosperity, maybe just existence and experience. They were chased, occasionally beaten, but they had a strong bond with each other that was palpable.

I think about how far removed they were removed from technology and wealth. They weren’t begging or soliciting handouts, they were just sitting on the sidewalk together waiting on some friends, experiencing an unfamiliar city from street level. This was 2010 in the USA and as you may recall there was a different government in place.

This shot was captured with my trusty Nikkor 85f1.8 cranking at 1/200th and f3.5 – there were a bunch of others in this series but I thought the tattoo was appropriate for the frenzy going on right now with our Southern neighbours. Their lust for security, prosperity, truth, and well, depending on which side of the fence you’re on…survival.

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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:

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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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The Double Stabbing

22 04 2013

burgers, originally uploaded by psuba98.

I was in Chicago for the Annual ABA Techshow and sure, I learned some stuff about technology, especially about security issues this year. This was an evening out at Au Cheval in the West Randolph area and the burgers were, pardon the pun, killer!

This was a dark place with small lights scattered here and there and packed with the crowd who knew where to be. . .and us. I took a few random snaps (not my usual Chicago shoot the food and staff from every angle a la Smoque trip,) that I have been known to do. This was strictly “hit and run” on our first trip there that evening. It was too packed to penetrate so we zipped across the street to another place to experience some Angry Birds (the beer not the game,) and relax until we could go full on burger.

This was just something to capture the mood while I dodged waiters, waitresses and patrons. . .not easy in that sardine environment. . .

The D4 was purring as usual and I was able to capture the coup de grace (x2) as this pair of meat meals were…dispatched.

Shot them at 1/50 @ ISO 4500 with my trusty 50f1.4 smooth as the challah buns they were delivered on!

 

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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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